24 July 2009

Kill 'em with kindness

dave headed off to work this morning and i had my first day alone.

dropped dave by the waterfront so he could take the ferry over to halifax. then i spent the day using the internet, pining for a job, and wondering what task on the "to do" list to start first. at some point, dave emailed and said we had dinner reservations with his boss and some geo students. okay, gotta get myself and, i guess, the car over the bridge. it costs 75 cents and i dont have ANY cash/change.

i go to downtown dartmouth and use an ATM machine. now i need to find a place to give me change. the first bank i try is already closed (its 2 minutes after 5p). the bank next door is open thankfully. i ask for change and the girl is happy to help. i confirm the bridge price and ask for quarters. she mentions something about the cost of the ferry recently increasing. i say "yeah, my husband took the water taxi over this morning." she basically stopped and stared at me. i thought water taxi was a reasonable name for that type of transportation, but apparently "ferry" is the only accepted term. i love being a foreigner again.

so, i have a fist full of change and i head for the bridge. its freaky cuz its only 3 lanes wide. for the morning hours, 2 lanes head into halifax and for the evening hours, 2 lanes leave halifax. there is no divider. i survive that...and im in halifax! first time on the soil of my new home. i am prepared to be wowed...

i hit the road mapquest told me to turn on and it says i cant turn left onto the street. so i find my way, less directly, to where i need to go. i pass the restaurant...at least i can locate that, and start to look for the road to turn on to get dave. meanwhile, all ive seen are houses, some nice, some rundown and some weird shops. this place is not winning me over. plus its raining and i dont know the streets and while their rush hour doesnt appear to be bad, it still sucks driving somewhere new with pressure behind you. i hit water and a huge roundabout and realize ive gone too far. i turn around and correct my error and arrive, grumpily, at the spot to pick up dave.

he drives now. we have time for a brief jaunt around town. he drives past a few places but neither the campus (dalhousie, where dave will be working) nor the city streets are that exciting. why did i come here again? but its grey and misting so things are bound to look depressing i guess. we pull over to walk through the public gardens and at least this place is in full bloom. good to see.

(public garden entrance; dave in the gardens; more flowers)

anyway, we get to the greek restaurant for dinner and i meet the nice geology crew of people dave gets to work with. his boss, chris, is a nice guy. short stature, wild/mad scientist/academic beard, friendly, genius. his wife, becky, is also a geologist working at dalhousie and her family goes back 6 generations here in halifax. shes an avid squash player, apparently the local sport. the others at the table are steve and sophie. steve lives in newfoundland (born and raised) with his wife and comes back to halifax often for work on projects with chris. and sophie, a german, is close to finishing her phd. she housed dave last february when he came to visit and his flight was canceled for several days due to weather.

anyway, they were friendly people and even went so far as to help brainstorm ways to get me in contact with people to find a job. they also had other general advice, tips, suggestions, and directed our attention to a local periodical on the way out called "the coast." totally in love with this paper, it is my bible.

we are nearly finished with dinner and a lady nearby is getting up to leave. she comes over, puts her hand on chris' shoulder and says, "i ordered the haddock and it was fabulous but i saw you ordered the lamb, my second choice. so, how was your dinner?" chris enters into a conversation with her and when she leaves, he turns to us and says, "this happens all the time, get used to it. people are really friendly here."

okay. and it doesnt take long. we make it across the bridge back to dartmouth where we pull up to a light. next to us, a man in his truck motions for us to roll down our window. my first reaction is panic...i cant give directions, im new here. he says to us, "do you know your way?" we both stare at him, blinking. a few seconds go by before we answer that yes, we know where we're going, but thanks. he says "okay, no problem. saw your out of town plates and just wanted to see if you needed help." nice. as it happens, we continue off the light and end up following his same route through town. at the next red light hes in front of us. he gets out of his car...again, i panic. this time he says, "i have a nova scotia/new brunswick map in my truck i could give you. i dont mind, really." we smile and thank him sincerely and send him on his way. such ridiculous kindness, i dont know if i can get used to it. but its a nice perk for living around here.

1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

"Being a foreigner again" seems easier with crazy/kind folks driving around offering you maps.