At 6am on Monday morning I woke up, packed last minute as always and was so honoured to be taken to the bus station by a couple of friends, a luxury that I normally do not get to experience. Then my 35 hour journey began, and surprisingly it wasn’t all that bad, despite not having any sockets nor wifi. I slept a lot, for some reason it was easier to sleep during the day than at night. Night time was the most difficult, feeling that I ought to sleep, and trying to do so in a variety of intricate positions. The rest of the time was spent eating cereal bars, reading, writing and eating vile food that truckers are subjected to on a daily basis. I also watched a documentary about Ai Wei Wei, which is incredibly insightful and made me rethink my opinion of the Chinese entirely.
I was picked up at the bus station in Winnipeg, they immediately knew it was me, my dreads gave me away. We drove for quite a while, north, and the landscape was incredibly flat. We passed through St Andrews, which basically consisted of a farm, and passed a sign for Selkirk. As soon as I arrived I knew I was going to spend the next few days in some seriously awesome company. Everyone seemed so different yet they all fit together so well, and although at first I was a little shy, before I knew it I felt a part of the group by the end of day one. There was a stunning sunset caused by a couple of clouds hanging over the sun as it hid behind the trees, which we watched from the roof of the earthship.
An earthship is a truly magnificent thing, built into the ground, south facing, using recycled tires, cans and a lot of concrete. It requires next to nothing to run, using solar energy when needed, but pretty much cools itself in the summer and stays warm in the winter, and collects rain water. I spent my days moving 25kg bags of concrete from A to B; making balls of mud and concrete in my hands and slapping it on the walls or inbetween cans to create new walls; shovelling dirt; sifting dirt; and planting tomatoes whilst jammin’ out to epic tunage. I’d love to build an earthship of my own one day.
The nights were spent surrounding a bonfire and sleeping in tents. I was also strangely excited by the composting loo, perhaps something that reminded me of Chisholme. There was no running water however, but we all smelt as bad as each other which is all good. We did go on a wee bike ride to the creek, bathed, covered ourselves in mud and lay in the sun. We all discussed so much, from politics to astronomy, from materialism to bamboo. A few of us spent an evening in Winnipeg; I got incredibly hyperactive over the little things. Such as going to a YMCA. We sweet talked the receptionist into letting us in as a family, saving us lots of pennies so that we could enjoy a delightful shower. We also went to a liquor mart where I almost passed out in hysteria after finding Crabbies ginger beer. I was very happy to watch Into Darkness in great company too.
One of the girls gave me a name. Stardust. I am incredibly fond of this, it’s so me. You can now all call me Stardust. It’s been really bizarre, I’ve started going back to the name Hannah again, it was fun being called Suzanne, but then the novelty wore off and it began to feel strange. But now Hannah feels strange too. So I guess I now feel nameless, does a name really define who we are so deeply? I’m still me, whether I’m Hannah, Suzanne, or Stardust…
I also became acquainted with a couple of ticks, a completely new experience for me. Weird little buggers.
But before I knew it, I ended up leaving before I felt ready, and I’m feeling a bit low because of this. I even find myself more sad than when I left London, no offence to you guys, but then I was ready to leave and had had the time for friendships to grow and mature in the way that they do. Whereas today, I found myself torn between staying a bit longer, or staying with my plan of travelling with a couchsurfer to Calgary and exploring a bit more of Canada, rather than going straight to Vancouver. Some people had come in from the city and I had to take the ride there and then, packing in an hour and disappearing suddenly. It felt like some pretty amazing friendships were being formed and that they were ended rapidly before their time. I’m now sitting in a dorm with 6 beds and I’m the only occupant, which feels plain wrong. I’m likely daft to be complaining of having some privacy. At least I got to have a nice bath.