Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is lying always bad?

My students are very concerned about my love life - or lack of one. Sometimes I think that they are amazed at my single status and the fact that I do not have a guy in my life (or kids for that matter). I have had one student hand me a phone nimber for some guy that she knows even further north. At least she actually tried to find out what I was interested in. You know the basics such as loves God and likes working with kids. The rest of the students just tease me about any guy who enters the school building. It is rather embarassing.

For example, the students are convinced that I am in love with the computer technician. Every time he comes into my class, they yell out, "Miss Liiight it's Billlly" (not his real name) Inevitably I go red and blush not because I have a crush on him (he is engaged to someone else) but because I feel for the poor guy. I know my students. I can take their teasing and dish it right back to them. But he does not know my students. I am sure that he dreads coming to our school.

Then there is the former student who may or may not have had a crush on me at one time. So on Friday, one of the female teachers and I were judging a cowboy costume contest up at the hall. This young man was one of the contestants - the only contestant in his category. So the organizers had us sitting by ourselves at a table in the front and then had this guy, dressed as a cowboy, parade in front of us. I didn't know where to look. I couldn't looka t my co judge (another single girl), I couldn't look at him because he looked SOOO uncomfortable and I couldn't look at the walls because all of my students were sitting there watching the pink creep up my face. I glanced over and then heard " Miss Liiiight." Even the organizer noticed the very pink cheeks. I was mortified for this poor, shy student. Even now, just thinking about it, I feel the uncomfortableness of the situation.

So I am going to have to find a solution to this problem. If there was a guy, who met criteria, and was interested in me, my students would scare him off. Plus I need to save myself and these guys from extreme mortification.

So my plan? Well over Christmas I am going to have to find myself a boyfriend. If that doesn't work, I am going to have to fabricate one. It won't be the first time that I have fabricated a boyfriend. Either way, as far as my students know I will be dating someone in 2008. So then when they pull out the "Miss Light, you like Billy.", I can counter with "You know I am dating someone." Then I can talk about the guy that I am dating and all of his great qualities such as loves God, employed, reads etc and my students will realize that maybe the poor locale boy is not really my type.

I fear that this could backfire on me but it is the best that I can come up with. Any other suggestions of how I can stop this madness? Any suggestions of what my fictional boyfriend should be like?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Spice of Life

Christmas season always gives me a much needed energy boost in the middle of the winter. Maybe it is the joy spreading through the air. Maybe it s the prospect of seeing my family again. I don't know what the reasons are but their are moments of newness and spiciness. So what have I been up to?

1. I have started a choir with some of my students for the Christmas concert. We aren't very good - they are insecure singers and I am not that great of a director. We practice at lunch time. It is pretty fun.

2. My fellow teachers and I have started a trio for the Christmas concert as well. Again we are not that talented but it is fun to get together and sing and laugh at ourselves. I am the pianist which is really funny because I can't really play piano.

3. The male teacher has started a volleyball team with the girls so every once in a while I will go "help" out and learn with them. Again this is really funny because I am not a very good volleyball player and my students think that it is funny that I still serve underhand. But if I remember correctly it took me a real looong time to learn how to serve underhand and I am grateful that I finally picked it up. Last Saturday I went to Cadotte with the team for a game. The girls played really well and made me laugh. They are a lot of fun.

4. I am enjoying a new CD - Brandi Carlile. My friend Laura introduced me to her and I listen to her almost everyday and am not tired of it yet. In fact if CKUA was not on right now that is what I would be listening to. However, Mulligan's Stew is on and Bubba is just aroung the corner so Brandi can wait until tomorrow when the classical music plays.

I can't wait for Christmas. I can't wait to see my family. I am trying hard to keep myself occupied until then. Less than two weeks. HEEEEEE (That is very giddy, high pitched laughing)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It is my students that save me

For the first time in Trout Lake, I love my students. All of my students. Even more amazingly, I think that they all like me. We have had our struggles but I refused to give up, even when they were yelling in my face, calling me bad names littered with derivatives of four letter words and telling me that they wished that I moved away. This year, I experience non of this. OK they still call me names, but it is done with a smile and in a teasing attitude. It is done in a way that says, "Miss, we like you!"

Case in point . . . Last summer, I went walking with one of my students that I highly respect. We talked about boyfirends and nicknames. I made the "mistake" of telling her about my dreaded nickname - "Legs"

For those of you that don't know, once, when I was very small and immature, my cousin and I were having a discussion very late at night. Unbeknownst to us, our nosy older cousin was eavesdropping (yes this is a revised and very slanted history of the event). This was the course of the conversation.
S- What is one body part that you would like to change?
Me - I would change my legs. I want such long and shapely legs that everyone
would call me Legs.
The next morning, everyone in my immediate and extended family knew of our conversation and started calling me Legs. My older and nosy cousin introduced me to all of her older friends as her cousin Legs. This is very mortifying to a preteen girl especially when it is an teen male that is hearing the introduction. I think I lived about the next five years with a perma blush on my skin as members of my family would pull out the nickname at the most inoportune times.
Anyways, I told this story to my student on our walk. The next day, in class, one of my other students started mumbling indirect information about legs such as, " I need to go stretch my LEGS!!" and "Miss Legs" and "Are your LEGS sore?" The student I told leaned over and said, "I told G and C." I feigned anger and then pretended that I had no idea what was going on. "Miss Legge. I am not Miss Legge. I am Miss Light. Miss Legge teaches Grade 1. Don't you know that?"
This was last year. The joke has continued this year. More students have found out about the joke, including one of my very troubled boys from last year who we almost had to kick out of school. Now he could have twisted the joke and made it really mean and cruel but no he just sits there and laughs silently. And I laugh with them. It is fun to be able to laugh with them.
However, there is one disconcerting piece of information in this story. Why can my students remember some random story about me - this isn't the only instance. They remember the name of the guy whose lap I fell into during White water rafting, the names of my nieces and nephews etc. However, they can not remember the formula for the Circumference of a circle or area of a circle or . . . and I have tried to drill this into their heads (with a circular base nontheless - what is more applicable than finding the area of the hole inour head (just jokes)) Maybe if I told them that my boyfriend was "area equals base times height divided by two", they would remember how to find the area of a triangle. Ahh well, at least I am teaching them that I too am human.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The routine

I did not blog last week and really have nothing to say this week. My life right now is pretty routine and SAD is starting to set in. So here it is, the sad routine of me.

1. Hear the alarm and press snooze three or four times.
2. Wake up later than I want and rush to get ready to school.
3. Go to school and teach until about 4:00.
4. Go home and eat because the starvation has already set in.
5. Go back to school at about 5:00 or 6:00.
6. Stay at school unitl 9:00.
7. Go home and watch TV for an hour.
8. Go to bed.
9. Sleep.
10. Repeat the next day.

My fridge was getting bare so I did have to go grocery shopping on Saturday. This was quite the dilemma for me. Did I want to drive three hours to the "big" grocery store and get exactly what I wanted (maybe) or did I want to drive one hour (these are both one way trip times) and get what was available. Driving one hour won out. The prospect of driving three hours to go shopping solitarily and have no one to know me and greet me at the end of the journey convinced me that Red Earth groceries would be sufficient.

Did I mention that SAD is setting in? Darkness at 8:00 am and again at 6:00 is affecting the emotions and drive. The new elliptical does help a bit to get those endorphins up.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Trip

We thought that we might not be able to go all week but finally on Thursday, we got our field trip number and a bus and driver and it was confirmed. Friday, we could go to Edmonton with 15 of our students (who were a little bit reluctant to go to the Dreamcatcher conference).

Friday morning, we gathered at the school. Eight of the 15 students showed up - the best 8 I think. The bus arrived and we were off. One student, who is 18, was off to Edmonton for the very first time. It was his inaugral trip to a place with buildings over five stories high, with public transit, traffic etc. This made the trip so much more interesting and fun.

The high school students were off to the Dreamcatcher conference in Edmonton. This is a conference designed for aboriginal youth with cultural and other sessions. They had a chance to hang with aboriginal youth and listen to aboriginal speakers. They had a chance to feel pride in their ancestory and hope in their future. All we did in Edmonton was this conference and a movie at the theater. No mall, no shopping, no swimming pool (and yes I am sure we will hear complaints about this.)

It was interesting to see the reaction of my students to the city. Another teacher and I often talk about the lack of natural print in the environment of my students - there is no billboards, no magazines, no signs etc. As a kid, I remember driving down the road, reading the signs that I saw out loud. That is what the teens in the bus started to do. "Totem Building Supplies." "Walmart" "Go Logo Wear" etc. Then one of them started talking about how this was the most traffic that they had ever seen (It wasn't even rush hour.) We had to explain how to use crosswalks and cross walk lights. (So can we cross if the hand is blinking? What do the numbers mean on the side?) Riding the elevator in our hotel was a treat (I am surprised that they didn't fight over who would push the buttons) I had to explain how to go down on the escalator. One of my students exclaimed, "I feel like I am in a movie." The only city experience that he had had was seeing one on movies.

I am so proud of my students and their behaviour in the city. They were the best students at the conference. It was fun hanging out with them instead of telling them to get their math work done. On the way home, I was able to have a wonderful conversation with one of my students about faith and christianity and God. Mostly we talked about Christian history. "No the Bible wasn't originally written in King James English. It was written in Greek and Hebrew." It pains me that most people here think that they need to read the KJV version of the Bible. Most of them are on the verge of illiteracy and at times the Bible is tough enough to understand. Christ came to speak to us in our own languages. He came to take some of the mystery away (bu adding on layers of mystery). And yet for many here, the mystery still remains and the knowledge of Biblical matters rests with the preacher and leadership. It raises my ire.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A World of Pain and Stress

I know that that is not a good intro to a Thanksgiving Day post but alas, it is how I am feeling. It sums up the Trout experience over the past few weeks.

Two weeks ago, we had a hushed day at school. After I arrived, the secretary came into talk to me. Her nephew would not be at school that day. One of the teen boys in Peerless had been killed in a hunting accident. At first they thought that he had accidently shot himself but the police found out that his hunting partner had accidently shot him. The whole school was shocked and the student didn't even attend here. I can't imagine the pain felt in the halls of Peerless. I felt for my students who already know so much pain. I felt for the child's family and the accidental shooter. They will always have to live with this tragedy. I felt fear that it could have happenned to one of my students. Fear that some day I may have to attend the funeral of a student or former student. It is my greatest fear.

All week there was a cloud over Trout. The funeral was the next Monday. On that day we found out that our principal's step-father had suddenly passed away. She had to go to BC to be with her mother. This leaves me in charge of the school. I will have almost been principal for three weeks in a row. There is a lot to do and I am feeling a little stressed (I have to conduct interviews and hire aids and Cree instructors tomorrow). Selfishly, I did notwant her to go console her mother because I wanted her here. Yet I also felt the pain of suddenly losing someone no matter what the age.

On Saturday morning, I recieved a call from one of my students. I could tell automatically that she was crying. This also usually means that she is drunk - which again was the case. But I am learning that truth is often spoken in a drunken slur. She started talking about her fears. Fears for her mother who is sick and going to the doctor. Fears of losing her mother - the person that cares for her the most. Through her pain came anger at all who have abandoned her and hurt her and told her that she is worthless and bad. I prayed prayers as I started to talk the truth. I told her that she is a person who cares and because of that she has value beyond measure. She is a creation of God and so she has value. And yes she may have made mistakes and may still make mistakes - drinking being one of them - but that does not eliminate her value. By the end of our conversation I had her laughing a bit. But the laughter so often does not take away the pain but masks it.

I so badly want to take some of this pain and throw it into an abyss. I so desparately want to force people to hold on to Jesus and place their pain on him. I know that he was standing with those that are pain filled. Invisible but with tears in his eyes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Rescue

Trout Lake is slowly turning into a boggy pond. It has been raining about 4 days a week since school started and since Trout Lake is already surrounded by muskeg, the water has no where to go. It sits on the road and causes problems. When the road gets like this, I avoid driving and stay put in Trout Lake (unless someone else is willing to drive).

Last night, I had just finished my movie and was about to head for bed when my phone rang. The students had not got back from their field trip to Peace yet because their bus had broke down somewhere between Red Earth and Peerless. Would I be willing to help rescue them?

Of course I was willing. Then I looked at the clock - 12:30 a.m. It was one by the time we left the school in a caravan of three teachers vehicles. The night was dark with cloud covered skies. It was hard to see the path for the vehicle through all the puddles and mud. And some points in the road, it would be really rough and I would wonder if their was an easier way but the dark road did not reveal a smoother path. Bumps, puddles and sand trips made the trip very tense. I needed a massage then but now the shoulders are even worse.

I got to the bus without any major incidents at 2:00 a.m. Yes that is an hour on crappy mud roads. I only had one fishtailing incident just passed Peerless. Students loaded into my vehicle. We figured out how the middle belt works (Apparently I had not had anyone sit in the middle of the back seat yet) and we were on our way. I was on gaurd for the sand trap that caused the swerving on the way out. The Peerless sign was right in front of us and I prematurely breathed a sigh of relief. We had passed the trap. That is when my car started skidding and swerving again. A quick prayer , "God I have students on board" and some quick maneuvoring and we were driving straight again. Not one student screamed. Thankfully.

We were almost home when one of the students asked, "What is that?" Ahead of us were strange lights off to the side of the road. One of the other teachers had driven into the ditch. I promised the kids I would come back and pick them up after dropping off the first load.

At 3:00, we arrived in Trout. I drove to all corners to drop off my load and at 3:30 headed back out to the mud to pick up the second crew. I felt that I could have been in a commercial. "What do teachers in Trout trust to pick up stranded students on a washed out road. No not an F150. No not a SUV. But a Subaru Impreza. The best little car in the world." And then people would see images of me pulling out of my fishtails and going through puddles with wipers going.

It was 4:30 by the time that batch two was dropped off and I arrived home. I thought that I would be too wired to sleep at this point but apparently I was pretty tired because I dropped off to sleep right away and woke up this morning to discover that although I had locked the door, I had left my house keys and car keys dangling right in the lock. I also woke up to see the sun shining on a beautiful fall day, revealing my mud caked car. Next weekend, my dad is going to help me wash it in Edmonton as we try to figure out why one of the side panels is popping off.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This weekend was a beautiful fall weekend. The air was warmish with that underlying fall crispness. The leaves were yellow and beautifully reflected in the lake next to my house. I so wanted to go outside and enjoy it but I couldn't it. I was trapped in my house.

Across the creek that runs in front of my house, there is a house where there has been a party all week. I don't think that they have stopped drinking for 7 whole days. Friday night some of my students joined them and on Saturday morning they were hanging out by the teacher's houses. One of them with his bloodied shirt trying to stop his on and off again girlfriend from picking fights with other guys. Their drama unfolded in front of us. One second loving each other, the next yelling at each other. I stood at my window to be sure that they were safe and not being harmed. But I didn't feel like I could leave the house because I did not want to deal first hand with the drama.

After they left, the party at the house moved directly across the bridge. A crowd of 15 people sat in the grass and continued their drinking. They were sitting right by the path that I walk on. So I left my house and went to school. I didn't want to leave the safety of the teacher's houses. Not that I feared that I would be harmed physically but I just didn't want to deal with the drunkeness of former students and present students. I didn't want to feel harrassed. I didn't want to feel awkward.

I was trapped in my house. The alcohol in the community affects everyone - even myself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And so it begins

I think our calendar year has it all wrong. This is the start of the new year. Through out childhood, we are programmed to set goals and start new projects in September and now that I am a teacher, I am never going to get it out of my system.

So I have moved. I am spending so much time at school that I decided to simply move my matress and a small fridge into my classroom and save on the rent. CHA I am so kidding. Seeing the school from my back window is enough to remind me of the oodles of work that I have to do. And no matter how much time I spend at school I never seem to get ahead. Maybe it is because of all the socializing that I do at school. School is my social life. If I want to see people, that is where I go. And we sit around and complain. I have to keep on reminding myself that there isn't really that much to complain about. School is vastly improved.

This year, at this moment, I love my students. Ask me again on Monday, if that is still true. They seem to really want to try this year. Almost all have improved in the politeness department. The ones I feared the most last year are now the ones that make me laugh the most. There is a different atmosphere this year.

It is a good thing that I love my students because I hate the weather and I hate being "under the weather". It rained everyday last week. It is almost always cloudy. It is hardly ever above 12 degrees Celsius. The leaves are turning yellow already. Plus my head is full of snot and I can hardly breathe.

So maybe it is a good thing that we have New Year's in January. It reminds us that spring does come again and the seasons do change. Right now it seems like I am settling into a long, cold and very dark fall and winter.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The End of Turkey and the Beginning of Trout

Day 14
We spent the morning drinking warm drinks in a cafe and writing postcards and shopping. We then went to a mountain town called Sirince. The town was filled with white wached houses with red-tiled roofs, fruit orchards and fruit wines. For once I didn't mind the touts dragging us into their shops because usually it meant free wine samples. The following happened in Sirince and describes our night bus ride back to Istanbul.

Once when we pulled out our Lonely Planet guide, one of the locals comes rushing towards us. He informs us that his pension was in there and had to see it for himself. Later on, when we were in one of the shops, he comes in to show the shop owner his place in the Lonely Planet. So of course, the shop owner and Lonely Planet guy ask us if we want tea - cold apple tea- as their gift. The shop owner also proceeded to give us gifts. He takes two chains with the fairy eyes on them (they are creepy and supposed to ward off the evil eye), kneels down on the ground and proceeds to put them on our ankles. For the rest of the afternoon, we were followed by their jingle jingle.

When we bought our bus tickets, we were again intercepted by the regular tout, He was very helpful: gave us all the times, promised us that the bus would stop on the Asian side and promised us a servis to Bostanci. He also told us that tonight there was a special bus at 10:00. That was the bus we chose.
So we get on this special bus to choruses of "Christina". This time the whole camping group was on the bus. Group dynamics make for a special bus trip as there were people sleeping in the aisles or upside down in their seats with their feet everywhere.
We arrived in Istanbul, did not stop on the Asian side and were told that there was a servis bus that left at 11:30 (It was 8:30 at the time). We decided to take public transport. By the time we arrived at Amy's at 10:00 in the morning, we had taken the following forms of transportation: bus, bus on ferry, metro, tram, switch to another tram, ferry, feet, train. Needless to say, we had a morning nap.

Day 15
Our last day in Turket but we did not do much except how to get to the airport the next day. We contemplated going to the Grand Bazaar but would have needed to take a tram and ferry there and were done with public transport for now.

Day 16
The alarm souded at 5:00 am. Christina and I jumped out of bed and got ready. Amy phoned the taxi and we left. As soon as I got into the taxi, I realized that I had forgotten the paper with the name of the place that the Havas airport bus left from. Our taxi driver did not speak English ans we were all stressed out trying to communicate. I remember that the guide book said that it was near the Kirakoy ferry terminal. So wehile the taxi driver was babbling at us, I looked yp "boat" in the lonely planet. "Vapur" Finally we clicked,we communicated and he dropped us off.
There were some men in the vicinity, so we asked them (I think) where the Havs Terminali was. They pointed and laughed. We started walking in the direction. We passed another taxi driver (our angel in disguise) and asked the same question. he communicated that he knew where it was and that it was far away (for once the guide book led us to the wrong place). So we got into his taxi and raced to the correct place. After paying the driver (our angel), we were out of money. I ran to a debit machine while Christina stayed with our stuff (apparently there was a closer debit machine but I was to stressed/relieved to think rationally at this time). Our angel would not let us pay the full fare and stopped some women going on the same bus and asked them if they spoke English and then asked them to look out for us. Did I mention that he was an angel sent by God? and typically Turkish at the same time?
Once we were on the Havas bus I could relax and enjoy the scenery and look forward (?) to a day on a plane and in an airport. All in all Turkey was a great trip and I am glad that I came and that I had such an awesome travelling companion in Christina. Thanks Christina for sharing the adventure with me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Turkey Part Deux

Day 10 - Pammukale
The main attraction in Pammukale is the travertines. A cliff covered in snow white calcium rock with pools that collect water so that you can go swimming in them (the calcium is supposed to be therapeutic). At the top of the cliff is the ancient ruins of Heirapolis.

My favorite mental picture of the day is of the young Muslim couple. She was wearing a head scharf and long cloak. He also was fully clothed. They were both sitting almost completely submerged in one of the pools laughing ewith each other. They deflated our stereotypes of Muslim families. She was so full of life and he was so full of love for her.

We too experienced some drama of our own in Heirapolis. When we were walking back towards the Roman road, this guy walked past us. As we went through the gate, he stopped us. Could we take his picture? That was no problem. Through hand gestures Christina realized that he wanted a picture with me. Not only did he want a picture, he felt compelled to stand really close to me , with his hand on my waist. I have not been so close to a guy in many years. Then he felt compelled to follow us around and try to talk to us although he knew no English and we knew no Turkish. We did get the words disco out of him though and got the idea that he wanted a picture with Christina too. We tried to shake him off but he was persistant. Christina also was persistant and got the get lost message across. Nothing like Turkey to make a girl feel beautiful.

Day 11
Today our sole task was to catch our bus to Selcuk (Selchook). Our ticket was bought in the usual touted manner. We had decided on Metro and were heading into the office when an older gentleman steered us into another office and company. The bus is smaller then normal with five us squeezed into the back seats that do not recline (And I was so looking forward to a nap). But at least we have a seat. In Pammukale, we were full and then they kept on loading people into the aisles. They all got off at Denzili to catch other buses but more people got on there. We have kids sitting on the floor at the front and another man standing with our attendant. Yes, even though it is a small bus, we still get our cake and tea or coffee. . . .

In Selcuk, we decided to wander around the touristy streets to look for dinner. As soon as we set foot in the street, "Hello. Come sit with us. Where you from?" We were still unsure about the properness of this so we said our customary nos. Another person piped up, "Ve are touristy. It's Kay." This group was very persistant at engaging me in conversation so that eventually my reservations broke down and I had a seat.

Three people were from Romania. One of the boys just graduated in finance and founf out that I was a math teacher. He insisted on giving me a math problem with a logarithm. I haven't done logarithms for over ten years and had no idea where to begin. The shop keeper took one look at it and answered it. Then he started testing me about Science. "Energy - is it material? Then how come it is made up of particles? How come it can't go through walls? How come . . .?" I reminded him that these are theories scientists are debating now. So he then started on literature. "Are you reading any Turkish books while you travel?" Christina and I both point at each other as I was reading Birds without Wings, a book about Turkey, and she was reading Snow, a book by a Turk. The store owner goes on to say, "You should read Orhan Pamuk." "But, but," stuttered Christina, for she was indeed reading Pamuk secertively on the buses, "I thought no one likes him here and that he is in exile." "They are racist and small minded," replied the store keeper.

The conversation was liberating. Christina told me later that in her Pamuk book she had read a line that stated, "We aren't stupid. We are just poor." The store keeper illustrated this so clearly and corrected our ethnocentrism.

Day 12
We went to small town called Tire for their weekly market. It was a day filled with bright vegetable colours and smells.

WE stumbled across a music store with hand made Turkish instruments hanging in the window. The owner invited us in and gave us tea and tried to communicate across the language barrier. He made the instruments himself and played a bit of very beautiful music for us. This will be one of my favorite Turkish memories. Sitting in a music store lined with Turkish stringed instruments, drinking tea and listening to a true Turkish craftsman.

Day 13
People and guidebooks warned us about the crowds at Epheseus but nothing could have prepared me for the reality. Everywhere on the grounds there was congestion and guides holding up numbers or water bottles. Once we sat down at an ancient meeting place and could count at least 5 different guides speaking 5 different languages. I would try to listen in to the English groups commentary but couldn't hear over the babble (Babel?).

On the way back from Epheseus, we stopped at a roadside cafe to get a drink. We went around the back to have a seat and hear, "Christina!" It was one of the girls at the carpet shop from two days before with more of her camping buddies. We sat with them and talked with them for awhile and then a few of them start to sing: "I believe in Jesus. I believe he is the son of God. I believe he died and rose again . . ." Christina and I look at each other in astomishment and then join in. They were amazed that we knew the song and asked us to teach them another. So we taught them the Fill up my Cup version of Amazing Grace. Who knew that we would be singing worship songs in Turkey with a bunch of Romanians.

Ok there is a Trout Lake campfire waiting for me so I better go join my fellow teachers. I will continue later. Just so you know, the random Romanian story is not finished yet. There is more to come.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Excerpts from the Journal

OK I have had a few people ask me about Turkey and tell me to write about it on my blog. (Man I have a lot of blog work to catch up on.) So I thought that there would be no better way to tell you all about Turkey then to select some pieces from my journal for your reading pleasure.

Day 1:
Slept in today after being woken up by the 5:00 call to prayer, followed by roosters. Amy (my cousins friend who we stayed with in Istanbul) took us to the sultanhamet area on the European side via train, ferry and tram. There we saw the Aya Sofya, a church built in 500 A.D. The stone work of the church was amazing with layers upon layers of other work done - beautiful tile mosaics, strange Islamic medallions (which were so huge that it almost seemed like they were over compensating for the fact that this was once a church), painted ceiling, arious displays. I wish that I could have seen the church in is original splendour instead of with the confusing and contradicting layers.

Day 3:
Today, Sunday was s true blessing. We went to church with Amy. Her shurch was very diverse - many accents and colours and languages. The church had an intensity to it that must come from believers who are on the edge of persecution. One of the pastors mentioned being evicted from his appartment because he was a christian.
Turks have a strange view of Christianity. They think that it is a CIA plot and that they pay people to take a Bible by putting money in it. being a Christian in Turkey is hard. That is why it felt like such a privilege to worship with the ex-pat community and to have communion with them. It was an extra bonus to see a Turkish man being baptized. The highligh was when the Turkish believers broke out into a Turkish praise song. Very moving.

Day 4:
Today was the day of our Bosphorus ferry ride, herein known as "the cruise". I am not really sure why I was so xcited about this since I have been on at least two ferries every day since arriving in Istanbul. Since Istanbul is built along a strait connecting the Sea of Mamara with the Black Sea and along an inlet called the Golden Horn, it is split into sections by water. There are bridges connecting each section, but by far, the easiest way to get aboud is by taking the ferry and trains. Transprtation here is an adjustment to say the least. THe rules are lax and line ups are non-exstent - meaning that people do not line up but rather move their way to the front through whatever space is available. Often on the train, passangers will prop the doors open in order to get a cool breeze. This would be a major faux pas in Canada.

Day 5:
After our Bosphorus cruise, we caught the night train to Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, where we went to a museum full of ancient artifacts from the Hittites and other civilisations. We also relaxed in a park and visited an ancient citadel.

At this point, my communication ability broke down. I hate being only being able to communicate my name, where I am from and that I want two tickets. It is not allowing me to learn about the Turkish people at all. However, I have had Christina to have deep conversations with. But gradually I have completely lost my voice and now I can only speak in a croaking whisper. Speaking takes too much energy for deep conversation and makes communicating the few Turkish words I know impossible. It is hard to get foreign sounds out when you can make no sound at all. It is very frustrating.

Day 6:
After Ankara we headed to Cappadocia on the bus.

Canadian airlines have some things to learn about Turkish buses. First the seats are comfy with ample leg room. Second, we have been offered water, tea or coffee and cake by the host of the bus, who hardly gets to sit down. After a stop at a station with stores, restaurants and washroms, the bus started to smell of BO, since the air conditioner was turned off. So the attendant offered all passengers lemon cologne for their hands and necks and sprayed the floor with air freshner and now the bus smells sweet again. Very nice. Way better than Greyhound and even Air Canada.

Day 7:
My afternoon of relaxation/errands. First - the PTT to mail my postcards. I searched and searched but could not find it. Then I saw the sign - phone cards, stamps etc. I tried the door. Locked. Then some people started talking to me from next door. Apparently I had the wrong place anyways. The two gentlemen gave me directions but only after I had a cup of tea with them. Afterwords I headed to the bank machine to get cas. I arrived, looked at the # pad and pancked. There were only numbers and no letters. I use the letters to remember my PIN number. I tried a few combinations but they were rejected. I ran through my options - ask Christina for help, phone mydad or look at a telephone number pad. As I was walking to the bank of telephones, I realized that Turks have a different alhabet than us so our phones probably wouldn't be the same. Well I was in luck. It was the same as the Canadian number pad. This is such a typical Jen story. I never thought that maybe I should pay attention to the numbers in my code and learn them. After all I have only been usng them for about 10 years now.

Day 8:
Today we took one of our only paid and guided tours. We went to an underground city, a gorge and various look out points.

The tour was an English tour but in reality Christina and I were the only native English speakers in the van. There was a couple from France, the girls from Germany, a couple from Italy, another couple from Slovenia, a Turkish man and other nationalities represented. It made conversation and connections a bit difficult. We are so lucky to be English speakers because there is always an English translation at museums and the first language spoken in the tourism world is English.

Day 9:
We spent the day hikng and then caught the night bus to Pammukale where we had to have faith past language barriers.

Our bus did not appear to be coming so I went to talk to the bus company tout. He took one look at my tcket, said "Come with me.", took me to another company, where my ticket was ripped up and substituted for another one. No attempted explanation given. We just followed along, trustingly blind.

It was ridiculously early when we arrved in Denzili. All the people going to Pammukale had to get off the bus - not one of us understanding waht was going on r where we should go. Finally, we understood that we had to transfer to a mini bus that would be here in ten minutes. In the meantime they offered us tea and gave me a Turkish donut.

Sure enough, a man did load us into a small van. Then we waited and waited and waited for more passengers. About half an hour later the new passengers arrived and we were off. Five minutes later we had turned around and were back at the otogar. Our driver ran off towards another bus and we waited and waited some more. One more passenger arrived but this time our bus would not start. "But no problem OK. I have trick." He slipped it into neutral and we started going backwards until the engine caught.

When we arrived in Pammukale, the sales pitch started. Our bus driver knew someone who had a hotel with a pool and air-conditioner and breakfast . . . "Come check it out. OK. No problem. You no like. I bring you back." We went to check it out and decided to stay which was good because our backpacks had been deposited in the lobby and our bus driver had disappeared (and the lady of the house had just upped the price by 5 liras but we brought her down again.)

Day 10 and on will appear later. I am bored typing this and hope that you aren't bored reading it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pictures from Turkey

I know I know. It has been forever since I updated but I am not as scheduled in the summer and take a hiatus from most things Internet. But I thought that I should post a link to my Turkey pictures for all of you that are not facebook friends. I will be blogging more later and will start my weekly update when school commences.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spring is here and the mother suckers are back

The leaves are out. The sun is shining (while not today) and summer is on its way. With spring, in my northern climes, comes very unliked mother suckers. They are larger than the southern variety and bite (or suck) through a layer of clothe and leave huge welts on the body, so that they can go lay their eggs and produce more mother suckers. And if it isn't mother suckers, it is black flies or noseeums that are so big that you can actually seeum. And soon the horse flies will come out too. They tear the skin right off of you.

But this spring, I have discovered the other variety of mother suckers (and father suckers). I have seen this variety before and tasted them freshly smoked in the outside smoker. Very tasty for a bottom feeding, cleaning fish. But this year, I helped some of my students fish for these tasty treats. They spawn in the creek right outside my house and when they spawn, students come fishing not with fishing poles but with baseball bats, snares and nets.

So how did I, the white teacher, help out. I went wading in the creek. One student and I would walk upstream while the other would wait down stream with his net. Then we would turn around, wade downstream and try to corral the fish into the net. I, the white splasher, was highly unsuccessful. Maybe it was also because my partner in mother sucker corraling would constantly stop and pick an interesting rock from the bottom of the river to show me, which would allow the fish to swim past. So I ended up floating down the river, completely closed and shocking the rest of my students that I went swimming in the creek.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anxiously Awaiting

I am ready for spring. Slowly the grass is turning green. Slowly the sky is becoming bluer. And if I look really closely I can even see a few buds on the trees. Not leaves yet but buds. I want those buds to burst open and make the world a greener place.

I am ready for summer. I don't want to mark, plan lessons or do oodles of paper work. And there will soon be oodles to do. I want to romp around with my nieces and tickle my nephews tiny feet and hang out with friends and families in really hot sun.

I am ready for adventure. I want to fly to Istanbul, go hiking in the Canadian Rockies and see what comes my way.

Six weeks and this will all come to pass. I am anxiously awaiting.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Change in the Weather

I forget how much the seasons affect me until it is spring time. The sun wakes me up at 6:00 in the morning and keeps me up late at night. I am tired and yet I have more energy and hope than ever. I am willing to change my routines and start planning. So last week, as part of my routine change, I didn't clean my house and I didn't update my blog. Instead I crafted and created something with my hands. And this weekend, I actually got out of Trout for an evening. I was dreading a grocery run because it would be to Slave and back without any human interaction since I don't know anyone in Slave at all. And I couldn't handle the lonliness. So a fellow teacher rescued me. She was going home to Peace River so I met up with her and other teachers there. We went out for supper and went to watch Spiderman 3 at the theater. And guffawed when Spidey lept in front of the American flag. That was over the top cheese. I stayed the night at Friesen's house and then this morning we went to church together. It was so nice to be out with people I know and doing something different. A change of routine is good for the soul.

As for planning, I have spent hours looking up flights to Turkey. I sure hope that it works out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Plans - or the lack of them

Usually at about this time I have plans for the summer. But this summer, nothing. No cross Canada trips. No B.C. weddings. Nothing. And I want this summer to be special because it is a big summer. It is the summer of my 30th birthday and I want to celebrate it (instead of agonize over it). I want to experience something new. Go to a new, exotic place. Go with someone and enrich a friendship. Go and discover something new about myself. I have so many vague possibilities but nothing concrete. Does any one have any suggestions?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Litany and a Harbinger of Hope

I survived the week and slowly but surely the relatives of the man who passed away are trickling back into school. How can you recover from this?

Unfortunately the suicide is not the only thing to recover from. My first few days back, my students gave me the list of everything that happened over Easter break. Some of the things happened in other communities but up here, even though the communities are far apart geographically, they are close emotionally because of all the family ties. In Trout, there was the suicide and a roll over (with the driver's drinking). In Red Earth, there was a kid (maybe two) hit by a vehicle. In Wabasca there was another death by a drunk driving accident. One of my students has a brother whose friends were hit by a train. And the list goes on and on. My students has a rotten week of tragedy. They weren't coming back to school refreshed but were returning emotionally stressed. So it was an odd week. I felt like I was walking on eggshells. There was some mild misbehaviour but I let a lot of it slide until they could feel comfortable again. For some of my students, school is truly their refuge.

So then my students have the gall to say, "Miss, you are no fun. You don't party." I had to remind them of all the damage that partying has done to their lives and their families. Again I didn't want to dig too deep. Instead I reminded them that I can have fun and remember it the next day and not regret anything.

The events of the week definitely had an effect on my students. I was struggling with one group of students when they start yelling and talking about being "F-ing no good Trout Indians," so why should they do work. It is hard when a roll model dies so tragically. I lost it at that point and said, "That's is completely not true and I never want to hear that from your mouths again. You all have worth. All of you." I am going to have to keep on reminding them of that.

But there is hope in all this despair. We had laughter and an ice cream party and have smiled. And today I went for a walk and saw my first pussy willows of spring.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My soul is downcast

It was a beautiful drive up to Trout - clear roads, little traffic (go figure), sunshine, pumping music. I got home and decided to continue the happy times as I unpacked my car. I got to song three on my CD when the phone rang. It was one of my fellow teachers welcoming me back. We chatted for a bit when she asked the question. "So have you heard the news yet? It seems like something bad always happens over the holidays. N's dad passed away. He committed suicide. The funeral is tomorrow."

My soul is heavy.

I have two of his daughters in my classes. One of the daughters has had a rough year. She used to be a model student - friendly, eager - but this year she has struggled because her family was struggling and her dad was drinking. Now the struggle for her has gotten tougher and I know that I can not take away any of her pain.

My soul weeps.

This father was a role model last year until alcohol caught up with him. He has a great family. He had a job. He was the "go to guy" in Trout. He was a preacher in the church and toured around other communities preaching and now he is gone. Not only gone - but he viewed life as so hopeless and empty that he saw no reason to continue it and decided to shoot himself and leave all of the pain behind to multiply in his family and community. This is an attack on the weak faith of the Christains here. This is an attack on any glimmer of hope that the youth in the community had. If he couldn't make it, how can they understand that they can make it?

God my soul utters groans that can not be uttered and pours out pain that goes so deep and questions why this had to happen in a community that already knows so much hurt and pain. Lord we need your comfort.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Introducing . . .

Here he is . . . the new little man in my life . . . Coban Lee Dejager. And yes I am having a wonderful time at home.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An announcement

I have a new boy in my life. His name is Cobin. He has red hair. Weighs 8 or so pounds and is about 3 days old. YESSSS!!! Finally my sister had her baby and finally there is a nephew for me to adore and love. To make matters even better, in three and a half days I get to load up Suvette and take the long 10 hour drive to see my new little man, my two lovely nieces and the rest of my family. And in a week, I can have my first cup of coffee in 40 days or so.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I am falling asleep and waking up to the sound of drops dripping off of the snow on my roof. Spring has sprung and I can not quite remember a spring like this. We have had three days of melting and there is still snow everywhere. The banks are still waist high. Snow and mud. I finally went for a walk today and realized my butt is still sore from my sports injury last week.

Spring feels wierd this year. I am not welcoming it with open heart and arms. I almost resent the extra hours of sunlight (we have more sunlight then darkness now). The cold and darkness matched my solitude and lonliness. It justified sitting in front of the TV and doing nothing. Now that there is light, I feel like I have to do things and be sociable. And I kind of want that but there is no one to do things with or be sociable with. The brightness just illuminates my despondancy.

So in two weeks I will be home and I can't wait. Two weeks from today I will be singing about the ressurection and seeing new life in a new family member (I hope for my pregnant sister's sake). And I hope that by celebrating the ressurection of Christ that it will resurrect my life as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My sports adventure

This weekend was the annual teacher funspiel for teachers in High Prairie. So two rookie teachers and rookie curlers and myself took off to have some fun and exercise. We had had a team of four but do to illness we were cut down to three.

But the thing about curling is that it is kind of an equalizer. Flukes can work to our advantage. We ended up third out of 5 teams - not to shabby. We lost two games, one one game and tied another game. But flukes were our strategy. So much so that at the end of one game - after one of my most flukey shots, I stated to my team members, "So I guess we tied that one." They replied, "Ah no Jen our fearsome skip. Because you knocked their rock out of the house we scored two points." (If they were using curlingese, they might have said "We were lying two." but remember we are all rookies on our team).

So once again, I had a great time at the funspiel. And once again, I am sore and I never even swept that much, since I was skipping. But maybe the soreness has to do with the fact that I landed on my tailbone in game 2. You know the commercial with the lady shopping in a grocery store and she starts falling with her legs and arms both in the air and the grocery clerk throws paper towels under her. Well that was me with out the paper towels. And man did it ever hurt.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jesus's tomb

So Jesus's tomb was discovered with Jesus's bones in it. OK I didn't watch James Cameron's documentary but I did see a few general synopsises (synopsi?) and wanted to know what the response in Christian circles was. I did see one response on TV that was cringe worthy. Something about "them" not being able to prove who Nicole Anna Smith's baby was so how could we believe the genetic evidence from the Jesus family tomb. I wondered, is this the best arguement we have? So today I was glad to stumble on to this article in Scientific American which gave a much more rounded view and may let us argue more intelligently by looking at the statistic calculations. The best sentence in the article -

"Such a calculation assumes all kinds of things, and is highly dependent on one's starting assumptions. For instance, 'A Christian would use [the probability that Jesus is in a coffin] equals zero, because of ascension, so the discussion stops right there'."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nothing New This Week

This week was ho hum ho hum. I taught. I procrastinated. I watched a lot of TV. There was nothing new or exciting. I think that I need a little bit of a shake up- something to make me rely more on Christ, something to help me find satisfaction in Christ instead of filling my longing with Grey's Anatomy and a plethora of other TV shows. But am I going to ask for this shake up. Oh no. I am comfortable right now. Shake ups scare me. I dont like them. They are difficult. However, if I need it, it is going to come.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Injustice

Here our some pictures of the leak at my school. It is -20 degrees Celsius outside and the ceiling still leaks. A GREAT learning environment. You may notice the water pooling in the flourescent light cover but what is missing is the water dripping through the smoke detector. Could this be why the fire alarm went off Saturday afternoon.
Hey I finally get to stop being principal this week. Yeah!!! (This should definitely improve the learning environment)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Adventure Part Deux

OK I don't know if it is so much an adventure as complete stupidity but it is funny nontheless.

I am in charge of buying canteen items for the school canteen. So last weekend in Edmonton, I bought chips and pop and brought them to Trout Lake. Due to laziness, I did not remove them from my car right away. I thought I would wait until a student volunteered to help.

That time came. The future business person thought that it was stupid not to open the canteen when I had bought new stuff for it. So we go to my car to unload it. I open the door and my first thought was, "Some sort of animal got in here some how and left a mess all over." Then I looked more closely and realized that what I was seeing was frozen Pepsi all over my backseats and floor.

Well I didn't want to deal with the problem right then so we carried in the unexplosive chips and left the pop there. It couldn't get any worse could it. Friday afternoon came and I finally had a chance to clean up the frozen slurpee mess. I opened the door to my car and SURPRISE it was alot worse. There were ice crystals in the front seat and cargo area. Ice crystals all over my back seats and on the windows and ceiling. I spent a good two hours cleaning out my car and come spring time it is still going to be a sticky sticky mess.

The Trout dogs loved me that day. They hung around my car and ate Pepsi flavored snow. And I was able to laugh at myself, the Science teacher who should know that water expands when it freezes (although I thought Pepsi should have enough sugar in it to prevent it from freezing). I am officially a dolt and my year old car is officially broken in.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spoiler Alert - I survived to tell the tale

I haven't had one of these crazy adventures for awhile. Some of you are going to read this and think "Adventure? This is normal for me." Well for me, this is a crazy adventure.

This past week I was in Edmonton for teacher's convention. Since I was in the Southern part of the province, I decided to invite myself to a friend's house - something that I am getting quite good at. However, that friend was going to the mountains on a romantic retreat with her husband. So I invited myself along. They promised me that they didn't mind and that they were actually looking forward to seeing me. Really they did.

On the agenda- mountain snowshoeing. So brand new snowshoes on my feet, which broke about three minutes into our hike, we proceeded to climb up a ridge to a look out point. While once we got out of the trees, the wind hit us. Wind in summer is one thing, wind in winter packs a punch with snow and ice crystals. So we wondered around on top of this ridge plateau thing, trying to avoid the wind. Eventually, we thought it was time to wander down the mountain again as the clouds obstructed the view anyways.

Well the thing about snowshoeing on wind packed snow is that your snowshoes don't always leave a mark. We couldn't find our path down the mountain. We thought that we were heading in the right direction, until we came to the edge of a cliff. At the bottom of the cliff was the parking lot with our car. Far to the right was where we had climbed up but we had no idea how to get to that part of the mountain. So we decided to try a new way. Eventually we found a creek bed and started following it. The snow was so powdery and amazing. No animal had walked in it and at times we were sinking past our knees even with our snowshoes on. The descent was enjoyable but there was always the question in the back of our mind as to whether or not this creek would take us where we wanted to go, whether or not it would end in a waterfall and another cliff (as creeks do in the mountains) and whether or not we would be able to find another way down or if rescue crews would be able to find us since no one knew where we were. The mental anquish almost did us in. Well obviously, we did survive. The creek came through for us and once again the mountains refreshed my spirit.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Now I'm Reading

Once again this week I was principal. She is sick again and so I had to fill in. Some firsts that I had to do is run a staff meeting (and boy was it short), go to an admin meeting that was being teleconferenced and other admin things. I am getting a little worried about the sickness and pray that she will heal and come back knowing what is wrong and knowing what to do to prevent another episode.

Inspite of the chaos of teaching and being an administrator at the same time, I was able to read another chapter of the book that I got for Christmas. The book is called "Whiteman's Gospel" and is written by Craig Smith, a native Christian who runs a mission program for Native teens called On Eagles Wings. Now anyone who knows me should not be surprised that I am reading a book on Native ministry written by a native minister and recommending that EVERYONE should read it.

So let me mention some highlights of the book for you that made me stand up and cheer and other highlights that made me want to weep in repentance. First is the notion that God uses the underdog. The Bible is full of stories of God using the unexpected and because of this there are many parallels with native ministry. God revealed himself through a tribal people of colour. Hmm sounds familiar. The book makes a hypothesis that if Native Americans became involved in cross cultural ministry, they would be very well accepted because itstead of a top down message (like white people give), it is more of a lateral message between peers who have experienced oppression and poverty.

But before that happens . . . and here comes the hard part. Before that happens we need to switch our paradigm on native ministry. Our ministry needs to be based less on the plight of Native Americans and more on their potential. We need to look less at the problems and more at what God created them to be. He told stories that maddened me about the "well-intentioned" sending a bag of high heels with only the left shoe available to natives living in the desert or sending a bunch of used tea bags. Talk about the crumbs off the table. How can Natives rise above their poverty when that is how we treat them? How can we look at what was done in the past in horror, when horrible things are still being done to them? We must remember that native christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are fed and sustained by Christ himself. We need to remember that we do not feed them.

This book has opened my eyes to new truths and confirmed things that I already knew and believed. So if you can get your hands on it, read it.

Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The last three weeks

CRAZINESS!!! I think that my last update was in regards to being principal for a week. It was a busy week filled with diploma exams and board meetings and other such stuff. But I did survive although I didn't have time to write about it.

That crazy week was followed by another week au crazy. Pre report card week. Pre semester change over week and pre leaving for a week. I think I was at the school until 10 or 11 everyday including Sunday. I did survive although I didn't write about it because . . .

Well part of the reason I was so busy that week is that Friday I took off right after school to drive to Edmonton for Breakforth, a big church conference. I met up with my mother, my brother, my sister and some youth from Lethbridge. The worship there was great. The teaching was inspiring - I especially enjoyed Kay Arthur who is so grounded in Scripture. I had to look up references in Hezekiah. When was the last time that happened. The icing on the cake is that I didn't spend hours in tears this year. And hanging out with my fam was sweet too.

Monday I did not return to school. I took the day off for a chiropactic appointment in Slave. Apparently my neck is very stiff. My mother always said that I was stiff necked. The reason for my day off is that I was spending the next four days in Slave Lake learning more about math and teaching math. Fun times.

So after 7 nights in 3 different hotels and intense Christian and mathematical workshops I am home. I was so tired when I returned. Unfortunately there was also a Firefighters event in Slave and some the firefighters were staying in the same hotel and kept me up Thursday partying. I mean I was trying to sleep but they were in the room next to me being too loud. Seriously.

So yeah that is a summary of the past three weeks with no blog communication. I will try to do better in the future.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


On Wednesday morning, I recieved a phone call from our principal asking if I could fill in for her as she wasn't feeling well. The day was chaotic due to post Christmas behaviour issues but we got through it. That evening, our secretary called me. "Did you hear from our principal? She was taken to Slave Lake by ambulance." Sure enough two minutes later, her grandson is at my door confirming the Trout Lake rumour.

The next morning I recieve a phone call from one of the teachers at school. She will be late because some of the community members, including a student of mine, decided to party at the principal's house well she was in the hospital. They refused to leave, the cops were called and some things in the house were wrecked.

That day at school was more subdued as staff and students were worried about their principal and as we dealt with the other happenings that night, such as pulling the principal's car out of the ditch and talking to the cops. At the beginning of the morning, we heard that our principal had a heart attack and then there was speculation about whether or not she would be able to come back and work. I had a sick feeling all day with worry. This is the last thing our principal needed and the last thing our school needed - another year with mulitple principals, another student involved with the cops because of indiscretions while drinking. All the worse case scenarios were going through all our heads. That evening we found out that the doctors don't think it was a heartattack. She should be back by Thursday and in the meantime I am in charge.

I still am worried - not only about the principal but about the student who is no doubt feeling remorse. Hopefully, as teachers we will be able to forgive this breach of privacy and trust and convey our forgiveness to the student. Without our forgiveness, the student will ever be able to forgive himself and will turn to alcohol again to cover up his anger at himself. That is the heartbreaking pattern here. I have seen it happen before with this student and am worried that we are going to see it again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Lonely Road

Last night I drove back up to Trout. It was dark already when I left Slave. Driving in the dark in the bush is a lot different than driving in the dark in the Prairies. In the Prairies, you see the light of the distant towns and farms. In the bush, there are either no lights in the distance or it is all blocked by the trees. The only light comes from your headlights which create a small tunnel of illumination with darkness pressing in all around. This trip it seemed like I was the only person heading North. For over 250 kilometers I passed only one car and only one car passed me. There was a lot of traffic heading in the opposite direction but there were no headlights in my rearview mirror and no glimpses of red tail lights in front of me. It was just me and the Northern darkness.

For the short times when I was close to another car, their lights gave off additional illumination. The darkness didn't seem so overbearing and I felt relieved at having a fellow traveller along the lonely winter road. The companionship though was shortlived.

Is this somehow a metaphor for my life?