It’s amazing how you can be so immersed in a world and then just… drop out of it. I feel so disconnected over here – I have to pay for Internet access at the moment, and it’s not been working at the hotel anyway, so can’t spend lazy hours browsing the papers back home – yet at the same time, much of what I would have cared about is so muffled now that I’m so far away.
Like whether the Ottawa Sens are in the playoffs, or a federal election is in the offing, or what’s happening in the latest celeb news. Mostly I am just trying to learn how to properly edit other people’s copy, which, only having reporting experience, I am still finding hard to do. Rather than waking up in a cold sweat thinking I have mucked up a fact, I woke up this morning worrying I had screwed up someone else’s fact. There really is always something worse to worry about, isn’t there?
Speaking of the Sens, I don’t have a computer yet and so am shifting around our new, enormous newsroom (I will try to post some pics, it's amazing) like an extremely old intern. Turns out that’s not so bad, because I get to meet new people everyday. Yesterday I sat in the online section, beside one of the editors from the U.K. Turns out he’s a massive ice hockey fan, and has been corresponding with the three guys who run the Sens Underground podcast. How cool is that? I bet he couldn’t believe I when I said I was from Ottawa.
Speaking of where you are from, I heard a group of girls agreeing that home is where your parents live. It got me – who has more than a few years on them – thinking that the beauty of home is, as you get older you choose where it is. Home for me is very much Ottawa, the place I lived for eight years before all this madness. Well, right now, home is a hotel room in Abu Dhabi, actually, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet.
I am settling into life here, though everything is still temporary and I won’t be in an apartment for about a month or so. (The cockroach situation – solved when I moved out of my room into a much nicer, and farther away, one) It is funny how much I have taken for granted about my comfy life back home. Things like getting on the Internet or flipping on the TV or finding a bank machine or joining a gym – or reading a newspaper! I do miss the papers back home. The ones here, like the Gulf News, which I picked up today, are often filled with local stories about dignitaries visiting each other. And the gym situation is a bit bonkers. There are waiting lists for all the beach clubs, and the other gyms I see have caricatures of pumped-up men outside of them. I’ll post some pics, it’s hilarious.
I am so excited about the new job and can’t wait for the paper to launch. Soon! Days, really. It is a massive undertaking and I have to say from the pages I’ve seen, it looks fabulous. I have only been in the country for a couple of days but I can already see there is a need for the sort of national conversation the editor-in-chief, Martin Newland, has suggested it will offer. I keep looking around me, at editors from top papers in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and can’t believe I am sitting among them. There is also a sizable Canadian contingent here – it’s been dubbed the Canadian mafia, and at the launch party last week, the CEO suggested the paper was going to be “the best in Canada.” But I have to say it’s mostly Brits. This leads to fun confusion over newspaper terms. One of my superiors is from New Zealand, and the first day I giggled a little when she called the first line of a story – a lede back home – the “nose.” Which, if you think about it, makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Each day they post dummy pages and the editors make notes all over them, style, facts, etc. Someone put "neighbor" in a sub-head (which they call a deck over here) and the editor had circled it, with a line pointing to his comment: "GO HOME!" Funny, if its not you that forgot the 'u.'
But each day brings more Britishisms, like mobile, not cell, rubbish, not garbage, and I know when I get back to Ottawa and say just one of them, in a possibly faux British accent I am struggling not to pick up from my new surroundings – yes I am THAT woman – I will face immediate ridicule.