I sometimes get asked what I ‘do’ and depending on my mood feel the need – or not – to explain my ‘unemployed-ness’! Unless I apply for a EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card here in the US I’m not eligible to work – and the 6 months we are scheduled to be here is not long enough for me to do that, apply for jobs, and make a commitment to an employer. So, my days are my own. I am under no illusion that the time I have is a privilege, and I do often struggle not to feel guilty about it. I make every effort to use it to a good end.
The trouble with having the luxury of time on my hands though is that it sometimes falls through my fingers, and before I know it the day’s over and all I’ve done is painted my toe nails. This dilemma can be frustrating, but is also on the other hand liberating and naughtily self-indulgent! From our apartment window I can see HG walking home at least 7 minutes before he arrives through the front door – enough time to straighten the duvet on the bed, throw the dirty washing in the washing machine, the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe the bench. Bob’s your uncle – the house is tidy, and I’ve been up all day! However, not every day is like that and I am pleased to have achieved a few things.
I have started the long road to retain some sort of fitness and regularly start my day with a 2.5 mile walk around the Bellevue Downtown Park in the mornings. I love it – usually I get to the park between 8 and 9am, headphones on and my favourite music playing. Yesterday I tried HG’s ‘Trance’ music. Yay for Spotify! Trance is great to walk to and I did the 2.5 miles in 35 minutes!
Always there are the same people at the park – the two young women in the same spot under the trees practicing Tai Chi, the rather large young man who walks twice around the park, the elderly man with his walking frame who looks like he’s just stepped out of a Mafia movie -rings on his fingers, dark glasses, black leather gloves, black hat, and cargo pants, he looks such an interesting man and I so want to take his photo! There’s the young Dad and his wee daughter, she runs around setting her own course and he’s never far behind her. Always there are garden maintenance staff either cleaning the lake,triming trees, collecting rubbish, or leaf blowing – almost a fulltime job I imagine for this 21 acres of park. And then there are the dogs. I have never seen so many small dogs anywhere. My friend Katrina’s wee dog Fletcher would have an absolute ball at Downtown Park with so many friends his size! Our dog Millie would love it here! They are all so happy to be out of their apartments, running round socializing – big doggy grins on their faces. Sometimes I catch a snippet of conversation while walking past – their owners telling them ‘say goodbye’ to their friends. Dogs, and cats, are very much a part of apartment living in Bellevue and there are many, many apartments here.
I have also finally learned how to use my WordPress Blog site well enough to get it looking like I want it to look – not an easy task for someone who didn’t even know what a URL was. I have learned how Instagram works (yes I know I’m a bit behind the times) and opened an Instagram account. I have taken the bus several times into the heaving metropolis of Downtown Seattle on my own, walked through the underground transit centers having no idea where I’m going or what bus to catch to get home – and gotten home just fine. I have booked photography lessons with Lindsey Miller (can’t wait), and have bookmarked a Mexican Cooking class at Whisk in July. I have met the lovely Li (a friend of my friend in NZ, Elaine) and am looking forward to seeing her some more. I have bookmarked the gym just across the road for Pilates lessons too – on the Reformer no less! I’m expecting great shapes from those lessons! I have learned to pay bills the American way online, and learned how the Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance works – each held with different companies and with different in-network and out-network providers. I have also held my ground with the company we rent our furniture from, fighting for a decent bed to sleep on! The third bed (and hopefully the last) has been delivered today. Photo of original and now gone bed below!
So in my own wee way I’ve had plenty of things to do but still have masses more to achieve. It is a week exactly until son number 2 arrives with his beautiful girlfriend (yesssss, shopping!), and then a month later sons 1 and 3 arrive together – and I can’t wait. We have roadtrips planned for both visits – Portland, Oregon first, and then Glacier National Park, Montana in July! Time to hit the road Jack – wind the car window down, elbow out, hair flying (hope it grows in time), and America’s Ventura Highway playing at full volume (sorry boys you can choose next playlist). Time will be on wings then!