Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Tea Time

A close friend of mine sent me an email saying that she's going through some pretty major transitions in her life. She just got married, relocated to a different part of Canada, and so much more.  My friend doesn't have a hearing loss, but thought it would be a good idea for me to share my experiences (as they are relatively similar). I'm hoping this post will help others out there struggling with life changes, because well, any change is never easy. This applies to everyone, not just those with a hearing loss.

In the last three years, in the following order, I...
  • Started a new job
  • Graduated from University
  • Got married
  • Moved out of my parents' home (this was new for me. I'd never really lived on my own before)
  • Bought our first car (the first car purchase I've ever made!)
  • Moved to Vancouver Island with only three weeks to look for a rental, pack our place and say goodbye to those important to us
  • Found out we were expecting
  • Bought our first house (our forever house...)
  • Did my first house renovations - our bathroom desperately needed the facelift
  • The much anticipated arrival of our baby girl
I'll recap on some of the biggest changes for me - which is getting married, moving to Vancouver Island, and having our baby girl.

Getting Married
Hubby and I had to learn how to live together as we both think differently when it comes to care/maintenance of the home, grocery shopping, all the way down to our annoying habits (or isms, as I call them). For me, I think it took about a year before I truly, truly felt like we were settled as a couple. 
We're married! Our relationship has changed (for the better!) as we learn to deal with our communication styles

Having a hearing loss made for some interesting battles when communicating. My husband is the type to not really talk about his feelings, whereas I am (although, that might be just a gender thing). At one point, I was getting so frustrated with hubby as I needed someone to just listen to me - so we decided to start Tea Time. During this tea time, I get a minimum of 5-10 minutes (although he'll say that number is more like 20 minutes) of total listening/talking time with hubby each day. Communication can be a challenge sometimes with us as we are both sometimes exhausted from the day - from listening to others in our daily lives (coworkers, friends, etc). 
Tea Time: An essential part of the day

To this day, we still encounter miscommunication challenges. For instance, there are times when one of us will have our hearing device off (because, who doesn't like peace and quiet from time to time??) and the other person is trying to have a conversation - talk about one-sided hearing!

Moving to the Island
In August 2012, we learned that hubby got a job at the University. Hooray! The catch was that we had to be out on the Island in three weeks' time. After a camping weekend away at Birkenhead Lake (what a wonderful, wonderful place to camp - no cell reception, my favorite kind of camping!), we made a life-changing decision: to take the plunge and move to the Island. Originally, we gave ourselves 6 months to see if we'd like living in a new city.
This photo captures the beauty of Birkenhead Lake!

It wasn't easy. I felt lonely, and disjointed in so many ways. I missed my family, friends, familiar faces at church, and my usual food joints back home. I honestly don't think I felt such homesickness before - in fact, every month I was always tempted to just pack up and head back home. This homesickness does hit me every once in a blue moon even now, nearly two years later. I'm really glad we stuck it out because being in Victoria means we are able to afford the life we always dreamed of. 
Home Sweet Home - our forever home

We are slowly making new friends here - I actually find it harder to make friends on the Island than I did back in Vancouver. Probably because we are more of homebodies now than ever before. To add to that sentiment, we now have to 're-tell' everyone in our lives now about our hearing loss. Before, we didn't always have to tell others that we had a hearing loss, as others did it for us - which can break the ice faster than usual. Life here is simpler, we don't have to travel 40-something odd minutes to get from place to place. In fact, if you travel more than 20 minutes, you've either gone too far, or find yourself facing endless water! Having my parents here really helps too - they decided to move over, an easy decision for them considering that I'm an only child.

Rachel's Arrival
Last but not least, Rachel's anticipated arrival felt like forever. With a due date of November 6, she didn't arrive until two weeks later! As I mentioned in an earlier post, her arrival left me feeling excited, nervous, scared, and overwhelmed. I wouldn't change it for the world. The first three months were the toughest for me, because I felt a little trapped being at home all the time with her, adjusting to less sleep than usual, and dealing with ever-changing hormones. Today, she's 10 months old, perfectly healthy and happy. I couldn't ask for more.
My lovely baby!

Through all these life changes, and more to come, our hearing loss will always remain the same - it remains a daily challenge (though I do forget that!). It is my sincere hope that those reading this post, many will understand that we're normal people - we deal with the same changes that everyone else goes through. We're not the type to stall change because it interferes with our disability (for lack of a better word). In closing, this quote says it all:


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