This, with all the laughing taken out, was part of a conversation I had with an American friend in a pub in southwest Donegal this summer. The end of another brilliant three months spent teaching Irish in my baile as baile, Gleann Cholm Cille, was fast approaching, which meant I was preparing myself for another big move – this time a lot farther than the west of France. No, I wasn’t for Toronto, or Vancouver, or even Montreal (probably would’ve been my first choice of the three at the time though). This time I was packing my bags for Edmonton.
“Where? Edmonton? Why?”
In fairness, I had never heard of it either. The province of Alberta, yes (my aunt represented the Netherlands in the World Masters Speed Skating Championships in Calgary back in 2007 and my parents came out to support her – but that’s another story), but nobody had ever told me about its capital city, the “Gateway to the North” (see below for some much less flattering nicknames), Edmonton – Home to North America’s Largest Shopping Mall™ (AKA the worst place in the world). So, I did a bit of research, and here are two of the stand-out conclusions my YouTube-comments-based research led me to:
Unreal, I thought, can’t wait to see what the “anal crevice of Canada” is like. Ah no, what I actually did was laugh a lot and tell everyone what I’d read. I obviously know that YouTube comments are by no means an authoritative source of information, but nobody can deny that they are a fantastic form of entertainment. I genuinely don’t know if I’ve ever written a YouTube comment in my life, but if I had something to say about a country’s anal crevice, that’s where I’d go to make myself heard.
I don’t want to get into it now (I was just writing this as an excuse to upload some nice photos I’ve taken since I got here), but I’ll say this much: so far, life has been good to me here in Deadmonton. Plenty of people have said this and from what I’ve seen so far, I agree – it’s not the best place to visit, but it is a good place to live.
One other thing I should say is this: my experience of living in (what is now known as) Canada is not necessarily representative of others’ – this country was founded on a brutal and terrible process of colonisation which is still affecting Inuit, First Nations, and Métis people today. Whether I like it or not, I am directly benefitting from the abhorrent policies of colonisation employed here by the same imperialist power that occupied Ireland for 800 years (they’re still there), and I remind myself of that every single day.
…anyway! Here’s a few photos of life here in Edmonton (amiskwacîwâskahikan in Plains Cree). If you’re looking for a new phone, get a OnePlus 6 – the camera is class.