As this Sunday approached and I knew I needed to write a new post,* I kept telling myself, “Don’t worry about it now. That will be your first full day in Canada; you’ll have plenty to write about.” Now that the day has arrived and I am indeed here, outside the country for the first time in my life (Refer to this post for vague details on why), there are quite a few things I could write about. I could mention that it’s a lot hotter outside than I expected (though it is June, so I should have seen that coming). I could talk about campus deer that remind me of Hamilton’s, but are even less timid around people. I could probably give a lot more details about the class and the conference that I’m here for. But, instead, I’ve decided to write about getting lost.
If I didn’t know it before, this weekend has proven that I have no sense of direction. I had two connecting flights to catch on my way here and managed to wander too far from my gate and had to repeat security checks for both. I had to pause my fitness app during my run this morning to consult Google Maps because I crossed the wrong street and ran off campus, and had to stop several more times on campus to consult a map (conveniently posted all over campus for directionally challenged people like me). It took me thirty minutes to find the campus cafe I’m sitting in now because I set out without taking my map and ended up circling around a building that I probably wouldn’t have even passed if I took the right route.
Now why am I telling you all of this? To confer a sense of honestly and make myself seem relatable? To prove that I am actually the worst at finding my way around, because I can’t quell my competitive side even in something as trivial and perhaps embarrassing as getting lost? No, I’m pointing all of this out because these moments have yet again proven that I’ve been changing as a person.
In the past, when I’ve gotten lost, I have not handled it well at all. My reactions fall somewhere between intense frustration at myself for losing my way/my environment for not being laid out as I expected and extreme fear that I am so hopelessly lost I will never make it home again. I have eschewed Google Maps on more than one occasion while driving somewhere easy to get to or that I’ve been two maybe fifteen times already and really ought to know how to find only to end up pulling over by the side of the road several miles off course to plug my home address into the app while possibly (okay, definitely–relatable honesty!!) crying. Very recently I found myself deep in an unfamiliar part of the woods with my phone dead and definitely would have had a very unhelpful panicked episode if my phone had not miraculously turned back on.
But in the past 48 hours, I’ve managed to remain calm. When I noticed the signs in the airport were advertising Gates D, E, and F rather than A, B, and C or that the buildings near me were starting to look a lot more like residences than university buildings, instead of freaking out I calmly took stock of my surroundings. Each time I managed to find enough clues to get me back on track and went on my way without losing too much time (it’s almost as if someone designed signage specifically to help people figure out where they were). It’s almost ridiculous how much easier it was to get un-lost when I kept my head on straight rather than immediately switching into Oh-My-God-I-Better-Call-a-Real-Estate-Agent-and-Find-a-House-Because-I’m-Stuck-Here-Forever mode.
I’m going to be here in Canada and on this decently large university campus for some time yet, so there’s definitely going to be plenty more opportunities for me to get lost here. Hopefully, I’ll manage to keep track of my sanity through it all.
*Posts will be going up on Sundays this summer!