Mabou is a small town of about 500 people on the west side of Cape Breton Island and it is one of my favorite places on this planet. The food is good, the Celtic music is great and the little pub on the highway, The Red Shoe Tavern, is one of the best pubs I've ever been to (and I've been to a lot).
Mabou is home to the Rankin Family and a very lively Celtic scene. But that's not why I loved that summer so much.
The summer was great because I had so much fun! My ex and I went out of our way to be unemployed for two months, which turned out to be hard work as job opportunities kept coming our way and we had to make up excuses as to why we couldn't take them. That was pre-meditated, by the way. We had actually said to each other "Let's not work at all this summer" and laughed.
Instead of work we drank copious amounts of beer, camped on the beach, drove around Cape Breton, mowed her parent's lawn and helped her father paint a barn, went crab fishing on a boat and made many trips to Halifax. Friends came out to Nova Scotia from Ontario to visit us. We would zip around the coast on her father's 4-wheeler and hike over small mountains to pick berries on the other side. It was peaceful there, with no traffic. The trees and bushes and grass were bright green and the gravel roads would kick up little dust devils in the wind. The weather was sunny and breezy with the occasional spectacular Atlantic thunderstorm, which we would watch rolling in off the water from the large patio at the front of her parent's house.
We knew that we were going to Korea; we had signed the contracts and bought the tickets and were just waiting for the ball to get rolling.
It is similar to right now, I suppose, with the exception that I am single and in Ottawa.
But the similarities can't be overlooked. I'm off to Russia in September with the contract signed and I'm...well, okay the similarities end there. Nevertheless, six years ago I was waiting to go overseas and here I am doing it again.
Which is why I was thinking it would be such a shame if I didn't enjoy this summer.
This past weekend I went to Wiarton, on the Bruce Peninsula, to see Sam Roberts and The Tragically Hip play, and I had memories of Mabou. Very similar geography, with small towns, gravel roads, bright green all around, sunny and a cool breeze coming off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
Perhaps I'll go camp out in Owen Sound for the summer. I have friends there and life is cheaper and more relaxed. Of course that means ditching the lease on my apartment in Ottawa but what the hell, I'll be ditching it anyways!
Sounds good to me!