Sunday, 8 May 2016

Riding the Bull: An Unexpected Welcome Home Experience

I am a gladiating champion. The word gladiating is one that I made up to describe the act of participating in a gladiator competition between friends. As a result I hold the official title of Orange Canadian in the 2016 Atlantic Canadian IYIP cohort  It's serious business. But none of this would have been possible without the icy, cold welcome of our reintegration getaway.

Reintegration took place in what could be considered one of the coldest places possible, during three of the coldest days in the almost two weeks since I've returned - Hatfield Farms, found in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia. As a result, all fifteen of us bonded in ways we hadn't anticipated, partly out of the need to just stay warm. Two moments took me by surprise on the first day - one the unexpected snowfall, that initially was really exciting, but then quickly made everything seem that much colder; and two, how light it still was at 7:30PM.

Speaking to the latter, there was a moment where I honestly began panicking, because I couldn't tell what time it was. In this case I wasn't sure if an entire day had passed that I'd somehow blanked out on, or of the previous few hours had not actually passed and that I had just daydreamed them. But, sure enough all signs pointed to the fact that time change allows the light to remain much later in the day than I'm used to. You see, in Uganda, time change isn't a thing, and daylight hours remained consistent throughout the duration of my stay.

Anyway, throughout the three days we did a series of activities all intended to help us proceed with the days, weeks and months to follow. This include topics ranging from how to talk about our experience to a variety of audiences, to how to look for employment opportunities, to where we wanted to be in 2018. For me, I pictured exactly what I'm currently working towards, in one amazing, yet unanticipated, moment of artistic brilliance*.

2018... apparently. ...and, no, that's not a slug under the tree. 
Now back to gladiating. For some reason, the prospect of participating in such an activity left me with a surprising sense of aggression. Usually I'm only theoretical violent... in that I enjoy boxing, or the ruckus of being one of two participants involved in a very intense sibling rivalry that neither of us is actually participating in. So, this out-of-nowhere desire to beat my friend, and IYIP cohort-ee, Eric "to a pulp" took me a bit by surprise. And thankfully, he was game for such a random desire to battle it out - one ginger against another!

When it came to the one-on-one matches, I owned this. However, to be honest, I'm not sure how much of my winning was actually Eric just being kind and letting me win. He was, after all, the bull riding champion** of the 2016 Atlantic Canadian IYIP cohort. But, when it came to the group gladiating session - meaning four-on-one - I was only able to rise to second place. I also beat up my boss later on after I challenged her to a round of boxing. In conclusion, I think I might have some newfound/pent up anger issues I need to work on... In any case, I'd like to say a big thank you to Eric for going along with my gladiating enthusiasm!

You can't tell from this picture, but I had just won... and because I'm
so out of shape, require a good 30 minutes to recover before round 2! 
Proof is in the punch, or swift moment of gladiation, in this case. 
Concluding the reintegration activities was a public event hosted by ACIC at the Company House in downtown/north-end Halifax. Here each participant was given 2-5 minutes to speak to one of four questions related to the IYIP experience. I was lucky enough to have the easiest question possible, because all I had to do was talk about my future plans, and how they came about. Perhaps announcing to Grammy publicly that I'm leaving again in October was not the way to go about things. But it was a great way to end the internship, aside from the fact that everyone kind of dispersed without saying so long. On the other hand, no tears were shed, so... Go team!...??

Photo credit: Mike Kennedy
UPDATE: Here is a video of the above public engagement event

In the days that followed, cohort-ee Rachel*** and I made the trek home/to Wolfville and surrounding areas for Burger Wars. Here we intended on consuming six of the 20+ burgers on offer for this epic and meaty event, but after number three we found ourselves parked in front of a discount pie store, and well... that was the end of our War with Burgers.

The next day we took a trip down memory lane, and walked the Musquodoboit Harbour trail before driving down my old road to see how the new occupants of Mom's home were caring for it. It turns out, quite well! I think Ma would have been quite impressed!

A couple 'o shots from the bridge on the Musquodoboit Harbour Trailway

It's good, but weird to be home. I'm better adjusted to the colder-than-usual temperatures, but also looking forward to the return of warm, sunny days.

-the Orange Canadian

*The reference to 'brilliance' may just be in the eye of the beholder.
** took me longer to get on and situated than I stayed on...
**of Christmas adventuring fame.

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