After all that has happened in the past year, it is strange to think that it has now been two full years since I returned from Iceland on the 29th of April 2009. So much has changed since then! Well, in many regards, very little has changed and I have made it so. After all, I had very ambitious dreams of returning to Europe but fate, biology or something else had its say and I now write from two floors below where this message was typed last year.
On the first anniversary, I lamented about how hard I had had to work between April 30th 2009 to April 29th 2010 and I looked out my window expecting the summer to be a breeze before an MA somewhere in Scandinavia. The summer turned out to be just as much work as the winter and the fall before that. I worked a 28 day stretch often working from 5 am to 10 pm with only time to eat on my way to the other job, but the weather was beautiful. I received confirmation of my acceptance to the University of Tromso a few days before receiving my diploma and then I assumed I had it all figured out. I would be in Norway in August and life would continue then.
But I underestimated Ottawa. When I finally had the time to breathe, right around my birthday in mid-July, I started to appreciate all that my region had to offer. A visit from Joel Fridfinnsson and Jon Finnson compounded with beautiful weather and sight-seeing brought Ottawa into a new light. The day they left, I packed everything away and had a terrible fever going to bed. I’ve described my feelings in those few days often, but it is difficult to express them without thinking about the paralyzing fear and dread that overcame me during those days. Thankfully my friends Maria and Zuzana took care of me in Stockholm.
After my trip to 6 cities in 6 days and 10 flights later, all I wanted was to be grounded in what I knew in Ottawa. But there was hope that I would now be able to do anything I wanted, and eventually go to school closer to home; there is something about this city which draws me here, which keeps me near. I applied to Carleton because it was still open and my friend Yannick told me to consider it, I would have a few allies there.
I am very grateful to be have just completed my first year as an MA student, learning everything from the study of multi-level governance to gender issues in IOs to food security in the North. As a TA, I have learned a lot as well about Marx and Mexican politics and the demise of Canada’s Marijuana Party due to a change in campaign finance laws. Yet, am I further ahead? After 8 more months, I have not spent much more time with my family, with my friends, I have learned a lot, but I have gained little ‘marketable’ experience to get a job. But I am starting to feel the same energy returning to me that I had before university and a desire to affect change.
This next year, I will start to make my transition away from the life of school that I’ve known since I was 4. Perhaps more trips like Vegas and Boston will be in order, but also places like Albuquerque (I want to do it this year, finally!) and Bratislava or Calgary. When the third anniversary needs describing, I must have a new story to tell and not continue to let life pass me by, another idle twenty-something wasting away in semi-suburbia.