Now online: My book review of “Will The Real Alberta Please Stand Up?” by Geo Takach
Published by This magazine.
Here’s an excerpt:
Pop quiz: which major Canadian city elected a progressive, Muslim, Harvard-educated mayor last year? The answer is Calgary, and if you find this at all surprising, you may have some assumptions to explore with Geo Takach.
The Quebec born author, who moved to Alberta as a teen, has long been fascinated with the mythologies unique to Wild Rose Country. In a quest both serious and silly, with Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up? he makes observations, mines documents, and interviews both public figures (Preston Manning, Martha Kostuch) and private folk of all persuasions.
(Continue reading …)
1) First things First: What is Katimavik? Click Here
2) My Reasons for Choosing Katimavik. Click Here
3) Oh the places I would go: My three communities and beyond. Click Here
4) My Katimavik Group: Randomly-Selected Brothers and Sisters. Click Here
5) From City Hall, to the organic farm, then back to high school again: My Work Projects
Ian, Maggie, Me, Alicia, Courtenay and Julie put our most professional face forward.
JOB #1: Leduc City Hall & The Leduc Recreation Centre || Leduc, Alberta
“Does these look professional?” I held up a pair of beige pants for Alicia to judge. At a nearby rack, she was diligently browsing through collared blouses.
“How should I know?” She shrugged, motioning to her Birkenstocks and cargo shorts.
We had been in the Salvation Army—or “Sally Arms” as Alicia called it—for close to an hour. Our mission was simple: we had to look presentable. We were among the volunteers chosen to work at the Leduc City Hall, and we needed office clothing—asap.
When I had packed for Katimavik I’d left all my “nice clothes” at home. I imagined that we’d be digging trails and building house frames (hence their suggestion that we bring steel-toed boots), not wearing laminated name tags in a spotless office building. It just goes to show that you never really know what to expect from the program.
Alicia held up a blue collared-shirt. I nodded, laughing to myself. “I just hope the employees at the office don’t recognize any of their old work shirts on our first day.” Continue reading
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition–Alan Alda
Me, at the age of 18, on my second day of Katimavik.
1) First things First: What is Katimavik? Click Here
2) My Reasons for Choosing Katimavik. (read below)
3) Oh the places I would go: My three communities and beyond. (read below)
4) My Katimavik Group: Randomly selected brothers and sister. Click Here.
5) But what did we do all day? My three wonderful work placements Click Here
2) My Reasons for Choosing Katimavik
At first, my parents didn’t understand. I had obtained an entrance scholarship to York University, I was receiving good grades, I was involved in the York community…why would I want to drop it all for a so-called gap year? I explained again that I needed time to figure myself out, that I didn’t want to go into my second year without any idea of who I was or what I wanted, and that I needed to do something other than sit in front of a pedagogue. That was my official plea.
Off the record, I was really desperate for a change that was big enough to give me some much-needed perspective. You see, even though older people scoff at teens that use the word, I truly felt that I was heart-broken. In the summer after high school, my first love had promised me affection and loyalty and he packed his bags for Carleton University. Long story short: he broke that promise.
It wasn’t so much the pain of the break-up—though that was considerable—it was the fact that I finally realized that I had been putting so much effort into being someone’s girlfriend…I barely knew myself. I wanted to experience something new, different, challenging and to physically distance myself from everything that came before it. Thus, as a wide-eyed 18-year-old, I packed my own bags.
Julie, fellow traveller, takes a moment to reflect. This photo reminds me of the wonderful months that I lived out West.
Many moons ago, I ran away to Alberta. I remember being a terrified 18-year-old, alternately folding t-shirts and wiping tears. My little sister Beatrice, 8-years-old at the time, sat at the foot of my bed staring at me with big wet eyes. She didn’t want me to go. But I had to go.
A few months prior, I had found my acceptance letter to the Katimavik program in a dark, dirty crevice. Someone had probably tossed it on top of the fridge–a bad habit in this family–and it must have fallen onto the floor. Luckily, my father had forced me to clean behind the fridge just in time to see the letter and to embrace my fate.
I couldn’t believe I was about to spend nine months travelling Canada, volunteering in small communities, and living with ten peers and a project leader. I had never been away from my family for so long. Nine months seemed like an eternity to me.
But I had to prove myself. I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart, Dave–a frequent occurrence in our four year whirlwind of pubescent purgatory–and I was determined to be something more than someone’s girlfriend. I was restless and desperate to run out toward new horizons. To find the meaning of Fabiola.
“But Alberta is so far away!” cried Bebe, unfolding one of my t-shirts. She was still a little girl then, with baby fat and pink barrettes.