Richmond365 [Post-Decision & Explanations]
This post has been a while coming. It’s been one that’s left me feeling anxious and a little bit exposed, but it’s one that I know needs to come with the news that’s been released today.
Months ago, as most all of you know because you are so wonderful, I applied for an opportunity of a lifetime with Tourism Richmond. 365 Days of Dining offered 1 blogger the opportunity to make a career of eating, writing, and taking photos in a beautiful city 25 minutes outside of Vancouver, BC. Should the opportunity land in my hands, every day for 1 full year, I would be tasked with eating at one of Richmond’s 800 restaurants and sharing my experience (through writing, video or photo) with readers. It seemed like a dream too far to grasp for this lowly food blogger.
As the weeks went by, I assumed that my application had gotten lost in the shuffle or tossed to the side for writers more obviously qualified for the position. But one afternoon, while at the office, I looked at my phone to see a missed call from a 604 area code. My heart stopped immediately. I felt like I might pass out… and I hadn’t even found out what the purpose of their call was yet.
Fast forward a few weeks. 1500 applicants worldwide whittled down to 3. And I, with no training, education or experience (short of what I had created for myself), was one of them. From that moment, things got intense in a very short amount of time. We were flying to Vancouver for a face-to-face interview with a panel of Tourism Richmond staff and vying for the position of a lifetime. The food was incredible. The city filled with kind people and unique experiences.
Fast forward another week. I had returned from Richmond, BC feeling something I couldn’t quite pinpoint. A few things had changed on the homefront, making it slightly less possible to pack up my life and move across the county, but more than that, leaving Ottawa and the people and places that make it what it is, even for a few days, left my heart feeling a few inches lower than it once had been. Sappy, mushy, lady-feelings aside, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to leave the city that had embraced me so kindly all these years, and especially in the last few months through voting processes, kind words, and other incredible acts of support. I let myself fully dwell on my thoughts, on what the next year might hold, on pros and cons of accepting the position should it be offered to me, and on where my heart really needed to be. Ultimately, and not with great ease, I made the decision to follow my gut instinct and my heart, and withdraw myself from the process. It left me feeling a sense of failure that I’ve only felt when ending NoshFood (another story for another day). I knew that the decision was the right one for me, but I couldn’t help but feel as though I’d let others down.
In the past few weeks, since my decision was set in stone, I’ve had a lot of time to listen more closely to my thoughts, find peace with my decision, and genuinely move on. I am without words, which you all know doesn’t come easy to me, when I think of how incredible ALL of your support has been. Each and every one of you. My family, dear friends, incredible peers, kind strangers, remarkable Ottawans, and anyone else I may have missed… you are, without a doubt, the most impossibly tremendous people I know and I can’t thank you enough for every single thing you’ve done for me in this last few months, prior to that, and likely beyond now. My chest is heavy with emotion when I think of how lucky I am.
Further to that, I also want to speak to how incredible Tourism Richmond has been throughout this decision. It was not an easy conclusion to come to. I was a ball of sheer nerves, anxiety and panic at the thought of having to tell them that I could not keep my name in the running, knowing my heart wasn’t in it 100%, while 2 other talented, incredibly deserving women were also vying for this opportunity. They have been nothing but kind, understanding and supportive. I’m so thankful to them for every second of this experience.
I realize this is all sounding slightly over dramatic, but as someone who has the emotional capacity of a 5 year old, it was an extremely intense experience for me. One that I learned a lot about what I want, where I want to be, and who I want to be with from. They say that no experience is ruined so long as you’ve learned something, and I know I’ve taken away a lot from this.
I’m going to keep moving along here, right where my heart belongs, and find a way to reach my dreams in the place that makes me happiest.
My dear, adoring Ottawa. You are the gravy to my Poutine, the cinnamon sugar to my Beavertail, the pepper-salt to my tofu. Let’s stay together.