I’ve been in Vancouver for 3 weeks now. Things are going well. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Victoria, I’m currently planning trips to my work projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as a trip to Toronto in January. I’ve got a few friends in the community, and I’m hoping to get involved in a couple of volunteer opportunities. I’m loving the weather – sure, it rains, but everything is so green, and it hasn’t been below 10 degrees yet. My job is challenging, and once the ball starts rolling, I know it’ll keep me busy. I have friends and family here that I am excited to reconnect with. My stuff has just shipped from Ottawa, and I’m excited because my little apartment is starting to feel more and more like home.
You know how things always happen in a weird way? Here’s a bit of backstory.
In March, when we found out that Katimavik was going to be cut by the government, I started looking for a new job. It needed to pay relatively well, and I needed to not pay rent. I found a sick job opportunity :
Job # 1 – Teaching on a tall ship that travels around the world. The interview went really well, the director seemed really interested. In the end, though, my teachables didn’t fit with what they needed. Sad moment – I was not going to circumnavigate the world (not yet, anyway)
So, I kept looking. And then!
Job # 2 – A position as a tour manager, based in Cuba. Full time, permanent, benefits. I even drove to New York City (24 hours of driving in a 48 hours period) for the interview. It went SO well. They loved me. But then, they had a problem with their license renewal. I kept getting encouraging e-mails, asking me to be patient. And I tried! I kept looking for shorter contract positions, and hoping that Cuba would come through. Imagine! I could live in Havana, and actually put my Hispanic Studies degree to use!
But, as I said, things always happen in a weird way. At the end of this summer, I heard about a new position at the YMCA of Vancouver, running a cool student exchange program for Canadian teenagers. I applied, and lo and behold, I got the job! Finally! After months of interviewing and coming So Close, I finally got a job! I set everything in motion – bought a new car, shipped all of my stuff, drove across the country, and started working at my new job.
Oh! Wait! I forgot something. Three days (three days!!) after I accepted the position in Vancouver, I got an e-mail from the Cuba job. That’s right. “We got our license! Let’s talk!” I regretfully told them that I had just accepted a new job. We promised to keep in touch – you never know, and I’m not one to burn bridges.
So! Where was I? Oh yes, I was moving to Vancouver. So, by the time I’d been here for two weeks, I got another e-mail! (Whaaaaat?!!!!!), this time from the tall ship! That’s right! “Will you come teach for us? We need someone to meet us in the Canaries, mid-November” Same deal – I made a commitment here, yadda yadda, keep me in mind for later.
Still good – job in Vancouver is taking shape, starting to get a better handle on my responsibilities, and then…
YOU GUESSED IT!!!
“Hi Alex! Just e-mailing you in case your new job isn’t working out, can I tempt you to come to Cuba from mid-December?”
So! What’s next? Here’s my thought process :
– It’s not a black and white question of Go or Don’t go. It’s Don’t go, and continue to have an amazing experience here in Vancouver and develop new skills and contacts that will take me far. Or Go, and maybe have an amazing experience in Cuba or on the ship and develop new skills and contacts that will take me far. Honestly, if it was Cuba or nothing, the answer would be obvious. It’s not that easy when the flip side is something completely different, but just as awesome in it’s own way.
– Please don’t tell me to go. I mean this in the least bitchy way possible, but you’re not in my shoes. I understand what I’m missing out on, I really do. But I also know what I’d be missing out on (and who I’d be letting down) if I left.
– “Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” Yep, that one’s eating away at me. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will always regret not going to Cuba. I mean, come on! I would get to live in a communist country on the brink of change, interact with locals like I never could otherwise, get to live in Latin America again… It’s heartbreaking. It really is. But, I also know that if I left Vancouver, I would regret that too. Live on the Sunshine Coast, participate in a program that helps young canadians learn about themselves and their country, get to know various canadian communities like I never would otherwise. The bottom line is that while I would love to teach on a ship, or live in Cuba, I believe in this job in Vancouver more than any other. I really feel that I can make a difference, by staying here. It doesn’t mean that I’m not grieving, but believing in what I do makes everything easier.
– As I’ve said, things happen in a weird way. But I’m also a super, super strong believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and that life will always take care of you (gotta thank my mama for that wisdom). There’s a reason I didn’t get those jobs in the first place, and there’s a reason that I got the Vancouver job when I did. I’m ok with not knowing what that reason is, but I feel better just knowing that there is a reason. (For more on my beliefs, read The Alchemist. I love the idea that the universe has grand plans for your life.)
– I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so proud that I not only found, but applied to, and GOT these
two three jobs. I think that we don’t spend enough time feeling good about ourselves. So I’m going to take these minutes to think “Wow, I’m pretty fucking awesome. Check me out – I put myself out there, and I got all of these amazing opportunities.”
Which brings me to my final point. I don’t believe that the world has a finite amount of amazing opportunities. Some just fall into your lap (like this job in Vancouver), and some you work for (like the job in Cuba), but there will always, always be more. I’m excited to see what life is going to continue to throw my way.
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November 8, 2012 at 13:24
In the summer of 2009 I applied to over 50 (!) jobs and didn’t get a single one. Right as the summer was winding down, I got two interviews. One was at the LCBO and one was at Chapters. I was offered the Chapters job and I accepted. Then, on the very same day as my first shift, I was offered the job at the LCBO. I thought about taking it. I really did. It had better pay, better hours, and benefits. Why couldn’t that phone call have been just a couple days earlier??
But, I felt that keeping my commitments and my promises would somehow encourage good things to happen. And good things *did* happen! That’s where I met you! And all the other awesome people who worked at Chapters. So much about that job was positive, looking back. The people I met, the opportunities I got, even just being downtown all the time near my beloved Parliament. It really changed my perspective about myself, what was important, and gave me back the confidence that four years split between a basement apartment and the classroom had sucked out of me.
I’m also a firm believer that when something falls apart, it’s just making room for something better to be built in its place. And, sometimes, you have to have the cojones to turn temptation away. Happiness can come in a lot of ways…