Goodbye Salt Spring!

I’ll be honest, I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but I ended up leaving the islands today, and made my way into Vancouver.

I honestly thought I’d be sticking around for months, but things just really weren’t going well between me and my hosts. I’m really torn about this too, because the people I’ve been meeting here are great, and we recently had 2 exchange students move over from Japan and Germany, and both are wonderful. I’d been chatting a little with the Japanese girl, and she seemed to be a total Pokemon nerd. In fact, when she saw the plushes I made, she went into her suitcase and pulled out a bunch of Japanese Pokemon magazines she brought over.

I can see why the British guy left on my first day though. Whilst the environment itself is great, the hosts are kind of rotten. More specifically, the husband in the couple seems to have many toxic and manipulative tendencies that honestly make me extremely uncomfortable, especially as someone who comes from an abusive background. Some of the ways he talked to and treated me just reeked of disrespect, and he seemed to be very condescending to me about the things I was doing for him, even though he should know that sewing is something I am very experienced in. He also had a very nasty habit of trying to control the way I behave by cutting the internet access to my living space, which was a pretty scummy thing to do to someone who is offering you help voluntarily. To top it all off, another of the walk-outs, a French Canadian guy pointed out to me that their operation really does cross the line on what counts as volunteer work, given that they’re selling our work at artists markets, with no credit or compensation besides the accommodation. This in fact, angered several of my artist friends online when I told them, so I did what I do best: walk out the door with 0 plans!

To be honest, I was fully with the intention of sleeping out on the beach, or somewhere isolated on the island. I’d rather have been out rough than spent another day in that environment. I’d actually took a trip over to Victoria the previous weekend to cool off over an incident with the host that straight-up, caused me to break down crying, due to triggering old ptsd related to my upbringing. I ended up spending time with a woman I previously met in Ganges, and helped her out with a booth she had at a festival. It was also a nice opportunity to see a bit more of that city, and I picked up some nice things while I was there, including my new favorite necklace! The woman I was with was really lovely, and grateful for my help, and it really felt like the appreciation I deserved from my hosts. I checked up on her after my walk-out, but she wasn’t at the shop that day, so I was a little stuck. Her sisters tried to do what they could, and after a bit of scrambling around, a really old friend from Vancouver offered me to come to her place if I could make it back to the mainland.

At this point, it was 7pm, and the last ferry was about to leave. I made a snap-decicion, and bolted for the boat, on my way to Vancouver. We met up at the ferry terminal, and we drove with her mother to her house in Surrey. I haven’t seen this girl in over 5 years, so it’s really refreshing to finally meet again even if the circumstances aren’t ideal. I’ve now got to somewhat deal with the pressure of figuring out on the spot, what to do next…