Reluctant Plan A


There was an election in the US. You might have heard some stuff about it. If you’re wondering what it looked like on the ground, I don’t know. I stayed indoors all day, ordered a pizza and allowed panelists in Doha to tell me what’s happening.

Let’s see … Doha is over 6000 miles from the US … Doha to Jonesboro is 7500 … really it was my own way to feel like I was 13 500 miles away from the election. About 22 000 km, if you’re civilized.

Whatever. It’s a big deal, but I don’t want to talk about the election right now. Instead I should announce that since my last post everything has officially gone according to plan, and sucks.

Before moving from Xinjiang to Arkansas, Dina and I looked at our available funds and decided that I could afford to stay in the US for two or three months. After that, I would return to Canada or go somewhere else to start earning money again.

But there was always this (not so secret) hope that something would materialize in the US that would allow me to stay indefinitely. Before arriving in the US I applied for a bunch of jobs and put out a lot of feelers, but nothing panned out in advance. While on US soil I went into waiting mode, because job-seeking is a no-no as a tourist.

Mind, while I refrained from what I would call job-seeking, I made no secret that I wanted a job. Three different positions came my way, actually, and almost worked out too. But they each fell through in turn, for different reasons. I refrained from aggressive job-seeking because I didn’t want trouble for me or for Dina. It’s a weird feeling though, wanting and feeling like you need to start earning money, but not really giving it the hustle it would otherwise warrant. It felt good to have time to work on my own stuff, but a dwindling bank account is a frightening thing.

It bears mentioning that if I didn’t have a family which is willing to take me in, or a developed country to return to, you can believe I’d be more tempted by … let’s call them law-skirting activities. I’ve got a certain degree more empathy for my undocumented neighbours.

But now it’s November. My time is up, and we actually have less money remaining than expected. Plan A was always officially to return to Canada, but it’s disappointing as heck to have to follow through with it.

A friend, trying to comfort me, said something along the lines of “It was a long shot anyway. The US is hard.” It’s difficult not to hear that as “Cheer up. Everyone knew you weren’t going to make it anyhow.” There is an upside, though, and it’s somewhat ironic: as soon as I leave the US, there’s no rule against job-seeking. So even while I throw myself into finding work in Vancouver, I’m also free to reach out to every HR department in America. Let’s see how that goes in Trump’s America …

The timing of this all would be kind of funny–fleeing the US just days after the election–if not for my other half. Dina has several demographic strikes against her in the rhetoric of the new President Elect, and our direct neighbours supported that rhetoric to the tune of 64%.

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