11 September 2006

royal mountain city, and a changing life

( i have no idea why this post screwed up the layout)

So much has happened in the last week, and two things have irreversibly changed my life.

To begin, my beloved grandpa passed away last Saturday, as I was en route to Montreal. Needless to say, my family and I turned around and went to Burlington to be with the rest of the family. The next few days were filled with grief, certainly and overwhelmingly, but also with a celebration of my grandpa's life.

He was a good, peaceful, simple and paitient man. He loved his family, he loved to golf, and he had an incomparable sense of humour. He always had time for everyone in his family, and we will never stop thinking about, or loving him.

He would be happy to know that his family, and a huge amount of his friends came together to remember his life.

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my brothers, cousins, and me

Now, I am living in Montreal and I am officially a grad student. What does this entail? Well, first of all, I have never lived so close to so many things, and so many people. It's fascinating, and a cornucopia of observation opps.

Our building is full of international students, and I never know which language I will hear when I step in the elevator with new people. The same goes for the neighbourhood, and the city as a whole. It is really refreshing to be surrounded by so many people who have such diverse backgrounds and interests.

There are 3 grocery stores, 3 drugstores, 2 dollar stores, a post office, a Winners, an IMAX theatre, and at least 6 coffee shops, and countless bars and restaurants within 5 minutes of my building. Not to mention that Crescent st and other exciting areas are just blocks away. Never in my life have I had such variety, or activity just footsteps from my door. I don't know where to start exploring, but I'm sure the area will become very familiar quickly.

More than ever, Montreal is a city renowned for its odd juxtapositions. "Contact" strip hideaways flank family restaurants, and smoked meat joints sit below vegetarian buffets. Homeless people rest outside of Holt renfrew, while old Montreal is just south of a huge and modern international convention centre. Every employee easily alternates between French and English, and French TV is starting to sound like English to my ears (slowly, that is).

Our apartment started off looking bare and unorganized, but is steadily shaping up to be a pretty relaxing place to start the day and come home to. The rooftop view is just awesome.

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still a mess

I've gone from 6 other roommates, to a summer sleeping amongst strangers, to the comfort of my parents' home, to now a new arrangement of just two. It is nice, I have to say. It's easier to keep a fridge organized when it's this way, that's for sure. Although I will definitely miss seeing Gill's perfectly organized stir fry veggies on the shelves. It's nice to stock a fridge with my favourite foods and still have room for Brian's Boreal beer.

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Last friday was Brian's birthday, so we hosted a night here with Romy, Sabrina, Marshall, and a new friend, Amanda, all of whom are also recent Montrealers. Very cool to be able to spend time together in a completely new environment. A night of lots of wine, the new Dears album, and a trip to Brutopia for raspberry beer made it into a peachy bday celebration.

And what's it like to be a grad student? Well, the reading lists are pretty substantial, but a lot of familiar MIT material is making an appearance. It's too hard to tell how it's going to evolve over the semester, but it seems pretty damn interesting. Lots of cool people in our 18-person program. And, from the looks of it, the dept has a pretty active social scene as well, beginning with drinks at La Sala Rossa tomorrow evening with students and profs. At this point it's still all first impressions, but I get a good feeling from it all. I'm not TAing any classes, and instead work at the Learning Centre. The job consists of sitting at the main desk, signing out readings or videos for people, opening or closing the lab at the beginning or end of a shift, and spending time looking up user reviews on new beauty projects at my leisure. Pretty sweet deal!

Best of luck with early september, everyone.

update soon


ETC'd said...

words could NOT describe how excited i am for you

i remember you once commenting on how you were vicariously living through my new toronto arrangement (something to that extent)

but now i have to admit that i'm living vicariously through you, for there is nothing more exciting than living in a new city

keep updating!

Gillian Edworthy said...

i second that... moving to a new city is like being a 5 year old in a candy store... haha, you dont know what to try first!

I've fallen for DC, its just an incredible city with so much to see and do. It has so many green spaces and all the buildings are very distinguished and sophistocated looking...

so glad to hear things are going well in Montreal dal! but seeing the pic of your room, and your bed... tear, i miss coming and sitting on that bed while you try to clean up your room... haha notice the "try", hehe...
and yeah... i guess i always did have very well organized veggies eh? haha, my new roomies already noticed that about me! haha,

alright, this is a rediculous comment, i should just email you,

cheers, and miss you!

sam said...

hi dallas!

it's wonderful to hear that you're settling in nicely! the two days i spent in montreal weren't nearly enough - i'm envious of your opportunity to really immerse youself in that beautiful city.

take care, keep updating and tell brian i say hi!