I made it! It has been officially one week since I arrived to Fort McMurray. For those of you who don’t know I am completing an internship with Syncrude Canada from January – April 2014. This is my final work term before I finish my bachelor of communication degree in July 2014.
Getting to Fort McMurray was a bit of a challenge. I’m not used to packing so much stuff but I had to remember that I needed enough stuff for three months. To complicate things further, the weather here is cold which requires me to pack boots, sweaters, scarfs etc. Those items tend to take up a lot of room in a suitcase leaving me more luggage than clothes.
Nonetheless, I did manage to pack everything by Saturday and was able to enjoy my going away party. The day consisted of playing “Randie’s Amazing Race” around Calgary. My friend Lisa organized the entire event and everyone had to do challenges around the city including making a Backstreet Boys music video. I think my team, Team Bring It: Bringing the good since 1999, had the best video. Probably because I starred in it 🙂
The entire day was so thoughtful but I was exhausted on Sunday. When I arrived to the Calgary International Airport, I went to the international WestJet gates when a nice agent approached me and informed me I was in the wrong area. She noticed my bulging suitcases and suggested that I weigh them before I check-in so I wouldn’t have to pay extra. Thankfully I did! My one suitcase was eight pounds over so I became “that person” at the airport with all of my bags open trying to distribute the weight. I ended up placing most of my clothing in my snowboarding bag because it was more convenient. I thought it was smooth sailing from there until I got to security and had to go through a random scan. I had the option of being pat down or going through that crazy machine. I opted for the machine but the machine said that I had items on me, which was not true. So after going through it three times I ended up getting the pat down. I ended up making a friend on the way to security and he thought this was just hilarious. I know what you’re thinking, “Of course you made a friend Randie.” This lovely gentleman and I chatted about work and life and just happened to be very attractive. 🙂 A good start to my adventure for sure.
It was close to minus 30 degrees when I arrived in Fort McMurray. After finally getting a very expensive cab, I arrived at my two bedroom condo in the nice area of Timberlea. Syncrude has been very generous in providing additional assistant to interns for the duration of their work term including housing. I was not paired with a roommate so I’m really enjoying the extra space. The majority of the suites in my building are leased out to co-op students. I’m definitely one of the oldest at 27, but I’m still connecting with a lot of the engineers who are a little weary of my outgoing personality.
I had a few days to get my affairs in order including unpacking, getting groceries, and figuring out the bus schedule. For my first day of orientation I thought I would save money and take the bus down to the hotel. It was a great idea at the time, but I ended up missing two of my connections. Even though I left at 6:40 a.m., I arrived at 8:35 a.m., Five minutes late. I was beyond annoyed to say the least. I hate being that person who walks in late. If only everyone knew how hard I tried to be on time. Haha!
Thursday and Friday training was held on site so I had to be up and on the shuttle bus for 6:45 a.m. Waking up that early made for really long days. Training was between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. so by the time I took the shuttle back to my place made dinner, cleaned, and prepare myself for the next day, I had been up for close to 16 hours. Thank goodness I finished all my modules today and I can finally start work on Monday.
So far I’ve found the people to be extremely friendly here. Since I don’t have a vehicle I have had to take the city bus to get groceries, to get to the gym, and starting Monday, to get to work. On Saturday the city bus drove right past me. There was no pole, no snowbank, or anything in the driver’s line of sight that would have obstructed her view. She wasn’t even looking at my side of the road. Needless to say I was very annoyed and called the transit dispatch to put in a complaint. As I was on the phone, a car pulled up to me and the woman inside asked if I was alright and needed some help. I guess I looked flustered and in distress. LOL! I was baffled but took her up on her offer and she drove me to the bus terminal. When I got into the car there was a bible on the passengers seat, so I had to ask her about what church she went to. We had a great conversation and my plan is to go visit her church in the next few weeks. The church has a shuttle that will pick people up so at least I will have a ride. 🙂
So week one is in the books! Monday is my first real day at work and I am beyond excited! I need to go figure out what outfit will keep me the warmest tomorrow morning. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this weather.