This is not about halloween. The pumpkins are smashed on the road. This is the monster of self-doubt, combined with homesickness, combined with uncertainty of the future. It is a cat-shaped monster of a dark marshy-green colour, and it follows my thoughts, every minute ready to pounce and destruct the mood of peace, learning and beauty I am attempting to create around me.
Several things rouse this monster. But now I have identified the two major ones. Bills. And e-mails and phone calls from Iran. And the two are interrelated.
I earned a good salary in Iran! I was surrounded my loving family and friends! I had a good job! I lived in my own house! My children had a wonderful babysitter! We saw my parents regularly! the children knew their grandparents and aunts and uncle! My husband had a wonderful job! I knew what was going to happen next year! It was going to be exactly like last year! Whoopie!
Now I am in debt to the student loan programme. I don’t earn anything. I live in a rented apartment. I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I don’t know where I’m going to live next year. I have no proper friends here- some days I feel really invisible. And I want to sell that horrible horrible apartment in Tehran just to make sure I can never go back to that dark, polluted city full of hate, jeaousy, envy, stress and arguments.
I get e-mails from my friends, talk to my family. They are going out to restaurants, going on trips, working, making money, being with their parents. Sounds like they’re having fun. Why did I give all that up? What am I going to do next year with a degree in a subject which nobody has ever heard of Iran, a whole lot more poorer than when I first left Iran? Should I go back? Back to a job which had become dead-end, frustrating, and gave me nightmares, it was so stressful, back to a society where I can’t take my kids if I should decide to walk away, back to a family who don’t approve of my lifestyle, back to the smoke, back to the monster which is shaped like a cat?
I just don’t know. perhaps, once I finish with this degree at Dalhousie, I can get a decent job or go on to a decent further education programme, and make good my losses. Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
And meanwhile, I have assignments to do, and a vegetable calzone to eat in the atrium of the beautiful beautiful Killam Library.