The Year in Review

So, I’m twenty-one today.

No big deal.

This is certainly one of the more…interesting birthdays I’ve had. As I type this, it’s actually five days before my birthday. I’m sitting in a hostel in Picton, NZ, taking advantage of free Wi-Fi to write this post in advance. When it actually goes out, I’ll be in Fiji, having spent most of my actual birthday on a plane.

Strange, eh?

As much fun as it is to look ahead, birthdays are also a good time to look back on the past year. When I turned nineteen, I mostly remember being excited to turn twenty, because it seemed like it would be a big year.

It certainly was.

I found a home.

This was the year I moved out of res, and into my own place. I love my house. I can’t repeat that enough. I love my house, and I had two of the best roommates ever. Pranks, adventures in Christmas tree decoration, James Bond, Donkey Kong, extravagant cooking, a spare room (that is huge for student housing – we had so much space, there was an entire room we didn’t know what to do with)… I’m the kind of person who needs a safe place to come home to every day. This was the year I found it.

I found a job.

In May, 2011, I was kicking myself. I had decided not to return to my summer job as a camp counsellor, but I couldn’t find another job to replace it. Thankfully, my uncle offered to take me on at his restaurant.

Then I got the call.

I had applied to be a Theatre Programmer at Black Creek Pioneer Village, but had assumed I hadn’t gotten it. Turns out their timelines were different than I expected. I was in.

Oh. My. God. Best. Job. Ever.

I spent last summer running around as Peter Pan and Anne of Green Gables, while working at the restaurant on my days “off.” The people, the history, the actual work itself… I loved it so much that at the end of the summer, when my contract expired, I went to my boss and said something along the lines of, “I love it here. Can I please stay?”

She said yes.

While I’m in school, I can only work on-call through the fall and winter. But that’s ok. I found more than a job, I found a happy place. What’s more…

I found my groove.

I admit: I suck at the work-life balance thing. Through the fall, I was working two jobs, attending choir and Quidditch practices, and taking a full courseload. I was sleeping maybe five or six hours a night. Often, the only social time I got was during two-server shifts at the restaurant, or on long bus rides home from Black Creek.

But I was so happy. I was so, so happy.

I might not have seen them much, but between my roommates, my uni friends, my choir ladies, and my coworkers at both jobs, I had good people in my life. I was exhausted, and stressed, and oh-so-slightly burnt out, but I hadn’t felt so good in years.

And then…

I found a publisher.

In November, I had the idea of podcasting Hapax. After all, I had six weeks between my last exam and my flight to New Zealand – what else was I supposed to do?  In December, I heard that Dragon Moon Press was holding an open submission period. I hemmed and hawed, and finally submitted Hapax on Christmas Eve. I didn’t tell my voice cast until the request for the full. Even then, I cautioned them, “It’s a nice ego boost, but probably nothing will happen.”

Something happened.

They liked it. They wanted to publish it. When I first read the email, I had been battling a stubborn cold, and was so sick, and so drugged up with cold medicine, I couldn’t be entirely sure it wasn’t all a Nyquil-induced dream.

After a flurry of emails and phone calls, I spent two hours walking around and around Trinity Bellwoods Park, trying to process it. Six months on, and I sometimes still have difficulty believing it.

I found an adventure.

But I couldn’t just stay in Toronto forever, playing with podcasts while my friends went to school. In February, I flew to Dunedin for a six month stay in the Land of the Long White Cloud. I’d planned this trip for a ridiculously long time, but all the planning in the world doesn’t really prepare you for life in a new country. It’s been detailed on this blog, but let me say – it’s exceeded my expectations in almost every way.

Otago was fun, but it was time for me to see the rest of the country. The South Pacific is a big place, and I’m so excited to be exploring the edge of the map.

And… that was my twentieth year. My thanks to all of you who made it so special.

Posted on June 28, 2012, in Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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