I can't believe we only arrived here in Calgary yesterday. Right now it seems like we have been here for a long time. I actually found a campground that had a spot for our tent. I thought that was rather miraculous since the Stampede is going on and all. However, the spot we have is up at the top of the campground, making it a long walk anywhere. It's also mostly amongst RVs AND we had a few partying neighbours last night. Apparently the cheaper booze here in this place makes for a good party atmosphere.
I have been pondering a lot how it was to move to Calgary all those years ago. When I was here before I had just left my first husband and moved here to get away from everything. Parents, overly controlling relgion and husband and all the trappings of the life I was supposed to want but really didn't. I came here and experienced freedom for the first time, packing up what I could fit in my car and moving to a small house in SouthWest Calgary without a job or a clue of how to get one. I did get one, and a girl I worked with in BC decided to come with me so I had a roommate as well. It was all very exciting. We were dirt poor while I was here. Rent was high (ish) and minimum wage was only $5/hour. I remember once not being able to afford food because I needed the money for gasoline for the car if I wanted to get to work. I didnt have many coping skills for poverty. I didnt even think to visit a soup kitchen or anything like that so I just went hungry for awhile. It made me super careful not to ever let my cupboards get bare though!
So I moved here and remember feeling so HAPPY for the first time. I sat in my little living room the first week (alone because the roommate came later) and just enjoyed the feeling of not having to conform to anyone else's ideas for the very first time ever. I drove around Calgary just to experience it, got lost, met new people and life was just a huge, open highway of hope and promise. It was amazing. I vividly remember knowing that I had made the right choice, no matter what.
Last night I sat and looked out at the city lights, remembering these things and being glad I took the path I did. I understand that most people love or need that conventional life with the picket fence, the husband, the 25 year marriage. I just dont think it FIT me and even though I knew it all the way back when I was 21 and getting divorced for the first time, I didnt really realize that it would never be me until now. I have tried to fit it. I got into relationships that could have worked. I had the children (and am VERY glad I did), I bought the house and worked hard. But it doesnt fit, it just doesnt. I get this incredibly strong itch to break the mold, to become something different, to be somewhere else and I eventually have to do it no matter how much I wanted to conform so I finally decided to just be me and stop trying to be someone else.
Ok...so back to the Stampede. It was not what I expected at all. I can't say I was disappointed but I wasn't thrilled either. There were a lot of rides, it was very expensive, a LOT of people, VERY hot and a lot of vendors. I was hoping to taste some amazing steaks at the very least but the steak sandwiches were kinda blah and I have tasted better in Northern Ontario. So I don't know if I would come back to it again but glad I finally did it.
So tomorrow we are heading north to near Edmonton to stay at a cabin with a friend and colleague who invited us. Sounds like a peaceful little place and I am looking forward to it. For some reason, the usual gregarious Golda is not having much luck meeting new people this trip. Maybe it's the scowl on my face from tent camping at cramped and overly strict campgrounds? Or the hours of driving that leave me crabby and hard to like? I dont know but it hasn't quite clicked as much as I had hoped. However, the kids are having fun I think. I am very glad my daughter is here because I think 24/7 with the little guy with no break would have been too hard even for me.
Well...I promised to go swimming with them so I should get off of here before I have to pick up the dog. I will say one thing: Doggy daycare is an AWESOME idea. Thank you to the doggy daycares out there!!
Until the next wifi...