I found out Nov. 1 that I got a job as a reporter with the Stettler Independent and the Castor Advance.
On Nov. 11, I flew back home to Saskatchewan from Toronto.
By Nov. 17, I was in Stettler.
Considering I had about 10 days to say goodbye to my friends, ship my things on the bus and get myself on a plane, it amounted to the most stressful move of my life.
It was about 10 degrees when I left Toronto. It was about two or three degrees when I left Foam Lake, the Saskatchewan community where I grew up and remains my family home.
So I wasn’t prepared for what I found when I got near the Alberta border. Near Unity, the roads began to get icy. Very icy.
I drove 70 to 80 km/h — with my mother constantly reminding me to slow down and be careful of the ice, which made me wonder: exactly how long do I have to have my driver’s licence before my parents stop trying to teach me how to drive? (The answer: they will never stop).
We stopped for food in Provost. We realized that we could handle driving in darkness or on ice, but not both. The decision was made to stay overnight at the Canalta Hotel on the recommendation of a woman and her child, who excitedly told us the hotel had a hot tub. Sold.
Here are three facts: I am an extremely light sleeper, it takes me a very long time to fall asleep, and my mom snores. Thus began a hellish ordeal where I would try my hardest to fall asleep through the snoring, wake my mom up when the snoring got too bad, and desperately try and fail to fall asleep in the five minutes it took for the snoring to start up again. She always wonders why I have to wake her up, because “at least one of us should have a good sleep!”
That’s no consolation when I’m not the one getting a good sleep. Besides, for those five blissful minutes, there is silence.
Eventually, I resigned myself to a last resort: I dumped a blanket and every towel in the bathroom into the tub, curled up with a blanket and pillow, and tried to sleep. I was in a separate room with the door closed, but that did little to deflect the snoring, and I had to turn the fan on. I actually had a surprisingly good sleep in there until my mom woke me up in the morning.
We then started out for the last leg of the trip.
I grew up in Saskatchewan, where — as everyone said to my sister ad nauseam when she moved to Montreal — “You can watch your dog run away for three days.” So I had a sense of unease when the countryside started getting hilly. I still don’t feel quite normal unless I can see the horizon.
I was mildly worried about fitting in when I first got the job here, but that was dispelled the first time I covered a town council meeting and the new council began by playing the Roughrider theme song. Then I knew I would fit in fine.
Who knows … perhaps I’ll hear it again next time. After all, the Riders won the Grey Cup on Sunday.