Thursday, March 28, 2013

St. John's, via the Great Circle Route.

I was conceived in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  Born there too, but conception is far more interesting and typically not as messy.

Fog City. There is scenery in there somewhere.

From an elixir of rain, drizzle, fog and 69 cent beer pitchers, I was distilled. Quite frankly, I am a medical miracle. Subtracting my birthday from my parents’ wedding anniversary, I have concluded that I was 6 months premature. It probably explains why I have been premature and immature all my life.

I was a month old before I flew for the first time. At six weeks, I went to sea.  Combining the two took me 37 years. I am a slow learner and late bloomer. 
Cape Race, Newfoundland. Where Titanic's last calls were heard.

My first birthday was spent at a lighthouse. Birthday cake is pretty sweet when mixed with sea spray and nothing celebrates life more than the beckoning call of a fog horn.

I went to university in St. John’s to study Marine Biology. My desire to be a Marine Biologist had less to do with studying whales and other large fish, but with how I looked in a wetsuit. Girls love whales, and I thought at the time that Shamu was the perfect wingman.

I see whales a lot in my job. They are beautiful fish.

I finished school with a six year Arts degree. Thats what happens when Organic Chemistry and Statistics are schedule first thing Monday morning and last thing Friday afternoon. After an unplanned academic sabbatical, I returned to university and majored in Political Science. It was a perfect fit for me. I didn’t need to know anything, but just have a resolute opinion on everything.
My favourite lamp at Duke of Duckworth, where I formed most of my uninformed opinions.

I met my wife in St. John’s. She was impressed with my carefree spirit and liaise-faire attitude to societal norms like making your bed or picking up your dirty laundry. I wasn’t burdened by those restraints then and still not now. My wife however is not as charmed by my reckless disregard for tidiness like she once was.

She stocked me at first, and despite my best efforts to screw things up, she has stayed with me. Our wedding was postponed because I got a job opportunity in Zanzibar, Tanzania. When I returned from Africa, we moved into a cold apartment in downtown St. John’s. It wasn’t much then and still isn’t. We huddled for warmth and dreamed of bigger better things. I hope the people who live there now have fixed the drafts and dream big. 
Our old place. Still looks cold and drafty.

Our lives’ plan was postponed because I got a job opportunity in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Who can turn down Moose Jaw? The prairies led to Halifax and eventually gave me an opportunity to complete the great circle route, back to St. John’s.
When this pick was taken, I think we were the most easterly point in North America.

Flying off a ship in the rain and fog, past a lighthouse to ‘on top’ a city where it all began is pretty special. At a thousand feet you can still make out drafty apartments where couples dream big, university students skipping class, and lots of great places to have a beer.