Over the last several weeks, I've gone for 15 information interviews (that left a big dent in my wallet... all those coffee dates!) and met a vast number of people here in Victoria. A good friend of mine who is a social worker (and also has a hearing loss herself) told me that information interviews were the best way to meet new people, and tap into the hidden job market. Job hunt aside, I've really enjoyed getting out and meeting new people. We've been on the Island for three years and in the last few weeks, I've made more connections than the entire time we've been here.
|Who doesn't love coffee?? Mmmmm|
It hit me like an anvil on the coyote's head: creating a community doesn't start by just going out to events, it also means creating meaningful connections with others who share the same interests, concerns and ideas as you do. It means reaching out to others beyond your comfort zone. I feel more at home now that I've found my way through the Victoria population. Believe it or not, pretty much everyone here knows someone that you know! It's like living in the twilight zone. Growing up in a Vancouver suburb, it was incredibly rare to meet someone that knew someone within your circle of friends. I guess that's what happens when you live in a smaller city!
When I tell someone who I'm meeting for the first time that I have a hearing loss, they are normally pretty chill about it - and that makes me feel pretty awesome. Ever since I started getting out and about, I'm more at ease with letting people know that I do sometimes miss stuff. Last week I went into the pool for my daughter's weekly swim lessons, and this usually means the entire session is pure silence for me. At the end of the class, they usually have 'warm pool' time where the kiddos can warm up before getting changed. One of the fathers with his son said something to me, and my face sort of scrunched up - and I just blurted out: "I can't hear - but thanks for whatever you just said!" (I'm pretty sure he said something nice to the effect of: "our kids are so cute"). I think he got it, and kind of chuckled.
|A glimpse of our swim lessons!|
Community comes in many shapes and forms, but ultimately we're the ones who can create our own personal communities. For me, it's letting go of my insecurities and being the person that I'm meant to be. Carpe Diem!