15 Years

The more I reflect on 15 years of working at Nortel/Ericsson, the more it seems incredible.

I moved to Ottawa during the last week of January 1997. I drove up in my dad’s Chevy Tahoe filled with all my stuff. There was a snow storm in Quebec, so it took two days to reach Ottawa.

For the first few days, I slept on my friends couch until DJ left to move in with his girlfriend. I took over his portion of the apartment and rent. It was good times. We ran our internet connection on an AMD486DX40 in the basement, played Duke Nukem 3D until 4am, watched Jackie Chan-o-thons at the Mayfair Theatre and listened to The Cardigans and KMFDM.

Has it really been 15 years? A decade-and-a-half?

I think of how much time that is by comparing to my childhood up until I was a teenager. That’s a long time. I think back to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, where I lived until I was 7. My best friend was Steven, who lived next door, and then just down the road when both of our families moved.

Then in November 1977, my family moved to New Minas, where my parents opened a McDonald’s restaurant. Three more schools – New Minas Elementary, Port Williams Elementary, and finally the move to Horton District High School.

All those friends I met and with whom I have fallen out of touch. All the adventures. All the class mates and teachers. From my birth until I could get my beginners drivers license – 15 years.

And that’s how long I’ve been here in Ottawa.

So much has changed here too: 4 apartments, 2 houses, a marriage, and a racing career. When I moved to Ottawa, it was just sparking with excitement. Corel, Rebel NetWinder, Linux Chix, and Microserfs. It was the tech bubble. I knew more people in Ottawa than I did in Wolfville, where I had graduated and worked at Acadia University. It seemed like everyone from the Acadia Computer Science program went to Ottawa after graduation.

Now, I hardly know anyone from that era. The bubble burst at the turn of the millennium. Everyone I knew closely has moved away. Nadine (moved to Nova Scotia), Dana (moved to San Diego), Christine and Kevin (Nova Scotia), Nick and Bev (Nova Scotia and changed career), Rob and Deb (New Brunswich), Peter (New York); Julie is still still in Ottawa married with kids.

Of the 15 years in Ottawa, I’ve been with Rosa for seven. For all that has changed, for all that might have been lost to time, I have gained so much that is valuable to me: my relationship with Rosa, my most precious treasure.

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