William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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annual letter to CWY peeps

Hi, guys!

I wish I still had you in my life. I want to thank you all again for your patience with a perpetual stick-in-the-mud such as I. Man, it’s a good thing we have what social psychologists have dubbed the “mere-exposure effect!” =) We can’t forget that part of our bond stems from simply spending way too much time together. As unique and special as we all are, and as wonderful our experience was, in some ways it was all one giant fluke. Isn’t life funny like that?

I vividly remember Grande Prairie, October 2004, when everything was topsy-turvy, upside down, and wrong. People on all sides of the issue(s!) knew how to dot I’s and cross T’s, but we all knew comparatively nothing about how to handle people. This is a fundamental skill, and one that our CWY experience strengthens through what hindsight and retrospect we allow ourselves to indulge in.

I miss that kind of structured life, though. CWY – a glorified high-school field trip? Yes, but that and so much more. =)

Right now I’m at Saint Mary’s salvaging what’s left of a difficult (to be charitable) second semester. (I’m getting my English Honours and basically upgrading to a four-year B.A. Hons.) The semester began with me driving back here from PEI on January 3rd, and just as I was parking in South-end Halifax, my control bar snapped off in a cul-de-sac about 500m from campus. I rode to class in a tow truck. I haven’t had a vehicle since (the car wasn’t worth repairing), and now I walk 25 minutes just to get to my bus stop, and take a 40 minute ride to town from there. Argh. N__, you remember the 80? It hasn’t really gotten any better.

The disintegration of ‘my’ car seemed to set the tone for things, as three days later I met and “dated” a girl... EDIT: Um, let's just say it kind of blew up on the tarmac. =)

On the bright side, then! ... I also got away to PEI for a week in February, and it was GREAT. Sometimes it was a little slow, but the peace of mind was incredible, and the week was punctuated with great, carefree fun.

I’m also playing Malvolio in our production of Twelfth Night (a Shakespearian comedy). School-wise, it’s what’s keeping me vital, and I am very thankful for the opportunity. As a bonus, our director is Halifamous, and we hope to sell out most nights of 8. We had a dress rehearsal last night that showed some susceptibility to improvement, but I stayed up until 4 o’clock this morning going over my cues and costume changes and putting them on a crib sheet. I think it’s going to go well – for everyone, of course!

In some ways, the drama experience reminds me of Camp Tamarak. I remember a certain red-haired someone mentioning in their blog that we spent the time getting on each others nerves. =) I have to say this is sometimes true of the play! We are all getting frayed, and I notice that people have mostly stopped making polite requests and have moved into stressed-out “what the heck are you thinking?”-implying demands. I find it incredibly frustrating, but I know it’ll all be worth it.

You’ll be glad to know, though, that I’ve gotten much, much better at not stressing out over things. The problem is that I still tend to get stressed out when others get stressed out and expose me to their stressful behaviour. So I need to work on that, especially in drama where stressed and strung out is often, regrettably, the norm.

To answer A_____’s question, a few nights ago I finally put in my application to the Faculty of Education at UBC. I won’t hear from them (at least officially) for a while, and even if accepted, I might defer. You might remember K____ from Lisewo? She’s one of my references.

If I leave Halifax, though (and it seems more likely with time; I’ve been here for 14 years and I still don’t feel like I’ve found my niche), I may only get as far as Toronto! =) From Halifax, it’s much, much cheaper to reach Toronto than Vancouver on a whim, and I have more Toronto connections than Vancouver connections. I value Toronto more in terms of work than education – A_____ may be justified in disparaging it, but for me it’s the land of milk and honey that I can get to as opposed to the land of cream and ambrosia that I can’t quite reach. Either city would help put odds closer to my favour, but there are indeed many things I will miss about Halifax. I am also sad that we’ve given up on the Commonwealth Games bid, even though we couldn’t really afford it. It could have brought us to that elusive “next level.” At 350,000, we’re hovering in this ambiguous area between “big small city” and “small big city,” at least by Canadian standards.

One thing that CWY has helped teach me (especially my Ukraine experience) is the general folly of travel. As Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it, “Traveling is a fool's paradise... I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there besides me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.” Ideally, one ought to be able to triumph (and fail) just about anywhere, and be happy (and unhappy) anywhere, too. So I would not go to Toronto or Vancouver to be happy. Rather, I expect it to be completely indifferent to me (though the beauty of Vancouver might require an extra day or two for this). I hope only for improved living conditions and a more vibrant economy. I’d look forward to 25-minute walks for fun, not necessity. (Dr. McAlpine’s admonition that we ought not to buy cars when we are young still reigns in my mind.)

Okay, so this has gone on for 1,075 words now… would that I could write English papers so quickly. To wrap up:

M______, where the heck are you? =) It would be so awesome to live in the same geosocial circle. Let me know when you get down here!

C______, thank you very very much for your ongoing support of willmatheson.com. Darn, I still need to get those Ukraine photos up!

M_____, thanks so much for setting up the wonderful time in Pluznica for New Year’s 2006 – it’s been 14 months since then, but I haven’t forgotten it, and it really made my whole Ukraine trip worthwhile.

M______ (ma belle), maybe we can go out for coffee again if I come up to Toronto? You’re such a sincere listener. You also remind me of one of my most challenging professors in your way of gently asking, “Why?” It’s great that you encourage others to accede to your level of careful thinking.

A_____, you look pretty cool with the short hair. Mad props.

S_____, I can only hope, like you, that our 4rd year brings us together finally! =)

C_____, my memories of you are an ongoing source of inspiration and amusement. That goes for everyone of course, but doubly for you.

D___, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that night in Montréal… LOL no, not THAT kind of night! =) j/k I think my feet still hurt from all the walking. But anyone who’ll take me on a walking tour after midnight to their favourite places to buy produce gets an A+ in my book.

There are lots of people I’m not mentioning (and it would be a strain to be hyper-complete: “Hey, [person who joined the program for 5 days in Edmonton] D_____, thanks so much for…” =) but you’re all in my thoughts.

Oh, and everyone – join Facebook! Seriously, it’s the next big thing since e-mail. N__ and I are there already, and I’m sure lots more of you are… I’m William Matheson, in the Halifax, NS network. (http://snipurl.com/willsfacebook) Facebook is an EXCELLENT way to communicate, keep tabs on events and stuff, and just generally broaden your social circle. It’s the new killer app of the internet.

This is so long that you may want to print it, so I’ve attached the original Word document for your convenience. =)

See you!

Your Pal,
~ Will
Tags: alberta, camps, communication, cwy, drama, e-mails, education, emerson, facebook, friends, grande prairie, letters, netcorps, poland, productions, psychology, self-reliance, shakespeare, smuds, toronto, travel, twelfth night, ubc, ukraine, updates, vancouver

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