Yesterday I was sitting around having taken a day off from work with the intention of writing something for my blog. I was struggling, I don’t know how many times I got up, went outside, dug up some weeds, came back inside sat down, nothing. At one point I was actually thinking maybe I should just give up.
Here is what keeps me going, retirement age is fast approaching and I would love to take up writing but I need to practice. I try to write about my experiences; maybe I’m running out of experiences or just forgetting.
Currently I am working on a huge project at my day job and its totally consuming my creativity.
Last night I was about to go to bed and I’m my gloomy self I remembered an experience from 7 years ago which I can write about;
My first job interview in Calgary. I made some notes and went to bed.
As you probably know we moved from Toronto to Calgary 7 years ago. In Toronto I was a consultant/programmer, maintain a software application I had develop some years earlier and was really tired of it, so I jumped at the chance to do something new. I get bored easily, I think its ADD.
OK enough of the intro stuff, the interview.
I was doing really well, had the guy eating out of my hands, I am who I am, well you don’t know me, so let me tell you, I am a little conceited and very confident. I have a job interviewing technique, I call it ‘the Tony job interview technique’; I do the interviewing, you know I interview the interviewer; it takes a lot of practice, which I have. I have been fired a few times.
No I’m not incompetent.
Anyway the interviewer asked me how long I have been living in Calgary, it was Stampede time, everyone dressed like a cowboy and I dressed like I worked on Bay Street, the financial district in Toronto. I said three weeks, he was not surprised, I think it was the three piece striped suit that outed me. He asked me where I moved from, I proudly said Toronto. I spent most of my adult life in Toronto, sometimes I forget that my accent would give the impression that was not so. So now I have to explain, later.
Like I said I was doing great, knew all about the interviewer and his blended family, where he was going for vacation etc. I was an expert in the job subject, so why not, I knew I was getting this job, unless the guy was total moron.
I have a bad habit of not knowing when to stop talking. At the end I was feeling so confident, I started to talk about all the things I loved about Toronto; he seemed interested so why not, when I was finished he practically told me to go back to Toronto. What did I do wrong, doesn’t everyone love Toronto?
That was my first experience in Calgary with the ‘no not everyone love Toronto syndrome’.
Well over the next few months I began to realize that people in Calgary don’t want to hear about Toronto, so when I was asked where I was from, I would point east. If someone wanted to know more, id humbly say Ontario and if they insisted, I’d say toronto, small cap. I’m not a fool.
Where I’m going with this?
No it’s not about Calgary, it’s about people.
I was born and spent my teenage years in St Kitts, if you don’t know where that is, take a plane to Jamaica, everyone knows where that is, then take a big boat and go south, ask the driver to keep left, for two days and whammo you are in St Kitts. Warning, if you get to Trinidad it means you can’t count; I said two days, not four, turn around.
Geez I was tired of telling people that I’m not from Jamaica, but near, so I use it as a marker to point to St Kitts. This is not about Jamaica either.
A side story. I was going to fly to NY once and when I got to the airport the US custom guy asked me where I was from. I only had a St Kitts passport then. When I told him, he shouted to the other customs folks, ‘does anyone know where St Kitts is?’ he was messing with me. He had his honeymoon in St Kitts. I felt yea big, yes I get defensive.
In case you missed it, I am from St Kitts, my dad is not from St Kitts though, he was from Anguilla. In the old days the two islands were politically tied and made up a three islands ‘country’ with Nevis. The people from Anguilla have a noticeably different accent. We would sometimes tease my dad.
Sad to say but the people in St Kitts made fun of Anguillans, seems like I’m always in the wrong place. What is it with people?
As a kid I wanted to belong, so my attitude was I am from St Kitts, not Anguilla, Dad you are on your own.
I must tell you, my dad was fiercely Anguillan, loved his country and I don’t believe anyone has ever made fun of his heritage to his face. He had a reputation. Today if you asked me where I’m from, my answer would depends on who you are, I’m may be from St Kitts, if you are from a smaller island in the Caribbean or Toronto if you are from anyplace else in Canada other than Calgary, for Calgarians, to make my life easy, I’m from Anguilla, seems exotic, plus they don’t know the accent. There is a downside, I get a lot of; ‘you are from Angola’? Silly people, no Anguilla, Google it, it’s close to St Martin, take a plane go south past Jamaica……
I once travelled from Anguilla to St Martin in a fishing boat with a small outboard motor.
Darn almost forgot, for those who know me personally, I’m also from Nevis, that’s where my mom’s from, pheww, that was close.
If you don’t know, St Kitts and Nevis are one country, I don’t talk much about Nevis because St Kitts and Nevis peoples sometimes conflict because of politics, so when I am talking to someone from the federation, if I don’t know for sure which island they are from, I’m from Trafalgar (that’s the village where I was born), seems no one is threatened by that.
Not that long ago, I met a guy from Nevis on FB and we got chatting about the old days. I tried to show off and told him my mom was Nevisan. We chatted for a while and when we were finished he said, ‘by the way, before you go telling anyone that you are from Nevis, it’s not Nevisan, its Nevisian’. I was humbled. I Googled it, both are there. Not sure which it is, Im from St Kitts, a Kittitian.
I am thinking of getting my genes analyzed and getting a certificate that shows all the places I’m from.
When am I going to be from Calgary? I don’t think I’m done being from someplace else as yet, I love Calgary but the weather…..
Which brings me to my point, what is it about people, why do we need to know where people are from?