(This post was originally written on 750words.com. It has been edited.)
I have to go very soon. I need a shower and to pack. I think I’m going to try to pack my clothes in my messenger bag. Part of my new challenge: 100 things. I only want to have 100 things. Because, very soon, I want to be able to move out, to move across the country, I think. I have a few schools I’m thinking about applying to, and all of them are in the Maritimes. Is that the wrong way to do it? Should I not pick the province first and then what Masters program I want to do? I just want to be out of BC. That sounds awful, because I really do love this place. I would live here if I could afford to. I can’t afford the rent, not only because I can’t find a job but because I can’t afford the rent. It’s insane. It’s gorgeous and dynamic and great food, great shows, great atmosphere, great philosophy, but so so expensive.
Anyway, I’ve never been to the Maritimes. I’ve been as far as Montreal. Now it’s time to see the rest of Canada. I was thinking PEI for the longest time. I love that I can bike from one end of the province to the other in a single day (or that’s what they say. It may take me a few days of practice). But there’s just the one university, and they don’t have graduate programs. Nova Scotia, however, has a lot of universities, and some really great programs. So I’m applying to Dalhousie for architecture, and NSCAD for textile arts.
Oh, I lie. I like the programs at Ryerson. I like the programs so much they trump how much I don’t like Toronto. Granted, I may just have to live there and try it out some. Find the good neighbourhoods. Probably Church Street, which is where I stayed my last time in the city. Kinda funky, kinda gay, which is always a good sign. It’s always a good sign of art to be where the freaks feel comfortable.
But I want Nova Scotia more. I want to live in the Maritimes, where things are smaller, and life is slower, and where it must be colder. I want to see the Atlantic Ocean. I wonder how easy it is to travel among the provinces. Are there buses that cross borders? They’re all so close. I definitely want to have a bike back there. I’d have to buy a new one. Or a new old one.
It’s just that I hate not being able to make plans. Can I join roller derby here, or should I not because I might be back east by next September? Is that fair? I want to start skating again anyway. I’ve been wanting to get back to ice skating as well. This’ll be good. But the problem is that I’d need two new pairs of skates: ice and quad. Ah, money. The cause of and solution to all our problems. It’s not beer, Homer. It’s money.
I love making plans, but I’ve felt stifled for years now. The money thing, the school thing, the place to live thing. The what the hell am I supposed to be doing with my life thing. I need a job. I need a job if I want to do what I want to do. It’s so hard, scraping by and trying to make a mark. I need a job so that I have a place to start. Even if I’m going to be moving back east to go back to school (which shouldn’t feel like defeat. This should be a celebration of learning). I have no special skills; only passionate curiosity. That’s what allows me to pick the province first. Because there are a lot of things I would love to study, to learn more about, to try out. Art and books and culture and even science. I know, it’s crazy, but I want to learn more about food science. Because I want to make cheese, and just know more about cooking and baking and preserving and drying.
I’m not sure, at this moment, what I’ll end up doing. It will probably be something so far away from what I ever imagined. Or it’ll be exactly what I’ve been planning my whole life. It’ll be a tiny shop, just one big window. A narrow space on a side street, not too busy, but somewhere where people walk and ride past. We have a bike rack out front. We have a striped awning, like a French cafe. Inside, we have a rack of homemade zines. Pick one up and browse. They’re cheap, so most people end up buying one when they just came in to browse. On the other wall hang suits and ties and shirts, all handmade. Not just handmade, hand sewn. I’m behind the counter sewing something right now. We have a kitchen in the back, and cookies are baking. They’ll be ready in a minute.