Arrival.

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get this post up for a few days – but I’m already learning to make time here for what is important. If you’re reading this, you’re important in my life, so thank you!

My take-off at the Victoria airport was a little hectic on Thursday morning. Heavily concerned that my second checked bag would be far over the maximum allowed 70lbs, I was informed that I was barely over fifty, and wouldn’t even pay an overweight fee. I was overjoyed, but instantly regretted a few of the items I had urgently tossed out of my suitcase the night before in a panic to remain legal to fly (my other coat, some tea, and many, many extra pairs of socks).

Nonetheless, the hard part was over, and my bloody heavy bags were out of my hands.

With a new miniature hookah under my arm and a backpack on my shoulders, I ventured through security. As always, I was randomly selected to for an extra search. You bet I chose the pat down – there are few simple joys in life as making an airport security guard as uncomfortable as their existence makes the general public. Also, those scanners really are shit for your health.

Upon arriving in Vancouver, I had three or so hours (to nap, obviously) before my flight to Sandspit. I woke up with enough time to connect with some of the other students also waiting. As boarding begins, more of us realize we’re all on this trip, and so do the locals who are joining us on the plane. They’re as excited for us as we are, and the chatter is loud and enthusiastic as we all board a rad little Bombardier prop plane for the 2-hour jaunt over to Haida Gwaii.

Clear Skies
We flew over the clouds, in the clear sunshine!

Francois had given me the perfect book for the flight: ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road’ – Willie Nelson’s memoirs, ramblings and life-lessons. I was reading it intensely for nearly two hours. At his insightful suggestion that “maybe Earth is a school where we come to learn lessons,” I looked out and saw these mystical islands, rising out of the mist as if only just coming into reality themselves, knowing that I was in for one hell of a lesson these coming months. Somewhat out of fashion for this time of year, the weather was absolutely clear upon  landing:

The sun was shining for us.

From the small airport, we boarded a bus to the ferry across the bay to Graham Island, where we will all be living and learning. One of my three roommates and I were given a ride to our house by ‘Captain Gold’, our new friend and landlord! He is a kind-hearted Haida historian at the ripe age of 71, though you’d never guess that if you saw him. In the 1970s, this man paddled his canoe more than 200 kilometres up the coast in order to establish formal protection of his heritage, and the heritage of all the Haida people from this land. He secured this by forming the Haida Gwaii Watchmen Program, which works to keep an eye on important historical sites in Haida Gwaii, and educate visitors of their significance. On the short drive, he told us some local folklore, shortened versions of his people’s stories. I’m excited for the privilige to hear these stories in their full. 

Our house, rainbow stairs, is aptly named:

It’s a bright, incredibly large space, with a lot of room to share with anyone who is able to visit! It’s also full of art – photography, painted drums, flags and local maps. My room (which is amazingly larger than the small shed I had previously been sharing with my boyfriend!) has my favourite map in the whole house. It’s probably six feet tall, and encompasses the geography of this beautiful place.

My roommates and I are quickly getting to know each other. Everyone is so wise in their own way, and also well-travelled! It makes me excited to voyage out around this little rock in space, maybe even beyond. Here’s to the first day of a new adventure!

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9 thoughts on “Arrival.

  1. Sounds like a wonderful start of your adventure. One of the islands in Skidegate inlet is named after my great great grandfather. Legace Island.

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      1. Alex,

        My mom’s side of the family included many historical figures from the Hudson Bay Company. Both sides of the family have a history in the early days of Victoria as well as many of the other forts throughout the pacific northwest. Along with that of course is a large Metis influence in the family too.

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      2. That is incredibly special – how cool to have that history to share with the world! It would have been something else to be on the verge of such a new frontier, but maybe we’ll get to be a part of the Final Frontier in our times 🙂

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      3. Alex, I had to refer to my sister for the history lesson. It was my Great Great Great Grandfather who explored for gold on the West coast of Moresby Island on behalf of the Hudson Bay Company. He made several trips over a few years, and also did trading with the Haidas. Being half native he also new the languages of many of the Pacific Northwest Indians.

        It is an exciting time as we enter a new era of private enterprise in space. While I’m probably too old, I suspect you may have the opportunity to book a tourist flight into space while in your prime of life. I know we share a love for motorcycles, and I have a lot more roads to explore on this class M planet we call home before I settle down and hang up my helmet. I look forward to following your current adventure. LLAP

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  2. Thanks so much for giving us a look into your new world! I am excited for you to continue this journal and let us know more about this fascinating culture. Love you! Auntie Sharon

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