(Late Post: Summer 2017)
One of my all-time favourite TV shows is NBC’s Community, from creator Dan Harmon. It remains the only show I’ve ever willingly bought the DVD box set for. I remember randomly coming across the pilot episode one evening and thinking to myself, “This is hilarious!” A group of diverse characters who attend the same community college and who themselves form a community. Brilliant!
Like typical TV viewers, I generally just watched Community to be entertained; and it did that very well. I recently came to realize, however, that there was more to the show – a big fat (important) travelling message – that I had never quite clued in on until now, in doing a four-month internship away from home in Ottawa this summer: The key to discovering where your place is in this world lies in discovering where your community is.
And no, I’m not saying to go to community college. I am however suggesting that the people you’re with can really make a place you’re in.
Be it the country’s capital, Ottawa is a beautiful place: very clean, close to nature and outdoor activities, and very family-friendly. All great features which would seemingly make it the perfect place to live. Yet when people continually asked me, “How are you liking Ottawa?” I could only tell them the truth. It’s a great place – but it’s not for me.
For most of this summer, I’ve struggled to understand why I’ve felt this way: I rented a beautiful apartment on the edge of downtown, not too deep in the mix but not too far from it either. I have a fascinating job that has taught me lessons for my professional (and personal) career which I will carry with me forever. And I’ve been given the chance to relax and get in touch with my own self-care after a year of doing a lot that wasn’t always the best for me.
Yet, all I can recall feeling every other day this summer was just a strong want to return home and be with my loved ones. Shocking for me, the self-proclaimed lover of travels and eternal wanderer. Still, the feelings were there, and, as much as I tried to go out, meet new people and discover new spaces, they never went away.
Things became a bit clearer after attending a party with an old schoolmate. While there, I got into conversation with a young woman who reiterated to me my exact feelings, but from the opposite end. Unlike me, she had moved from Ottawa to Toronto to do her schooling. And unlike me, her core community of friends and family were here, not in Toronto. She proceeded to tell me how difficult it was for her at times to stay positive in a city where you can’t find your place or your people.
And so, it all made sense. Being a part of a community wherever you are is so important, even when far from home.
I had never truly understood this before because I had always been at stages in my life where I was open to discovering new places and people, and developing new, deep – though brief – friendships. However, I realized this summer that I’ve taken a shift in how I develop and maintain relationships, and I’ve come to realize a lot of who I am and my sense of belonging really flows from those who I love and surround me.
And that’s what it was like in Community too. Though the characters were in a community college overflowing with new, different people to meet and get to know, the dynamic energy between Troy and Abed was unbreakable. When Troy (aka Childish Gambino) left the show, things weren’t the same and Abed wasn’t his full creative, loony self. Furthermore, when Piers got sick, the mood of the group changed because one of their own could not be fully present.
Community is a hilarious show. It’s got wit, oozing creativity and a weighty moral of the story to boot.
If you’ve got a community, cherish it. If you don’t, keep searching to find yours.
À la prochaine. #SixSeasonsAndAMovie
Music of the Moment:
So I’m finally nearing the end of my first week here at Caño Palma station, and truthfully, I have never been this doubtful in my entire life.
You know you’re not in a good place when you’re counting down the days just to see them go by.
People always say, “Don’t have high standards and you won’t get screwed over.” For me, I was just unaware of what exactly I had to put a standard on.
I came into this trip thinking basically. Like how I started my last post, I really believed I was just here to save turtles.
As the days passed by this week, I was demonstrated as well as participated in the intricate, rigorous workings that the staff here have to do constantly, everyday, non-stop.
My emotions have never been so roller-coasterish, to say frankly. Some moments I am happy and believe I can make it and it’s really not that bad; but other times, like now as I write this post, my confidence is low and my heart yearns for home which I already miss dearly.
A lot of things are easier said than done; and this internship is definitely one of them.
But thankfully ( and I truly mean thankfully) I think I can do this until the end. I think I can clean this until the end of the three month mark.
Last night, I went out in my third night patrol with two other interns, and I have to say they really brought me up again.
Some places leave a mark in your mind because of the place itself; others are unforgettable because of the people you experience things with while there.
I think this place is one of those places.
In desperate times, all we have is hope; and as long as it’s strong enough, it’s the best you can hold on to.
Music of the Moment: