The heartbreak of cancelling a trip that I waited for three years
Sunday, Jun. 11, 2023 - 10:05 am.

Well, my trip to the UK isn't happening. It's taken me days to process this because I'd been looking forward to it for years. Literally. I included this Brighton Psych Conference to the budget of my research proposal in late 2020. I didn't know how my life was gonna be like in 2023, but for sure Andrew and I had to make that trip.

But I haven't heard a thing about my visa. I still could get it, but the plane tickets are above my budget now. I could still scramble and make it, but also, everything seemed to be off: I didn't get a reply to my requests for formal support from Sheff Uni to extend my trip to Sheffield (save from my friend Eric's invitation, he's the best), I didn't get a reply from the funding agency on whether I could do so. My timing to get the funding deposited in my account, to be registered and accepted to present at the conference, to apply for the visa... all that was off.

I blame myself for not having a better grip on the timing of all this, but also, things didn't seem to be on my side. This was also my first time proposing international travel for my research project... in fact, it's my first research project with proper funding. I had to plan for something three years in the future while we were in the middle of the pandmic. I feel a bit stupid, but I don't think it helps matters that I kick myself down as I'm already curled up in fetal position.

I'm heartbroken. It's taken me days to say "I'm not doing this trip" and coming to terms with it. I wanted to see my friends Eric, Stan and Anna in Sheffield and/or Brighton. I wanted to walk those streets and feel that anything was possible again. I wanted to showcase my work, and do some networking and learn about other people's research. I just wanted to go back there, even if for just a couple of days.

It was important that I came to terms with this so I could move on: I have to find other options to spend the money that was allocated to this conference. I have one in mind, and hopefully they'll accept my paper. But cancelling this trip not only broke my heart and made me rearrange the last leg of my research project (it ends in March 2024!) but it's forcing me to rearrange what I had planned for the second half of the year in terms of traveling for work or to see my family. I'll come back to this as I have more clarity.

Other than that, I have quite a few things going on at work. I've woken up in the middle of the night several times this week worrying about them. I try to control my brain, but even those efforts keep me up. Things aren't that bad once examined during daylight, though, and I've been way worse in terms of stress.

The kitten is ok, he's quite a handful. Our guess is that wherever he lived before, he was allowed to eat human food, because he goes crazy when he sees us eat. We're acquiring quite a bill making sure he's spayed, vaccinated and healthy. Not great dealing with all that, but I don't regret leaving him behind on the streets. No one (human or otherwise) should be homeless.

There's another stray cat in our apartment complex, an adult long-haired calico who clearly used to have a home. I don't see her that often and I hadn't quite registered that she was homeless, I thought she just had careless owners. But hopefully we'll send Elmo (the kitten's working title) to a good home within the next month and we can look into helping this other cat.

Speaking of which, yesterday we went to visit Andrew's parents. I hate their town because -among other reasons- it's full of homeless dogs and cats who are very sick, awfully skinny, with filthy fur and some with broken bones. They're kept like that whether it's 2°C or 37°C. People can be so miserable.

On top of it, going to his parents' is always emotionally exhausting for many reasons. One of them is that there's a case of domestic violence going on and we're walking on eggshells, trying to be supportive while not stirring that wasps' nest and make things worse for the people living under that roof.

So all that, plus work stuff plus cancelling the confence trip has me emotionally drained. I feel like I need a win, and I try to hang on to some small victories. I do have them! But overall I feel I don't have enough time for anything, nor that I'm interesting enough or have enough clout to make people listen to me (also, I don't have enough time to actually say things that need to be listened to).

Pride month is in full swing and I haven't lived up to it. I've managed to organize a "Pride" (the movie about UK queer people helping out the miners during their '84-'85 strike) screening with the students' film society, but I'm well aware that whatever I do doesn't attract a big audience. It'll be my luck that it will this time, and I can't stay for the screening after it begins because it's the day I start my second course of sign language. Nevertheless, please let there be a big audience. It's a fantastic movie.

I hate feeling so left out and unheard, and I hate being so bitter about it. Pride month just enhances all that.

So instead of continuing my delightful whining, I'll go exercise and do things that make me happy and a bit of housework.

But before that, shoutout to Andrew who's been massively supportive this week as I'm feeling so down. He even made me pancakes one morning. I'm really lucky to be with him. He's been extra comforting this week and has helped me through my decision making. It's his birthday on Thursday, I can't wait to give him the present I got for him <3

Oh, look, my mood improved just thinking about him. Better go make the best out of this day.

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