July, 2008

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Humidity is…

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

(inspired by the Peanuts book Happiness Is…)

…good skin, without LUSH.
…always wanting to have a nap.
…triple the WOW-factor in the underground metro. No question.
…that feeling of never really being hungry or not hungry.
…constantly being thirsty.
…mondo curly hair, if left to fend for itself.
…crackers and chips that don’t stay crispy if left open for more than five minutes.
…a total unawareness of actual temperature.
…rainstorms that start and end within a few minutes but leave you DESTROYED.
…thankfulness for A/C this go-round so that the windows closed wasn’t synonymous with self-made-steam-room.

OY YOY YOY!! This climate is one that is SO foreign to me… even with beaucoup de trips here.

Voluntary Communication Debilitation

Monday, July 21st, 2008

or V.C.D.

It is so crazy:
a) speaking in a language that I have such a small vocabulary for
b) text messaging nearly every plan as that’s the cheapest form of contact here (with everyone from such distant places) and trying to summarize everything in 60 characters
c) often text messaging IN french or half-french
d) knowing that out-and-about self-made sign-language is the only safety-net between me, a native anglophone, and someone here who is exclusively francophone

SO crazy/SO intense, this experience, in fact… that I dream about it.

Last night’s dream was that I was on the metro (which had an amusement park feel to it, in that mixed-up motif dreams often have) and someone criticized me for using the verb: apporter (oh right, because there are at least four verbs that look and sound almost exactly the same) when that wasn’t really what I meant to say. This person was eavesdropping as I was talking to someone else. And me screaming, “Close freakin’ enough, sir! It’s the best I can do, right now with what I’ve got!!”

haha, these are my dreams here folks!

but in all honesty, I love it. And, I think to myself: how can I not appreciate my command of English when I’m back at home performing my life, teaching, and learning in it? (and yes I wish I had an extra language or two under my belt… but this is all aside from that). It’s not too often we appreciate our command of linguistic skills, but this whole summer is allowing me to do just that! Hopefully in an enduring sort of way.

Flustered French

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

*pay for groceries*

*hand bank card*

Me: “Oh, and can I add $60?”

Her: “Combien?” [we’re going to do this in French].

Me: *flustered* “Oh, sixty. Uh, seize dollar plus… s’il vous plait!” [Seize = 16 not 60].

*she hands the pinpad over… it’s way obviously not the right amount. I freak out. Because this is now a financial transaction not going well. I now speak neither English nor French.*

Me: “Uh, non. Sixty. Six – Zero. (en). Six – Zero. (fr.) Six par dix.”

*she gives a what a dummy smile* Her: Pas seize! Soixointe.

*I think, how on earth am I in Level 4*

*transaction finishes… I get 3 crisp $20’s*

Seems I’m now back in my very first French lesson waaaaaaay back in Mme. Zorne’s French 13 class in Grade 9.

*life continues on*

It’s not that I don’t know these things… it’s just hard when you’re put on the spot ESPECIALLY when you’re used to an everyone-here-is-bilingual safety net.

I am sitting here on Facebook…

Monday, July 14th, 2008

…looking out my window, on this the 12th floor towards downtown, seeing the sky fairly far out thinking to myself it looks like it could…

and before I get to my mental word: rain it does, like a huge-pellet Flash Flood.

So much rain, in fact, I can’t see out my window anymore.

Then, less than a few minutes later. It’s done. People are now walking on the streets again, just this time in huge puddles.

And that’s how it goes here. It’s a humidity level so close to saturation, I think, it just gets barely past that line enough to rain [intensely] and then just under again.

Call me arrid, but it’s pretty crazy.

It certainly keeps people guessing. You wouldn’t want to be too far from cover during these little “meteo” events. Luckily, it looks like I’m now safe [touch wood]. Time to head for some food, constantly checking this grey sky and constantly prepared for a little run in case this happens again, then off for tea with les autres etudiants.

Via the Metro [ligne orange].

One can certainly see the benefits of putting a public transit system underground in an intense little climate. Just one more lesson my Alberta could have learned from our sister province over here in Quebec…

…but didn’t.

[N.O.T. H.A.V.I.N.G. T.O. G.O.] C.R.A.Z.Y.

Friday, July 11th, 2008

As summer’s go, this one’s been a joy. There is SO little to worry about here, and it’s amazing how good that is for energy levels, the skin, and everything. I feel like a little science experiment here, demonstrating how busyness really does take a lot out of you and non-busyness is really recharging and refreshing. Turns out, it seems, people are meant to be in balance.

Last night (gasp! a Thursday!) was the first night out and about finding suitable dance floors. I haven’t laughed for a long time as much as I have during both the night out and this morning’s classtime reflections. Tonight is looking like a similar night only with a few more tentative additions (read: the “New Yaahwk” girls) to the group. It’s always so interesting to me how quickly like-minded people magnetize during these sorts of programs.

In a week from today in the French class itself we’re watching C.R.A.Z.Y. C’est optienelle and I’ve seen the movie, oh, a zillion times… but what would be the use of turning down an opportunity to watch a movie that is truly one of my favourites, in an amazing city, with new eyes, with great company?

I’m finding there’s so much I can learn, new and familar, with the open heart I seem to have here these days. If I were able to create these fresh perspectives more often, I can see how advanageous that could be. Essentially: ‘blah blah blah Travis is in Montreal. He’s loving it, and feeling on-top-of-the-world. No surprise. It’d be nice to be able to bring some of this back.’

L’homme; Home; Om

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

I’m in Montreal, with this sense of being home.

It’s not the sort of sense where I feel an urgency to move here, or the sort of sense where I feel occurance after occurance of nostalgia. It’s bigger, broader, and more ambiguous than that.

What I’m at home with, more than the city itself, is being able to enjoy this opportunity I’ve given myself to just learn, explore, and live life. I’m feeling at home in a time-sense, living life as it is presently, more than in a physical geographic sense… if that even makes any sense. Although, the city here, seems to do some of the legwork. (In fact, if a city were capable of attaining and reflecting personal values, I’d say this one does a fairly adept job with mine.)

Who knows what key memories I will take from this summer? It doesn’t matter. They may include the haircut I received from an exclusively Francophone stylist, (…or what’s to come may bump that right out of the contenders list.)

Joy after joy, smile after smile, it’s a summer here… and I’m pretty much without complaint.

(…not that I’m going searching for one).

(…at all.)


Turns out…

Monday, July 7th, 2008

…my Montreal has been waiting for me all along!

I’m back. I’m checked-in. I’m toasty warm. I’m ready.

I can’t even tell you how big my smile was on the shuttle’s first glimpse of ‘the mount’. The unbeatable smile, however, was actually beat (and bigger) when that ‘mount’ was the permanent view from my [perfectly air-conditioned] room.

Ah. I’m here. =) =) =)

More to follow.

Definitely more to follow.

Tomorrow’s tomorrow.

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Question: What is true-er than truth?
Answer: …the story.

I believe that wholeheartedly. [I learned that phrasing, *shock*, in a TED Talk.]

The “truth” (or the facts, or the observations, or the objective account) would be that I have a French Course booked, a flight itinerary, and a rough plan to head to Eastern Canada for a significant portion of my summer. The “truth” is that tonight is my last night in Calgary, after that it’s the ‘shoe for a night, and then a family send-off at the airport.

The “story”, as we get more subjective, and more into what matters… is that I feel like I’m right at the dawn of a big, and just-familiar-enough, adventure. I get to excercise my language muscles, meet new people, discover more about one of my truly favourite places on earth, and just live life in ‘getaway’ mode. I get to speak with broken language skills while taking my dance moves to dance floors with my own unique brand of coordination.

I’m feeling excited, nervous, and unprepared in equal measure.

I’m also done trying to explain what seems like a lustful relationship I’ve formed with Montreal. I don’t expect anyone to understand, and for those who do, I invite them to come along for a re-charge and fireworks show extraordinaire (or two).

SO. It begins.

The bag gets packed…

…which in itself isn’t so exciting, but the bigger broader tale that starts with that “the bag gets packed” for me is SO exciting, I can’t really contain myself.

Je reviens a Montreal. (back in a month!!)