The Fair
Our job fairs are still going great. At the Kimberly fair, one of the high schools brought sixty of their students in to explore different careers. At Castlegar, our venue was Selkirk College. We had students from the college that were looking for jobs after they graduate, but we also had two high schools that drove one to two hours to attend the fair. In addition to the students, locals sought employment as well. The venue was packed all day!

The Team
After being with the team in such close quarters for three weeks, we have gotten to know each other quite well. An activity that we all enjoy playing is Settler’s of Catan. It is a board game that is quite complicated to explain, which gave me a bad impression of the game at first. However, after playing it I have grown quite fond of it. It is one of the things that brought the team together. My favourite story is how Adam and I are practically twins now. We have been riding in the same vehicle for two weeks and have spent hours on the road talking to pass the time. Our taste in music overlaps and we actually had an Aerosmith and Queen sing-along at one point. We are practically the same person because we order the same meals. At the Castlegar fair, Theo and Richard spoke to Adam and I separately about an interesting story and apparently we both responded the exact same way, word for word. If you do not find this funny, I guess this is one of our team inside jokes. Despite a ten year age gap, I am glad that I am getting along with the team.

Free Time
In the times that I was not working, I kept myself busy by enjoying what the city has to offer. Last weekend, I spent my day off snowboarding at Red Mountain in Rossland. A few days ago, I snowboarded at Kymberly and yesterday I had a great time snowboarding at Revelstoke. I haven’t snowboarded in almost two years, so I decide to take lessons to refresh my memory. Revelstoke is a great resort and the employees are so friendly. My instructor, Dave, was the best. I picked up on the skills quickly, and he kept my falling to a minimal. He caught me at the end of the day still practicing, and was nice enough to invite me to hangout with him and his friends for dinner and drinks. They are way more experienced snowboarders than I am, and told me crazy stories about the tricks they can do and the injuries they’ve gotten. It was inspiring to hear and I wish I could be as good as them one day. Luckily, I brought my board on the trip, so I can practice at these nice mountains.    
Last week we had job fairs in Hope and Osoyoos. I had been to Hope once when I was little, but do not remember much about it. It is a great place, surrounded by beautiful mountains. We had a team bonding activity, which involved 5-pin bowling and playing pool. I surprised the team by winning two games of 5-pin bowling. Unfortunately, the entire team played pool terribly. The best part about Hope was a coffee shop called the Blue Moose. There they had delicious cakes and made great drinks. I ordered a red symphony, which was rooibos tea, with white chocolate, vanilla, honey, whipped cream, and cinnamon sprinkles. It tasted amazing!

Osoyoos is probably one of my favourite cities we have visited so far. Our hotel was along the Osoyoos Lake, and I enjoyed walking by the water and over a bridge every day that we were there. In my free time, I went with Adam to NK’MIP (pronounced as inkameep) because the lady from the hotel gave me a free coupon for a vineyard tour. That was my first wine tasting, and I have to admit iced wine is now at the top of my favourite drinks list. During the tasting, I learned that to produce iced wine, the grapes must thrive in a temperature of about -8°C for five consecutive days before they are picked. When the grapes are squeezed, they only release about one or two drops of juice because it is so concentrated. I enjoyed the iced wine so much because of its sweetness, but a bottle costs $60. I now regret not buying a bottle, but I guess I’ll just have to come back in the summer! 
This week we were on the Island and had three job fairs in Saanich, Parksville and Campbell River. The weather out there was always great because the sun managed to make an appearance every single day. This allowed me to have nice walks along the water in the afternoons or whenever I am not working. Being away from the Lower Mainland was great because it gave the team a chance to bond. We have developed a habit of going for lunch and dinner together, which allowed me to learn more about my teammates and the coordinator for this week, Kristina. In terms of skills, a reporter from the Campbell River Mirror interviewed me this week. It wasn’t as nerve wracking as a radio interview because my voice wasn’t being recorded on a live show. Speaking to a reporter face-to-face also allowed me to see his facial expressions and go into more detail about the fair.

I am now back in the Lower Mainland and staying on residence because it is more convenient for our travel to Hope on Monday. I hardly noticed that I was gone, but it is great to be back and seeing familiar faces again. 
After completing four job fairs in the past two weeks, our team played on our strengths to develop a fast and efficient way to set up. Generally, the two men would handle the heavy items and set them up, while Theo and I work on display items that have intricate pieces to them. Our system is great because we have established our roles and this avoids miscommunication of two people doing the same task. Jocelyn said that of all the tours that Pace Group has done, we have been the fastest in setting up and tearing down. We have been allotted four hours for setup, but we have managed to complete this within an hour and a half. Each venue is a little different and we have encountered problems, like the loading zone being placed in an inconvenient location that will delay our routine or there are venue restrictions that may cause us to re-do our floor plan. However, our setup is improving each time we do it. Hopefully we can complete it within one hour by the end of the tour!

The job fair itself is also coming together. We discover more features on the Work BC and BC Jobs Plan websites at each fair to better assist job seekers, and the team is feeling more comfortable about our roles. A few success stories have also come out of the fair. Job seekers eagerly come to the fair with resumes and the outcome is that a few of our exhibitors have conducted interviews on site and have even hired some people on the spot. Other exhibitors were happy that they received a pleasant stack of resumes to review.

It has been great starting the tour in the Lower Mainland because it will ensure that we are prepared for the long haul of traveling. We are able to get any spare design pieces from Exhibitree and any equipment or other resources from the Pace Group office before we leave. I am excited to board the ferry early in the morning tomorrow and head over to the island for a week. It will be a great preview of what travelling will be like, and it gives us a better understanding of what we should prepare for in the long haul of travelling. I have not been away from my friends or family for an extended period of time, so I spent the weekend hanging out with them one last time. I don’t feel sad about it now, but I am sure I will get home sick at some point in the trip. Right now, I am looking forward to this experience! 

Stephanie Munez