Friday, August 2, 2013

From the South to the North

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?"
"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."
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.

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.
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."
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.

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!
Camping Gear
− 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)

Working Gear
− 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

Personal Gear
− Alarm clock and Watch
− Matches/lighter
− Swim suit
− Toiletries
− Towel
− Clothing for days off
− Spending money
− Mosquito coils
− MP3 Player, camera, deck of cards, etc.
− Ibuprofen
− 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 Tools
− Planting shovel
− Planting bags
− CSA approved hard-hat
− High visibility vest

1 comment:

  1. I'm so proud you made it, not only did the job but exceded the expectations for most begginers!! Go Sam go ;)