Sunday, 28 July 2013

Us on the Bus

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything.  I think it's because now that I've settled into a familiar routine, things don't seem so interesting to me anymore.  It's funny, because some of the things I wrote about the life in Botswana were pretty routine and mundane (my daily commute, for instance)  -- but because they were new to me, they seemed interesting at the time and worthy of sharing through a blog post. 

Who knows ? Maybe someone out there in cyberspace has a slightly different perspective than me and would like to know about the daily commute of a downtown Edmonton office worker -- so here goes nothing....

In Gaborone, I lived close enough to work to justify a morning walk to the office.  It was one of the highlights of my day -- the opportunity to think through the tasks ahead while passing by friendly faces, sweet smells, and feeling the sun warm my face.

In Edmonton, I live too far from the office to consider walking to work.  Even if I did live closer, I might be detered from a walk by our mostly wintery climate.  I am not a fan of driving at the best of times, and parking downtown is very expensive, so I take the bus.  

It's not so bad, really.  The entire commute takes about 50 minutes, which, ironically, was the same time it took me to walk to work in Gaborone.

I have a community of neighbours who take the 118 Jasper Place bus.  There are about 6 of us who catch the bus before it leaves Rio Terrace for Meadowlark and Jasper Place, where it transforms into the 120 Downtown route.

We call ourselves "Us on the Bus".

First, there is my across the street neighbour, John.  John catches the bus at the same stop as me, and is with me for the entire commute.  He not only lives across the street from me, but he also works across the street from me.  John is probably one of the friendliest and most upbeat people I know.  His early morning good nature can be a bit hard to take for an introvert like me who values her time alone in thought, but I read somewhere that happy neighbours are good for your health.  I have to remind myself of that from time to time when I feel a dismissive response to his comments or questions coming on.  I do miss him when he is not on the bus.

The next to join us is Duncan.  I don't know what Duncan does, but I do know that he recently returned from a trip to Italy and that he is facing similar issues as me with basement flooding (sigh). We have bonded over the sharing of prevention and repair tips.

At the next stop, we are joined by the stylish and studious couple, Bob and Sylvia.  I only recently started getting friendly with them, as they would poke their noses in books and newspapers as soon as they got settled in their seats.  I didn't want to disturb them, knowing they must value their quiet time and space as much as I do.  For the longest time, I tried to guess what they did for a living.  I figured they worked in media, and imagined them running a communications firm that provides news clippings and summaries for businesses and government offices.  I was close -- they do work in media !  Bob is a reporter and Sylvia is an editor.

Finally, we see Ken.  Ken is a neighbourhood icon.  He is a dignified, well dressed, and cordial gentleman.  I figure he must be close to 90 years old now.  He owns a menswear and tailoring shop downtown.  His shop makes the robes for judges and lawyers.  I am not sure why he still works, but seeing him on the bus every day is reassuring -- a gentle reminder that all is well in the world. 


  1. nice site. i like it. well written.

  2. Hi

    Since, you are an expat/foreigner, I wanted you to check out (networking for expatriates). I thought it might be interesting for you and your readers, maybe you can add it to your links list as well.

    The website is a networking website for expatriates and foreigners. LinkExpats has already been mentioned in Mashable, Washington Post, InTheCapital and other large technology news websites.

  3. I’m glad to read you again. Thanks for this post. Best for you Buddy! and Merry Christmas


  4. My name is Joe Pinzone and I'm casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We'd love to film in Botswana and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 2 years. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. If you'd like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

  5. Well Written Story,i read your article very interesting,thanks for your post....

  6. Thank your for your kind feedback !

  7. Hi Stephanie

    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.
    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say :)
    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website. 
    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at