Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Day the Earth Shook

There was an earthquake today.

Having lived in the uneventful (weather-wise) regions of eastern Ontario/western Quebec all my life, I discovered today that a person can learn so much about herself during an earthquake. Will you be brave or will you scream and cry? Will your life flash before your eyes or will you draw a blank? And (funnily enough), will you even know an earthquake is what is causing the shake?

On day two of my new job, I sat at my in my borrowed office - while mine was being built - doing the usual first week reading and familiarizing. I am enthusiastic and energetic and everything seems right with the world. That is when the earth began to shake.

I knew immediately that it was an earthquake, incredulous as it was. Almost as some sort of coping mechanism, my brain tried to convince me that it was being caused by construction workers, possibly doing some kind of drilling. But I knew better. Sure enough, I stepped into the hallway where the other women in my office had gathered in doorways, their faces mirroring the shock and confusion I felt.

I realized that I am braver than I think (as are the women I work with, although I cannot speak to their self-perceptions of bravery or cowardice). Unlike the construction workers who bolted down the stairwell ("Run! Go as fast as you can!"), we took deep breaths and looked into one another's eyes and rode it out. Laughing at the end.

My boyfriend, R.J., had a different experience. In a much taller building than mine, he recounts seriously thinking that the building was going to come crumbling down and that this was the end. Which makes me think. Even though my experience was more calm, it still made me appreciate my loved ones. I was happy to hear their voices on the phone afterward, delighted to see their beautiful faces. Happy to arrive at my home, sit on my own couch, speak to a cousin/friend on the phone, and watch 'The City.' It's the small things that make life worth living.

What I discovered, and I'm sure many others did as well, is that at that moment I was not in control of my life. A force greater than me was. Call it the Creator, Mother Earth, God, whatever you will. Maybe it was a warning or maybe we were saved. Maybe it was just an earthquake. In any event, I am just glad to have my feet planted firmly on the ground.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Change is in the air

In our culture, spring is a time of renewal. As spring nears its end for 2010, this couldn't be closer to the truth for me right now.

1. "Call me Mal Wabashishib, MA"

I am proud to announce that I have officially mastered the arts. Haha! That's actually quite laughable considering I couldn't draw or paint to save my life. However, I would venture to state something like, "I know a thing or two about Indigenous peoples, particularly as it relates to my family's and community's oral history and the larger Native critical literary theory regarding why we write our stories." That's more like it.

It seems that I blinked and three years (that's right, three) had passed. Well, if you had asked me about time at the end of two years, I might have responded, "What? It's not 2020?" But, now it seems to have passed a little too quickly. The past three years of my life were filled with wonderful new (and old) friends, intensely intriguing conversations, triumphs I had never before experienced, and challenges I didn't know if I would overcome. But, today I proudly declare that I am edu-ma-cated.

2. "Bye bye sirens, hello crickets - or is that a bat?"

I moved last weekend! I said goodbye to R.J.'s and my apartment in the heart of Little Italy and hello to a quiet condo across the bridge. It felt so good to breathe the fresh, cool air courtesy of, gasp!, great trees! Living down the street from a fire station for a year made it difficult to sleep the first night without the "street sounds," but this is definitely something I can get used to.

3. "Did I hear you right? You're paying me now??"

... and I got a new job. I have spent the past two years working full-time as a researcher for a Native organization. I loved the work that I did and feel that I truly made a difference in the lives of some real people (imagine that!) and helped to make a change (however small) in the discourse on a specific issue. Perhaps I'll touch more upon that someday, but not today.

I will soon be employed at a university, working in a field I would classify as education (duh), communications, and community relations. I can't wait!!! More to come on this, you can be sure.


So basically, most areas of my life have been renewed - and it feels good. One comfortable constant is, of course, my love, R.J. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for him, there is potential for some change there, but I won't count my duck eggs before they hatch.

And, hopefully, my blogging habits will change to be more frequent. (Yes, I am putting the onus on them to change themselves.)