The Dunedin Chapter – Been There, Dun’ That

My Dunedin chapter was this three month long, chaotic blend of pursuits that gave me equal pleasure and torment. It has taken me weeks to even find the words to write this blog post.  Dunedin was ice skating and Coronation Street.  MTV and wildlife. Beaches and electric blankets. Putting down roots and running away. Building and de-constructing relationships. Depending on the day it could be my paradise or my personal hell.

Dunedin was falling in love and finding myself. It was heartbreak and healing at the same time. It was putting down some old baggage and picking up some new stuff I will have to learn to put down later.

I had designated 2012 as The Year of Saying Yes. Dunedin was an intense start to 2013: The Year of Margaret. The following is a current (though not complete) list of Margaret Things from the Dunedin chapter:

Ice Skating

Some afternoons I would go ice skating in my size 7 hockey skate rentals and fly around the ice with such strong emotions that I could be singing as easily as I could be glaring at the silly teenagers around me. Often having the whole rink to myself, on that ice I felt like I could fly. I would go as fast as my feet would take me around that oval. No one could touch me on that ice. It was a dance I could do with my music in my ears and my body knowing exactly what to do. There aren’t many things I do that give me true pleasure and peace in my mind, body and heart but ice skating is one of them.


Life Modeling

After several weeks of emailing back and forth with the life drawing coordinator of the local university, I was finally scheduled in for three Thursday nights of modeling. I bought a robe from a second hand store so I looked legit and tried to act like I had modeled a lot more than I had. Fake it until you make it and all that. The tutor of the class was a very nice artist named Pauline Bellamy. She made me feel respected and welcome immediately. I disrobed and stood in the middle of that room with the hope that I could impress them and get more work down the road. After three weeks with this group I had done my best to curl, stretch, lean and bend in every way possible. I had my hands, feet and back end fall asleep. I had almost fainted in front of the heat lamp. Pauline drove me home after the last class and offered to give me one of her sketches to keep. I chose the sketch that I felt showed my least flattering angle because I wanted to remind myself that the pride I felt in my work as a model had nothing to do with how I actually looked. (Amen, Lisa, Amen.) The second gift Pauline gave me that night was a simple compliment: “You are a really good model, Margaret. You can hold a pose really well. I hope you keep going with it.”



I was lucky enough to find a room to rent in a house that felt like Home. I rented from a woman who was kind, strong, liked a good wine and a good chat. She, her daughter and her granddaughter would gather in that home and make me feel as though I was a part of the family. We would watch Coronation Street and I would pretend to not care about the story lines until I missed an episode and begged to be filled in. One night spontaneously turned into a home spa session as the four of us soaked our feet and painted our toe nails. Other nights were movies or homework or just hanging around. Having that sisterhood to come home to on the hard days and the fun days made all the difference in my Dunedin chapter. I will always remember the way my “landlord” was really a friend who knew just when to share advice or lend an ear.

orange house

Upper Canada aka. Dave

It is plain old love: laughs, passion, torment, forgiveness, trust, promises and plans. Dunedin was finding Dave and finding me. When you put the two together it just works.



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