(Re-) learning to relax-Part 1

Today is the first day that I can just relax at home, sit here on the couch in my PJs and not worry about anything. I’ve been chatting online with a good friend in Mexico, another in Puerto Rico and another back in my beloved university town while listening to some of my favourite music, mostly with guitar, violin, piano and accordion, and snacking on popcorn, sweet-potato crackers and oranges. I am still exhausted after a few busy weeks of travelling with friends (in Montréal, Ottawa and near Québec City before my Convocation) and then visiting with family and friends since I returned home 10 days ago.

One of the more interesting happenings in the last month involved the interviews I had for some internships I applied for. Now when I look back on them, they make me laugh. Some context: at just after 8am on Thursday May 2nd, my good friend Claire and I left little Sackville, NB on our way to Montréal in a 20 ft. U-Haul truck with all of Claire’s belongings in the truck bed and a mountain of excitement in the cab (not to mention 3 little ‘babies’: Claire’s beloved cacti and spider plants). I was rather wired, even before a cup of coffee. Then I was totally wired. I asked Claire was she thought the interviewers might ask me, but I tried not to think too much about the interviews, which I had just found out about the day before.

As we headed farther and farther west, I became more and more chatty, but not so much because of the coffee. Rather because of the immense feeling of freedom that I felt as we left the tranquil university town we had been calling home for the past four years (minus the year Claire and I had both spent in Strasbourg, France on exchange in our 3rd year of study). We were now done all the work required to obtain our Bachelor’s degrees, mine in International Relation and Claire’s in Fine Arts. I had just finished a few days prior and was still pretty exhausted (and getting over a cold), as was Claire, who had just packed up all her possessions.

Our Convocation was to be held in 11 days and I was going to take the train from Québec to return to Sackville. I was perhaps overly excited about going to Montréal for the first time—and about life in general—and Claire had to politely ask me to zip it every once in a while. I don’t blame her. Radio Canada helped with those long hours of driving, as did the splendid sunshine.

For lunch, we stopped by Grand Falls, NB and witnessed a break taking waterfall, which I had actually just visited 2 weeks prior (more on that trip in another post). We ate pizza and happened to walk right by the high school that a mutual friend of ours had attended, by chance (NB is a seemingly tiny place). ImageAbove is the picture I took of the falls two weeks prior, on the day I visited the Tobique First Nation with representatives of Sistema NB.
The photo below is a picture I took on the road trip. Image

Once in Québec, we passed the sign for a city which is actually called Saint-Louis du Ha! Ha! Québec flags were everywhere. After a burger dinner in Québec City and a rather terrifying arrival in Montréal (city of lunatic drivers) we finally arrived at her apartment at about 11pm that night, safe and sound. Let me add that we accomplished this feat without anything more than Claire’s hand-drawn map (no we don’t have cell phones with Internet access to permit us the use of Google Maps). Claire is an amazing driver. Image

We met one of her two friendly housemates and, with his help, finished unloading the U-Haul very late/early—so that Claire could bring it back first thing in the morning. My cold made climbing up and down 2 flights of stairs with boxes and Claire’s artwork more tiring than it should have been. I wish I could have been more helpful.

At 10am the next morning I was to have two simultaneous interviews via Skype (what a concept, right?). At around 9:45, I set up camp in Claire’s new bedroom (on her mattress—still on the floor—with my laptop and a mug of tea with honey in front of closet door, which I figured would serve as an acceptable web-cam view background in between the jungle of boxes and canvases that filled the rest of the bedroom. Claire was off to return the U-Haul.

I re-read my cover letter to get my head in the right space for an interview, but I was still a little worried since I had only been told on Wednesday afternoon about it. It was now Friday morning. One interview was for an environmental/conservation type internship in rural Costa Rica and the other, for a teaching position in the slums of one of Peru’s largest cities. Both were organized through an umbrella NGO from Atlantic Canada by NGOs that would potentially send me to work with their respective partner NGOs abroad for 6 months.

How would I make myself sound like the right candidate for either of them when representatives from each NGO were going to be watching me and asking me questions during an hour-long interview?

Part 2 to come tomorrow 🙂

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