Category Archives: Present

A Love for New Beginnings


Once upon a time my parents decided that it would be a grand idea to buy a house in the suburbs and bring up their kids there. I highly doubt they checked in with me, but I suspect if they had I would have given them the same look had they suggested that they were going to give the soon-to-arrive baby a mohawk for her christening.

Eventually the house got bought and the apartment got packed up. I got sent to summer camp for the week, so sadly I did not get to be part of the joy that is moving day. I’ve had many, many, many of those since then so I’m thankful I missed this one. It must’ve been a doozy.

When I finally did arrive in the new house, I felt a little lost, and a little disgusted. Apparently some people thought shag carpeting (in a particularly putrid plaid of orange, brown and yellow) and furry wallpaper (brown, but an even ickier brown) was the way to decorate. My mom set to dealing with THAT in a hurry.

That summer was a lonely one, and I spent a lot of time re-arranging my new room, watching the new baby gurgle at herself, and trying to figure out why this particular suburban area had no freakin’ sidewalks.

September loomed and mom brought out something I’d never seen before – a school supply list. Seems my new school’s budget did not run to supplying basics like notebooks and pens and crayons. My previous (and dearly loved) school had supplied most of these things, so the idea of a list was new to me.

Eventually a shopping trip was organized and my mom, gran, new baby sister and I trooped off to pick up the items on the list, the usual baby paraphenalia in tow. It was, as I recall, a rather long list. My feet hurt.

As a special treat, I got a new pencil box, which in those days were made of cardboard with a hinged lid. Choosing one took forever; did I want a cartoon character? Something with hearts or with unicorns? What colour? The choices were endless. My mother’s patience was not.

Being the bookish type, I relished the idea of going back to school. I loved the smell of new books and freshly shaved pencils, and I was eager to learn. Then the first day of school dawned, and by the end of that day I’d learned a number of things that dampened my enthusiasm and actually horrified me. Not only was I going to be in a split grade 6/7 class and guaranteed to learn absolutely nothing, my shoes were the wrong colour, my clothes were not girly enough, I was too ethnic looking, and there was an unwritten code about what colours the girls chose for their pencil boxes. Wouldn’t you know it? I had (and was) the wrong part of the spectrum.

That year was an interesting one – I really didn’t learn anything new and often got called on to teach my classmates as I already knew the material. Didn’t win any points there. A substitute teacher came to us during the rainiest part of the year, and to help keep our antsiness at bay she offered to teach an introductory yoga class to those of us who were interested. I was interested. By the end of the year I’d decided to hell with this, and looked forward to high school. I still loved school, and knew (although I couldn’t articulate it at the time), that learning and exploring was something I would savour for years to come.

Many years later, I still love learning new things, and still get excited at the prospect of starting something new, so it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I’ve gone from excited to scared to excited again as I count down the days to the start of my fall semester.

And yes, that’s a photo of some of my school supplies. I start tomorrow night.