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KIP & CAF Projects

Perfect Port in a Storm

I’ve always been fascinated by boats. As a young boy, every Sunday morning my father used to take my sister and I down to Larne harbour, which was the main seaport in Northern Ireland, to watch trucks being loaded onto the ships. I used to love watching the huge vessels take off slowly and drift steadily towards the horizon.

The boat theme continued when I was accepted onto a course at Heriot-Watt University just outside Edinburgh – only this time I was travelling on them myself. Every term dad would drive me up to Larne where I would board the boat and wait on deck until he had finished waving. He’d be a speck on the horizon but you could just about still see his slow, mechanical hand, tick-tocking on the shore. As I got older, I learned to go straight to the bar and bring a beer out to keep me company on the long wave goodbye.
And then, when I had moved to England in search of work, and met my wife, we always travelled home to visit by boat. More often than not, we went through Wales to Holyhead and then sailed over to Dublin from where we caught a train up to the north coast to Coleraine. And when the kids, now aged three and one, were born and we wanted to take the car over with us, again we booked the boat.
So, last year, when we moved to land-locked Edmonton, I pretty much thought that my long affiliation with sea liners was at a premature end. We moved in with Shireen’s mother and began the process of trying to settle down in our new lives. It was difficult to begin with and a few months passed before I finally found at a job – at Athabasca University working on the KIP and CAF programs.
The job was a perfect port in a storm. Through it, I have been given countless opportunities to express my creativity and to write articles for Open Magazine, a publication that goes out across Canada. We’ve also just bought our first home in Canada so are well on the way to giving our girls a good, solid foundation in life. While working here I have met many wonderful and creative people and I will treasure that always. It’s been an absolute joy to work here, most of the time. As with anything in life it’s not always been plain sailing, but I’m truly sad that the journey is at an end.
Yes, the good ship AU has blasted out my tune on her mighty horn for the last time and it’s time for me to disembark slowly to the Government of Alberta’s downtown offices, where I’ve been offered a permanent position in the Solicitor General’s office. I sincerely hope our shipping lanes cross in the future but for now I’m standing at the side of AU’s KIP and CAF virtual harbour, waving slowly. So, if you’re still with me, grab your coffee and wave at your computer monitor as I drift off into the distance, tears on my cheeks.
Take care all, bye for now and all the best for the future.