Posted by: Kiersten | March 21, 2010

Hitchin’ Along

You know how good things, and often bad things, come in threes?  Earlier this month, Kat dumped a drink on her brand new laptop, and I managed to break my good digital camera.  Today, I discovered that one of us had washed our MP3 player.  And I mean *really* washed it.  It got put through earlier this week, but then we got busy and forgot to empty the washer, so the whole load sat there getting smelly again.  We discovered it a few days later and put it through the wash cycle again.  I really don’t think there’s any hope for our good ol’ Sony mp3.  Too bad, we had a lot of good car tunes on there.  I hope that’s the last of our electronics’ misfortunes for a while.

Kat & I are busily working our way towards our next community futures deadline:  the “first draft” of our business plan, due next Monday.  I say “first draft” because really, it’s our 163rd draft, all chewed up and regurgitated in the shape of the template they gave to us at the last course.

We’ve met a number of other people going through the community futures program, and of those we spoke to, ALL OF THEM, feel the same discouragement and worry we’re feeling right now.  Everyone they’ve talked to felt the same way at this stage too – it seems like it’s part of the process.  The business plan template is a one-size-fits-all, and it’s really difficult to twist our concept to fit into the template, and it’s discouraging to be re-hashing the same information yet again.  We HATE working on the business plan now and we literally have to force each other to work on it while we scream “THIS IS STUPID!!”

Even though the “first draft” isn’t due for another week, we’re sending it in for an early review tomorrow.  We just need some feedback on what sections are hitting the mark (if any) and where we should be putting our focus.  Their format just doesn’t make logical sense to us and it’s so different from our original draft of four months ago that we just can’t trust our own thought process on this, we need more instruction.  Every time we think we’re moving forward with this process, we get caught on something else.  Stop go, stop go, limping, hitching painfully along.

Somehow, we managed to just about finish this horrific “first draft”, so to reward ourselves we headed out for a drive.

We like to zip over to Tofino on days like today, days when we just need to get our of our headspace and put some miles between us and our problems.  Today, on impulse, we swung right before the junction and headed over to Port Albion, the teeny village that is on the opposite side of the inlet from Ucluelet.  Port Albion (not to be confused with Port Alberni) is a really pretty cluster of houses right by the water, and at the end of the road is the Ittatsoo Indian reserve.

The reservation is marked by a plywood sign with “Ittatsoo” stenciled in spray paint on one side and “Choo” painted on the other side, facing you as you leave town – which is cute, because “choo” is local for “goodbye”.   Locals, please tell me if you know what language “choo” is from.  In 2000 – 2002 there was a local radio station called “CHOO – FM”.  At some point there was a station called “The Whale” with the slogan “Playing what we’ve got!” – also cute, since they didn’t have a whole lot of music to play.  Ukee likes things cute and clever.

After our little detour to Ittatsoo, we headed over to Tofino, passing no less than seven hitch hikers along the way.  I have NEVER seen so many hitch hikers outside of BC.  We might see the occasional hitcher on Highway 11 North in the summer, but here in the sticks with no public transit, it’s just a last resort way of getting around.

One of our friends hitched to Victoria with her friends to see a concert last month.  I almost had a heart attack thinking of her, a young woman of 19 on the highway with her thumb out.  Kat & I have passed many a hitch hiker since we moved here, but today, thinking of our friend and passing two young women of 16 or so, along with a girl of 10-ish and their mother/aunt standing at the side of the highway without coats on, our resolve shifted.

Earlier today we got some nasty hail.  The BB sized ice pellets thundered on to our roof and hit the deck with such force they bounced back up to waist level.  It was delightful to see from inside, but I remembered from last November how crappy it is to be stuck outside when the hail hits.

When we passed the group on our way into Tofino, the youngest one had pulled her arms inside her t-shirt and crossed them under her shirt.  On our way back to Ukee they were still there.  We pulled over.

The two older girls with their mother/aunt crammed into our back seat, and the youngest pitched into the cargo area and crouched under a blanket, hiding from prospective police officers doing seatbelt checks.

“We live at Long Beach,” said the oldest woman.  “Long Beach” meant the Estowista reservation about 20 km down the road.

Estowista is a very pretty residential area with a beautiful carved eagle totem at the entrance, new asphalt, new spacious housing and pristine lawns.  It had a very different vibe than Ittatsoo.  I guess they must get a lot more tourist revenue living where they do.

The four piled out of the car at the entrance to the reservation – everyone said “thank you!” and off they went.

Really, we’re all just trying to get where we’re going.

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