I recently put my name in to become an ambassador for Tourism Regina - basically a person who does things in the city and then tells other people about the things they've done.
I thought, That sounds like something I could do -- because it sounds like something I already do. If you look over to the right and click on the label YQR, or if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see what I mean. I get out a lot. I see a lot of shows, go to a lot of local events, frequent a lot of small businesses.
When I first moved to Regina, I was just floating through, the way you do when you're 20. (I was going to work for a few months and save up some money and move to England. I can't remember why or what for.)
I'd been living in Swift Current; an old high school friend had called me up and said she needed a roommate for the summer in Regina. I moved here a week later (I obviously wasn't that attached to Swift Current) and I've been here ever since. I have a house. A house!
If Then Me could read this, she'd probably cry. She'd probably sob her face actually off. She'd be like, "You bought a house? What could you possibly be thinking? Why didn't you just lay down and let them cover you in concrete while you were at it?" Don't even get me started on what she'd say if she saw that I was also wearing skinny jeans.
Because Then Me still likes her flares and thinks she's going to end up in London or New York, someplace with taller skyscrapers and more celebrities. She has yet to learn that where you are is just as good as where you're not - and, in fact, it's even better. Because you're there. You can make stuff happen where you are.
I'll stop talking about myself in this weird third-person-past-tense now.
What was I even talking about? Regina?
So, I grew up in a literal village, in between another village and a hamlet and also a place called Loomis with a population of 1. There were 17 kids in my grad class. We did stupid things for fun. We didn't have a swimming pool and the nearest movie theatre was an hour away and only showed movies that had already been out for a year. Maybe that's why I have in my heart such a deep appreciation for Something to Do. Maybe it's also why I have have such a need for tight-knit community. And maybe that's why I now have this unexpected thing for Regina, Saskatchewan - because it's big enough to have one without losing the other?
But seriously, Regina is just exactly the right size because it's not big enough to swallow me up like New York inevitably would, but it's also not so small that I can't move around in it. It's a place with actual opportunities for anyone who wants them. Like, I can say, "Hey, I want to be an ambassador for Tourism Regina," and Regina's like, "Okay, here's your fanny pack." (I don't thiiiink they were joking about the fanny pack. I'll keep you posted.)
Anyway, I was accepted and I've been an official Tourism Regina "Ambassador" (I don't know why, but every time I say that word out loud I feel the need to do air quotes) for about a month now (check me out here). Obviously it's fun to do stuff for free, but I also genuinely love that the city is running this program. I think it's important for people to be excited about where they live, to get involved in the community in whatever way they can or want to and to be aware of the opportunities to help out or have fun.
I mean, those very opportunities will dry up if no one's taking advantage of them, right? The small businesses can't thrive if people aren't supporting them (and some of those small business owners are pretty dang important to me, personally), the arts scene will wither away if no one appreciates it, charities can't run without volunteers and donations, and out-of-town musicians won't come back through if they can't sell tickets (horror).
And that's just the Negative Nancy side of things. There're a billion good things that can come out of a community that spends time enjoying and building into itself. A billion good relationships and ideas.
So that's that, just in case you've ever wondered why I put so much time and effort into enjoying this little city and all it has to offer.
I enjoy it because the more I enjoy it, the more enjoyable it will become. Which sounds fluffy and dumb but which is pretty true of almost everything.