Greetings! I’m Alison. I grew up in BC, and then I spent 10 years living in Edmonton before moving to Nova Scotia. I have a Master of Science degree in Linguistics from the University of Alberta, and I have had way too many jobs over the years to list.* (*but if you’re really curious about my work experience, let me know and I can send you more info.) My favourite colour is blue, and I have a thing for penguins, although I’ve never really understood why. I enjoy long walks, the sound that bubbles make, seeing people smile when they are thinking to themselves, chopping fruit, and (strangely enough) waiting in line-ups.
Apart from all that, though, it seems that my real passion is Gaelic.
It started out as an interest, which turned into a hobby, and that hobby led to me quitting my steady Edmonton day job to move to Nova Scotia to find out what Gaelic is really all about. So what’s the story?
Well, I’ve always been a language nerd. From reciting the alphabet backwards at 3 years old (much to the annoyance of those around me), to spelling bees, and high school French class, everything about language has always captivated me.
About ten years ago, I signed up for a community Scottish Gaelic class in Edmonton, because I thought it would be interesting, fun, and challenging to learn a language unlike the English and French I already knew. It was all of those things, and I loved it.
I was taking linguistics courses at the time, and although I wasn’t able to continue with the Edmonton Gaelic class after the first year, I was always thinking about the connections between Gaelic and linguistics during my university days.
After a Gaelic-learning hiatus of about six or seven years, I was finally able to attend the Gaelic College in Cape Breton for a week in the summer of 2009, and it renewed my interest in the Gaelic language and culture. And in 2010, it just so happened that a friend of mine was able to reconnect me with the Edmonton Gaelic group just in time for an immersion week that was being held in Edmonton.
There’s something about learning Gaelic that really has me hooked – when I’m learning Gaelic, I get so excited that I can’t sleep. I will spend hours on end reading through textbooks, searching for words in dictionaries, and looking for things to do that have anything to do with Gaelic. But the problem for me was that Edmonton is really not the ideal place to be if you want as much exposure to Gaelic as possible.
Which brings us to 2011, when I moved to Nova Scotia for no real reason other than to be near Gaelic, so that I might learn more about the language and culture from a community perspective. I want to observe Gaelic in it’s natural habitat, and learn it in context as opposed to in a classroom far away. And I think a great place to do that is right here in Nova Scotia.
I hope that makes some sort of sense to someone out there, because the more I think about it, the more I realize just how insane I must be. Man, these “Bio” things are super tough to write. I’m sure more details will come to light through my blog posts, but if you’re still curious, feel free to get in touch, and I’ll do my best to clarify, elaborate, or simplify.