Day 35: Thank goodness for pilgrims

I am proud to announce that I am finally putting my feet up and taking a big sigh of relief in home sweet home! I know it’s only been a little more than a month, but I feel so … old. So much has happened in this past month. It’s always nice to come back and know that I can put down the heavy load that is university stress, however briefly, and enjoy the Thanksgiving break.

That’s not to say I don’t have work to do this weekend. I am actually extraordinarily busy because professors have got the deranged notion that their class is the only class that matters. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the prof announce, “There’s some reading to do over the break, but I really don’t think it’s too much to ask. You have four days off school! Be a lamb and take a little time to read the tiny 500-page package and prepare for the midterm that you will be writing as soon as you get back! Enjoy the weekend!” Does no one see something wrong with that? Maybe if you multiplied it by about four or five, once from each course. And suddenly this weekend is looking a lot busier than you might have hoped.

But before I launch myself whole-heartedly into this “relaxing” weekend, I thought I’d make up for yesterday’s lack of posting. I arrived in Toronto last night at about 11 p.m. and it was nearing 1 a.m. when Mom and I finally got home (after our midnight homecoming feast).

Day 34: Homeward bound

It was such a long day! I was up at 6:15 a.m. (It just wouldn’t look good if I missed my first appearance on the radio show) and down at the studio by 6:45 a.m. It was pitch dark outside – the world was telling me I should be in bed. But as soon as I slipped on the headset and saw the giant mic hanging in front of me, it was goodbye sleepiness and good morning, nation!

I had no idea that I would have to participate in the discussion topics planned for this week’s Spaces, Places and Faces! I know diddly squat about the TD Bank’s funding of a farmer’s market in Lansdowne Park. But I was on the air and had to say something. It was kind of a blur, but I think I made a weak pinwheel rainbow joke and mentioned something about Brita filters. It was also a bit of a hectic day for Robyn, the co-host too. The other co-host, Henry, was away today and this was the first time she was running the show by herself.

So we did have a lot of dead air, but I thoroughly enjoyed my first real radio experience despite my many blunders. There were two people who were supposed to be on the show with us but never showed up, so there was a long pause in introductions before I realized it was my turn to talk. About one second after that, I made my second mistake. I had  read over the script quickly before we started,  and noticed I had to say, “And we’ll be your hosts for the morning.” I thought to myself, “That’s funny, I’m so used to listening to evening broadcasts. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if I said ‘evening’ instead of ‘morning?’ Don’t say ‘evening.’ Don’t say ‘evening.’ Don’t say ‘evening.'” Sure enough, I said “evening.”

For the rest of the show, I was just going with the flow. It’s kind of cool to see behind the scenes of radio. I got through my environmental news relatively unscathed. I’m just glad I didn’t run out of breath at the wrong times or cough, choke, stutter or die partway through. I’m pretty sure I talked too quickly (a common fault of mine), so I’ll try to slow it down next time. Oh, did I say “next time?” Why yes I did! I’m going back next Thursday to do the environmental news again! I guess all that practicing of my mildly concerned, but overall nonchalant radio voice paid off. It’s so hard to talk like a news reporter. It’s not a dramatic reading, you know! Every item had to be delivered in the exact same tone, from, “The world ends today at noon,” to “Scientists just announced cookies will now be raining from the sky.”

After the show, I went to breakfast with the other three hosts. There’s a restaurant on campus that I never even knew about! It’s called Baker’s and it’s run by students. It looks really fancy, with table cloths, napkin rings, and menus that come on little wicker backing. But the prices are great! At $5 for a giant plate of French toast, pancakes, egg white frittata, or whatever tickles your fancy, and $2 for unlimited Starbucks coffee, I most definitely need to go there more often!

It’s funny. There’s never a lull in conversation with radio people. I’ve never had such lively breakfast conversation. Everyone has an opinion on everything. We had friendly arguments on everything from Stephen Harper’s public image to Russia’s KGB, and James Cameron’s Avatar. It was a lot of fun!

But the fun had to come to an end. I had a class to get to: journalism. It was the only thing standing between me and the freedom of Thanksgiving weekend. Fortunately my journalism prof was nice and let us out an hour early at 1:30 p.m. We were just talking about municipal council meetings (a.k.a. snore fest). Some people didn’t even show up for class! Our prof said they sent him an email saying they left early for Thanksgiving. Well I suppose it’s their loss because they missed out on the riveting lesson on how to navigate the City of Ottawa website and where to find the city council agenda. Who am I kidding? I wish I could have left early for Thanksgiving too!

I’m not looking forward to our next two assignments. We have to find a council meeting and cover it. And with E-Day (election day) coming up on Oct. 25, I think everyone’s going to be covering an electoral meeting. Oh joy. And we can’t just cover it. We have to “make the ordinary extraordinary!” If anyone has a magic genie or a radioactive spider tucked away somewhere, now would be the time to send it to me.

By 4:30 p.m., Kitty and I couldn’t wait any longer. We hopped on a taxi and went to the Via Rail station and waited for our 6:20 p.m. train to arrive. Five mind-numbing hours later, I was walking on the sweet, sweet asphalt of Toronto.

My mom was waiting for me right outside Union station. After much rejoicing and some happy-dancing, we went to Marché for dinner. It was midnight. I can’t even describe how great it feels to be home! And that’s saying something. I like to think I know a lot of words.

Now it’s 5:22 p.m. on Day 1 of my long weekend. Where has the day gone? I feel like I’ve been running around all day, just getting some personal maintenance appointments out of the way. As Mom likes to say, “Holidays are a time for pampering.” And I think it’s safe to say I have been thoroughly pampered. We went to Sunset Grill this morning and had our customary big brunch: two giant chocolate-chip pancakes, four sausages, three scrambled eggs and a heaping mountain of home fries. If that doesn’t say Welcome Home, nothing does.

Pampering aside, I think it’s time to get back to reality. Homework calls and I am its powerless slave. Still, I’d rather be doing homework here in the comfort of my own home with Mom only a few steps away, than holed up in residence.


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