It’s always been easy for me to travel, to jump headfirst into a new city and not look back. My fascination with a new place is almost overwhelming and allows me to easily become immersed in the new rhythms, food and demands of the new place. I was recently in Halifax for three week for work, staying over the weekends and living in a hotel near the water front.
I quickly jumped into a new routine of spending 12-14 hours a day, in a windowless building, in the middle of a military base, with little outside contact. There were no phones allowed, and much work to be done, moving a new set of training simulators for helicopter crews. The work days felt little different than the 7.5 hours days I was used to in Ottawa, even though I rarely saw the sun, aside from the few lunch breaks I look off base, and whenever it was my turn to make a Tims run.
I made sure each night I was at the hotel to head to google maps and look around for somewhere to see, if I had time to explore during the daylight hours. In the above photo I was able to take a lunch break to head over to Tim Hortons, and found a spot a Fisherman’s Cove in the Eastern Passage to eat my lunch, and check some emails. It was a bit tricky to stay on top of my personal emails, and duolingo lessons, but I managed to make time every night. I even managed to shoe horn in some time to visit the Shearwater Aviation Museum which is right outside of the base, and is jam packed with aircraft, Canadian Forces and local history. I highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.
I think it is rather easy for me to adjust to this work, as I grew up often vacationing at my grandparents farm, and their house on the St. Clair River. There was always a bit of work to do, and things to help out with, but this never took too long. When you finished helping out it was time for airplane rides, boat rides, fishing, jetski rides and jumping bikes off the dock and into the river. I think this helped to make it a lot easier for me to get off my plane when it landed in Halifax and head straight to work. I knew I would be able to make time and see some sights after I got all my work done. It felt familiar, and comfortable even thought it was a city that I have not spent a lot of time in, let alone in the winter months.
We continuously got dumped on with “storms”, which only ever turned out to be a few centimeters of snow. Nothing I would call a storm by my standards, until I stepped out into the wind. The North Atlantic wind was raw, and cold like nothing I had felt before. Sure, I have worked outside in -40C for two winters, but this was different. This wind was full of cold moisture, and unrelenting, stealing all your bodily warmth. I learned quickly why the locals stayed inside through the whole storm. Luckily it did mean the local parks were deserted in the hours leading up to each storm, and I was able to quickly see some sights while the city shut down. I managed to tour The Citadel, and Point Pleasant Park at the south end of the city. Before this visit I had never heard of the Atlantic Bulwark and it was amazing to see the old fortifications, and tribute to all the men and women that had served our great country,
I even managed to make some time to get my feet wet in the ocean. I did keep my boots on however, as the ocean is absolutely frigid in March. In a few short weeks I will be trading the cold North Atlantic for the warm, vibrant Pacific Ocean at Puerto Escondido in Mexico.
It has been a bit odd adjusting to working back at my office in Ottawa. Time seems to pass a lot slower, now that there is no rush getting all the simulators installed and tested. My work days feel insanely short, and I’m left wondering what to do most evenings. I have mostly been consumed repairing things around the house and tending to my peppers, who have looked a bit ragged. I think I have to explain the watering regiment to my roommate a bit better next time.
Luckily I haven’t accidentally worked a 12 hour day here for no reason, which I was a bit worried of doing. My body is very happy that I am now eating dinner at 5pm, instead of 11pm again, that and that I am cutting back my caffeine consumption. It was getting a bit out of hand with all those extra hours. I’m already looking forward to my next trip back, to see what extra bit of Halifax I can explore. I didn’t get a chance to see the Maritime Museum, or eat near enough Osyters, clams, and mussels, nor did I get to make the drive down to Peggy’s Cove. Maybe I’ll get lucky and have another snow day to tour during. I’m sure I’ll be back soon Halifax, can’t wait to see you again.