Yesterday, I was one of 25, 000 people who went to watch Great Big Sea in Wascana Park (40,000 were in Wascana Park in total). (Can you imagine how crazy parking was, when 21% of the city's population was in one park, albeit one of the largest urban parks in North America?) They announced that this was the largest concert in Regina history.
I felt so much like I was part of the community that evening. I was already thinking about how I would tell people that, yes, I saw Great Big Sea the time they played Canada Day in Regina. And I'll mention how this Newfoundland band played on an official day of mourning in their province (commemorating the disaster of the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916). And I'll talk about how long it took us to get to a place where we could even see the band, and how the audience changed drastically between the previous band, K-os, and Great Big Sea. (We, along with plenty of middle-aged people, were replacing boys in dreadlocks who wore woven hats and stood in circles with their friends, doing a sort of crouch-dance).
We then watched the best fireworks show I've seen in my whole life. (And I am usually left feeling a little let down after fireworks. This time, I was stunned. There had to be provincial funding for them this year, considering that it's the Centennial.) And took a bazillion years getting home. People had started ignoring traffic laws and parking in the middle of Broad Street, to watch the fireworks. Chris and I found a parking spot that was pretty much legal, or at least not distruptive of traffic, and so we had no problem from police.
And this got me wondering: when will I next feel this at home? I know this city and its traditions so well, and coming to an event like this means running into countless friends and family. When I go to Mosaic, I can explain to people why there were so many years without an Irish pavilion.
I was at the shortest free concert in Buffalo Days history, when Matthew Good got hit in the head with a shoe in the middle of "Apparitions." Along with other youths from my city, I sympathised with him at first, then thought it was ungracious of him to stop the concert immediately after the song (and was hurt by the angry words of his bandmates), having my hurt turned into indignation when Good publicly told other performers to avoid Regina. Okay, so I've cheered when other performers have subsequently announced, "We didn't like Matthew Good anyway!" But I also have "Ooo"ed with everyone else, whenever I hear a story about "The Guy Who Threw the Shoe," as he is still remembered.
I've stood in line at Milky Way, when it was still too cold to be eating ice cream outside. I've driven to Moose Jaw just to go to Boston Pizza, because the city's so close and it's fun to say "Let's go to Moose Jaw!" and hop in the car, when you're really bored. I've barely ever cruised Albert, or at least I'd like to think that I've only done so ironically. I have crashed an event for the Dragon Boat Festival.
I've made fun of this city for so many years (not that I think any other city is better -- I've never been the type to want to get out of here as quickly as possible) and yet I have been part of everything just as much as everyone else. And I'm kind of sad that I'm leaving just before the Canada Summer Games arrive. I've been part of enough build-up for it, and then suddenly I'm going to be the resident of another province entirely, "just when cool things are starting to happen here," as my fiancé said last evening.
How long does it take to become part of another city? How long will it take for me to feel at home?