One (Yukon gold) nugget of wisdom my favourite professor gave me, upon learning I was moving to Whitehorse, was to stay open-minded as long as possible, or indefinitely. He said I was likely to find people who, just by wanting to help me out, would tell me all about people, places that I should be weary of. Opinions will come tinged with their own negative experience, and it’s up to me to experience things for myself, come to my own conclusions, he said. Simple advice, but solid. I have made a conscious effort to do that since living here. I have found things out for myself and made friends with some great people who were previously warned to me to be ‘weird’ or ‘stuck up.’
Now that I am moving again, I find myself reacting almost comically to what people, well-wishers no doubt, have tried to impart to me about Ross River.
I haven’t been to Ross River yet, and probably won’t before we move there next week. To me, that means the little town of 400 is a clean slate to me. I am preparing for the four hour drive to take me to one of many of the many possibilities I may find at road’s end. It could be an oasis, a paradise, a secret haven. It could look like the slums of ghetto-set movies I’ve seen. I don’t know, and that’s the point. And yet, so many have thought to tell me exactly what they think when I tell them Ross River is my next destination, perhaps hoping it’ll help me to be geared up for something terrible.
“Oh no! Be strong,” said one RCMP wife to me today.
“Yeesh, that sucks,” said countless others.
“You’re going to absolutely hate it. How horrible,” said my editor.
And when our move was finalized, i.e. we crossed the no-turning-back threshold, people really let us know what to expect.
“Be safe, OK? Don’t let them scare you.”
“You guys are the kind of people who won’t be devastated by it.”
and my favourite: “I feel so bad for you.”
The way I see it, it’ll be as good or as bad as we make it. Nobody, and no place, has the ability to dictate my propensity for joy. I’ll be disappointed with myself if I leave miserable, because to me, that just means I let something negative get to me.
Haha, we’ll see if these posts steadily decline in morale and you find me clinging to literary life after two years. No, no, we’ll do just fine thankyouverymuch.