Adventures of the Gillam Cohort 2012-2013
Gillam Cohort, Post # 1: The Journey North
Very early (6 a.m.!) on Saturday, November 10th, Dave arrived at Allison’s to pick us up for the big trip to Gillam! We were still asleep. Once we were ready to roll –it only took us fifteen minutes I might add – we were off to the races. Well, maybe not off to the races as we were going to begin our 13 to 14 hour car ride in Winnipeg’s first snowstorm of the year. Ironic? We left Winnipeg and with the careful, experienced Dave driving, we soon arrived at our next stop, Lynne-Marie’s home. Dave, the gentlemen that he his, helped her load up and again we were back on the road.
We were all very excited yet sleepy on that cool, early morning, but I have to admit, I’m not the best travel companion as the motion of the vehicle is like a lullaby and I immediately want to sleep. Sleep, I did! I wasn’t giving any false impressions about my guidance and support to Dave’s driving through a snowstorm. Needless to say, all cuddled up with pillows, bags and belongings we made it to Ashern, Manitoba, where the amount of snow by 9:30 a.m. was pretty amazing, even for this Manitoban.
Dave the trooper and man of the hour, continued to drive and drive and drive, making small stops along the way. We all continued to carry our excitement and energy on throughout the whole trip, sharing stories and chatting, in between my naps that is. Just sharing this story I feel like I owe Dave a favour or two for his persistence in driving and keeping the trip moving. Well done, Dave!
The next major stop was Pisew Falls, which is about an hour away from Thompson. We took some pictures and few videos of us at the falls, which we will have to share at another time. It was beautiful and so fresh outside with the new snow. It was worth the walk up and down the steps to view the falls tucked away in the woods just off the highway. After a short visit, we pressed on to Thompson…well, Dave pressed on. We had a quick bite to eat there and made a shopping stop as we were warned that stores in Gillam would be closed a few days due to it being Sunday and Remembrance Day.
We arrived in Gillam around 9 p.m. and met a well-winterized Dr. Sandra Jack-Malik, vice-principal at the nursery to Grade 12 Gillam School, who brought us to our new home. It was very kind of her to meet us on the weekend and communicate with us from Thompson to Gillam to ensure our safety on the highway.
Our accommodations are amazing and we were welcomed with a note about grocery shopping, garbage and recycling. We owe a big thanks to Manitoba Hydro for providing us with such a great place to stay while we’re here in Gillam.
We unloaded our belongings and got settled in for the night after that long drive.
The next morning, Sandra once again greeted us. She showed us around the Gillam Recreation Centre where we took part in a Remembrance Day service. The Gillam school choir sang and they had a wreath offering as well. It was great to be in Gillam for a mere 12 hours and we already had a sense of how the community works together, welcomes new people, and uses their Recreation Center as the hub for building and supporting their community.
After the ceremony, Dave and Lynne-Marie attended a luncheon at the local Legion, which is another common meeting place in Gillam. They met some locals and enjoyed the conversational nature of the people they met. Allison and myself, still completing final assignments, headed home for some schoolwork time.
The day continued to be great as Mark Turnbull a 30-year resident and a high school science teacher at Gillam School gave up a few hours of his time and showed us around Gillam in his Jeep. He took us to see the dykes, the dams, the beach, the airport, the various neighborhoods, the sliding hill, etc. What a great resident and resource to Gilliam.
Mark, along with his knowledge, is a very friendly, happy guy to boot. He invited our Gillam Teacher Candidate Cohort over for dinner as well, and once again with completing assignments and preparing for Monday, Allison and I both had to decline, insisting on a rain check. Lynne-Marie and Dave went for dinner and came back so happy to have had a terrific dinner and visit with such a wonderful family and teacher.
The night went on with schoolwork and then it was off to bed to get rested for our first day at Gillam School.
Once again, a big thank you to Sandra and Mark for so warmly welcoming us and to Manitoba Hydro for the awesome place we’re calling home until December 14!
In our next post, we’ll fill you in on what the Gillam Teacher Candidate Cohort has been up to during our first couple of weeks in Gillam.
Sarah Barton is a Middle Years Teacher Candidate.
Lynne-Marie MacDuff is an Early Years Teacher Candidate.
Dave Overgaard is a Senior Years Teacher Candidate.
Allison Steedsman is a Middle Years Teacher Candidate.