As I take my last shot of the T-33 flying off to Vancouver, its imposing form now no more than a black speck indistinguishable from a bird, it occurs to me how absolutely surreal my first day at Black Press has been.
When I walked into work today I wasn’t expecting to end up at the Abbotsford Airshow taking pictures of my coworker, Jessica Peters, for her media flight. Nor was I expecting my first day to involve being surrounded by planes.
My relationship with planes is a complicated one. A love-hate situation, if you will, that’s gradually cooled into tolerant indifference. I like that planes give you access to multiple places, that countries become open to you through them. It was a plane that took me from my birth country of South Africa, at the age of six, to Canada. Through a plane I was able to grow up here and get my MA in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan university.
However, my experience with planes have been less stellar. On my first flight at the age of six (shout out to AirCanada), I got terribly sick while flying to Toronto. Nausea, loss of appetite, cold sweats — it was, no question, the worst experience of my six-year-old life. And it stayed with me while growing up. I dreaded vacations that required plane trips and didn’t even want to speak about, let alone look at, aircrafts. Then, when I turned 17 and the thought of a plane didn’t make me so jumpy (or nauseous), the years of dread had left me morosely indifferent towards flying and… well, planes. I mean, I didn’t mind talking about planes. But excitement? Over a plane? Because it could fly fast? Yeah… I’ll pass.
Yet, standing on the tarmac, snapping pictures of the jet that my co-worker will be flying on, even I can’t deny my interest. The Acemaker T-33 Shooting Star reminds me of a dragon. If dragons had metal wings and could fly 561 mph. It’s an impressive sight and, I’ll admit it, I’m eager to see it fly.
I also can’t help but channel past English Lit courses — to over-analyze the themes about me even being here. I mean, I feel like Hemingway — this is clearly a Hemingway moment. He was a journalist, and a master in writing fiction about the human experience. I’m, well, I’m a human having an experience. I mean, once again it’s a plane that marks the beginning of a new journey for me. My new life as a Canadian, getting my Masters, and now my job, it all started with a plane. With a literal motif of journeys both new and old.
Is it ironic? Probably. Is it cool? Definitely. Am I lucky that my first day at work is spent outside the office, taking photos of planes, and getting a behind the scenes look at the airshow? Absolutely.
As I take my final shot of the jet disappearing into the horizon, now a black speck almost indistinguishable from the birds, I can’t help but think — wow.
What a truly perfect beginning.
Kemone Moodley is a new reporter with the Hope Standard. Growing up in Abbotsford, she did her BA in English at the University of the Fraser Valley and her MA in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson). When not writing about the news, she can be found either reading terrible books about romance or drawing epic scenes involving magical worlds. She’s excited to meet the residents of Hope and to hear all the stories that the community has to offer. Her door is always open for a chat especially if it involves tea.