So I left Panama at the tail end of April thinking (as I seem to always do) that I would be staying in Toronto for a whole lot of time. I wanted to rent a studio space, work on some art projects, get a bar job working on a patio in the summer. That intention was all well and good until I got invited to a going away party of a friend's girlfriend. Where a conversation went something like this:
"Where are you off to Katia?"So that night, as most nights when I get a crazy idea in my head that I want to do something (for no other explainable reason then I want to do it), I couldn't sleep. I had only been back in Toronto for one week and here I was producing a full explanation for a foreman of why I wanted to go tree planting and why I'd make a good addition to the team. I put a fair amount of time and energy in that email, and figuring most of the work was done, I might as well do a search online and apply to EVERY tree planting company possibly hiring rookies (first time planters). This was a Thursday and exactly one week since I landed in Toronto.
"Tree planting in BC."
"What?!?! I've always wanted to do that! I've been missing the application deadline since I first heard about it when I was 18, or I've been out of the country."
"Well, now's the time to apply because this is when people drop out, here's my foreman's email."
I closed my computer resolving I had to continue with my job search in Toronto like nothing happened or was happening. I went to interviews and found even at the post I was most excited for I was still pushing a fake happy and while I waited for the second round of interviews I stared at my silent phone whispering in my head and to all the tree planting companies, 'please call, so I don't have to go in there' but nothing happened, no one called, I continued with my interviews.
It was Thursday again, and the opening night of The Great Gatsby, so of course I was dressing up. With my hair in curlers, and a 1920's dress waiting for me, I had dinner with my parents before going out. I was just explaining to my dad why I'm certain that I can now only live in spaces with an abundance of nature. How living with the outdoors in Panama fed my soul and I want to be somewhere where I can be outside all day. He was coming around to my way of thinking, certainly not for himself, but at least understanding where I was coming from when my step-mom called from in the house that my cellphone was ringing. "Yes! Please answer it." and I bolted upstairs.
"Hello?"I went back to my parents beaming and fooling myself, but not them, that I hadn't made a decision yet. I had to sleep on it, buy steel toed construction boots and see how much airfare was before I could officially commit. As I finished dolling up in the mirror, I was so happy it wasn't a skype interview, there is no way someone would hire me for back breaking work looking like this.
It took a while for my brain to wrap around what was said,
"Sorry, where are you calling from?"
something something "Tree planting"
That was the magic word I needed to get super excited and have a truly happy interview. The talk with my dad made all my answers easily roll of the tongue. I knew I was in for a tough time of hard work, I knew I'd be living in a tent, and I knew I would be out in nature all day, every day.
"Can you start on Monday?"
That's when my I faltered. Monday, that was three days and a few hours away, and I would have to get myself to Thunder Bay.
"When's the latest I can let you know? Alright, I'll email or call tomorrow morning."
Friday I woke up early, and looked at the list that was sent to me. I now had three days to get everything, where normally people had three months to prepare. I took a deep breath and went to Mark's Work Warehouse for some CSA approved boots and a hardhat. Of course I was saying yes!
− quality waterproof tent
− tarpaulin/ground sheet
− warm sleeping bag (rated -15 desgrees Celsius)
− extra blanket, therma-rest, pillow
− flashlight, lantern
− eating utensils (plate, bowl, cup, cutlery, etc.)
− tupperware containers (for field lunch)
− rain suit (coat and pants) - nylon or rubber (quality!)
− Duct tape
− sunglasses, hat, sun screen, lip balm
− insect repellent (Watkins if you can find it, if not, something with “deet”)
− Insulated water jug (4L or more)
− Small day pack (to carry lunch, gear, etc)
− Comfortable, CSA approved work boots (Break them in before coming. You'll thank us)
− Work socks (Many pairs. Polypropylene undersocks paired with wool are best)
− T-shirts (many)
− Sweaters (expect snow at least once)
− Long underwear, toque
− The ability to use all of the above
− Alarm clock and Watch
− Swim suit
− Clothing for days off
− Spending money
− Mosquito coils
− MP3 Player, camera, deck of cards, etc.
− Personal first aid kit (band-aids, etc.)
− Journaling tools. Pens, paper, notebook, etc.
− We recommend bringing about $200 cash to cover any unexpected incidentals
− Planting shovel
− Planting bags
− CSA approved hard-hat
− High visibility vest