chinese new year

ianuarie 23, 2012

or: „a crazy person with a pink paint can at midnight”
i tried to catch up on sleep time today, so i woke up all woozy from a nap around 10 pm. i go to the kitchen and melanie says, it’s chinese new year! the dragon is coming! we should celebrate! and she gets more and more into it: but this place is a mess! our entrance is all blocked, that’s bad luck! we should sweep and mop and take our shoes from there! we should put something red on this wall, for good luck and money etc. to which i’m like ok, i have some balloons! so i start blowing up balloons. melanie mops the hallway, i sweep, then she brings out the can of red paint we’d had left from painting in summer. ha! she mixes it with white, so the result is a…peachy pinkish smth. i’m sure it has a name. the initial idea was to do red stripes on our entrance walls, like columns…in the end, by midnight, we have two thick pink stripes, and assorted balloons. i think the dragon came, took a look, and started tearing his hair out. good times all around.

and song of the season/year:

decembrie 20, 2011

i found this song in a ’11 retrospective playlist (of course) less than one week ago, and am still playing it obsessively. i am so excited every time i actually start giggling nervously at the ringtone (see/hear below). i even had a discussion session w my roomie to try and figure out why this particular song has gotten to me so strong and quick – i am ashamed a bit when this happens: with people, with stuff…she just says, well, it’s a good song with a good video…there are lesbians in it…and masks – of course you like it.
then this morning i got it: this song is literally (i still don’t have a lyrics transcription but they’re easy to hear. especially if you are bilingual) about depression/procrastination. it speaks to me clearly every morning as i gather myself up to get out of bed and at the same time collapse under theguilt of finding everything/anything too hard or senseless to do. it takes good rhythm to get through to my apathy, it takes a breezy sound. i liked that the first direct message was that of lust. i liked the french insert, and the rapping. but in the end what i get out of it is me telling myself „gonna bust it out/ gonna work it out”. the voice of a different me trying to get back to me, blah. i could write a 10 page paper about it but i think i’ve made my point.
two days ago, drinking red wine in bed and twirling my dirty hair, i had the same hazy realization I KNOW i’ve had before: that subconsciously i am aware that things are fine, which is why i’m allowing myself to liminally wallow in this light pool of despair. except when i try to grasp it, it slips away, so in my day to day from a point on i sigh, put one foot after the other out of bed and start doing my minimum. here:

these pangs

octombrie 10, 2011

a quote to convince you to read „the rehearsal”, by eleanor catton:

(or maybe just read the book, even in spite of the quote):

” But at the same time, the feeling is shot through with a kind of sadness,[…]a bittersweet and throaty sadness that sits heavy in my gullet and i can’t swallow it down. it’s like i know that i am losing something; that something is seeping away, like water into dust. and it’s a weird idea, the idea that loss – the massive snatching tearing hunger of loss – is something that doesn’t start when a relationship ends, when she melts away and disappears and i know that i can never get her back. it’s a feeling that starts at the very beginning, from the moment we collide in the dark and we touch for the very first time. the innocence of it – the sweetness and purity of it, the shy and halting tenderness of it – that is something that i am only ever going to lose.”

look, no irony!

octombrie 8, 2011

new relevant information

iulie 30, 2011

To : Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities of Québec

Bonjour, Madame/Monsieur

In response to your email following my application for a Certificate of Selection by Québec, I do have a few new pieces of information concerning my current situation here as temporary resident. I hope they will contribute to a favourable view of my case.

1. My previous roommate left Canada and as such left me in full possesion of various pieces of furniture, kitchen implements, clothing items and a number of house plants, some of which might be said to have attained tree status (see attached photos).

2. My current roommate is designing me as `owner` of our live house pets (fish) – (photo attached)

3. As a new signer of a lease, I opened an account with Hydro Quebec, for which I had to pay 50$ (see copy of receipt).

4. I have entered a form of verbal agreement with the salesman in the shoe shop at Rachel corner St. Denis, that signifies my desire and intention to purchase a pair of black leather winter boots (value 200$, reduced from 350$) upon receiving my next paycheck (I wish I could attach a photo, or transcript of conversation, but, alas.).

As result of above mentioned events, I am becoming increasingly aware of the weight of responsibility I am taking on, as a caretaker for Québec-based live beings and as an investing participant in Québec economy.  I consider that my actions speak clearly of my awareness and acceptance of the high taxes and tough winters so specific to Québec – and, moreover, of a willingness to surround myself with the elements required by a steady, `settled` lifestyle here.  I hope your final decision goes in agreement with my current spendings.

As a sidenote, based on previous personal experiences and lessons learned thereby, I can also promise in all clear conscience to not date anglophones, or at least non-French speakers, ever again for as long as I live here  – consequently, my future children will be at least trilingual, with French their solid daily used second language.

Vive le Quebec!

Yours truly ___

eastern nest

iulie 11, 2011

1. ‘eastern nest’

(eating sunflower seeds on the back balcony):

c: this is very eastern. why don’t canadians eat sunflower seeds?

m: we are very eastern, look in our fridge: balkan yogurt, russian jam, homemade armenian chicken…

[…rose water…]

c: i know! look at our house: crap all over the place, dripping pipes, bathroom ceiling falling in…


2.centipedes (because of the bathroom flooding, my no.1 fear was that we’d attract centipedes, since they love humidity. m. argues that one has to face their fears and get information on them)

m (on the phone with her friend): can you please call back in 5 minutes? my roommate and i are googling pictures of centipedes!


3. construction workers

3.1. m (wearing white bloomer-like shorts with a rose pattern): so i went to ask the workers for a hammer. i hope i didn`t look like those ditzy girls you know, ‘sorry guys, can i have a hammer pleeeease?’

c: were you wearing pants?

m: oops. oh my god.


3. 2. construction worker, looking at the dripping pipe in our kitchen – all of a sudden: t’as tu déjà fait l`amour à un voyou?

c: (bursts out laughing)

c: is this for real?

m (sitting at kitchen table): oh, you understood what he said? i was like, oh god, i hope carmen doesn`t understand that.

construction worker: (grinning)


3.3. c: you know we`re gonna miss the workers when they`re gone.

m: yes, they keep us company with their noises, and make us feel safe. they`re like our eight big brothers…

m: …badass brothers!


4. fish (veiltail/fantail goldfish – melanie had one, freddie, and we just got a baby, sasha)

aquarium is covered with a blanket

c: why did you cover the aquarium?

m: to isolate them – they must be so stressed, with all the changes and the mess around here.

c: and you think they`re not freaking out when you lift the blanket all of a sudden and stare at them?

m: i was trying to just take a quick discreet look.

m: oooh, they`re socializing! they`re touching!

c: very nice – you put the light off and they immediately start touching.

m: maybe…yes, if they get together, they`ll lay eggs! so we`ll have caviar!!

m: but that wouldn`t be right, sasha is still a child!


5. chinese astrology (you do not even want to know!!)

c: wow, you know what i just thought? the fish`s chinese sign is the cat!

m: ow, cutie!


i really don’t know what to say. days are adventurous, full of paint (hopefully it`s over now) and of sunshine and what else? russian, and entertaining books and eating random stuff and talking a lot. it`s like holiday camp a bit, but we should get down to achieving stuff. i`m really relieved that i painted my room, 2 white walls and it completely changes the vibe to the place. i`m too excited to sleep early – or maybe this is what summer is supposed to be like.









iulie 8, 2011

melanie biked, right before midnight, to a grocery store, to get me a SURPRISE lemon cake and mini candles. there is always the sort of stuff i expect (messages from all my friends! if one of you doesn`t write i`ll notice. not holding it against you, just notice. my parents parading bunches of flowers in front of me on videochat…) and the sort i don`t expect and makes me weepy. it`s good to have the unexpected happen this year too…i don`t know, it makes me feel i deserve good things?!

i wanted to do nothing of what i`d done last year, so i ended up doing nothing. not going out. not cooking (i still owe the world a shortbread project), not painting my nails. i wore the new `present to myself`shoes to work, with the princess dress, and the hair coiled on top of my head!!! yes – it`s so long. the day wasn`t busy at work, so i relaxed. i didn`t want people singing to me and all that, but i got my chocolate mousse on a tray with stuff written in syrup. and i read my russian: my daily lesson (by pure accident) was `happy birthday!`

and today/over the weekend i’m still buying „the things” – and reporting on them later. i’m excited!!

filler: snow magic, or smth

decembrie 7, 2010

god am i bad at titles.

it’s december! and it’s snowing! and it’s been snowing for a long long (all day today) while. and while i’ve been a bit absent-minded/panicky/ hide-my-head-in-the-sand…mmm in the book or under the blanket…lately, a snowstorm is apparently what it takes to make me perk up. i put on my tights, new skirt (!!!), woolly red socks, extra-long fluffy scarf, weird hat…and went out into the night. yah it was almost 4 pm already. and i bought stuff to cook, then i came home and cooked it. radio ‘c’est quoi’ (which in my mind still spells ‘sequoia’) provided mainstream quebec tunes for the atmosphere (like, for example, ‘the only girl in the world’, and ‘raise your glass’, but who am i to complain?). so: my chicken did not end up burnt, my potatoes are edible! cynthia came home and ate. while i was trundling through the snow to school! and now the wind is making sinister noises at my window! i’m in bed – in a room, a laptop in my lap, chicken+etc in my belly, and an almost clear conscience. and i get to sleep in tomorrow, and pray that they’ll clean the roads.

but anyway, it’s a bit depressing, trying to make your end-of-year non-depressing. up until a few days ago i would’ve called this year a fluffy success. then, i don’t know: the time of reckoning came. and i’m kind of empty-handed.

so, carmen, what did you do this year?

mmm i moved from a serving job to a dishwashing one; i didn’t get to visit my family; what, i can’t do very many things at once. i can’t even maintain a blog properly. what do you mean „write?”,  since when am i supposed to be able to write? i’m just a teeny-weeny 30 year old…oh damn.

but i mean, okay. the initial idea was to attempt positivity. here are good things that i did this year – or that happened to me while i was sitting around doing nothing, as god preordained:

i moved to a city i love, and where i feel i can live for good. i was happy more than unhappy, and very very extra super happy at some points. i fell in love. i improved my french. (am i mentioning russian here? you betcha!) i started learning russian, and it’s fun. my room has A WINDOW FACING EAST. i started getting dressier, which, considering my former standards, is a low bar, but still: dresses! skirts! medium heels! i got a cellphone, and am overusing it!! i quit drinking coffee regularly. i started eating fresh veggies almost every day. also: i went through almost the entire year without formulating a dieting project. i can now cook a wholesome meal, though it would be mostly based on ideas stolen from other ppl anyway. i have a decent-sized collage on my wall, of postcards from friends (keep them coming!).

my view of the world shifted a bit again. i think this is good. but while montreal is my magic city, i think i’m still open to leaving. i got what i wanted, now i may not cling to it. i don’t know if this is good or not.

enfin, there are plans. there’d better be, as well, because as i was saying: nothing actually got done. but nothing got killed in the process either. (oh i miss vancouver. it’s hard to talk about it.)



montreal by night (2): earlier this summer

august 14, 2010

the „farine five roses” red sign, visible from a lot of points at night, if one knows to look for it. but i saw it close, from next to the river, on top of the flour factory it belongs to. i’d had no idea what it was before, just that i’d seen it printed on montreal t-shirts. it looks pretty surreal anywhere.

top of mont-royal at midnight: full of people on the lit terrace. taking in the centre ville, spotting the important buildings by their lights. yes there’s the farine five roses. and then, further on from the terrace, there’s the forest. dark and real, like only the forests in bucovina had been when i was on holiday in a cabin in another lifetime. but then how often does one get to wander in the woods at night? close to the big cross, and sitting on the grass, and it’s absolutely full of mosquitoes. it’s also the hottest day/night of the year, so they’re going crazy. oh-kay, chalk this down to experience. and catch the last bus back, cause otherwise. the bus, 11 montagne, really has one of the greatest routes ever. moving side by side with the shining lights. and it’s empty. i put my head out through the open window,in the breeze, but i didn’t sing – just smiled.

animals – apart from the raton laveur on top of mont-royal, who showed his pretty bandit face for a full 10 seconds there – curious? unconcerned?. here’s a truth that i feel the people on my street (who sleep at night) are happier not knowing: we have a skunk living somewhere around. he moves under different porches every night, edging closer to my house i’m afraid. a flash of black, or white, and look – this cute beast just scrounging for a living like the rest of us. the aura of his reputation making us rush to cross.

the night before july 1st, moving day, people are up hunting for abandoned furniture. my roommate hired a car and got two friends and they were driving around the plateau with stops in key points. from outside this bustle, it still seems frantic, exciting, young. she came back about midnight with two chairs and left again. on our walk back along marie-anne, then messier, me and d. just ogled clutters of desks, mirrors, shelves, lamps – not very many , but enough to mark the day as out of the usual. the city playing musical chairs.

one night i read some poems under a streetlamp, for my audience of 1. it had been raining, there was fresh smell of flowers. the spot was pretty secluded, by a wall, a passage between two not even big streets. three kids passed by with a ball, stopped a little and kicked it then went on. i heard my reading voice, with the quiver of anger in it, wondered whether it would translate, and went on. one of my poems i still liked.

dark by the river close to metro stop henri bourassa, i.e. ‘as far away as possible’. it looks like a different city, with different-styled houses, lawns, privacy. i’m told it looks like west montreal. but the park is still good, water swirling below the branches. that’s what i love about parks: the trees are trees, the alleys are alleys, the grass is neither anglo nor franco.

more festivals: the „juste pour rire” show downtown, with its giant puppets and its cinderella story: the love between a huge pink balloon (princess rose – the size of a house, floating majestically through the crowd) and a smaller green ballon (prince victor, who arrives on stage in a carriage the shape of a very pretty and colorful high-heeled shoe). all assorted with indian dancing, skeletons, michael jackson and an impressive acrobatic number – angels unfurling our of UFO-looking pods, and raining confetti and feathers on people’s heads. plus there was a full moon that night.

soccer games in parks. ok, so i watched only 2, but this is 2 more than i’ve ever watched in my entire adult life before, so there. also: during the first game, in park mont-royal a ways before midnight, i might have been smoking up – under a tree, in the rain, close to the soccer field. everything seemed hilarious, of course: the ants climbing my hand,my new umbrella, the focus of the players and the fact that there were people watching them on the sidelines. the second game, two weeks later, felt like another lifetime: sober, late, a bit hardened – i was cheering for the hometeam. they won.

watching the stars in parc jarry. i know no constellations. to me they all shine very distant, cold but kindly. in the middle of an open field, the grass is wet with dew and i shiver lying back on a coat and not wanting to leave ever. it’s like a mix between my childhood and a cult indie movie, i think, in this tumble of dirt and brightness and invisible grass stains. some things stay with me like a remembered shiver – some things were always there, and come out now,twinkling.

august: citrouille, and picking up…

august 2, 2010

so i am trying to pick up almost where i left off…except i don’t seem to be trying very hard. but that’s a misleading first impression, because obviously the first thing to catch up with is sleep. over the past month and a half i probably averaged 5.5 hrs/night, and everything was fantastic, then i got burnt at work and then i slipped and fell and scraped my knees and bruised my arms and things were still fantastic, and i saw myself becoming whiny, whinier and not doing much except trying to not think this has to end and i have to go on afterwards. and now it’s over.

august came, i’m off work for 2 days, i slept 10 hours last night, i almost cleaned my room this morning, the dirty laundry is collected in bags but i have no cash on the premises and there is food in the fridge and why should i go out before it’s absolutely necessary? my rent is still unpaid, i haven’t recharged my bus/metro card, no one has called yet. and here’s the citrouille story:

one month ago, i had the same problem with rent/bus card, i.e. i had money but somehow i didn’t have time to spend taking money out of the atm or bank or whatever, in order to pay for that. knowing my roommate is nice enough to accept rent 2 days after it’s due does not make things easier. but also, the transport card (card opus/carte a puce) is still valid on the 1st day of the next month after you paid. so july 1st (and yesterday too) i was still safe to take the bus and metro, and it was a reprieve, it was as if the month hadn’t finished yet.

so i’m on mont-royal, in front of the metro stop, july 1st close to midnight., with my card not recharged waiting for it to be my mum’s birthday officially in canada…also hoping the bus would come before midnight, so i could take it without paying. i was like cinderella, d. said, trying to catch my fancy carriage before it turns into a pumpkin. „avant mon citrouille”. and i did catch the bus that night, and i was riding high, for free, for the whole month of july. and now it’s august 2, and i have to recharge again.

i’m tempted to not get out today. i don’t want anything. how lucky to know i will have to, that things will happen because my kind of inertia dictates it, that i have french school, i have a job, and life doesn’t stop. carriage or pumpkin, it will take me somewhere.