|“Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.”
“That,” I said, “is very frank advice, but it is medicine easier given than taken. It is a wide country, but I do not know just where to go.”
“It is all room away from the pavements…”
I got a job. A real live grown up one, at that. With a pension plan and all the bells and whistles. My oh my, things is changing.
It all started ten years ago. *cue rewind noise* When I was 17, I heard about a program called Summer Works Student Exchange, where Canadian youth aged 16 and 17 get to go to another province for the summer to learn about different parts of Canada and improve their other official language, and they get a job and a salary and a wonderful experience. So, without telling my parents, I signed myself up. You see, this exchange involves actually swapping places with someone your age – you go to their house and they come to yours for six weeks. You never meet them, but they effectively take your place within your family for a short period of time. My parents weren’t too hot on the idea, but by the time I got accepted, somehow they ended up with two kids, even though I still don’t think they ever agreed to anything.
Regardless. I went, I saw, I conquered. Imagine this: the day after graduation, 17-year-old me takes the train with 500 other 16-17 year-olds for a six day train ride across Canada. Epic, to say the least. I was placed at YMCA Camp Howdy, just outside of Vancouver, BC. I had a fantastic summer, and I made friends that I am still in touch with ten years on. The following summer, I returned as a full-fledged staff member, and then various decisions, university programs and job opportunities took me everywhere around the country and the world, but never back to BC.
Which brings us to June 2012. After Katimavik’s funding got cut (see previous post), I was actively (read : desperately) looking for work, when a supervisor from Camp Howdy (where I worked 10 years ago!) told me about a summer postion that opened up at the last minute at YMCA Camp Elphinstone, on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. Things worked in my favour and I got the job, and a great experience in a beautiful place. The summer ended, and once again I was looking for work… And once again, opportunity struck!
You are now looking at (the words of) the new Coordinator for the West, for the Summer Works Student Exchange program. That’s right – the exchange that I took part in in 2002 has led me full circle to a job coordinating the very same exchange program. Sometimes, I sit back, I look at my life, and I wonder how this is all possible. And although I can’t figure out how or why it’s happening, I’m going to take everything as it happens!
So here I am, roughly 48 hours from leaving home (again) to head out on a new adventure. This one doesn’t have an expiry date, and that’s equal parts scary and exciting. The idea of permanently moving across the country is also equal parts terrifying and exciting – I can’t wait to call Vancouver home, but I haven’t been settled anywhere in the last three years or so, and I’m not sure how that transition is going to go.
In the meantime, before Vancouver becomes home, I will be taking a 6 day road trip across the country, but that’s a story for another blog post. Stay tuned for pictures and stories of Alex’s next great adventure!