I drag my new suitcase into the living room and take a better look. It seems almost cozy, and I can imagine my quilt on the plaid patterned couch, my big pillows in the corner, but since I haven’t received my boxes, it’s a little empty. I walk down the hallway and find myself in the bright dining room. A large oak coloured table sits against the wall with a set of five mismatched chairs. I continue into the kitchen and start opening cupboards. A set of plastic cups, a plate, and a number of other things are left over from the last teacher who stayed here. I leave the kitchen and head upstairs to look at the bedrooms. It doesn’t take me long to choose the bedroom I want; it has a huge closet. The other bedroom will be perfect for guests. I don’t pay much mind to the bathroom, instead I head downstairs to unpack the few things I have in my suitcase. I sure am glad I brought a kettle in my suitcase. As soon as I’m unpacked I’ll make myself some tea and head out to see the town.
I leave my house and head back into town. I see the school, where I’ll spend most of my time. I stumble and my mind is drawn to the rocks along the side of the road. I keep my eyes on the ground, nervous to make eye contact with anyone. Heaven forbid they realize I’m new and try to socialize with me. My social anxiety is spiking. My worst nightmare comes true.
“Hi!!” a number of small children wave with big smiles. I can’t help but smile as I wave back.
As I near the windowless building known as the Co-op a woman greets me,
“You’re a new teacher?”
I nod and plaster a smile on my face as I reply,”Yep!”
Inside the Co-op my fear abates as I answer the same question over and over, and return greetings to almost everyone I see. I pick out some vegetables, milk, and cheese to eat at home and make my way to the cash.
Outside in the parking lot about 5 ATV’s sit waiting for their owners. I have seen a few trucks around, but I can see that ATV is the preferred mode of transportation up here, at least until it snows.
As I leave I realize I don’t recall which house is mine. I frantically search my mind for something that can tell me which house belongs to me, and I remember a large blue building across the street from it.
Finally I make it home. I will take a picture of my house so I will remember it next time.
The next few hours are taken up with setting up my wifi, and making another cup of tea, while I browse the internet. After only a few hours, I feel completely disconnected from my life. Just this morning I kissed my fiance goodbye in Toronto, and now I am here.
It’s late now. I head upstairs to my bed, fitted with my brand new sheets. I crawl in and am reminded that I should have packed a blanket in my suitcase, but with such tight restrictions on luggage weight, I am not sure what I would have left at home.
I slowly drift off to sleep, but I wake during the night shivering. Tomorrow I will go buy a blanket, perhaps at the Northern. This thought comforts me as I finally fall asleep and dream of the class I have yet to meet.
Come back later for the next part in my series!