January 20, 2010

EPILOGUE: REPUBLIC OF HUTCHINGS

The clouds break. All I can see from the plane's small porthole is a blue sparkling mass below, with waves crashing violently off craggy cliffs in the distance. This sight has given me goosebumps on my past few visits back to Newfoundland. Now I'm returning indefinitely.

January 16, 2010 marks four years in Alberta, and heralds a 10-day countdown to my departure home. By my rough calculation, I've been away for 4 years, three months and 10 days.

I'm approaching exhaustion. I'm sending four years worth of stuff home. Box by box, I'm mailing my possessions and preparing to close up shop in Lloydminster Alberta. When you've been away and so far away for this long, you can feel disconnected (particularly when Telus jumps the gun and prematurely disconnects your phone, but I don't have room to explain that resolved incident).

After participating in the Booster's final local print run and seeing so many layoffs in late 2008 and throughout 2009, I've decided that the newspaper era of my life has run its course. After nearly a decade involved in this industry, I want to try something new.

What will I do back home?

As of now, it's a race between two Newfoundland schools: the Marine Institute (Naval Architecture) and my old alma mater, College of the North Atlantic (Carpentry). I thought that despite its great system, my brief tenure with Athabasca University was too slow a pace for a 180 career turnaround.

As I've said in a few previous columns, the economy has improved. But this observation is based on very brief visits and checking jobs online. I have to be back on home soil for a longer period of time to be sure.

Before I conclude, I must recommend a new TV show.

Republic of Doyle, a new P.I. comedy/drama set in St. John's stands out as a top-notch production. And it's not because I'm biased. I also enjoy the quality of Saskatchewan-based Corner Gas.

Cited as the Newfoundland version of The Rockford Files, it has excellent production values and beautiful establishing shots. Most, but not all the actors are from Newfoundland, but the dialect seems accurate. Great Big Sea performs the opening theme song. Overall, I felt at home while watching it. You're not slapped across the face that it is Newfoundland...but you're immersed. I'm not from St. John's, so I admit to not understanding all the jokes. Republic of Doyle is on Wednesdays on CBC at 9pm.

For everyone I've met here over the years, thank you. I've been up North. I've worked in a restaurant. I worked in a major retail store. I learned how to run presses. I've watched a young football player begin his ascent to stardom. I've been to the wedding of two wonderful people. I've chased cows and rode horses. I hope to use this experience back home.

My email, ian-inkslinger(at)newfoundland-inkslinger.com, continues to be active for now, and I'm on Facebook. Write me.

Farewell, Alberta!

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