Archive for November, 2012

Alberta, one month later…

It has now been over a month since I moved from Quebec City to Fairview, Alberta, for my first ever job as a multimedia journalist. It took me three flights and hours of paper work dealing with buying a car, insuring the car, getting a new driver’s license, and applying for a new medical insurance card, but I finally made it.

One of the first things I noticed driving around here is the amount of pickup trucks. I think 90% of the population has a pickup and 5% have a regular truck. With my Hyundai I am part of the other 5% who have a regular car. Unfortunately, it didn’t take too long for me to have my first car accident with my regular car. When I bought it I asked when I should get the winter tires installed. The guy told no longer than November. Then in the very second week of October it began snowing and I hit a parked car after skidding on the ice at an intersection.

There were no injuries, but it took a week to take care of the paperwork with the insurance company, the adjusters, the police, the dealership, and the garage. Now apparently it’s going to take until December 8 for the garage to get the part it needs for the repairs. Meanwhile I have a rental car…with no winter tires. So for the record, October is the preferred time to get your winter tires in Alberta. Now I know.

Since I’ve arrived in Fairview, a lot of people I’ve met ask me how I like the place. I answer honestly and say it’s a nice place and the people are nice. It’s an accurate statement, but the fact is I don’t intend to spend the rest of my career here. Fairview reminds me of a town you see in an American Western: one main street, a few department stores and one liquor store. How come Quebec is the only province where you can buy alcohol everywhere? You could walk into a gas station in Quebec and buy a bag of chips, soap, magazines and a six-pack of beer. Everywhere else in Canada? Look for the liquor store.

My biggest problem: no movie theaters. Netflix is great (I’ve been going on a Breaking Bad marathon) but it’s a lot more fun to hear an audience reaction when you’re watching a movie. Plus, Skyfall is coming out this month, and that deserves a big screen. I still have my Scene Card for free movies, and there is a cineplex Odeon in the city of Grande Prairie, which is located an hour and a half from Fairview. My mom asked me if I was seriously going to drive that far for a movie. You know what? YES! I am just that kind of crazy. I saw the criminally under watched Dredd 3D while I was there, and it is so much fun hearing the audience groan as a bullet goes through a guy’s cheek in 3D and in slow-motion.

In the meantime, I still write about movies on my blog and for Examiner. My ambition is still to one day do coverage of a film festival, hopefully the Toronto International Film Festival. I am not exactly at the right place for this, since so far I am mostly covering sports news. There is only one other reporter at the newspaper where I work, and I was given the weekend hockey games. I know I am Canadian, but before this job I would only watch hockey games occasionally, mostly for the Stanley Cup. Now I sometimes have to do coverage of five hockey games in one week.

It’s not exactly my kind of environment. It’s more fun if you are watching it from the comfort of your living room. Inside the actual arena it’s another story. They keep the place cold for the ice, sometimes there are rowdy fans screaming obscenities and there is always a lingering smell of armpit and used socks. I am more at home inside a heated room, sitting on plushy seat and watching Noomi Rapace fighting an alien with an axe.

But I am a patient man. That’s what spending 8 years in South America will do to you. When I was interviewed for the job, I was told a lot of people start off in a place like this and then move on to bigger markets like Edmonton, Calgary, or even Toronto. Personally, I always thought I would feel at home in Montreal. It’s evenly split between English and French, it has great movie theaters and it’s closer to my family. The newspaper I work for is owned by SunMedia, which is owned by Quebecor, so it could happen eventually.

Like one of my friends said, it’s something else I can add to my résumé.


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