If you’ve been following my blog you know that life has not been kind to me lately. Just when I thought things were finally turning around for me with a job, albeit the worst job I’ve even had in my life with the worst company I’ve ever had the misfortune to work for, Stream Global Services, I was wrongfully dismissed last November. Continue reading
Proves that you are never too old to get fired. I’m struggling with whether it is worse to work at the worst job in my life, or getting fired from the worst job in my life?
It’s certainly been a rocky road for the last few years. The reason I ended up here in London was following a woman who ended up cheating on me. My life went straight downhill from there, ending up living in a shelter with no job and no money. I don’t know how I could have done anything differently but my focus was on basic survival and not getting back out West where I belong. Despite my miserable circumstances I hoped that I would at least be able to reconnect with my kids after seventeen years, but that didn’t happen either.
Saturday, December 30, 2007
Headed to the Panama House for my usual banana pancakes. Met Dexter, the owner, who hails from Southern California. He started coming to Panama twenty years ago for the surfing, and moved here five years ago. He also confirmed that it’s not tough to get to stay here, but, of course, he bought a restaurant, so that made it easy. He agreed that Panama has languished in the shadow of Costa Rica for many years, and now it’s Panama’s turn to grow.
Friday, December 28, 2007
My first full day in Boquete. Bit of a crazy one. Sonia had helped me shop yesterday. I bought a coffee maker ($7), cream, sweetener, and coffee. Went to brew coffee this morning and what I didn’t buy was filters. So much for my morning Java fix. I was starving so I headed off to the Panama House – the one that was closed yesterday.
My trip to Panama
The original plan didn’t quite work, but what happened might have been a blessing in disguise. I had sold my truck and bought the car, intending to drive to Boquete, a trip I figured would take about ten days or so, apparently in my total ignorance. When I was turned back at the border and had to make some last minute plans to fly, I was a bit panicky considering it was Christmas Eve and all. Not only would it be very difficult to even book flights, but everything closed up early for Christmas Eve. On my trip back I doubted BCAA would still be open by the time I made it there.
Every once in a while I take stock of my life, partly because it’s therapeutic and to see what I was thinking at the time. One of my regrets in life is that I have not recorded either my words or in pictures many things in my life. Video is a much more prevalent part of our society these days, but it wasn’t way back when my kids were growing up. Particularly because I am now estranged from my children it would be nice to be able to watch videos of them growing up. Both my son and daughter were heavily involved in sports, yet I don’t have a single picture from all those years of hundreds of games.
It was that time again. Three months since my last “out of the country” trip required for my tourist visa. The friend I had gone with before, LizAnne, had just received her pensionado visa, so she didn’t need to leave the country again. I really didn’t want to go and spend four days sitting in a room by myself at the hostel in Sabalito. I was also very worried, with the new immigration laws in Panama, that I might have problems coming back into Panama and would be lost without the language skills. I thought of going to Puerto Viejo this time, just to check it out for my websites, and my friend, Magaly, wanted to come along. Having no money (another story) I decided to get creative and I emailed a number of hotels in the area, offering to do a story for our website. One, Banana Azul Guest House, offered me a special rate of $25 a night, much less than the normal $79, so we booked three nights.
The few people who know this story have all encouraged me to write a book about it. Now that I’m off on medical leave, in part because of the stress this situation has caused me and how helpless I feel, I thought it might be time to lay it all out. Part therapy just to vent, but maybe someone, somewhere will read it and learn from it and avoid the mistakes I’ve made.
Even today, all these years later, I still remember how it hit me when my Dad called to tell me that my mother had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and was being rushed into surgery. Thankfully, those were the days when WestJet had “compassionate” flights and I caught the next plane out and joined my brother and sister. Dad said Mum had less than a 5% chance of living more than a couple of years. It was the first time I had faced my mother’s mortality, mostly because she was so healthy. She walked five miles every morning and she was the picture of health. She was always a sun worshiper though and I remember her and my sister sitting in shallow water on their lawn chairs, soaking up the sun. Both of them always had deep tans in the summer. Mum also traveled to Yuma in the winter months, so she got even more tan than normal.
People often say “I’m not in a good place right now”, usually meaning that something has brought them down temporarily. Seldom is it a reflection of their entire life status; however, in my case, it is, sadly. I’m writing this on my 62 birthday, documenting where my life is today, in the hopes that this time next year things will be a whole lot better. Either that or I’ll be dead, which is a good possibility as well.
I find myself alone, living in a place I loathe, as a result of yet another mistake with a woman. When I moved from Toronto I was full of such hope for the future. I was in love and believed that I would again be part of a family, which I missed so much. Things took a tragic turn and I found myself alone in a strange city, trapped by circumstances. I longed to be anywhere else but London and obviously regretted leaving Toronto and, even more, missed being out West where I was truly happy.
Through living in a rooming house, to sleeping on the floor of a colleague’s office, to ending up in shelters, to an apartment I could not possibly afford, to finally getting into public housing, it has been a long and stressful road. Laying on my filthy bed in the shelter in oppressive heat, afraid for my very life, surrounded by the lowest of society, I knew I had hit rock bottom. Those were very dark days. Although I appreciate my little apartment I face the daily struggle of trying to get enough food to survive on the measly amount I get from assistance. The little things that I have always enjoyed in my life, like having a beer, playing pool, even a meal out at McDonald’s are out of the question when there is no money. I have probably applied for at least five hundred jobs over the last few months, with no luck. I have done research on many companies and sent proposals out, again, with no response. I firmly believe that my age is against me and there is nothing I can do to change that. The economy is in the dumps and finding any kind of job, especially in a depressed area like London, is virtually impossible.
I long to return to the Okanagam and I apply for every conceivable job I see in the area. I have limited funding to help me to relocate if I can find a job, but this has not proved successful either. I came close with a perfect job, covering Kelowna north and the island, but was not selected for a final interview, despite being perfectly qualified for the position. I let myself get excited and put everything in place to be able to leave immediately, which only served to bring me down when I didn’t get the job.
My family situation is unchanged and still a mess. A tiny glimmer of hope is that my son has reconnected through Facebook; however, his life is as much a mess as mine and he doesn’t want to let me back into his life beyond these messages. My daughter has completely shut me out of her life, ever since I drove across the country to see her and she was hidden away from me. So cruel! I have never understood why she shut me out of her life and it’s a knife in my heart every single day. Having lost my mother and father I am left with no immediate family, something I have always cherished.
My health is a disaster. I was always so happy that I was physically active and healthy. Whether I was busy renovating or climbing a mountain, I had tons of stamina and could do almost anything. Today my heath is in ruins, mostly because of my diabetes. I have put on thirty pounds, which has resulted in acid reflux and many other problems. I have no energy and sleep more than I ever have in my life. My feet are painful and swollen and I can barely walk. My shoulder, which has yet to be diagnosed properly, is painful and I have very limited mobility. My toes are so painful that I can’t sleep. I tire easily and can’t exert the smallest physical energy without resting. I feel so very old, for the first time in my life.
There is no one special in my life in the romance department. I have lost touch with all of my friends from out west and I don’t know anyone in London. After forty-five years I have reconnected with the mother of my other son and she has been a great help. She has come to London and got me out of my apartment and done things with me that I haven’t done in a very long time. She has most graciously paid for everything, something that makes me feel very guilty. I have always been the one to pay and it just reminds me how pathetic my life has become that I am a pauper. I have always been a hopeless romantic and I miss being in love. I think to find someone you need to first feel good about yourself and I certainly don’t.
Regardless of what a mess I’m in right now, I hope that some luck comes my way and I can get back to the person I used to be. I think that this will only happen if I find a way to get back out west, but this may only be a dream. They say you can’t go back and maybe that’s true. I am hopeful I can reconnect with some of my good friends, but it may have already been too long being apart. It also takes money to live in Kelowna and it will very much depend on my financial circumstances. Living on assistance in Kelowna, even if that were possible, would be just as bad as here. I will not give up on my dream to get back there before I die, but short of winning a lottery, it will be an uphill battle. No matter what, my life will be much different if I get back. There won’t be any boats or dirt bikes or snowmobiles and my life will be much different. One of my passions for years was to dance at the Corral, but my feet would make that impossible right now. Hopefully if I can lose the weight and get my diabetes under better control I may dance again.
I pray that I can write a much better story on my next birthday. If nothing has changed by then I will simply not survive.