This crazy, volatile market has had me unemployed for about a year now. Being a geologist is the best job I’ve ever had; look at the perks: challenging work conditions, free travel to points unknown, new people friends, and lots of puzzle solving. I love looking at rocks and trying to decipher the history – where did this rock come from? What is its history? Why does it look the way it looks? It’s even more fun putting the data together to create a large picture of what could be happening underneath the surface – combining the data you’ve collected to create a guess/estimate of how everything fits together. Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re run. If you’re really lucky it leads to some great discussions (or arguments) with your colleagues.
I miss working in geology. I miss the camaraderie that can develop with a group of people who are all in camp together for weeks at time, working crazy long hours with (usually) no days off until your rotation is finished. To keep myself from going stir crazy I’ve been doing a bit of volunteering. It’s so much fun! It’s BC Mining Week and today was the Mining Fair over at Creekside Community Centre. MineralsEd had me leading groups of up to 12 elementary-aged school groups, around the False Creek waterfront area in order to give them a bit of insight about geology and (hopefully) help them realize that mining and exploration are not necessarily evil things that must be protested. Some may call it brainwashing, I call it education!
It was a surprisingly large amount of fun and although my day ended at 4pm with me falling asleep on my couch, I had an absolute blast wandering about in the sunshine with the kids. What was really fun was seeing how the kids got so involved as we progressed through the tour. Since I’m not a parent and have never really worked with kids, it was a real challenge to get through all (5!) stops in (only!) 20 minutes while getting and keeping the kids interested in rocks/history.
Later this month I get to return once more to helping Unkle at their Britannia Beach longboarding event. Before you ask, no, I don’t longboard. Maybe if I’d tried it at 20 I’d be into in right now, but after volunteering last year and seeing some of the injuries.. no thanks. In spite of not being a part of the riding community everyone whom I encountered was wonderfully welcoming – completely contrary to previously held perceptions! As a ‘corner guard’ volunteer I didn’t do much – help stack up hay bales along to the corner, sweep the rocks/hay off the route after someone bailed, and kept in touch with the start to make sure no one got run over. Still, it was a great way to meet a completely different group of people from my usual crowd and hanging out by a waterfall in the sun was a great way to spend a few days last summer.
The diversity of the riders also really surprised me. See? Just goes to show you how stereotypes can mess with your head. Tad from Seattle is new (ish) to the scene, I think he just started riding maybe <5 (?) years ago. He wears orange and black leathers, with matching orange laces in his skate shoes. Best of all, he’s pushing his mid-50’s, meaning he didn’t start this until he was my age. Crazy, huh?! #respect! There were tweens, female riders (not many but still!), and people from my generation who’ve been involved with skating/longboarding since forever. Overall it was a great place, and I’m looking forward to volunteering with Unkle again this year. Not getting on a board, mind you, but will def stay for the beer after! 😉 You should get involved too 🙂