At this moment, Christina Marshall is driving that last lonely stretch of highway, between Stephenville and Port aux Basques, on her way to catch the Marine Atlantic ferry.
Marshall spent the day in Gros Morne National Park, no doubt contemplating her future. Because she has a lot to think about.
Monday was Marshall's last day as video-journalist with CBC Here & Now. She is on her way to a new job with CTV, in Sarnia, Ontario.
I am not sure why she left CBC, and Marshall didn't seem eager to talk about it.
The main thing is, CBC has lost one of its rising stars at Here & Now.
I wrote about Christina in December of last year, when she covered the power blackout on the Bonavista Peninsula, while still a new face on the scene. You should check out that item to see what we're losing. Because Christina has done nothing but improve since then, becoming more confident and capable in front of the camera. She is, quite simply, a natural.
I asked Christina if she wanted to do a farewell interview. Instead, she offered to write a rather personal parting message, which I am posting below in its entirety:
I am leaving the CBC Here and Now team after much debate and thought. This decision was not an easy one... quite the opposite actually. Newfoundland and Labrador is a place that captures the magic of life in every way possible. It is a place that offers beauty, rawness and ruggedness, mixed with warmth, community and acceptance. A place where the people make it amazing.
Every now and then you stumble into a place that makes you one of its own. This is what has happened to me. Here I feel I belong. I am home. I may be a mainlander but my blood is running thick with the ocean, the hills, the rocky beaches. I may be going away now, but I look at it as more of an intermission or break.
Have you ever seen the movie "Big Fish"? Ewan McGregor's character stumbles into this village where they have no shoes, the grass is green and there is a real sense of community. When he arrives he is greeted with a look of surprise. A man says, "My, we weren't expecting you yet - you're early." McGregor's character stays for a bit even though he is early, but then realizes that he has to leave to move forward with some aspects of his life. He promises he will come back and indeed he does. I feel like that is where I am at right now, with my leaving.
CBC Newfoundland and Labrador has given me some of the best experiences and tools anyone could ever ask for in this trade. They gave me a chance and an opportunity to be myself, while doing something I love.
I have enjoyed my time here more than words can describe. I look out my window as I write this and smile. The people I have met, the stories I have been able to share, the sights I have seen my what a utopic place this is.
I thank all the viewers who have supported and watched me develop this last year. It was never my plan to be a journalist. I always wanted to be behind the camera, but I wanted to move to Newfoundland more so I jumped in front of the camera for that opportunity. I also thank the CBC for giving me a chance.
I have seen much of the Island and met many people. Whether they be "townies" or "baymen/women" I can honestly say I have never met nicer, kinder, more "real" people in my life. I love that people here enjoy a "good story" and there are so many of them to tell in this magical place. I will miss it here so much. But I will always think of my beginnings with fondness. Really, when I think of it, how many people have touched a Stanley Cup, worn a gold medal, been lowered over a 200-foot cliff, seen so many places in a province, wore Superman PJ's on National TV, and so much more, all in one year? I am blessed for my experiences.
I have accepted a position with CTV in South Western Ontario. I will be working as a Video Journalist in the Sarnia Bureau. Although there is no ocean there, I will look out at Lake Huron and think about the view of the harbour here in St. John's with a sigh and smile.
What are my reasons for leaving a place I love so much? They are very personal and complicated. But you can mark my words, no matter what it takes I will be back, for St. John's is my HOME I know this in my heart.
On Monday, her last day at CBC, this is the status update Marshall posted on her facebook page:
"Christina Marshall is going to get through her last day with Grace and laughter."
This, I suspect, is how she will get through a lifetime.
Update, at 1:00 am: facebook rocks. Immediately after posting this item, I logged on and saw Christina's status update: "Christina is on the ferry." I shot her a note, saying 'Blast! I just said you were on the way to the ferry,' then invited her to post a comment, before the boat slipped its ropes and stole into the night. She replies, below.