Part two of my recap of the year that was: 2009.
Another eventful month. C-Town wrapped up and I baked cakes and muffins for the year-end party. Thank you to Brandy and Nate for the use of Nate’s oven. It made baking the muffins a lot quicker. And then there was also J-Prom. I wanted to ask a certain young lady to J-Prom. I never did. But here is the open letter I wrote to her about it. I think she knows who she is. Either way, I’m not going to mention her name. I am apparently respectful like that. In other news, school ended. Finally! And in the span of no more than four days, I got hired to work as a reporter/photographer in Meadow Lake, Sask. And I mean it when I say it took no more than four days. From what I keep telling myself I remember, I sent out the application package by email on Tuesday, and received an email back asking when I could be interviewed later that day. We set up an interview on Thursday, and Friday I got a phone call telling me the job was being offered to me. In retrospect (as you either know or will learn soon) I should not have taken the job. But at the time I was more or less ecstatic. That is until my parents came up to Ottawa to start moving me out and we talked about it. That’s when the doubts started to surface. And they never really went away. But more on that later. Just before exams finished, I made sure I said goodbye to two of the more important people in my fourth year life, one of whom was moving out before me and one I did not know if I would see before I moved out. Both of these young women had been great friends and I shall endeavour to maintain contact as long as I can. And when one gives you no less than five hugs before leaving, you know you’ve made a connection that will be hard to sever. After exams, I came home to begin packing for my trip out to Saskatchewan and make sure I saw as many of my friends as I could. I succeeded in seeing the ones that mattered.
The month started much like April ended, with packing for moving to Saskatchewan and going out to see friends before leaving. Considering I left on May 11, there wasn’t that much time to get things done. But get them done I did. And then it was off to YYZ to board a flight with Dad to Saskatoon to begin my new life. The last time I was in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan was the summer of 1997. Clearly I didn’t remember much from that trip in terms of what Saskatoon looks like. Because the parts of it we were in after we landed were none too impressive. I should have taken this as an omen. Alas, I did not. The drive up to Meadow Lake was nothing special. Neither was the town itself. Let’s get something out in the open: I am from a city of more than two million people, in a metropolitan region with in excess of five million inhabitants. Saskatchewan as a PROVINCE is just barely over ONE million. Meadow Lake is under 6,000 people. There are many, many ways I can illustrate how my life experiences and frames of reference make Meadow Lake virtually insignificant to me. But, again, more on that later. The first week in Meadow Lake was quite hectic, as I needed to buy a car, find accommodation (no mean feat in that place) and attempt to adjust to all the upheaval I had just endured. And of course I had to meet the new boss. He gave me a stack of back copies to read to get up to speed on the town and the news in town. The first day of work was interesting, as it snowed. Yes, it snowed on May 19 in Meadow Lake. I don’t think I have ever seen snow fall in May. But I was on the Prairies, so I guess that’s par for the course. But one thing I remember about the first day (other than the snow) was after the story meeting I sat in front of my computer and thought to myself, “I don’t know if I can do this.” But I managed to get through that first week, and was more or less settling in (as much as you can settle into a town of 6,000 when your home is more than 333 times the size). And then June hit.
Okay, I’ll be honest. June started quite well. My major assignment was to go the junior high school’s Grade 8 camping trip, to see what the fuss was all about. It was quite the excursion. (Here is my first overt criticism of my place of employment.) I would give you a hyperlink so you could read my story on the camping trip. I would if the newspaper for which I worked had a website. It doesn’t. I don’t fully know why. If you ask me, how can you call yourself a reputable newspaper if you don’t have at least an online archive of your back issues? So because my former employers don’t quite grasp the power of the online world, there is no other way for you to read my story on the Grade 8 camping trip other than to contact me and I send it to you or you come visit me. I highly encourage the latter. I like visitors. [EDIT] I have since scanned and uploaded the piece to my online portfolio. Moving on. The other reason June started so well was I was returning to Ottawa to visit my fellow J-Schoolers, as well as graduate. And I couldn’t wait. In retrospect, this may not have been the best decision I made. And here I must explain why. But first the setup. The graduation ceremony was nice, except for the fact we had CTV’s Max Keeping give the convocation address. We could have had other, better people. People like Adrienne Clarkson or Ed Broadbent. You know, cool people. Anyway. After the ceremony I had dinner with family and then went to a post-grad party. It was a good party, and it was good to see my fellow J-Schoolers again. Then the next day I was invited over to Brandy and Nate’s for dinner (Brandy is Miss Five Hugs from my April recap). It was before dinner that I started having inklings my trip to Ottawa to graduate maybe wasn’t the best thing today. I was telling her that the party the night before might be the last time I see some of my fellow J-Schoolers for a long time, if not forever. And I couldn’t get that one sentence out without starting to choke up. But dinner was nice. And I like their cat. The next day was the ‘travel back to Saskatoon’ day. And it was one of the hardest days, emotionally, I have had in a long time. I pretty much bawled for much of the flight from Toronto to Saskatoon (I had a layover at YYZ). But in between the tears I managed to pound this out on my venerable MacBook. It was hard to write but it was also very cathartic to do. And then when I got back to Meadow Lake I had to go to a rodeo to talk to girls riding cows. Honestly, I should not have gone and just claimed I didn’t see the email about going to the rodeo (that I saw that morning in Ottawa) until Saturday morning (I arrived back in Meadow Lake Friday afternoon). No one would have been able to prove I was lying, and I really wasn’t in a very good mental state. In fact, I never really shook off that funk. But in an interesting twist, that first weekend back was interesting nonetheless. I went to a cattle branding. The air smelt like steak and there were bull testicles being thrown around and cooked. Apparently they’re delicacies. These Prairie folk are strange. Other than that, June wasn’t all that exciting. Except for the phone call I received on June 24th. That call dissolved all the disappointment I was feeling over the hot teacher who would not accept my advances. And she was fairly hot. You can see her here if you so choose. So what was this phone call? Only Brandy calling to say Nate proposed. So what if we all knew it was coming? It’s exciting nonetheless. And so what if I live vicariously through my friends? Things were slowly trending downward in Meadow Lake; I needed any reason to be happy.
Part three: July through September to come tomorrow.