Thursday, June 17, 2004

I am leaving to live in Daegu, South Korea within the next few weeks. I feel pretty excited. I don't really know what to expect and I am going to be teaching English, which has little to nothing to do with journalism, but I'm okay. I am hoping that I can do some freelancing or work for a paper in Daegu. We'll see.

Brian and I are homeless for the time being and have been gallavaniting across Alberta's wide countryside. A week in Fort McMurray with my family and then back to Edmonton. Another week down in Raymond with Brian's Mum. do I describe Raymond? It's a small (about 2,500 people) Southern Alberta Mormon town. It's an hour from the Montana border. There are about half a dozen churches and everyone knows everyone. On Saturdays the kids play football. On Sundays the town goes to church and then to a picnic. On Monday the family gets together to read scriptures and have a "home evening". There are family reunions in the summer time and on the first of July the town is comprised of about 60% Utah license plates. It was founded by Mormon pioneers and a lot of weight is attached to whether you are related to one of those pioneers. They don't call anyone by their first name because most people fit into a far neater category... a West, a Smith or a Beazer. If someone knows your last name, they know you. They know your family history, your geneology, who married who, whether or not your family is "trouble" and every little dark secret someone in your family may have tried to hide. There are as many American flags on the houses as there are Canadian. There is no bar or saloon. There is however, a Subway sandwich shop.

The streets in Raymond are extremely wide, at least double the width of typical residential streets. I have been told it's because they need to be wide anough to turn a wagon around in them but I am not entirely convinced. People are friendly and when they meet you they want to know your last name and where you come from. People have a lot of kids on average. People own a lot of trucks on average. All the women bake and bottle fruit and all the little girls take piano lessons. All the little boys look forward to their mission.

Raymond is the kind of place that you might like to hate, but you can't. It's quiet and simple and even a little creepy sometimes but it's nice. You feel safe and taken care of. Nothing much ever happens and everyone knows who you are. You cannot hide and I suppose a lot of people like it that way. Me? I prefer to visit.