I am alive and freezing. Welcome to Manitoba, where it is an hour behind Toronto and country music coupled with -40° weather reigns supreme. Our plane touched down at 5 (an hour late, thanks to the bad weather conditions in Montréal), our over-stuffed bags were taken by our new PC (who is so awesome and every girl has a crush on him), and to kill time, we got to walk around the airport for an hour and ate “normal” food (I had Swiss Chalet) while we waited for our bags to be dropped off and our new PL to pick us up.
During this time, I saw a gay in unfamiliar territory. He was working in the sports souvenir shop and he smiled and waved at me as I walked by. Yeah, you read that correctly. Waved. This is how I knew I wasn’t in Montréal anymore. I walked back into the store and asked him about sports paraphernalia just to make sure of the gay factor. Lo and behold, he knew nothing (as most gays do). I asked him what the people in Winnipeg do for fun and I now have the knowledge of some bars and museums. Plus it never hurts to be complimented a little after being in pain thanks to the descent of an airplane (stupid ear popping).
Our new PL picked us up and we drove to our new house in Stonewall. It’s about the same size as the house in Ingersoll. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a really well functioning washer and dryer (and a Katima-illegal dishwasher that we can use for special occasions), a moderately sized kitchen and a living room that is right outside our bedrooms (which is something that did not exist in Montréal). Here’s the kicker: There is an old-school organ (that sounds like music that would come out of a Gameboy), an accordian, 2 guitars, a broken violin, a glockenspiel, and a harmonica that I can play. When I discovered that, I didn’t care about the rest of the house. Here’s some info on Stonewall:
Stonewall is a tiny town of approximately 4300 people. There is a movie theatre that we can go see a different movie every week (on Friday we went and saw Cloverfield. It was like watching someone play a really low-quality horror game that wasn’t even scary). The saving grace of the theatre is that it only costs $4.25 and you can buy really cheap popcorn and assorted snacks. At the end of the month, the group is going to go see 27 Dresses. Hopefully that will be better.
The town also has a café that is going to be having an Open Mic in a month. I’m going to be performing with a guitar, an organ and vocals. Genvieve is also going to perform there. Tommorow I plan on speaking to the owners to see if I can have a gig outside of Open Mic nights.
Even though the town is small, there are quite a few work placements for our group: 3 schools (elementary, middle, and secondary), a marsh/wet-land conservation area, a day-center for the disabled, a long-term care facility for the elderly (like Woodingford but with an Alzhimer’s unit attached), and a youth after-school program (called Youth for Christ). There was also an arena to work at (I could of driven a zamboni), but no one in the group wanted to work there, so it was scrapped.
The interviews took place on Friday and we all got the chance to interview with each placement. The long-term care facility wanted me but I told them that I already had experience in that field and I was going to study it in college/university, so it would not be an effective placement. I wanted to be in one of the schools, and the interview for the middle school solidified my position.
I was told that I was too mature for the middle school and I should be perfect for the high-school (named Stonewall Collegiate Institute, or SCI). Plus, it is more difficult to have a role-model who is 20 and has completed 2 years of University for a middle school than it is to have someone who has just finished high-school. When it was all said and done, I ended up at the high-school placement (with Courtney, who was probably also considered “too mature” due to her age as well). I’m really happy with the descision and I look forward to starting work next week.
This past weekend the group volunteered at the Manipogo Festival in St. Laurent. St. Laurent is a Metis community, which means that French is the first language spoken there. I was so pleased that I could still speak French in other parts of Canada and it didn’t just end in Québec or New Brunswick. During the Festival, I got to be a traffic controller, a clown’s assistant/translator, and Manipogo himself. Thanks to the costume, I also got to dance around like a fool, get into a pillow fight with a girl (and lose. It is very difficult to fight in a giant dragon-esque costume. Dinosaur arms and all…), get
snow ice balls pelted at me by little kids, and stay warm the whole day.
After the festival was over, we went to a hall to go dance to fiddle music (I swear the same song was played 5 times that night. Some bands need some new material. I’m look at you, Back 40) and help sell bannock and clean up garbage. It felt so good to volunteer at something and be exposed to different cultures that I would not have been exposed to in Toronto. It was a good way to start the trimester in Manitoba.
This week, I am house managing with Katie. It should be loads of fun and very relaxing. I’m planning on exploring Stonewall more and getting back into my routine of working out. Not only that, I intend on figuring out how my PL’s 4-track recorder works as well as posting some songs on here. Stay tuned for partial excitement.
I will have a picture of me rocking the scruff posted on here either tomorrow or the morrow next. My housemates have to upload their cameras and make facebook albums and such. Sorry for the wait and thanks for being patient.
P.S. I saw Juno on the plane. I am so proud of Ellen Page. Go Canada. The dialogue is so witty and the music fits the movie so nicely. You better believe I’m buying the soundtrack when I find a record store in Stonewall.
Speaking of movies, my room-mate just described the movie Into the Wild as “delicious”. I have never seen a word misused in such a way. He also said, “It’s a very simple movie that makes up for it’s shitty title.” Sometimes I wonder if he even understands what he is saying. I think he just likes to hear the sound of his own voice.