Today the sun rises (speaking theoretically; we don't actually see the sun very often but we continue to believe in its existence) on the first anniversary of my arrival on The Rock.
Yes, it was in the bygone days of 2010 that I found myself at the mythical eastern terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway. Despite the assurances of maps and a number of apparently knowledgeable people, I was not in Halifax. Not even close. On the 13th of February, I was on Kenmount Drive in St. Johns, Newfoundland (NOT Saint John, New Brunswick, DUH!), sitting in the parking lot of the Traveller's Inn, trying to dig my laptop out of the copious amounts of clothing which I'd piled up in the truck to keep me warm during previous nights of sleeping in the cab. Those nights had grown increasingly abusive on my body and I was determined to steal some Wifi and find a cheap motel in which I could crash. Now, after a year, I'm not convinced there are any really cheap hotels in Canada.
There was (luckily) nothing like the snow last February as we have this year, so driving around back then was much easier even though I got lost in town a lot. I was going to talk about how things have changed, but I continue to get lost in town a good deal. Now, though, I recognize the places in which I become disoriented. 'Ah, yes,' I think, 'I know this #$%*&ing area - I've been lost here before.'
Some things, of course, have changed. I know more about Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada's academic environment than I ever thought I would, and probably more than 99% of the human population. I am almost - again, in theory - halfway through my graduate education: three semesters out of six. During those semesters I've explored and rejected the possibilities of six or seven theses, but now I have a thesis topic and I sort of even kinda understand it. Mostly.
Well, there it is. A pretty insignificant, insular and fairly esoteric anniversary in the tragically uninteresting life of the oddest CFA (Come From Away = not born here) at Memorial University. It does however lend itself to a body of evidence: like spotting a tiny, blinking light in the distance though an icy North Atlantic wind-driven fog, it's proof that I'm still afloat. Raise your glasses, ya'll in Texas and Montana and California and Washington - I'm still alive and kicking.
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