finally montreal (4)

iunie 23, 2009

day 8 (june 9)- starts around midnight really, when my new roomie e. bursts into the room and wakes me up, and then we have a like 3 hr chat about our respective backstories. she’s from new hampshire, back from a…sojourn, y/y? in quebec city and stopped for the night bc she realized she didn’t have her passport on her so…yah. crossing the border suddenly iffy. she’s one of those annoying ppl who look mid-late 30s at 45, and is doing a M.Ed. in teaching creative writing. i mean ok, it’s a bit of a weird coincidence, but not THAT weird, considering that 70% of the people i know right now do some form of writing. anyway. more interestingly, she was doing local journalism covering the primaries last year, and got to see all the candidates at pretty close range. now that i find fascinating:). so in the morning we again wake up 8-ish and get out of room past 10, she wants to go to her consulate, i desperately want to check ontd_ai at this point, for my adam fix, and then catch a free jewish movie at the segal center on a street i’ve no idea how to get to. (yes, it is on the map yay). also, it’s fucking rainy and cold, and i would basically sell this day  for hot tea and blankets and girly t.v. but, a minor karma gift, when i check the net the ‘rolling stone’ interview bits have been leaked. definite mood improvement.

the segal center turns out easy to find and e. said she’d join me at some point during/after film. so i chat with an endearing old jewish lady, totally fierce, who scolds me for not speaking french and spanish even if i have a spanish name (o_o, she gave me her email, when i start contacting these ppl, no way i’m leaving her out) anyway. movie time. e. shows up, and then we embark in her car (full of holiday recycle, but with awesome stickers) and go in search of good place to have lunch. ‘rumi’ – close to fairmont – hah, had actually been recommended to me before. so it’s moroccan cuisine, which means some chicken with nuts, and rice, in some form, and almond-flavored pudding and actually the hot tea of my previous request. all through this it keeps raining, but then not so much, so we take a walk around the block and in a corner there’s some filming being done for a t.v. show. and then e. leaves, and that’s it.

dinner at rj’s. actually, at his ex-bf’s place upstairs. and under the same pretext of, uuuh, it’s cold and rainy and i need comfort, i gorge myself on tea+cookies and everything that is offered, basically. and sit back and pet the cat. and it does occur to me that this day went by effortlessly, naturally, as if i were already living in montreal. though i did get lost again, in the rain, walking the wrong direction from the pl. st. henri stop – there’s something about that neighbourhood that simply confuses me.

day 9 (june 10) i try to check my duties off the list, like a good kid that i am. i need to eat souvlaki, so i go and have souvlaki for lunch. finally on st. laurent//laval. outside, to make the most of the sun again. the deal somehow includes soup, and coffee and cake, which puzzles me a bit. and the place is empty, except for a girl who’s  – on her own – celebrating herself on her birthday (and she lives in montreal!) and so 4 people of the staff sit down next to us outside for their own lunch. so much fun.

and in the evening i finally do the free tour of the contemp. art museum. yay. i’m going to link to the presentation of robert polidori’s expo, because i don’t know how to talk about otherwise. so, yes, go check it.

day 10 (june 11) i will take a paragraph to mention the ridiculous sandwich i had at ‘santropol’, where sonia z. sent me and i do see why: brown-brown bread, with cheese + honey + peanut butter + nuts and raisins and banana bit, aaand a lettuce leaf and maybe avocado? and on the outside of the arrangement: freash cucumber slice, pickled cucumber slice, melon slice, quarter of orange, carrots and hot pepper. it did look fabulous. and it’s just one on a list of like 15 weird combos (ham/mint jelly, cheese /chives /pineapple), and that’s just the sandwiches. i hear soups are also fantastic. and desserts – though, how was my sandwich NOT a desert? also the place looks good – interior backyardy terrace with a little fountain and mexican-ish decor. oh well to that – but overall pretty cool.

apart from this – shopping spree. seriously, all the cheap enough bits on sale at ‘simons’ and GAP and all the ridiculous small afterthoughts and cards and blah. with one mention that i need to make: do you guys know how much self-control it took me in order to not buy silvery sandals, silvery bag, all-glittered black top, huge rings with colored stones, silver tights, gloves with cut-out fingers, the works? it’s not even funny. f. said at one point „i want to have stuff again”. whatever the exterior reason, and the other pent-up things at work there, i want to have my things again. and style again. so yes i have to dissuade myself from purchasing 14 y.o.- appropriate tidbits from time to time. all in the service of the greater good of getting settled, and starting to build up.

some days i can’t wait – to move, to move on. some other days i get to the awakward point of acknowledging (same as with the desire for silver bags) that this is OBVIOUSLY just a stage. and what if mtl won’t rise up to the hype? well, what then? something else will. *sigh*. and i’ve always thought of myself as constant, loyal. predictable.

finally montreal (3)

iunie 22, 2009

day 6 (june 7, a sunday). wake up very early – i.e. 7 :), to do the breakfast routine then meet „music guy” and go for a walk to the top of mont royal, as planned. plan also includes taking y. along, except she needs to pack and check out first, so we’re a bit late. the guy’s building is pretty close by though, we buzz him, everything goes normal and i’m walking and trying to relax and enjoy while keeping up with him (i’m wearing flatsoles and there’s a blister starting to crop up) and not breathing through my mouth. so we’re about midway (15′ more to the top, he says) when y. suddenly lets us know she has to go back or she’ll be late for church service. [alright, so i’d known she wanted to do church, she’s a methodist and practicing,and she’d picked a church the day before, but hell if i thought she’d leave WHILE climbing up. hmmm. a bit disconcerting.] so she does actually leave. we make plans to meet again at 11.30 for museum visit , which should be kind of obvious won’t happen but for some reason i believe will happen. and that is the last i see of y. in montreal. well. (she is a really funny person. she does tourism by insisting to visit”famous” landmarks, which i wish more people would admit to; and i cracked up everytime she mentioned wanting to see city hall in mtl, because it’s supposedly an important building. yay.)

anyway. so i’m on mont royal with this guy, beginning of a downslide. i don’t know how to mask annoyance or stress or unfulfilled expectations…but i try my best, and it’s not a complete disaster. we look at the view a bit then take another route down, then on sherbrooke. the day is sunny and brilliant, although the weather forecast said rain some time. he takes me to the beaux arts museum (free day) and leaves me in the hallway and goes back to his place to have breakfast. montrealers! i honestly envy him. but i’m a trooper, with a mission, so i march on, quickly moving along walls adorned with paintings…it’s too early in the day to give up, and i don’t have anyone to get drunk with or cry in front of. it must mean it’s fine. i wait for y. in front of the contemporary art gallery for like 40 mins and just barely miss her, because i decide to just leave and do my thing. ‘my thing’ right now is the mccord museum, whose main collection is all about the irish in quebec, and which has a second floor dedicated to montreal through the seasons. all right! except 2 hours + later when i get out of there, the weather has turned. cloudy, windy, the works. maybe it’s even rained a bit. i don’t even know whether to go to the tam-tams, and my foot hurts. but i do go.

the crowd next to the monument off av. du parc acts as if the weather were fantastic. it’s encouraging. i smile at the sight of everybody just dancing, the spectacular black guy doing the drumming, the beads and hippie stuff for sale, and signs of picknicking. no seriously? there’s nothing for me to do except look around though, so i look. i buy a ‘thing’ (no idea what it actually is, i put it on one of my belts) just because i want to have something from here: the guys selling the stuff insists to bargain:) – that’s fun. then i walk downhill and back to civilization, enter a fancy creperie and buy an overpriced crepe. i’d been planning it for days. not really that great (of course). it rains a bit, then stops.

i’d decided to go to the ‘island’, the jean drapeau station, whatever is there, casino and remainders of the olympic whatever, and apparently a thing called „picnick electronik”. except obviously the timing isn’t right. i’m in a half-foul mood, tired, cold, blistered etc. except this so-called rave only happens on sundays, so if there’s a day to check it out, it’s today. alright, go. take the metro, get off, walk, and yes there’s a crowd. there are actual people sitting on blankets in the grass by a…lakelet, while a semblance of storm is in the air. the things people can do when they’ve been starving for summertime. i keep walking on and there’s music blasting, and then there’s a barrier i’m somehow on the wrong side of. two guys start talking to me in french, and after 2 seconds they’ve lost me completely and have to go in an english they’re less sure of. apparently i’ve accidentally 🙂 walked into the actual „happening”, so now i have to pay 10 $. i’m all like, hey, i didn’t even know, lemme get out, ok? and they begrudgingly do. i pass the barrier, and, it’s a small area, but i realize i had really gotten lost. as lost as you can get while you can still see the other shore very close, and the general direction you came from. well that was short and senseless. back and done for the day.

day 7 (june 8) in the morning i meet elena’s friend f. for coffee. she tells me i’ll recognize her because her hair is blue, but i swear that’s not why she stands out. dreadlocks? striped tights? the whole ensemble? she’s just spectacular. she’s doing a ph.d at brown, in electronic music (?!?@#$%) and that after having done a degree in…math or smth. i mean. anyway, meeting her is great but i do leave with the feeling that i ended up talking too much about myself/trying to explain myself again. a feeling which i hadn’t had on my first days in mtl, or not to the same degree. i blame it on the comedown. the day is sunny again, but not very warm, and after f. i try to go exploring st catherine ouest, whatever that is, trying to do a round of the st. henri place &environs. i stop on benches along the way, to write postcards. somehow i half-get lost again, end up in an unexpectedly anglophone area, am like wtf for a couple minutes because the map isn’t helpful, then find the closest metro stop. well that was…lame. so, back to mile end/plateau-ish, which is beautiful but i’m almost bored with now. i know prince arthur-laval like the back o’ my hand :). i stop for coffee and cheesecake, then i go trolling the jewish film fest at cinema du parc just so i can say i did something today. it turns out quite good.

finally montreal (2)

iunie 21, 2009

day 4 (june 5) new roommates. one of them doesn’t speak at all, and first i assume i *did something*; then i think she’s mute. i say hi and bye, and nothing more. ok, i address general remarks to the room, i.e. this girl and the other roommate, y. (this went on for 3 days. i’m ashamed that i had no idea how to behave. it felt awful. what would you have done???)

y. is korean, and did one year in edmonton,and is majoring in poli sci :), and visiting canada before going back home. also, i bet you didn’t know that in korea you are considered 1 year old on the day of your birth! anyway. so we end up touristing together in old montreal, quite a fun morning+afternoon, complete with tour of the notre-dame cathedral, pointe de la calliere losing our way in the subterranean trench things and among too many stairs/doors, cheesy ‘artist’ alleys and souvenir shops, and lunch by the old port with me eating poutine and critiquing service.

so in the evening i practically RUN to st. laurent station to meet elena’s friend b., and it turns out i ran with good reason, because he is amazing, and i wish i had time for a real life crush. i’ll stop embarassing myself here. we saw a woodwork exhibition, had dinner at ‘kilo’ in the village (more about the village later, i hope) and he dropped me off at cinema ‘roboteque’. friday night, the downtown crowded in a good heartwarming way, sunny, talk talk talk, and if you asked me to pick my favourite mtl moment this would make the top 3 no sweat. only afterwards i realized, i could realize, that i’d still been wary the days before, thinking do i really need french right away?, thinking will i be able to interact with people? b. : a huge relief, and a smile. and i love people who love mtl, no matter if they call it vibrant or not.

evening-ish, me right out of roboteque, and i get talking to this other guy ON THE STREET. so then i go with him for tea across the road, to a tea place that is called ‘camellia sinensis’ (cue giggles, so camelia means tea then? anyway!) for lovely flower tea and japanese weird pastries and he is a music professor at UQUAM or smth, and then we go to his actual office and he plays me something by dvorjak and for a short while i feel like a person who grew up in a cave *sigh* and he is all around superpolite in the frenchy way (he is french, but trying to practise his english) and he did his ph.d in budapest and adores brancusi, so he freaks out when i say i’m romanian. very very interesting, and he walks me home, well 40 mins walk from uqam and he lives close to st. cath, but still. at some point it’s completely dark and we’re still on sherbrooke, passing by the museums, and i start feeling too tired to speak.

day 5 (june 6) looks cloudy, and i’m undecided so in the morning i go by the mcgill campus and pretty soon find a bookshop nearby, which is always a time-sucking hole in my case, so by the time i call elizabeth’s friend m. it’s already afternoon…? he says come over, and he’s not far away, he and his partner live in the village, pretty house with a minuscule backyard and…well, a very stylish house 🙂 [at which point i realize that this post cannot express anything without emoticons. a pity.] i love these guys, and they feed me cheese and fruit and love on my nail polish, and i follow m. around on his small errands in the village and he finds a SILVER RING ON THE STREET AND GIVES IT TO ME AND IT FITS PERFECTLY, how is this not magic? also he advises me to buy a throwaway camera. which i do. too bad about my digital malfunctioning, but its story is kind of bad/lame from the start, honestly, so i can even find a bit of happiness in the thought of it being broken forever. after i leave the guys, i read a bit in parc la fontaine (yes by the water!) and chat with two weird guys and a squirrel.

evening: the glorious marching band party. the bar is called alize, close to berri-uqam.the guys all wear tights and skirts, which i feel is very appropriate for this time in my life, and i applaud wholeheartedly. elena’s friend m. who actually *invited* me is there to perform, with his trumpet all night, and can barely skip and come to our table (=me and y.) for 5 mins at a time. also he’s wearing the best golden tights i’ve ever seen. there’s the trumpets, then a french hip-hop band, and i translate the message of the songs to y. for a bit, until we just jump around and we can’t be bothered to care. (it’s all about protesting anyway). what else? couple of guys from colombia, pretty amazing. we don’t stay til the end, because the last metro’s at 1, so we catch that and then, since tomorrow’s y’s last day in mtl, we top it off at the hostel with a girly girl chat on the couch in the reception area.

finally montreal (1)

iunie 20, 2009

bits and pieces, because i’m not able of more right now:

day 1 (june 2nd) – cloudy and murky, and me anxious and still somewhat voiceless. walking from the bus station to st catherine and then then to my hostel on mackay: it should have taken me 40 minutes but it took 4 hours because of the eaton stores ‘conveniently’ placed in the way (still not sure if living close to st catherine is a good deal after all); also because i needed to stop in a van houtte cafe to drink hot tea (= check the internets). of course. sleep one hour (alone in) then the cleaning lady enters my hostel room and i half-awake and freak out a bit. out for an evening walk, in despair that it’s colder than vancouver. up st denis/st laurent, identify sonja’s „waiting for leonard cohen” spot (it’s parc du portugal! good gazebo!) and ‘else’s’ on roy street. also the nice touristy area between prince arthur and laval st. my heart reacts, in a good way: there is a wildness to everything: the graffitti are less hippie and more…anarchic. the grass is taller and uncut. women smoke in the street – i said this before and will repeat – and wear super-flared pants. ethnicities are different, spicier. at berri-uquam people play chess using the pavement squares as board squares, with chess pieces the size of 1/2 human. i sit and watch, the token half-beggar spots me writing notes, comes and tells me in french that i’m beautiful. i humour him because i’m pitiful.

night, round 3 a.m, i wake up coughing so badly, i worry i’m gonna disturb my 2 roommates. so i take myself to the lounge with my tissues and throat lozenges and the latest ‘event’. i’d started alex’s piece on the plane the previous night: i finish it and reread it. it feels like an important moment, but i can’t figure out  in what way it’s important. of course, because her piece is about places, shelters, homes. also the quote about the cat, which i won’t ever tire of repeating to people: „homelessness made him self-sufficient, but the knowledge that he can go it alone only makes him more vulnerable.” by the time i return to the room to sleep it’s past 5, and already grey morning light, you know the kind: morning that is an ending, not a beginning.

day 2 (june 3rd) i wake up early-ish because my singapore roomies are packing to leave. routines begin: shower, coffe+2 bananas, internet hour. i walk west: rue lambert-closse (yes, i giggle and fret at the lambertism) and expect to find atwater market. why is it not on atwater street, or even in atwater square? hmmm i’m not liking this area v. much. so, metro to jean talon. good, finally a marketplace! lounge around a bit…but still, it’s nowhere. sunny enough for my sandals, and for tank top and sunglasses. walking downhill on st laurent , trying to find cheap worthy stuff in friperies.welcoming every familiar street name like a…friend made on chat, or smth…bernard, viateur, rachel, st urbain, av. du parc, where were you all my life?:) i buy the requisite st viateur bagels, and a couple of books, and keep walking (with icecream) to the hostel. 5 p.m.

then dinner at rj’s. to get  there, close to place st henri(walking) i’m advised to go by the river. it’s a bit different than what i’d expected, all railway tracks and bike tracks, but not bad. the canal, (isn’t it?) i cross a bridge and then cross back. i’m not lost, but have no idea where i’m even going. those kinds of moments. „and then you’ll see a clock tower”. and the next instant everything ties up again, only briefly, before i shake my head and remember i’m still confused. and i am still confused when i find myself on the correct street, because obviously it’s 20 centimeters off the lousy map i have. then for like 5 hours i get to talk about homosexuality in romania, and the uselesness of writing workshops, and how young people want to live in cities that are the center of everything. (if i ever hear the word ‘vibrant’ again after this trip, i’m going to scream. really. it seems to me that in everyone’s mind ‘vibrant’ is a label for mtl. i could make a ‘vibrant’ tag, y/y?). then i time myself walking back to the hostel : 35 minutes. wtf? by that time i’ve swallowed a tub of smarties on top of huge dinner, and i’m totally beat.

day 3 (june 4th)laid-back, because i’m on holiday, not hired by a shoe company to test how quickly i can wear off their merch. honestly now. so, metro to mont-royal. try to speak french in boutiques, fail lamentably. brebeuf bakery (fruit tart!) and then parc la fontaine. by the water. after 1 hr notice that water has reflexive qualities, which probably guarantee quicker sunburn. what evah. walk up st urbain/bernard again, with the hopeful intention of exploring the jewishness of outremont. on the way, buy blue nail polish, huge half of melon, and a green hat just (because it was 1.99$).find a small park and sit on the grass to eat the melon and paint my nails. francophone guy trimming the grass looks at me and says „ca va faire mal.” he means my shoulders and the sun. oh really? i feel like after a 5 month chill i need as much extreme sun as i can get – radiation and sunburn, yes, bring it on!

7 p.m. by the place des arts, big crowd gathering on the steps in an impressively orderly manner, to watch ‘lucia de lamermoor’ on giant screen, while it’s playing inside of the opera house. it’s the end of the season or smth. the show starts at 8, but people keep arriving. i give in and sit down, but it will last 2 hrs 40 mins and i realize i won’t be able to stand it. i read lynn coady and write notes and fidget a lot, and finally clear my spot (my neighbours are almost indignant – it was a sweet seat). i stand somewhere at the back til 8.30 then take a metro ‘home’. very impressive as cultural and social thing, but no i’m still not able to listen to opera. at the metro a black guy hands me a card with his phone nb. are you kidding me? when i get to the room my nose and shoulders are positively burning/glowing red.


iunie 19, 2009

i’ve been back for a week now and done absolutely nothing of relevance. (i must make a „16” tag. well, i have a „silly” one, and they would pretty much overlap.)

ok, i did things: i went to elizabeth’s concert (forgot to mention to some people that i am still carrying the CD in my bag daily, and probably won’t take it out until ef. leaves on tour, unless i’m asked to). i went to theatre fest. i caught up with lora, sortof. with octav, who left for romania yesterday. and gloriously showed the city to my korean roommate from montreal (more about whom, later). and spent a couple of nights with a couple of people on chat. i put that down proudly in the column of ‘social interaction’, i.e. i am still alive and existing on this planet.

although last night at 2 a.m. i was obsessing over how i lack a distinct, coherent worldview, without which – i complained – i can’t manage to write in a sustained way. as a result, i haven’t written anything since april. (and i’m feeling good. no kidding, i am.)

but how can i be sure that *something* is moving in my mind , collecting and developing and growing? i don’t believe in writing as inspiration/enlightenment/ you know, spiritual transport, romantic bullshit. i agree with steven king whose ‘on writing’ i was reading before mtl: i believe in work ethic for writers too, and in staying power. people are writers only if/when/as long as they write. for two months i’ve been a server in a diner, and for one month i’ve been a server in a diner who has a crush on a gay Idol contestant, and can’t afford to go to the Idol concert. imagine how sweet. i came here and made myself into this. i think it’s hilarious.

i have one sentence for a story. i’m not writing it yet because i’m lazy, and i’m smug: i believe i’ll write it one day anyway. the sentence is right on the edge between straight realism (of the bulshitty multicultural kind :() and magical realism somehow. i can’t keep a whole story on that edge. but that’s what i’d like to do. so maybe that’s why i don’t write. okay, i could be writing any of three other things. send myself to a wirelessless coffee shop (‘waves’ rules – it’s so ugly that if you stay you HAVE TO write!) and keep myself inside there for 3 hours. it can be done.

i am avoiding the official papers business even more – and that’s really gotta be done soon.

but i spend time on twitter, and on ontd (indeed, you do not wanna know) and i only read on buses and for 5 minutes in bed before i totally crash.

but, fyi:

– i’ve got new blue nail polish (tried it at 16, didn’t really work for me) – check !(there’s a black one on this desk somewhere too, it’s ef’s)

– 3 silver rings, of the not-very-delicate category; 2 silver bracelets (of which one is a loop earring, just because i’m insane and have insane wrists) and 3 black rubber bands; oh and 2 silver chains with random silvery things hanging off them – check!

– blue eyeliner, bought today(blushes): not smudge glisten eye pencil on upper lid, which used to be my trademark *back in cluj* , but actual eyeliner – check! at 16, when i’d just started using make-up, first think i pocketed from my mum was a green eyeliner. (it must have looked horrible mhm. this new one, i’m not being objective here, but you can sense the enthusiasm level, no?)

-hmmm not really new clothes, but reused recycled. after years of turning against black, kind of, these days i own 2 pair black pants/jeans, multiple black Ts, wearing my nirvana T again (who would’ve thought; wasn’t i over that??) and apparently i have this black stretch mini-top, thin straps and all. plus deep necked black long-sleeved shirt (i want stripes! that’s a priority) and a new grey ‘thing’ with a bit of glitter on the neckline.

i should make a ‘fashion’ tag as well.

anyway, listen to me: i AM trying to say something. i think.

and i want one of those belts. (i’ll ask an english native speaker what they are called. the studded ones.) and the rolling stone is coming out tomorrow, after i read it online ten days ago, but whatever.

i don’t know exactly what i was doing at 16. not much really, either. i was fat (probably the same weight as now, or around, but carried even worse). i had a bad crush on a blue-eyed guy who liked led zeppelin. i hadn’t been kissed. i think that summer at my grandparents’ i started reading dostoievski, and saw „they shoot the horses, don’t they?”. i was writing long letters. i don’t remember what i wanted for my future, but of course there was the certitude that in 2 more years i’d know. because we had to know. but for sure i wasn’t exploring, or discovering, or being curious even. just very vague waves of…wanting to grasp something…and so, it’s hard for me to say how 13 ys have made a difference – and/or what remained unsolved there, that i have to return and solve.