Marché Atwater

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Westside Market in my blog Being Home and about how the different cultures of the market influenced my desire to travel. It’s become somewhat of a tradition for my family to visit a local market when we travel. Fortunately, Montreal has six, so I have plenty of overpriced produce to shop for.

All jokes aside, markets bring me a sense of peace that I don’t experience anywhere else. The closest people in my life often make fun of me for my love of grocery stores and supermarkets, but I won’t deny that I adore them. I especially love going to groceries alone, because I can just wander aimlessly and pick up weird foods for as long as I want.

I believe it comes down to a sense of individuality within a public space. Grocery stores and markets are wide open and full of people, but those people are all there for a similar but slightly unique experience. That dichotomy in-and-of-itself is what draws me into markets. I like knowing that everyone is there to buy their groceries, but I wonder what meal they will make or who is coming over to their apartment for dinner that night. I often stop to think about each individual that passes by me and wonder what thought propels their feet forward. What motivates them to continue throughout their day.

There’s a word for it: sonder. It sounds sad, and sometimes it may be, but I find it is more often a feeling of relation and understanding. It reminds me that our differences are truly the only thing that can unite us.

Eloragh

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Sore and Tired

The first week of a ballet intensive is always the hardest. New teachers, new combinations, new schedules, and, of course, a new intense style of training. Today was my second day at Ballet Divertimento du Montreal and I am exhausted. I can’t wait to get through the next few days and relax on my weekend.

Being a dancer is really difficult. Most bodies are not built to withstand the positions that ballet requires. As I am sitting in my bed with my aching bones, I wonder why I love this so much.

The challenge is addictive. That’s the gist of it. I’m on a deadline, but I hope I can elaborate tomorrow.

Eloragh

Energy

Sometimes I wonder how my energy levels are doing. My gauge is strange, I can only recognize when it is at one extreme or another. I’m aware of my hyper-energetic state and my fatigued state.

Today, I woke up with a lot of energy. I was ready to do some work, run some errands, and enjoy my city. I was so happy to finally be in Montreal, I wanted nothing more than to ride the subway and sit down at a cafe on Le Plateau.

I did all of those things. The metro quickly lost it’s charm after four different people sneezed in my general vicinity on the same train. The cafe at Le Plateau was terrific, but my father was not enjoying it. I started to wonder if I would be better as a solo traveler, but that is another blog for another day.

Anyway, we picked up some Bixi bikes after brunch. Bixi bikes are rentable bikes with docks all around Montreal, they’re quite convenient but can be a pain in the ass to return. The docks aren’t too spread out, but they can fill up quickly. My father is also averse to listening to me or letting me take the lead in finding a place, so we ended up taking way more time than needed due to his lack of ability to follow a map.

My energy waned towards 4 or 5 o’clock. We hopped back on the metro but stopped at Berri-UQAM (the massive station that connects three different lines) to see if we couldn’t get my student metro card set up. We ended up leaving the station and walking an extra four blocks to find the right metro office, only to be told that I have to wait until August 1st because I’m not a summer student. My lack of energy then turned to anger which my poor father had to suffer from.

I should probably apologize to him. Although we both messed up in different ways today, I definitely overreacted a few times. But this type of behavior is standard coming from me when I am low on steam. I tend to get irritable, frustrated, and sometimes irrationally angry. It makes matters even worse when I can’t get any privacy to chill out.

Living in Montreal will be a new experience and will most definitely test my energy levels. Walking everywhere, dealing with people all day long, and navigating public transportation will force me to adjust and possibly increase how much bullshit I can deal with.

It’s worth it though. This city is amazing. If you ever stop by, please go to Le Plateau Mont-Royal.

Eloragh

French Variation

Around 11:30am EST, I drove onto the island of Montreal, QC with my father. I’ll be living here until July 25th to participate in a ballet intensive. I came a few days early to set up a bank account, get my McGill student ID (yes, my picture did turn out awful), and get my social insurance number for when I move up here permanently in August.

We’re staying in a VRBO until I can move to my long-ish term apartment, so we went down to the Marche Jean-Talon to get some groceries. Montreal summers can be brutal, but we were lucky enough to arrive on a mild, breezy day. As we walked down the streets next to the market, I thought about the parallels between Quebec and Senegal, another French-speaking place I visited recently. I also noted how French colonization had influenced both areas differently.

For reference, Senegal was a French colony until 1960 when it gained independence. In places such as Thies and Saint-Louis, the architecture and culture mimic French style very clearly. Much like Montreal, becoming independent didn’t mean losing the French lifestyle or development, it just meant political and economic freedom. The difference lies in how each country has changed since becoming its own nation.

Canada has undoubtedly had a much longer time (93 years longer) to expand its economy and form its political system than Senegal has. Canada also has a much more diverse economy, with lumber, fishing, and oil being just a few of its many resources. Senegal really only has its fishing industry and phosphate, a mineral that many westerners travel to Africa to mine and sell. Canada has little regulation and restriction on trade and business relative to Senegal, which has made it very difficult to export/import and nearly impossible for an average citizen to become an entrepreneur.

There are certainly more aspects that make up the difference between these countries. Just their geography alone has a great influence on the relative wealth of each former French colony. The fact that Canada is technically still within the British common-wealth probably helps as well.

I’m no expert on either country, but my thoughts often wander to these ideas when in a French-speaking country/province. I think my history classes definitely neglected the scope of influence that French colonization had on the world. The education I received focused mainly on England and, while the English obviously had a giant impact through exploration and expansion, other countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal also established themselves as countries of expedition and growth during the same time.

My blogs usually come down to this idea, and maybe I’m nitpicking here, but this is yet another flaw I see in traditional education. There are never enough school days to develop a thorough understanding of any period of history. In homeschooling/unschooling environments, students have the freedom and time to learn as much about anything they want without sacrificing the exciting details for the big ideas.

But that’s just my opinion.

Eloragh

 

 

Busy Days

Wow, I had a busy day.

I woke up at 6am to register for classes, got to Taos by 8am for professional development, researched Senegalese curriculums, sent a lot of emails, had a doctors appointment, and took my last ballet class at my home studio.

Tomorrow, I leave for Montreal. I still have yet to finish packing, but I know I’ll be fine. Sometimes I forget that I can also buy things if I forget them. In my town, you have to have everything you need with you, because you won’t be able to buy it there. We have absolutely nothing in terms of grocery stores or pharmacies.

I’m excited. Going to Montreal, even just for a month, is a step towards independence. I yearn to be my own person and I am finally getting the chance to be.

Eloragh

Pissed Off

I was pissed off today. I’m not really sure why and I couldn’t shake it. I went for a 40-minute walk, which was quite a lot compared to what I usually do. I took 2.5 hours of ballet, thinking that would calm me down. It didn’t.

Some days the reality of your shitty situation hits and you finally understand that every decision you have ever made has led you to this point in your life. You can blame anyone you want, but it’s your fault in the end. That’s what sting so much, I’m pissed off and it’s all because of me.

I’ll fix it, I’ll do what I want to do eventually. Waiting is the hardest part of realizing a dream or removing yourself from a bad situation.

I leave for Montreal on Wednesday. I’m spending all day tomorrow at professional development for the curriculum I’m working with. I am not even close to done packing.

Yea, I’m angry.

Eloragh

Have Your Elephant, and Eat it Too.

I’m moving much sooner than I thought. The elephant of packing up my life and settling in another country has been weighing on me. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to start planning and packing for this new phase of my life, but I have been ignoring it for the sake of my own comfort. So, this elephant has been sitting in my room for a while, and now I need to eat it. Double metaphor, take that College Board.

Today, I packed up my entire closet. I had quite a large closet and kept the majority of my property in it, so this was a big task to tackle. I slowly picked through my clothing, putting a decent amount in donation bags, another decent amount in trash bags, and the majority of it in moving boxes. They’re sitting behind me on my dresser, all eight of them, reminding me that I will leave this room for the last time in just a few days.

I left my elephant alone for too long, perhaps not wanting to acknowledge how exciting but frightening it’s presence was. In all honesty, I am overjoyed that I am moving. I don’t think I ever honestly felt at home in the area I live. With that being said, I sometimes wonder if I will ever find a place that feels as warm and comforting as a home should. Will it be Montreal? I doubt it. I don’t think I am lucky enough to move once and be satisfied. I am far too transient for that.

Have your elephant, and eat it too. Not because you want to, but because the world beckons you onto bigger and better things. I said goodbye to one of my mentors today, I could hear the pain in his voice when I told him I was leaving on the 20th. He has become a figure I can look up to, someone who inspires me and motivates me to work harder in pursuit of my dreams. The phone call was by far our shortest, most likely due to the immense ache of loss we both felt. I will miss him, I know I will see him again, but I will still miss him.

Change is not one elephant, it is many small bitter elephants that pop up when you least expect them. The elephant of walking away, the elephant of saying goodbye, the elephant of last steps, last hugs, last laughs, last moments of memory and nostalgia. The elephant in my room is slowly chipped away at by the knife and fork of transition.

To comfort myself, I like to think that change is the only constant in life. It reminds me to find peace in unpredictability.

Eloragh