In Barbados, choir is a year-round activity. PHOTO: Courtesy of RP Singh
Confessions of a polygamist
Yukoners know the following conversational elements all too well: “So, what brought you to the Yukon?” “Oh, I came up here for work/to visit friends/as a tourist a few years ago and never ended up leaving.” The frequent follow up question is, “What do you love about the Yukon so much?” Sometimes it’s worded differently: “What? You’re staying in the Yukon? Are you nuts?”
Usually the unlucky, which have never been here, use the latter phrase.
My Yukon story is familiar. It took me three visits, but faithful to the cliché, the third time was the charm and my last “visit” to the Yukon ended up keeping me here about nine months. Then four months after leaving, I came back.
Again. Like so many others, the Yukon has staked its claim in my heart and I love it here. But.
What happens when there is a prior claim?
I had the privilege of studying on the small Caribbean island of Barbados — where Rihanna hails from — many years ago, and it also worked its magic on me and captured my heart.
Barbados was where I got my degree, first joined a choir, and first got into broadcast media. After living there almost 4 years, I returned to Canada but not intact. Barbados had a piece of my heart and soul.
Now I am in the predicament of needing to be in both the Yukon and Barbados as much as possible, after all, one needs to maintain the claims one has staked.
Until I become a world famous voice talent, constantly in demand for lucrative voice-over work, bouncing back and forth between the Yukon and Barbados is a daunting prospect, financially. Yet, there are ways.
Singing in choirs is something I have continued to enjoy both in Canada and Barbados.
Here in the Yukon, choirs seem to operate in parallel to the school year. They take the summers off so that people can enjoy the outdoors and the (sometimes) warm weather. In Barbados, with the exception of hurricane season, the weather’s pretty easy to deal with, we might even refer to it here as “year-round summer”, except it’s warm. So there’s no break, not even for hurricane season, those brave Barbadians.
So when choir is done for the season here in the Yukon, down I go to Barbados to keep singing there. And then I come back here when choir resumes in the fall.
When I explain this in person, the reaction is often, “Um, you spend winter in the Yukon and summer in the Caribbean? Don’t you have that backwards?”
To me it all comes back to what you love, and how the place you love stakes its claim on your heart.
I don’t think I have it backwards at all.