26 September 2006

waking up as september ends

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I didn't know what to expect from the first month.

Starting a new life niche is kind of like walking around in a daydream. Your surroundings have an uncanny familiarity, but everything is strange and new at the same time.

There's nothing that culturally shocking about Montreal. Yes, people kiss eachother on the cheeks as a greeting, and yes most things are in French. But there are also a lot of insular pockets of anglo-worlds, where you either are so used to the simple french phrases of everyday life that you don't notice people are speaking in french, or, people just speak plain old english. Apparently, anglo-ness is carried like an aura that Francophones can sense from a distance.

I suppose the only culture shock is the sheer volume and mass of cultural activities in the city. Rallies, protests, street performing spiderman (weirdos) are at home on every corner.

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On Sunday I decided to check out one of Montreals most [in]famous cultural happenings, Tamtams. Tamtams is a weekly drum circle that takes place at the north-east base of Mont Royal, where the mountain turns into the oh-so artsy Plateau neighbourhood. The drum circle consisted of about 50 drummers on bleachers and dancers spinning below them. There were lots of pot-smoking moms bouncing their babies to the beat, and many shirtless men yelling random vowels to a rhythmic pulse. We watched for a few minutes, but quickly moved on to more exciting things.

In the middle of the forest, just out of earshot of the drums, is a medieval warfare club. All the warriors have weapons made of what looked to be plastic/cardboard covered in duct tape, and wear varying amounts of fighting gear from metallica t-shirts to hooded capes, to full-out metal face masks. It was creepy and fascinating at the same time.

After a huge bowl of Bouillabase at a little bistro, and a peruse of a pumpkin market, I took the Metro home to delve yet again into season 2 of Lost.


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There's a Ugandan Ph.D student named William who always comes to use the phone and the computers during my shift at the learning centre. He speaks to his family in rapid Swahili, and have been really pleased to realize I can understand him perfectly. I let him know that I speak it too, and we have been having some nice conversations in the language that I didn't know if I would get the chance to use again. Just speaking it brings back so many memories, and I am really, really hoping I can go back one day.

I recently found out, however, that Rob and Sam are going to Mwanza very soon to work on the same project that I did. I am unbelievably excited for them, and a little sad that I can't go with them. I can't wait to speak Swahili with them when they get back in January.


And as for Montreal fashion. As for now I can only window shop longingly, but I did manage to accrue a few pairs of new jeans before I arrived from my favourite jean store in Burlington.

My favourite, and the surprisingly most wearable pair are the dark denim skinny jeans. They are called 'skinny' mom, not tapered, and I vow to never get a pair so narrow I have to pull them inside out to get them off. But...they do look pretty 'sharp' (as my grandpa would put it), and go with a wide range of outfits and shoes. Click here to read from someone who agrees.

That's it for now, as I try to do some readings, and gear up for a visit to London this weekend.


Leslie said...

"skinny"?! know I am right!
Love your fountain shot and my favourite morning glories.


dallas said...

they still don't go in to a point at the bottom, they simply don't flare

Gillian Edworthy said...

excellent photos dal... i especially like the first one...

it looks like the last summer flower fighting off the inevitable fall and winter... good photoshoping, hehe,

miss yah!