Tuesday, June 29, 2010


There have been a few miscalculations on this journey, but possibly none greater than housing.

I always presume too much. I just figured that there would be a lovely 1-bedroom apartment in downtown Charlottetown, within walking distance of the famous Victoria Row. Moreover, it would be available precisely at the right time, for the right $, and there would be a parade for my arrival. Streets lined with 27-year-old cheerleaders throwing flowers, Mardi Gras beads, and bras in the air.


Negative. Though the fight is not yet over, it seems that the usual problems of city life (namely, finding a place that isn't a studio, and one with a parking space) is a universal constant, whether it be in Boston or Charlottetown. This is painful.

I can always cop out and move to Stratford (near work) or in the outer perimeter of the downtown core. That would be easy, and as my innate need to find a routine intensifies, it is likely. I'm torn between holding out for my ideal spot and for just settling somewhere.

(Note that so far, my current situation, with family, is going splendidly. However, the prospect of 1-2 more months inevitably wears on everyone involved.)


ps. Still no stuff. Who knows when. However, a victory on importing the car today. I think I will have all my paperwork on Canada Day, no less!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Blog Name?

As mentioned in a previous post, it is time for a new personal blog.

I want a motif and a brand, but first I need a name. I differ with Shakespeare on the triviality of names. A rose named 'sweating stinkweed' would not smell as sweet. It just wouldn't. Sorry, William.

At a farewell party, revelers were invited to submit their own choices, which included PEImp (a pun on pimp, though it requires a visual of me in costume), and OMG_Coyotes (a tribute to the recent menace in the Maritimes).

I quite like "Prodigal Son", though perhaps that is a bit much.

I want something to be Maritime oriented, or PEI oriented. Or more generally, about a return to one's roots, with all of the complexities within.

What do you think?

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Week

It's been a week since I landed back on the Island...

So far, so good, but some things never change, such as a Friday night nap after work. Though this one was extraordinarily long. I think the drive and a full work week has caught up with me.

No news on the movers yet. No news on an apartment, though I hope to start looking tomorrow.

Some quick notes:
  • The locals say it is hot, e.g. mid 70s F at 6 pm. I laugh heartily at this! I need to parlay my relatively superior heat endurance into some cash or athletic success.
  • I'm so glad that I moved back before Peter Mansbridge retired. I don't know how much longer we'll have him on The National.
  • It occurred to me last night that I should try to go for a week (a month?) watching only TV in French. News, entertainment, the works.
  • There are internet connection issues at my parents. Their computer works fine, but my Mac is stymied. This means my podcasts are stymied. This has to be fixed, soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day

Just a quick update... Today was my first day at the new gig!

It went fairly well. Definitely a cultural shift from a medical company that is based in France, but it seems like a good crowd of people. Everyone has been very friendly.

No time for stories just yet.... Still lots of TODOs to take care of as part of the move.


ps. No news on my belongings yet.....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Safe and Sound

I'm back on PEI! It was a long 3-day drive, but I made it.

Interestingly, as I cruised towards the Confederation Bridge, I heard the following songs, randomly in a 10 minute span, on the radio:
  • Life is Highway (Tom Cochrane)
  • Carry On My Wayward Son (Kansas)
  • Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
All of them seemed appropriate.

I forgot how late the sunsets are in the north. 9:30 pm! The summer evenings last forever, and I was treated to a gorgeous sunset (the disc was down, and the sky was streaked with yellows and pinks against the clouds, with only the ocean as the horizon) as I crossed the bridge. Unfortunately, PEI was traversed in darkness, but I will have the rest of the summer to explore.

Next up: start the job, start the apartment search, find a gym, and wait for my stuff to arrive.


ps. If you are on PEI, and have read this far: do you have a smart phone? If so, which one? iPhone, Droid style, or Blackberry? What about your friends? I need to make a choice soon

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bud the Spud

Bud the Spud from the bright red mud
Goin' down the highway smilin'
The spuds are big on the back of Bud's rig
They're from Prince Edward Island

(posted from the road, Columbus, Ohio)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Off the Grid

Much like a year ago, I'm at the apartment clubhouse, hammering out a blog post with no Internet access at home.

And yet things are quite different.

The movers come on Wednesday. Things are not quite ready but very close.

I have really felt the love from all corners in the last 2 weeks. I've had dinners, lunches, parties, etc. It has been a terrific send-off; far more than I ever imagined.

The people here in St Louis are really wonderful. I think I knew that beforehand, but the outpouring lately has been profound.

I was happy to see the core Dinner Club gang at a recent party. That was fun, and the ending was surprisingly overwhelming. It was the inevitable Big Moment where I realized this was all really, truly happening, and combined with moving vagueness and stress, it was intense. I could write 5 different blog posts about that evening and the people there.

Today was better. I had a final lunch with the nefarious Jim G today. Saying goodbye, the grizzled ex-Navy man was pretty choked-up until we joked that we'll race a 1/2 marathon together at a vacation event, which naturally led to me saying that "I'll be fit again by then, and you'll still be eating Moonpies and Twinkies".

It is to laugh (lest we cry).


Saturday, June 12, 2010

More Factoids

Here are some more musings....

My StL employer asked me to go onto Facebook to help our presence on social media. It was through Facebook that I noticed the job fair on PEI. I would never have seen it otherwise. (FB is much maligned in the media, and by most people, but it really does have some benefits).

My move will be a bit easier because (a) I moved last year from my apartment and (b) we moved buildings last year. So I don't have a great attachment to the buildings. Naturally, people matter far more and it isn't easy to leave them. But I hope to be back soon, maybe even this year.

The timing is pretty good. It is a good time to leave my client and June is both a decent month in St Louis (a bit warm and thunderstorm-y) and a great month on PEI. I'll be back at the height of the tourist season!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Day

Today was my last day at the client site. It was terrific.

In the morning, people brought in tons of food. Stuff from a French bakery, donuts, and more. Our war room was party central. There were many goodbyes. I had written out some notes the night before (for a select few people), and distributed the cards during the day.

One of my favourites, the famous Berlin, read her card, and then asked me, tentatively: "is a hug OK?". I laughed out loud, and very nearly shed a tear. Of course it was OK.

For lunch, they took me out to a favourite Indian cuisine restaurant. About 20 people went out, which was quite a testament to my departure (or their love of Indian food).

Finally, at the end of the day, about 18 people surprised me by singing 'O Canada'. They printed the sheet music at a Canadian gov't website, no less! It was surreal, weird, and really funny.

What a great spot. I loved that gig. It was the best place I've ever worked.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fun Facts

Here are some facts that have popped into my head on the move:

I came to the US based on a job fair that I attended (and took substantial effort and time off work) in Ottawa.

I am leaving the US based on a job fair that I attended (and took substantial effort and time off work) on PEI.

I believe the 2 oldest things that I own are a Good News Bible (received in 1983, as part of confirmation into the United Church) and a chess set that I received for Christmas when I was about 12.

My work visa expires in September, but I will not have to renew it (for the first time in years).

People ask me if PEI has various stores (e.g. Trader Joe's). I have no idea. I haven't lived there in a long time. Ditto for social services.

I find myself thinking about PEI in the era when I left. I wonder what it will be like, as though it is 1991, forgetting that I have been there 5 times in the last 2.5 years. I was just home in March!


Monday, June 07, 2010


I made my announcement over on the tech blog. I quoted a poem by Frank Ledwell (the late, famed Island writer and poet). Readers may want to check it out (click here).


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Weekend Celebrations

On Friday night, some friends got together for a bash to celebrate my departure. I could write a 10-page essay on the evening. It was just great. There were about 3 core groups (the Dinner Club gang, work people, poker friends) and others who defy categorization -- all them special and dear to me. Some extremely key people (including my best man Bryan) printed out many photos of escapades over the years.

There were pics of costumes (pirates, horse jockeys), trips (Hawaii, Paris, Amsterdam), and every hair style imaginable. I have them now with me in my apartment.

It was really touching, and of course seeing the people was even better. Everyone was very kind and wished me a warm farewell. There really aren't enough words to describe the emotions, and the bittersweet sense of finally going home and yet leaving St Louis and my friends.

I may have denied roots and commitment at every opportunity, but I absolutely do have roots here. There is no denying it.

As I've learned from Traci, I'll be back to visit. I may even book a trip this summer, just to have something ahead on the calendar. Plus, many people suggested coming to PEI. That would be fantastic!

On Saturday, I attended Jess' wedding (JLC is a dear, long-time friend and occasional commenter on this blog). It was really splendid. I loved that it fused a variety of traditions with wonderful choices from pop music (e.g. John Lennon, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder), all tastefully rendered on piano.

There were so many nice touches, but one that stood out for me was an Irish prayer (if I recall correctly). I can't find it online, but it wished the groom and bride many blessings (e.g. shelter from the rain and cold, prospersity, etc). One of them hit me pretty hard, personally: being near to loved ones. Proximity as a blessing. Amen to that. Congrats, Jess! What a lovely ceremony....


Thursday, June 03, 2010


Things are extremely busy but plans are falling into place, slow but steady.

The new motto is: just get through June. I think most of my triathlon training was intended for this month in terms of maintaining reasonable blood pressure.

A fun fact: I will start a new blog when I get to PEI. I don't know the name yet. I've always hated the URL for this one, and as my bro-in-law says "there are too many C's". It will be under this Blogger account so it won't be hard to find.