Saturday, 29 May 2010

A Quickie!

Hello blog. I’ve missed you!
So…let’s catch up!
I’m still in the North…working, working, working…big things have happened. Epic. Monsterous. Mainly just to me, but some of the stress is falling away (now if only I could make the rest of the weight fall away).
My University of London/London School of Economics dream is almost a reality. My funding has been approved, the final paperwork is in the mail. After twelve weeks of mailing, emailing, arguing with Canada Post, it’s so close and overwhelming. Though I’m still a bit upset that Canada Post lost my Confirmation of Acceptance and course selections for the better part of a month (luckily the Ombudsperson for CP got involved, and CP footed the rather high cost of Fed Exing my documents to England) and delayed the process.
There is talk of travel. I love travel – there is talk of jolly Old England, Morocco. It’s my life again.
I am looking at grad schools – I know what I want to be when I grow up.
After four years of ruts, and what seemed like continual bad news, I feel hopeful again. But there is always worry with that – I can’t have everything, can I? And yet, maybe for this moment, I can.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Failure to Launch

One day, sometime soon, I would like to think that I will stop arriving at this exact same point. I have no reason to be here – had I known my tax return was sitting on the kitchen table, I probably wouldn’t be back here.
After a lonely twelve hour drive, filled with silent contemplation, endless questioning and regret, I am no closer to arriving at a conclusion than I was two days ago. Surely it will get easier.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Boomeranging Back

The long journey home starts again. I’m not particularly happy about it – I’m not sure what I’m going to encounter upon my return. Many behind-the-scenes events have occurred since my departure. Some good, some bad…ultimately I hope that some of the burden is relieved.

One day, I hope that I can look back on this experience with a smile. This little Ozarkia has a way of growing on you after awhile. I’m not leaving by choice; not because I am homesick, or feel some sort of unrelenting need to escape – I suppose this is a small victory. Yet, after weeks of rejections, my ego is shattered (not that it was particularly strong to begin with…). At the end of the day, I can’t live on a minimum wage, part-time job and as my resources are dwindling, it’s time to go.

I don’t know what it means; employment, finances, the future…my relationship…everything is just sort of hanging. I dislike the lack of closure – I am a closure-type person.

How does a relationship survive long distance, and for how long? I’ve been down this road before – long distance relationships in New Orleans and England. Granted this relationship is much closer than those, and yet I feel less at ease than ever before. We have each failed in our respective cities; each of us sitting at the crossroads, unsure which way to turn. We are both educated, struggling financially, trying to make ends meet with mediocre jobs. Part of me feels that some of the burden would be relieved if we just let go, and yet if only we could weather the storm…

I feel like I’m walking out half way through the movie. I want to know what happens. Spring is here, but the leaves have yet to blossom (do leaves blossom? I’m not sure). I want to know what it is like here during the summer. Why do I feel like I’m getting ripped off? I paid for this movie, and I want to see the end of it. The story is somehow unfinished, and I need to know what happens to the main characters; it may not be award winning, but its life.

Granted, I’m not sure it’s a good thing that I can disassociate myself from the situation, and look at life through the third-person. I just want to know my ending.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

In the Bay of the South

I am still trying to find the appeal of this city.

It is in rough shape – the fallout from industrial collapse is readily apparent. It’s not pretty, though I’m told that it is beautiful during the summer. It is not the hum of activity that I had expected. It does not have the nightlife that I had hoped for. Given its proximity to Toronto, I am moderately surprised by the lack of culinary delights. One more trip down Christina Street, may lead to my eventual insanity. Generally I am fascinated by the main drag of a city; the main drag here lacks a certain buzz. Within a week, my interests had waned.

Drivers are generally rude and ruthless. I have witnessed a disproportionate number of near-accidents, mixed with the occasional fender bender. There is a lack of apology. As a pedestrian, I have found myself dodging angry motorists, who continually disobey road signs and right-of-ways. Always unapologetic, there is an anger here. Rarely do my fellow fitness-seekers nod or smile; never an acknowledgment of coexistence. I don’t expect to carry on a full conversation during my runs/walks, but I’m surprised by the head-in-the-air mentality of people here. I’ve been in large metropolitan centres with people who more friendly than this.

The sad truth is that even Thunder Bay had started to become angry. Maybe the economy is to blame; the lack of jobs; lack of hope; lack of financial security. It cracks the core of a community. This city, even through attempts to rejuvenate itself, and to appeal to a higher socio-economic status, is largely cracked. Too many contrasts – luxury condominiums being built along Front Street, mixed with derelict buildings on nearby Wellington. Numerous high-end coffee shops in a city that can’t seem to afford a two dollar cup of coffee.

Granted, it isn’t all misfortune. This city has been highly proactive in establishing itself as a centre of artistry. The monthly “First Friday” showcases artists and entertainers; all for free; wine and food included. Anything that includes wine in the mix, gets approval from me. Art galleries, boutiques, and upper-scale martini bars seem to be integrating nicely into the partially rundown downtown. The coexistence of tacky pawn shops, scary dive-bars, upscale lounges and trendy coffee shops provides an interesting dynamic. The jewel of the downtown, appears to be the relatively new Tree House Coffee shop – a vegan’s dream, though highly appealing to the non-vegan. I’m a huge fan of their balls (yes, you read it right), and Indio Thai wrap. Secretly I hope that they can put the corporate Coffee Culture out of business – I am a fan of the local.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the local pubs, and their associated foods. Norm’s, with its genetically engineered chicken wings (because chicken wings that size, do not occur naturally), has provided me with a bit of familiar solace. It’s not Thunder Bay, but it is close enough.

I won’t mix words – I don’t love it here. Maybe that’s ok right now. It’s a city; one in desperate shape; and I can accept that. It is attempting to remake itself, and whether or not that will work – well, I don’t really intend to hang around to find out. And even though it is supposed to be beautiful here during the summer, I’m not sure that foliage will change my impressions.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Three days ago my boyfriend excitedly pointed out…

“Wow…you’ve been here for a month!”

Hmmm….yes…yes, I have…

Unfortunately my boyfriend did not know me during my London/Banbury/New Orleans days. Actually – this might be for the best. My New Orleans days occurred at the height of my travel itch – I couldn’t sit still to save my life, and my life revolved around my backpack and credit card. Apparently London/Banbury occurred at the end of the jitter, because for as much as I still want to travel, I started to crave stability more than anything else (whatta mistake!).

FYI - Never, under any circumstances, should you tell your present boyfriend:
"All of my other boyfriends lived in way more exotic places than you do..." It might be true, but it doesn't go over so well (especially when your present love interest hasn't traveled).

The point though – my boyfriend never learned that there are certain things that shouldn’t be pointed out. The fact that I have been here a month is one of those things.

Here’s why…

He said: “Wow…you’ve been here a month!”

I heard:
….a collision, of sorts….
….the world grinding to a halt….
….the walls closing in….
….panic, woah…realization…flooding thoughts….I’m living with my boyfriend (I hate commitment)…I miss stability…I miss my dogs…I miss my home…I miss a clear sky (no smog)….work…need work….where is there work?…need money….ESCAPE…

But yes. I’ve been here a month.

It’s not London. It's not New Orleans. It’s far from exciting. I could spend all day staring at a wall, and not feel any the worse for it (because really, I’m not missing anything). I shouldn’t compare it to London – or anywhere else I’ve been…but it ain’t no Istanbul either. Or St. Petersburg. Or Panajachel. Or Mitchell, South Dakota (now that’s bad).
Maybe this experience is making me start to crave what I thought I gave up (and no, not just cigarettes).

Sure, I’m periodically mystified by things in this town.
For instance: walking outdoors, you know it is sunny, even though you can’t actually see the sun…or the sky…

And here, they drive like they are in Toronto but live like they are in the Ozarks (hate me for saying it, but it’s true).

But I’m also mystified as to why Timbaland degraded himself by collaborating by Miley Cyrus (c’mon now!)

Ya. So I’ve here for a month…