When someone asks me where I’m from, I don’t know where to start. I can tell you where I was born. But there was more of a region that my family lived, but didn’t permanently settle. Mostly, that was northern Alberta.
As an adult I’ve lived in Ontario and British Columbia, travelled from Prince Edward Island to North West Territories. But my childhood memories source from smelling delicately floral Alberta roses, searching for four leaf clover in the school fields and counting oil rigs dotted on the golden prairie with endless blue skies.
Having recently travelled through my originating province, I am reminded of what I’m missing.
Here’s how you know you’re in Alberta territory:
1. Your bottled water froze in your truck.
2. It’s freezing in October. You’re planning Halloween costumes over snowsuits.
3. Anywhere outside is a great place for a photo because the sun is always shining.
4. It’s freezing in November. No picnics for my birthday.
5. You’ve either heard of someone, or know someone, or performed your own Cesarean section…of a cow.
6. It’s freezing in January.
7. You know many species of cows, and you eat cows, often. Steaks in summer, shepherd’s pie in winter.
8. It’s freezing in February.
9. You’re related to someone in the oil field.
10. It’s freezing in March. Easter egg hunts in winter jackets.
11. You don’t have a sales tax. Everyone comes to your province to shop.
12. It’s showing signs of spring in April. Then it snows.
13. When you say you’re going to the lake, everyone knows your GPS coordinates.
14. You understand the terms ‘black ice’ and Chinook.
15. May is the month for an overstuffed mudroom: a pair of boots, shoes, winter jacket, and spring jacket for each person.
16. Silky blue skies–either accompanied with ‘balmy’ summer weather, +25 degrees celsius or -40 Arctic fronts. Either way, happy blue skies.
17. In June, your wheat crops or garden squash are met with hail.
18. Highways so straight only knees are required to manage the steering wheel.
19. You think your intermittent July and August 30 degrees are too hot.
But my all-time favourite reason you know you’re an Albertan…
20. strong>Your recess teacher tells you it’s not cold enough to go inside at -30 degrees…
it’s only too cold when you’re nostrils freeze together…