Heading Back

Written by travisr on February 14th, 2016

I have essentially no photos in photo albums.

But I do have one album. It’s on the desk of my room growing up and is a chronological look at my time at the Forum for Young Canadians. (NOTE: this is not what Calgary first thinks of when they think of Young Canadians, haha).

My album would have me in two suits on “The Hill” and would not involve any choreography, at least the dancing kind.

That trip would be a substantial one. My first flight actually. I remember it actually fairly well. McDonald’s Pizza was still a thing. I’d never really had much coffee beforehand. But there, had felt that I should.

Hearing from Herb Gray about affirmative action, from The Senate about why seats should exist there and why an unelected senate is okay too. Hearing from Sheila Fraser and another day about an opposition right wanting to unite. Many students feeling they should.

And getting to be Alberta’s premier at the premier’s meeting.

I hadn’t been to Montreal yet. So I wasn’t defending French or bilingualism much. I was defending public healthcare. Heck, I’d already written a letter to The Advocate three years earlier–published, no less–supporting work I already saw as heroic. A student from Vancouver challenged me that my political views weren’t necessarily ideologically consistent.

Pepper in some volleyball. Learning the lyrics to “American Pie”. A last night all-nighter of visiting (and a resulting returning flight sleepwalking).

Ottawa is an exciting place when you’ve never really been anywhere like it. And from that excitement I’d come back to a full last semester of high school.

Federal politics would become extremely local ones before heading off to Red Deer College. A drama production: Robin Hood. My Ottawa-Calgary cohort would come watch, in fact. I’d play the Sheriff of Nottingham. Days after returning, my student council would host a Students’ Choice Awards. Then came a graduation ceremony. (Then. Some lifeguarding. And then a life of pre-service teaching.)

So if this was in 1999, why think about it in 2016?

Because on Friday I go back. No, not to Forum. But to the teacher version.

And it will be interesting, after returning, to see that album from Grade 12. And compare it to the digital one I’ll inevitably post while I’m there. Now a bit more grown up.

And MUCH more familiar with coffee.

And with flights.

And actually, with learning.


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