Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ride 'Em, Cowboy

Rodeo stories are usually the same each year. Someone looking rather red faced and/or wheezy appears at the first aid post, "I forgot I was allergic to [horses|dust|hay|air|people]! I didn't bring my puffer!" We give out so much benadryl and ventolin it's unreal. Silly people.

Thursday night was the "Tough Enough To Wear Pink" night. All the cowboys had pink shirts on, to raise awareness for breast cancer. They all looked really good. I noted once again, though, that some cowboys just look better with their hats on. It's not that they are hiding a bald spot or something, they just look better with the hat on. Female friends of mine have confirmed this to be true.

The start up of the evening was really impressive. The house lights go down, and a little girl comes into the arena leading a horse by its bridle. No saddle, no harness. She leads it into the centre of the arena and tries to get on, but can't. She's much too small.

She sits down cross legged in the dirt and looks forlorn.

The other side gates open and ten women walk out and fan out around the girl and her horse. As they do so, fifty cowboys walk out and fan out around the edge of the arena. They are all carrying flaming torches. The flickering of the fire lights up the area.

The women are carrying blankets, saddles, tack and harness. Some lead the girl to one side and speak to her. The others prepare the horse. The blankets go on, the saddle, the tack and harness. The horse is calmed and the girl is helped into the saddle. She rides around the arena, a huge smile on her face.

The announcer states that the five year old girl couldn't have done any of this on her own, and neither could her grandmother, who is a breast cancer survivor. The little girl was able to ride the horse thanks to the help of her sisters who came and supported her.

The women were the barrel racing contestants. The men were all the male contestants.

I've never seen so many cowboys cry.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Wild Ride

Originally uploaded by Morpheus_uk.
When I supervise a duty, everyone is comfortable, safe, and in a learning environment. When we have down time, we go over scenarios. We practice vitals. We try doing speed blood pressures. When a patients comes to us, people quickly either assign themselves to assist or leave the post. it is clear who is dealing with the patient, and it runs like a well oiled machine.

But we also have fun.

Friday was the last Eskimos home game for the season, and I was with a stalwart set of volunteers who have been there for just about every game. I honestly feel they made it more easy and fun for me that I ever could for them.

Thank you all. I laughed so hard on Friday night that my sides hurt when I woke up on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home Network Configuration

Home Network Configuration
Originally uploaded by Morpheus_uk.
I love my new home set up now.

I recently got a new PC. It has a small form factor and is about the same size as the sub woofer in my sound system.

Before I got the new PC, I also got a sweet 32" Samsung HDTV. For a while I had my laptop connected, running it as the biggest monitor I ever had and playing DVDs on it. A little later the XBOX 360 Elite came out, so I got one and took advantage of the HDMI connection. Now I play DVDs using that.

I had a nice PC that I could play WoW on, browse the net, play music, watch movies and downloaded TV. I had an XBOX that I could play games on. I had a nice TV that I could watch basic cable on. Everything seemed pretty sweet. The only downside was that if I wasn't actually home, I couldn't watch shows.

I realised something. I wanted to share files from the PC to the XBOX. I found TVersity which streams any content to any device capable of viewing it.

Then I realised something else. The new PC, with Vista Home Premium, has a Media Center. I did some research into things like personal video recorders and Windows Media Center and wondered what I could do to get all this to work. I realised I needed a TV Tuner.

After opening up my PC, I found that my super stonky graphics card took up both PCI slots available. Whoops. No big deal.

I went out and got a new monitor (just... because!), and a WinTV-PVR-USB2 thingy. I plugged them all in and installed the drivers and software.

I fired up Media Center. It told me it found a new TV Tuner. It asked for my postcode. It downloaded a 14 day TV Program Guide. It let me schedule things to be recorded. It was, frankly, utterly amazing.

Then I connected the XBOX to the PC as a Media Center Extender. I can watch live TV from my front room. I can schedule recordings from the front room. I can even, using the "MSN Remote Record Service", schedule recordings from work.

This is the first time in the years I've been using PCs that everything has just come together smoothly in one seamless package. The on screen interface is awesome. I didn't have a video recorded, or any other gadgets. I believe I can even set my laptop up as a Media Center Extender and watch TV from anywhere in the apartment.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Tonight was the season opener for the Oilers. We only had three volunteers there, which made it a little hard to provide coverage, but the two extra I had are stalwarts who try to make it for every single Oilers game.

The game was going well, we were 2-1 up. I went over to the Game Day office and managed to get some Oilers bandannas for the other volunteers and we got a call on the radio for someone collapsed. I sent one member over, got the other to watch for pucks in the crowd on both sides, and... kinda sorta ran to the other side of the arena.

When I found my first responder, they were dealing with someone who had actually fallen down some stairs. They were over 90 and had a bump on the knee and a slight bump on the head. I tell yah, they don't make 'em like they used to.

I went to the post to get some ice for the bumps and met them on the other side, as they were heading out to go home. I popped into the Game Day office and thanked them for the bandannas - in all the rush I took them and just ran off.

The game went into overtime, just when we thought we'd have an early night. Power Plays, shots on goal, it all looked so close. Then BOOM, Shoot Outs! Rolly saved the right ones! Stolly scored the rights ones! A season opener win for the Oilers!

Then the phone went, and a medic we work with called in from the City EMS to give us the heads up that someone with an internal defibrillator had called in because it had fired twice. We hadn't been contacted about this, so we notified security and then searched around the area.

An EMS crew turned up and joined the search. We eventually found our patient, who was the shy side of 50. After requesting a specific hospital and being told he couldn't be guaranteed to be taken there, he wanted to go with his friends. We explained to him that if he died on the way there with his friends, he'd stay dead, but if he went with the EMS crew, they'd get him back no problem. He was convinced. Hehe.

So we had someone over 90 who was doing stunt tumbles down stairs, and another who was under 50 with a cardiac history and a fitted defibrillator. Just goes to show that you never know.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last night, Oilers pre-season game. Chatting to a fellow St John Ambulance person in the corridor outside the first aid post. I hear a noise, sounds like water running. "Oh no, not again!" I say, as I stand up and turn around and slam open the doors as fast as I can.

I hit someone, the door bounces back, I step over the fresh puddle of pee on the ground and look around the corner. I see a girl standing, talking to someone.

"There's no way she could have got her knickers and pants up that fast", I think. I look further around the corner and see a guy there, animatedly talking with his hands in that fake, 'of-course-I've-been-talking-for-ages' way. I stare at him for a while, and go back inside.

Next time I'll remember to take a photo with my phone camera. Dirty dirty people. Make the corridor smell of pee.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Memories: The Human Beatbox and Entertainer

Picture the scene with me.

It is 1986. In Harlow, Essex, England there is an unusual culture mix at secondary school. Predominant among most kids is 'Casual' rather than 'New Romantic'. There were also a lot of Heavy Metal fans, some Rockers, and a few Mods. Largely, though, people didn't strive to stand out, it was more important to fit in. I was sort of a Casual.

An outsider would have defined Casuals as 'white kids and hip hop'. We were big into hip hop. Music, fashion, culture. The lot. We were also a relatively multi-cultural school, being just outside London. But we were still white kids, which made it all so much funnier looking back on it. We were into Miami Vice mixed with Duran Duran. We would take train trips into London looking for West End Girls.

At my school we had a school uniform. I think this is generally a good thing. You don't have to try to fit in, or impress anyone, because your outfit is already determined for you. Girls would push the envelope and wear makeup. Actually, some boys did as well - the whole 'New Romantic' thing. Boys would untuck their shirts or make their ties huge or tiny. The thing that really stood out in terms of individuality was the footwear. Trainers. The cooler the better. Either Nike or Reebok, sometimes Puma or Adidas. Some of the styles were amazing, and could be upwards of 60 pounds a pair - which by todays money would be 2 gagillion pounds. Rocking out with a new pair of trainers would cause everyone in the playground to come over and check you out. If you were cool, there would be oohs and aaahs. If you weren't cool enough, everyone would try to stomp the fuck out of your new shoes, dirtying them up. Fun times.

Anyway, that's not what this was about. Just setting the scene.

I grew up with music on the radio, but also my parents records. That meant I listened to such things as Elvis and the Beatles (Mum) and Otis Redding and James Brown (Dad). My favourite group at the time was The Police, three white English guys who played reggae punk. This may explain my eclectic music taste now.

My best friend introduced me to Hip Hop music. I can recall hanging out with him and his monster of a ghetto blaster listening to Herbie Hancock, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, Eric B. & Rakim, and all sorts of other great stuff. Damn, that was a cool boombox.

One of the most popular songs was called "The Show" by Doug E Fresh. As well as being a rapper, he was one of the first beatboxers. His partner was Slick Rick, and together with the Get Fresh Crew they rapped over riffs taken from the theme to Inspector Gadget - which just made it even more awesome. On the b-side was another song called "La Di Da Di" which was a rapped story about the day in the life of Slick Rick, with beatbox accompaniment by Doug E Fresh.

I have many fond memories of being on Prefect duty with my best friend and performing this song. He would rap, I would beatbox. We were good. We weren't great, but we gave the performance our all. It was a bonding moment, a shared experience based on a love of hip hop music. We didn't have an audience (apart from his girlfriend, sometimes, and my girlfriend, sometimes, but they didn't complain). We didn't need an audience. It was for us.

Let's jump forward roughly 10 years.

It is July 1997. I am at a joint stag weekend - my friend Chris is getting married in September, I am getting married in August. We are walking towards Fistral Beach in Newquay. It is the weekend of the Surfing Championships. My best friend is there - which makes me very happy, because for the past two years I haven't seen him due to my failure to resolve a conflict between my fiancee and him. Everything is fixed, but I feel there is still a lingering sense of unease, which is hopefully just residue guilt on my part. All the cider and dancing probably didn't help either.

We stagger along a busy high street, a crowd of around 12 guys spread out depending on how fast we're able to shuffle along. My best friend walks with me, and without prompting starts rapping the opening to "La Di Da Di". I start beatboxing along, sinking into the groove that we have shared for over 10 years, everything rushing back to how it was. Only, 10 years have passed. In those 10 years, music had evolved in the UK. So I beatboxed in the style of Drum and Bass. We really got into it, too. Walking, rapping, beatboxing. Several people commented how cool it sounded as we went past. What they didn't know at the time was that, as we were heading towards the beach, every problem I imagined in my relationship with my best friend was healing.

Now, 10 years later, he is still my best friend. There is a resurgence of things from the 80s - The Police have toured, Miami Vice was rebooted as a movie, styles tend to eat themselves. But it's good to know that the rappers are still keeping it real:
The Show live
Ladi Dadi live

Friday, August 24, 2007


I'm writing this on some poached WiFi at a Starbucks on the corner of Richmond Street and Central Avenue in London, Ontario.

On a crazy whim (or because of a crazy room mate) I decided to fly to Chicago, and then from there drive east to various places, meeting various people. I'm waiting here to meet Kim, who used to be related to me.

She's my ex-cousin-in-law, and is the partner of Sinclair. They have two kids who I am dying to meet. I'll get to hang with them today and then on Sunday - so I have Saturday night to cruise around southern Ontario and surrounding parts. I'm looking forward to it - might have to see Niagara again.

I'm also hoping to see a few friends I know from World of Warcraft, and perhaps another friend who moved to Lafayette in Indiana.

During all of this, the room mate is part of a pit crew for a drag racing team. This is just typical of the kind of thing we get up to.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Busier than a one winged bee in a field of sunflowers

It's been crazy busy for me these past few weeks. Work has been interesting and fun, lots of client presentations and analysis work and architecting. There have been a lot of first aid events to volunteer at, too - summer is definately here in E-town. Plus I've been trying to socialise a little bit more, which has been working well.

From the 19th I am going to be at Capital Ex. I've taken time off work and I will be doing double shifts at Northlands, being placed wherever they need me. I did the same last year and gained so much experience. It was great fun.

This year I hope to keep a written diary and I'll post up what I've written afterwards!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Apparently it was just chance that you were there that morning. The family had tickets, and you decided to go along with them.

That was lucky.

You were seated very close to a first aid post, where a paramedic and a number of medical volunteers were stationed.

That was lucky.

During the event, your family saw you have difficulty, and quickly called for help.

That was lucky.

The event staff went to the first aid room. One of the medical volunteers quickly went to check, meeting a member of the family on the way, and was swiftly directed to where you lay.

That was lucky.

The medical volunteer found you laying on the concrete floor between the seats and noted your agonal breathing, cyanotic lips, pale and diaphoretic complexion. Your carotid pulse was checked, and found to be absent. The volunteer used their radio to call for the paramedic on duty, who confirmed that they were already on their way with their equipment.

That was lucky.

At the same time, a bystander identified themselves as a nurse and asked if they should start chest compressions. The medical volunteer checked for a pulse one more time and told the nurse to start. Almost straight away, the paramedic arrived and started setting up a defibrillator. The medical volunteer made sure an ambulance had been called.

That was lucky.

You had defibrillator pads stuck to your chest. The nurse was beating your heart for you by compressing your chest. The medical volunteer was breathing for you by 'bagging' you between compressions, delivering oxygen into your lungs. The paramedic periodically called for a pause in CPR to analyse your heart rhythm. You were shocked a number of times. During all of this, the medical volunteer removed your glasses and placed them into the top pocket of their shirt, in order to get a better seal on your mouth and nose with the mask. After a short while, the nurse stated that she was tired and needed someone to take over. A member of staff who had previous experience with CPR took over seamlessly.

That was lucky.

An EMS team arrived, along with a Fire Crew. The on duty paramedic shocked you once more, then arranged for you to be carried up out of the stairs to the waiting stretcher. More CPR was done on you as you lay there, then you were transported to the waiting ambulance. Just before you left the venue, the paramedic called for everyone to stop. The defibrillator showed that you had a heart beat, and you were breathing on your own. Before you left the venue, you were back.

That was lucky.

The stretcher was loaded into the ambulance, and the EMS crew and the paramedic went into the back and got to work. Your son was placed into the passenger seat whilst in the back, people worked to stabilise you. Soon after, the ambulance left to take you to a nearby hospital.

That was lucky.

Later on, the hospital called the first aid post and told everyone that you were sitting up in the intensive care unit, talking. Everyone who was involved was thanked for working together as a team. The ultimate reward was knowing you were okay.

All of this was because you happened to fall ill whilst being close to good cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, good defibrillation, and good access to advanced care. Perhaps luck had some part in this, but ultimately you were in the right place at the right time.

I still remember the look on your sons face and I handed your glasses to him whilst he sat in the ambulance, a tear running down his cheek as the full weight of what happened hit him.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Woo Yay Hoopla!

I heard from my lawyer today. She heard from the other lawyers this week. It seems a judge saw the Minutes of Settlement and Statement of Divorce and all the other bits and pieces, and signed it at the end of May, so at the end of June I will be officially divorced.

One month shy of my 10th wedding anniversary. Damn. I think the reward for 10 years is a coffee maker and an executive pen. Should have hung on in there for that last month.

Anyway, mixed feelings yes, but also a huge sense of relief. As a friend pointed out, it's just one more tie to my old life. My new life grows each day.

I don't often talk about me, just what I do. This weekend is no exception - after a long week of working, tomorrow I get up early to go to a local airport to cover that, then Sunday it's a Kids with Cancer walk. Spare time will be taken up with work. Keeps me busy.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I was able to back the big ambulance out of the garage, drive it around over several days, and nose it back into the garage without bumping into any walls or people. A success!

Even with a spotter, I was clenching as I took it out the first time. It's so much bigger and taller than I'm used to. Still, I think I have the hang of it now. We'll see - I think I'll be driving it around for various upcoming football games.

The Cancer Society 'Relay for Life' was interesting. I got to Foote Field on Friday after taking the big ambulance through Rush Hour traffic. I parked it up and wandered around, taking in all the sights. Many of the crew had been there before, so they filled me in on what happens and how it all runs. We wandered around, drinking chocolate milk from the milk stall, watching Venus rise at the astronomical society stall, and being envious of the kids on the bouncy castle.

It was a quiet night, with just one blister to deal with. As it got darker it got a lot cooler, and the layers went on. I was taking some arty photos when I bumped into a friend who I know through someone at work. She is a Toastmaster, and was there with her company. Edmonton is such a small town sometimes.

The Relay was very moving. People just kept walking through the night. The moon rose and moved across the sky. The horizon darkened and the stars came out. The sound system went quiet, and still people just kept walking around the track.

I got a few hours sleep between 4 and 6, waking up for breakfast, and to watch the end of the event. Once we were done, I took the ambulance over to my building downtown and parked it outside, on Bellamy Hill. I went in and had a bath and a shower and a shower and a Red Bull, then waiting for a few others to come to my appartment so we could drive together to Churchill Square.

Once we were all together, we drove to City Hall for The City Chase. Found out where to park the ambulance, found out what the crew needed, made sure everyone was ready to go, and then sat back quietly sipping tea and reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Awesome book. Later on, I chatted to someone from 91.7 The Bounce about the event, and pointed her towards the actual event organisers. Then I helped out with their sound system - had a bit of a problem with the amplifiers, but we got it fixed.

The Red Bull girls turned up. Last year they'd appear at most duties I was at, and I'd get all friendly with them. They knew I was only after their sweet, sweet nectar - forget the short skirts and tight tops, I need taurine! I ended up with more cans of the stuff at the end of the duty than I started with, always a bonus.

I left that duty early, returning the ambulance and getting ready. I then zoomed down to Millett for a BBQ at a friends house. We celebrated some good news with their family and friends, and had lots of yummy food and chats. The previous two days caught up with me, and I stopped off in Leduc and stayed in a hotel - couldn't face driving all the way home.

The next morning I got up early and went to the Coronation Pool in Edmonton, where I watched my good friend Janet do the Coronation Triathalon. It was very impressive, and she did really well. After that, back home, got ready, grabbed an ambulance, and off to Hawrelak Park to cover an event there. I met two people from work there, too - again with the small town thing. The event was an inter-denominational prayer festival at the ampitheatre in the park. It was a lovely day, and a very nice event.

That evening I stayed in and recovered. I was so tired at the end, I passed out whilst reading a book. It was a really fun weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2007


I neglected the blog. Silly me.

I have this as a feed into Facebook now, too. I like how they do that. I'd love it if they did a Flickr feed too, so I didn't have to upload my photos in two different places.

I was in England at the start of May. I had to go back to clear out a whole load of stuff in the loft of my house over there. A week was just enough, and I only had one day of 'rest'. I spent the time on my parents boat on the River Stort, and it was awesome. I could easily boat about England for the rest of my days.

I came back and got right into the thick of things again. There was the My Chemical Romance gig last week, where we had many spinal injuries and a fair few ambulances called. There was a Pow Wow over the weekend, which was my first one and very interesting.

After a quiet bank holiday Monday, I had a divisional meeting on Tuesday, then The Killers on Wednesday. Last night I learnt how to drive the big ambulance (scary to back it out of the garage). I also went to a meeting at the Commonwealth Stadium where they explained the changes for the upcoming events. Everything went smoothly, and I got some good news from our CSC - she's staying on! Woo hoo!

Tonight I pick up the big ambulance and take it to Foote Field, where the Cancer Society Relay for Life is running. It'll continue overnight until Saturday morning, and I'll be covering another event straight after.

I love Red Bull. :D

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Good Job

Tom over at Random Reality posts about Another Good Job. The interesting thing is, I know what he means. More in the future...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Saturday I wasn't feeling so good. Sunday I felt so bad I missed going to an Eric Clapton concert. Monday I was off work, and my head felt like it had been encased in alien drool. Tuesday wasn't much better, and today I dragged my aching carcass into the office to enter my time and sort a few things out.

I think it's the 'flu. I hope it's the 'flu, and not Tiberian Galloping Lurgy, which has complications I don't even WANT to go into here.

My joints ache, my head aches, I have too much mucous, and oddly enough my left eyeball feels bigger than my right eyeball. So tired.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Free Hugs

I got two free hugs today. I was heading out for lunch, walking on the north side of Jasper Avenue. I crossed from the City TV block to Commerce Place, and as I did so I saw three girls with placards that said 'FREE HUGS'. I never turn up the chance of a free hug.

I hope they were inspired by this story on YouTube that I saw last year. It really was cool.

I watched them from the window of my office. They were there most of the afternoon, and then they went. A little later, they were back - but it was a different crew! On the way home I had to get some cash from the bank, and I managed to get a second hug. Bonus!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Funny The First 100 Times

When I'm pushing an empty wheelchair quickly around the concourse at the stadium, it's REALLY funny if you say one of the following:
  • Is that for me?!
  • Oh, it's for her, she needs it!
  • Over here!
  • Can I have a ride?
Bonus points if you pretend to get into it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wasted Time

A concert. The support act finishes. I walk back to the first aid post with my team. We sit and relax. After a while people head back out to their posts. I finish talking with the paramedic.

As I start to leave security brings in a girl. I lead her into the room and attend with the paramedic. She is pale, diaphorectic, and shaking. We give her a "convenience bag" to help her deal with any "protein spills" - a puke bag. We ask her questions: when did she last eat; when did she last drink; has she had anything else; does she have any medical conditions.

As we take a set of vitals on her the story comes out. Yesterday was the last day of her 9 day drinking binge. She often does this. She has done so since she was 13. That is six years of binge drinking.

We try not to be judgemental. We try to tell her, factually, what will happen to her body. We mention what is happening to her body now. We tell her that she has the DTs. She listens. She looks at us flatly.

Security return to get her details. She is told that she is done for the night - home time. She calls her mother. After a while I take her in a wheelchair to the parking area. I hand her over to her parent. I return to the post.

I reflect on how a pretty girl in her late teens has been an alcoholic for six years.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Top Gear: Car Lightning

One of THE best programs on Brit TV, with the craziest of features.

What would happen if you car actually got hit by lightning?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Important To Me: Reading

Reading is important to me. I started reading early, I read a lot. I read most of the books in my primary school, including all the cool Greek Mythology stuff. I read the bible before I was 10, because of the awesome stories. I developed favourites, books that I would re-read, characters that I could return to like old friends.

I also liked to climb trees. I can remember at least two times where I combined these two passions and read up a tree.

My paternal nan got me interested in science fiction. We would go over to see her and grandad on Sundays. My brother and I would wander around near their house, then come back and help make dinner, and then watch Space 1999 and Thunderbirds and such things on TV. She let me read all their Issac Asimov and Harry Harrison books.

One of the most thoughtful and moving books I have ever read is Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.

My favourite set of books is the Saga of the Exiles.

I have a lot of books. I want more. I like to read. Reading is important to me.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Right Attitude

There is no way in which I compare to the author of this post apart from how I try to act whilst on duty. I aspire to behave in this manner when providing patient care. I only hope I am able to do so as well.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Are you gonna do the accent or not?"

One of the best film parodies ever!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Think that's a beach?

Originally uploaded by rattlingdjs.
Think again!

My sister scanned in this picture, I remember when it was taken. I must have been 12 or 13 at the time, and pretty emo.

The location is here, just to one side of a ramp. The only bit of sand around was right there. We'd often walk west along the river bank to the pub at the end of Ferry Road. Lots of fun. One day, I want to go back and see how everything is.

Test Post

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Status Update

Things are interesting.

Work is actually stimulating me again, for the first time in a while. I think it is a combination of being on multiple projects plus actually doing the stuff that I enjoy.

My medical volunteering with the St. John Ambulance Brigade is still as exciting as it ever was. Not only do I get to help people and attend fun events, I also get to work with a great bunch of people. Many of these people are now very dear friends.

In terms of my life, I feel more positive and upbeat than I have in a long time. I think the impending resolution of my marriage is helping towards this. I think that realising that I am loved by many, and love many in return, takes the edge off a little too. Heh.

I'm eager to see what is next.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I'm back in Canada now. First day back at work today. A new year. All that jazz.

I went back to England twice last year, and the first time I returned to Edmonton in June. As I was on the plane, I felt very melancholy. When I landed, I caught the bus to Edmonton. As we rolled along the highway, I thought how no one would be at the bus station to meet me, and how I would trundle my cases along to my appartment where I would unpack them alone.

When I was on the plane this time, I felt the same way. As I was on the bus to Edmonton, that feeling changed. I realised that I no one would be there to meet me at the bus station, but that was just because I didn't arrange it. My phone was buzzing with text messages from all the wonderful people who had missed me. I had already arranged to meet several of them over the next few days.

Yes, I'm still living alone, but my situation has changed so much. I've made so many new friends and rediscovered many more. I'm very happy to know all these wonderful people.

I just need to keep reminding myself of that.