Monday, November 3, 2008

A Visit from Familiar

It has been awhile since a screen has witnessed my typing fingers creating updates or musings to send into the cyber world to reach those who wish to find them, one of the more familiar feels I can identify in my being here. In the past several days, my sense of familiarity here in Calgary was interupted by the introduction of former-familiar in the shape of a visit from home, jumbled together with a healthy helping of the unexpected through pursuit of new opportunities and places. Here is an account of this jumbling;

In regards to the internship situation, I had my interview with Calgary Arts Development today, which went very well and more like what I was expecting. It sounds like I would be doing primarily website content research and copy writing, which would be awesome! Thanks very much for the advice regarding the other internship. I told CAD that I would get back to them by Wed of next week (same day I am to get back to Arusha) so I would have time to find out about the show and decide which org I liked better, but I can already tell that CAD would be a better fit. I think social justice is something I am interested in injecting into my daily personal life as much as I can, but my working passion lies in the arts. Plus, CAD feels much more organized and as though I can better adjust the projects according to my time availability - I am here primarily to dance, and as much as I want to use my time well outside of it, I do not want to be bothered by other commitments making me feel too stressed out to enjoy dance - I can see this happening at Arusha. I am still going to wait to hear about the show (hopefully tomorrow), and then better make a plan for how I can help, but I think I am pretty set on CAD.

I am REALLY hoping for the show with DJD - it is a rehearsal period of two weeks for a kids show on jazz dance and music history that tours to elementary schools throughout the Calgary area. It would be professional pay and professional level work with the company - both amazing things. The only problem - my work situation. I do not have a work visa, which would make it very hard to find a way to pay me. I have been very worried about that factor keeping me from being cast. We find out tomorrow, so I guess I can stop worry then. I have just been trying my best to remain optimistic in light of the difficulties I have had finding both legal and illegal work, and I am having a very hard time continuing my optimism, considering that being selected by audition seemed like a really solid possibility for legal pay here, and it has seemed within this last week after auditioning that it would not be simple to find a way to pay me. I really want to be in this show regardless of whether or not I get paid, but it has been another reminder of how difficult the work situation has been. I was actually also being considering by another studio to teach adult jazz classes, and they ended up not hiring me because of legal implications, even though they pay in an independent contractor relationship and do not interface with taxes. I have pretty much given up on the job at the theater - I emailed last week to check in, and my boss said that his boss still hadn't signed the papers and that he would remind him. I have been strung along for about a month and a half now, and cannot take it anymore. This week, I am going to email my boss there to tell him that I would like to be reduced to volunteer level, and no longer want to waste my time hoping that a job will pan out. On the brighter side, along with the possibilities of internship, I have been accepted as a dance writer for what is basically their version of the Citypages, called 'FFWD,' (Fast-Forward). My first article is a preview of a show at the University of Calgary in a few weekends called 'Dance Montage,' and is due on Friday for a Nov 13th publishing date. I am very excited about it!

On the roommate situation; Jayla She said she would move out by October 31st, which actually turned into Nov 1st, but I luckily avoided most of the moving out situation, in the fact that Kris was here this weekend and we went out of town - what timing, hey? She (Jayla) did start moving stuff out last Sunday when I was home just lounging, which was quite awkward. Luckily, she had a friend there helping her, so it was probably more awkward for me than it was for her.
But alas, apparently everything is finished because we left on Saturday to go to the mountains, and when we got back, she and all of her things were gone, and our new roommate Cale (a friend of ours from my roommates work) was moved in. Sweet. And I am assuming that everything has been figured out with deposit and what not - Rebecca has been the one dealing with house business, so I am assuming that its all gravy. I am just glad it is all done. I like Cale quite a bit. I just hope that the house stays relatively clean. Jayla's desired level of cleaniness was quite high, even I, a clean-freak will admit, but I do like to have a general feeling of cleanliness. I think it will be fine! I have kind of been wanting to send Jayla a text just to say 'Hey, hope the move went alright, stay in touch because I would like to see the new place and grab a coffee,' but I have not yet had a chance to talk to my roommates about how it all went, and I want to do that first before I say anything.

I feel like I missed so much in one weekend away (Jayla moving out, Cale moving in, big Halloween party), but I will just have to get the update from my roommates when I presumably finally see them all together on the way to dance tomorrow. Kris came in on Wednesday, and my friend Lisa from dance was kind enough to lend me her car to go up to the airport and pick him up, which was certainly faster that public transit would have been. In exchange for the favor, we picked her up a caramel latte on our way back into town after dropping off Kris' stuff at the house. That afternoon, we went to a pub I wanted to try, walked all over downtown so I could show him around, stopped in at a jazz and wine bar for a glass, and then had dinner at the rotating resturant in the Calgary tower - very touristy, but awesome and also highly recommended by Joanne, one of my favorite instructors and a trusted opinion on Calgary. I usually take night classes on Wednesday and Thursday nights (well, every night!) but I spoke with my teachers and opted to skip them while Kris was here because I wanted as much time as I could have. It was not a big deal, as several people in my program have had significant others visit, and it has been established that that is a good reason to miss class, especially when you never do miss (like me!).

On Thursday, he came and watched the last hour of morning class, and then we went walking in the Kensington neighborhood, another one of the trendiest (alongside the area where the studio is) areas in Calgary. We had lunch out, and then went back to my place to have people over to carve pumpkins and drink. We were going to go to a haunted maze, but never made it. I was sad we missed that because I usually go to something like that every year, but the good times had pumpkin carving totally made up for it.

On Friday, I met up with him downtown after morning class because he picked up a car for the weekend. We stoppped for lunch (we had been using this book on cheap, great eating in Calgary written by the Calgary Herald food critic, lent to me by my friend Kaja, to find most of the places we went), and then I showed him the Farmer's Market and Glenmore Reserve, a park that reminds me of Lake Calhoun with mountains. That night we just chilled, watched movies, caught up on email and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters, until we went out around ten. We hung out wirh my friend Andrea from dance and some of her friends till about midnight, then drove back to the house to cab over with my roommates to a house party of someone who they work with. Needless to say, we never made it out to the bar, which was what I really wanted to do for Halloween, but it was fun nonetheless. We ended up at this party until about 3:30, and really wanted to leave but could NOT get a cab no matter how hard we tried. We ended up deciding that it really wasn't that far from our house (and in actually, it was VERY close. Close enough that I kind of wish we would not have even cabbed in the first place!) and ended up walking ('We' being Cale, Rebecca, Kris and I). Kris and I got ahead of Becca and Cale, and ended up deciding, after walking for about ten minutes and being about ten minutes from the house, that we needed to stop for another beer. We sat down in the CIBC Bank parking lot and cracked one open, and when Cale and Becca walked by, we convinced them to join us. Despite the fact that it was quite cold, we were tired and QUITE drunk, we enjoyed that beer and randomness immensely!

On Saturday, we got up and stopped at a truck-stop for breakfast (the Blackfoot Diner, amazing and so cheap!) and then continued on to Banff National Park. It was amazing! We stopped in Banff for a bit and did a quick hike up an easy mountain to see the surroundings, and then continued on to Lake Louise, where we were staying. That night we went to dinner (Kris was super-excited and had had it planned for quite awhile) at the Walliser Stube in the Chataeu Lake Louise hotel at the foot of the lake. It was one of the coolest dinners I have ever experienced. It was a Swiss fondue restuarant - I guess fondue originated in Switzerland, but it basically indicates the fact that each bite of food is prepared separately - dipping chunks of things into sauce is not the only kind of fondue, apparently. We had the 'Racllette,' which was originated by Swiss mountaineers in Canada who melted chunks of cheese on rocks in the sun, and scrapped the cheese, just as it was getting drippy, onto plates of pickles and potatoes. We had a full, several course option, which included two salads, to appetizers (smoked trout and a rabbit tart), the main course (which was the dripping cheese - made to drip by being placed under this big contraption where you place the block of cheese on a wood paddle underneath a heater, served with a platter of veggies including pickles and potatoes, a basket of bread, and a platter of air-dried beef, pork and ham), and a dark chocolate dessert fondue. In short - AMAZING. I have never experienced a meal like that before, and it was seriously all-together too much food - we could not take it all down!

The next day, we got up for the sunrise, which was too fogged-out to be seen, and ended up going back to the hotel to sit in the hot tub instead. After we checked out, we went back to the lake to do a half-day hike around the lake and up one of the mountain ranges toward the 'Plain of Six Glaciers,' which looks exactly how it is described. We did not make it ALL the way to the prescribed destination, but we did see the glaciers, and decided to respect our bodies getting tired. The hike was about four and a half miles total (we only cut out the last half mile), so we felt accomplished nonethless, especially considering that the whole hike was rainy and mildely icey, dangerous terrain. However, the temperature itself was quite pleasant and bearable. The hike was really fantastic - whenever you looked up, back at your stared a ton of huge, snow-covered mountain peaks. I had never been that close or that surrounded, and it was truly an experience that I would like to repeat. We headed out of the park that night about made it back to Calgary around 7. After a crammed weekend, we decided to just stick at home and make chili, drink a bottle of wine and watch a movie - all good choices.

He flew out at 1 today. I do have to admit that I miss having him here already, but we had a really great time and I am so glad he visited. I will be back in three and a half weeks for Thanksgiving, so its not that long until I get to see him again and get to see my family for the first time since I moved :)

All in all, though I do miss people from home, Cannukland has been an adventure, which is exactly what I was looking for and not regrettable for an instant thus far. After all, familiarity must be tinged with the unexpected to retain and develop it's flavor.

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