Friday, 4 November 2011

what to expect when youre expecting

this is not a tale of pregnancy.
this phrase is extremely relevant for an adventure i had this past weekend.
my adventure to fort mcmurray.

the feeling is very hard to describe when you are first going to a place that you have never seen knowing that within the next few months it will be your home.

the way most people do it is visit a place, fall in love, vow to move there and then
a) never do and live thinking about the place they fell in love with then never moved to [not to be specific but oh i dont know... for example some place beautiful and romantic like say france]
b) end up living there after having had a moving or wonderful or generally a great reason to move [like say a job... in france?]

my situation is different.

long term (6 years!) boyfriend moves to remote northern location.
"girlfriend, when your work contract is done will you move to said remote northern location with me?"
"... yes. where are we going?"
"fort mcmurray."
"say again?"

unlike some, i know where this place is.
having worked at a bar in edmonton at one point, this particular albertan frontier town was on my radar.
fort mcmurray has a reputation for three things:
1. alcohol
2. cocaine
3. prostitutes
... not really my thing.
knowing these things, knowing that my life was headed in that direction i did what any sensible girl would do: PANIC research.

this plan, however, turned up many dead ends.
fort mcmurrays situation is not helped in any way thanks to its uninformative website. research was a task that to be honest, just got too boring and difficult to continue.
putting the search on the back burner, things move forward pretty quickly.

early september everything is put into high gear.
brilliant boyfriend moves, i begin my 6 week tour along the west coast of north america.
internet in hotels is spotty, boyfriend is immersed in work.
communication is not at an all time high to say the least.

the common story that i hear from boyfriend whenever chats are available is this: do not believe the stories. do not get stuck on the stereotypes. this place is amazing. you will like it here. i promise.

... interesting.

the 6 weeks of this lag of tour comes to an end.
i have fallen in love with b.c... kelowna in particular.
i am now on a course due north to see what is to be my new home town.

with baited breath i board the plane. yvr -ymm. a small plane. an empty plane.

i will spare you the mush details of my reunion with boyfriend at the airport and tell you this:
you can never expect what you do not know.
first hand accounts do nothing.
a truckers opinion at a bar is skewed.
you can never know what to expect when you are expecting.

i expected to hate. to endure. to have a stiff upper lip.
i hoped to be optimistic. positive. hopeful.

forget everything you have heard about this town. about how it is a hole or the place where hope goes to die. forget the stories of a friends friend or your co-workers brother who lived there and hated it.
forget it.

here is what i saw:

i was struck by an incredible sense of potential and of endless possibilities.
to live in a place like this is an adventure, and yes im sure i will have some hard times and frustrations and the whole 9 yards of emotion, but having been to the place i had heard so many negative things about i am still shocked at how excited i am to explore this part of the great white north.

the ups and downs will be documented, but here we are. 8 months out before the move.
i am getting excited to go live in the forest.

who woulda thought?

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