I am now in Canada.
I have been here for less than 24 hours, and I have already located my house (via $60 cab fare find you), been to IKEA with my roommates (and purchased a bedspread, pillow, thermos and lamp - but no bed. Smart yes? no.), and out to dinner with my roommates. The house is in the South East suburbs of Calgary (about a 30 minute commute to the studio - 10 minutes walking, 10 on the lightrail, and another ten walking, but I have not yet tried this route - our first trip there and first day of classes is today!). I am sitting on the front stoop typing this, a front stoop that is perfect for deck chairs and drinking, looking out into our neighborhood and thinking how strange it is that we are in bonafide suburbia. As I told my roommates yesterday, I have never actually lived in suburbia, just on the edge of it. We are literally a block sandwiched within other blocks that are nicely lined up lots, houses that are just close enough yet just far enough apart for comfort. Nonetheless, I am glad to have a roof over my head (a nice roof mind you - wood floors, remodeled kitchen and bathrooms, the walls are all painted either a light brown or sage green, laundry I don't have to pay for, big living room, and some furniture already).
I will need to get a bed. Last night, I slept on couch cushions on the floor of my room, because I wanted to sleep in my room, but not on the hard wood floor. I did not want to sleep on the couch in the living room due to my sound and light sensitivities while sleeping, and also for the fact that small couches do not accomidate head and feet that well. Due to the slick wood floor, the cushions kept slipping around during the night. Not to mention the fact that they were not that wide, it was not the most comfortable sleep I have ever had. But I was greatful to not sleep on the wood floor, and also grateful to capture several hours of sleep in a row, a phenomenon I have not experienced in quite some time, as working for 4H at the state fair is not so condicive to such an idea.
As I can tell it, my roommates are pretty great. Two of them, Rebecca and Talia, are from Edmonton (they know each other from performing arts high school, and both of them are 19 (well, one turns 19 next Tuesday). Both of these girls are pretty squirrely and fun. I am definately already observing a bit of an age difference, as both of my other roommates are 23 like me. One, Steph, is from Toronto, and did her BFA in dance there at Ryerson, the other, Jayla, is a pianist and composer who is originally from here, but has moved several times with her family and was last living in Red Deer, AB, but before that went to school on Delaware. Her parents currently reside in Pennsylvania. With her parents far away and Steph's parents far away (as Toronto is further than MN), it is likely that we will get unlimited long distance on our landline phone (yes, a landline. It has been so long since I have had one of those.) If we do opt for this, that will be nice because I will not have to continue buying phone cards and racking up the dough on those. Jayla mentioned that when she was living in Delware and her boyfriend was back in Red Deer, AB, she was only there for two months, but managed $250 on phone cards. This makes me think since they all want a landling telephone anyway, the long distance option woud be better. In the mean time, I am going to continue checking my phone for voicemails, but will be leaving it off most of the time (I forgot until one of my roommates pointed out to me, that cell phone in roaming, even when not being used for calls, cost more.) I am also going to get a pay by the minute phone for use up here.
It was very nice to be able to come to a place of residence right away to meet people I seem to like already. We certainly lucked out with Jayla's boyfriend being here yesterday. He is very nice, and has a huge truck, so our trip to IKEA was much easier than it could have been. Jayla is the only one with a car, and she is also the only one who is not here for DJD, so us dance gals will be hoofin' it most of the time. Fortunately, we have a grocery store, walmart (boo) and several other businesses within close walking distance (a bar too!), so that makes things easier. Jayla is a sweety and has made it quite clear that she does not mind taking us one store runs here and there when we need it, so that will be nice to have as well.
In terms of jobs, Rebecca already has one at an Applebee's-like restuarant, which she has mentioned is hiring (like most places, as there is a labor shortage), and Steph has a family connection with a swanky place downtown which she is interviewing for later today. I guess they are hiring as well, so I am hoping to get it on that deal. I am not going to go hardcore on the job-search until I have a few more things set in place (ie bed, phone, cancelling health insurance, etc). I am going to try and get a bed from Jewish Family Services (Talia's mom works there, and they have a furniture program. This way, I could get it for free!). Once I have a job, I will turn my attention more toward grad school apps. But obviously, I have not yet even been here for 24 hours, so there are a myriad of things that are more important to take care of first.
My flight was very short. I ended up making it onto the 11:15 AM rather than having to wait for the 9:30pm, which was a relief. I would have gotten in at 11pm rather than 1pm, so it was very nice to have the time to see the house and have dinner with the roommates and get a little more settled. I ended up talking to a woman from Pakistan who came to Calgary for a job 20 years ago, and an 18 year old Australian girl who took a year off between high school and college to travel, and just finished working at a camp in DC, now on her way to Vancouver to visit friends. They were so interesting to talk to that I ended up sleeping for only an hour, which was a dissapointment of sorts, but I wouldn't have traded the conversation for the world. The immigration office at the Calgary airport was very intimidating - I had to present a shit-ton of papers to the officer because I do not have a study nor work permit. I thought for a bit that he was going to turn me areound and send me back home, but the officer next to him was very nice, familiar with DJD (a fan even), and she talked him through why I was there and why I should stay, so that was a relief. My officer then got a little warmer and talked to me about his music tastes while processing my paperwork. Now I have a little addition to my passport that explains my situation, so I do not have to go through any craziness while leaving and coming back for holidays.
As for DJD, we get started this morning at 10am (it is 8:15 right now). I am very excited to start class and start getting things in motion. An exciting piece of news of which my roomates informed me yesterday is that 400 people auditioned and they only took ten. I didn't even audition! Hearing this made me feel much better and more confident about my situation. I had had the flighting thought several times coming up to do this that they accepted me without audition because they needed more people and were trying to build the program, but I shook it off because I figured that even if that were true, it is still an amazing company that I can learn alot from. It is really nice to know that that is far from true, that they really want me to be there.
I think I do not yet miss people because it has not yet set in that I am not just on a trip or vacation. I think it will take at least a week, maybe a few. But I am certainly thinking about people quite a bit. Another reason why I am dealing ok is because I know that my support system at home will stay strong, and feel relieved that certain relationships are staying in tact the way they had been, when I had thought it would need to change, and that change made me feel physically sick. I think I am also in ok shape because all of my roommates know no one else here either, and are feeling quite displaced, so we have already started to become one another's support system. I am also feeling better because I continue to think about how nothing in life is perminent - this is just what I am doing now. Who knows where and what is next? ....