Yesterday I landed in High Level, Alberta and got settled away in the unit that will house me for the next three months. If you had told me six months ago I would be completing my teaching internship in Northern Alberta, I would have bust a seam laughing, yet here I am. Here’s to adventures, and here’s to whatever comes next.
Back home (The East of the most Easterly in Canada, the Avalon peninsula of Newfoundland), when people think of heading “up North” their heads fill with thoughts of -40 weather, snow storms and barren lands with no where to do all that important shopping (which is never really as important as it is impulsive). After a night stop-over in Edmonton, we boarded a Northwestern Air flight that would take us “up North.” As far as planes go, I’ve seen my fill. From a Jumbo 747 flying from Newark, NJ to Berlin, to a tiny propeller plane that took us from Goose Bay, Labrador to Deer Lake, Newfoundland, I thought I had seen it all. Needless to say, this plane was small. It possessed all of the necessary traits to properly freak me out and make my previous fear of flying surface and rear its ugly head, ever so slightly. It may have been the propellers (which have always made me acutely aware of our place in the sky at 30,000 feet), or the lack of space everywhere and anywhere on the plane, but I had to remind myself that this was all for the sake of adventure. Not to mention the pilots were lovely, and even supplied us with a complementary lunch (Talk about customer service, give these guys a medal!)
When we hit the runway in High Level, I realized that we had flown forever and had seen nothing but trees and snow. In the past, I made a promise to myself to get a window seat when possible, and spend the majority of the flight gazing out said window in an effort to overcome my fear of flying. Years later, I can say it was an absolute success (except for the random nerves that kick in from time to time.) When I realized the airport was smaller than the one I had visited in Goose Bay, Labrador I was surprised (Don’t get me wrong, Goose Bay is a beautiful town, but it is my go-to reference for small places I have flown to). I was excited to see what else the town of High Level had in store for me.
Myself and Andrew(the best roommate a gal could ask for, he even cooks!) got picked up by the vice principals of our schools. It turns out they are an adorable married couple who are possibly some of the nicest and most pleasant people I have ever met (I quickly realized that all of the sweetest people must live in High Level, true story.) They picked us up, let us get settled away, and then took us out to supper at the world famous Mirage hotel, High Level style. They have a strip of restaurants and hotels in town here that are named after and resemble various places in Las Vegas(The Mirage, The Flamingo, etc). Therefore High Level was crowned “Vegas of the North.” Although a number of the establishments have been replaced by other popular hotels, the Mirage is one that remains. The atmosphere was great, the seating was out of this world(seriously something I should have taken a photo of, the dining area was fantastic), and the food was phenomenal.
After getting settled in, Andrew and I decided to cruise around town and pick up some of the bare necessities (I felt like I should make a bear joke here, especially since I hear that we have lots of those around these parts, but maybe another time). I was pleased by the festive lights placed throughout the town, the way there are no stop lights(just a bunch of stop signs), and the fact that everyone is friendly and more than willing to chat. I was also in for a pleasant surprise while grocery shopping when I realized that produce was significantly cheaper here than back home (which makes total sense, being on the mainland and all). I was able to get all the groceries I would need for the next couple weeks at a reasonable price, perhaps Newfoundland could learn a lesson or two.
We live in an amazing unit, are surrounding by amazing people, and are getting ready to teach at some pretty amazing-sounding schools this coming Wednesday. I could say I’m excited, or even overwhelmed with how things are up here, but there are no words. I can tell already that living up North is going to be way more than I had bargained me, in more ways than one.
I am so open to whatever comes next. Hello High Level!
(Note: This journal is for Friday, January 2nd and was written and published today due to no internet connection)