When I left St. John’s half a lifetime ago at 17.5 years old, I wanted it all. Small towns, big cities, foreign countries: I wanted to experience life in all of them. I wanted to wander and explore and escape and roam free.
I also wanted to become a professional writer. And a professional musician. And I definitely wanted to master a second language. I was also curious about sociology, criminology, history, and a million other things. The idea of being a starving artist also appealed to me. And another part of me would have probably given it all up, for love.
Of course, I was told I couldn’t really have it all. And I believed I couldn’t. But it turns out, I could. I just needed time.
In the 17.5 years since I first left Newfoundland, I’ve visited 25 countries on five continents, lived in six cities in two countries, and earned two degrees in four subjects from six universities in two countries.
At 35 years old, I’ve already worked as a beat reporter in downtown Toronto. I’ve already taken a year off to soul search in the South of France. And one afternoon in Montreal — after eight months of surviving solely on my meagre music earnings — I was forced to fool a McDonald’s employee into giving me three free cheeseburgers, when my coupon only entitled me to one. As I stuffed them in my pocket and rushed back to rehearsal, I knew what it meant to be a starving artist.
Today, I work full-time as a professional writer. I am also a professional musician, and a professional translator. I continue to travel the world, and also enjoy a stable surrounded by friends, family, and a love unlike anything I ever imagined.
In the past few years, all of the efforts I’ve invested in my professional, personal and artistic development have culminated in such an unspeakably beautiful way that I lapse into reverie on a daily basis about the life I live, and the city I live it in.
In the past 10 years, Japanese, Filipino, Baltic, Syrian, Polish, Ethiopian, Mexican and Jamaican cuisine have all arrive in St. John’s, but no Thai, and no Vietnamese. Until now.
Next month, a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant opens on Duckworth Street. What this means is that, gastronomically speaking, St. John’s officially has it all.
And so do I.