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Home : Local Reports   : Canadian Rocky Mountains
"I'm very pleased that MacMillan Bloedel finally caved in to the pressure and will cease clearcutting. Best headline I've read in years."
- Javina Kiume

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Canada

Rocky awakening
by Javina Kiume, 32, originally from Vancouver, Canada
Sep 20, 1999

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Haven't done a lot of hiking so far -- the last thing I want to do after work is walk more -- but I've been around the jewel of a lake and I commute the 1.5 km to work through the woods. The air is thin but sweet, the silence is soothing, the mountains commanding. I'm isolated, but it's a pretty good place to be isolated.

The forest is scrappier and life's a lot more harsh than it is in the Pacific Northwest, however. I've never seen woods more beautiful than the old growth rainforest on the coast, and I definitely want to make my home there. I'm very pleased that MacMillan Bloedel finally caved in to the pressure and will cease clearcutting. Best headline I've read in years.

Work is OK, if a little stressful, so far. As a Shift Supervisor I work as a server but also function as an assistant manager; opening/closing, organizing, motivating, etc. But there've been communication problems, meaning my boss hasn't told me all I needed to know and ignorant blunders have resulted. It's better now, but in the beginning it was as though the restaurant was a bus: the servers drive it and the supervisors fix the engine when it breaks down, which is frequently. But they hadn't explained how the engine works, I didn't know all the parts or where to get oil and spark plugs. Meanwhile, they also expected me to wash the damn bus. (They've just now hired a dishwasher, we had to do our own.) But I'm getting to know the engine now, so long as something enormously complex, like the transmission, doesn't fall out, I'm fine. My attitude is good and my tips have been OK, though business isn't brisk enough yet to save money.

Cigarettes cost $6.50. I quit for 2 days, relapsed, quit again, relapsed, and will quit again. Extremely hard to do. I approach it as a battle: I'm stonger than any substance and any corporate marketing machine and I can do it! And I do, until I get tired and stressed and I weaken, then the addiction wins the battle. But I'll win the war.

My accommodations are so-so. As a supervisor I get to stay in a "chalet" instead of the underling residence, where they bunk four to a room. It's a one bedroom cabin with private bath and kitchenette but no furniture to speak of. I have a roommate in the bedroom, I'm in the living room with a bed and a loveseat; I keep my clothes in the kitchen cupboards. Once I get paid I'll buy groceries; until then, it's the daily culinary disappointments of the staff cafeteria and the vending machine. No free meals at work.

My new roomie is nice, she's chipper and easygoing, and she's not around much. Our hectic schedules and her boyfriend minimize interaction.

To summarize: work's working out, I miss my boyfriend more than I can say, I'm glad to be in this part of the planet, I'm learning new things and re-learning old things like homesickness, bio- and cultural diversity, and isolation among a crowd. I'll be playing Neil Young tunes soon on my borrowed guitar; they fit the terrain and the mood.

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