09 March 2008

stormy weather

Let's get the weather out of the way first: we in Montreal (and across south-eastern Canada) have had 3 major snow storms in one week. Jennie and her boyfriend Zach got snowed in at our place last Tuesday night, and we got snowed in at their place in Ottawa this weekend. I have no memory of a winter that surpassed this one. That being said, there are ways to take advantage of such an extreme winter.

Option 1: Embrace it

Last weekend, I attended Montreal's edition of Nuit Blanche, an all-night party spread across the city's cultural venues. We started out at a giant gallery that had all kinds of lovely art, performance pieces, a free cupcake feast and cheap apricot beer. After dancing in the snow at the Old Port, watching a disco dance at Old City Hall, eating maple syrup poured on ice, dressing up and having our photos taken at a costume shop, listening to organists play horror themes at a cathedral, and passing out at the planetarium, Brian and I made it to the free breakfast at 4:30 am. I was surprised to see a lot of small children who made it through the night at hungrily ate their free breakfast. I admire their stamina.

Ariana and I, falling asleep in line for the free breakfast

I know many other cities are starting to join the Nuit Blanche tradition, keeping their museums, galleries, and other cultural spaces open all night. I think it is a fantastic idea, and it is taken up by citizens with enthusiasm. I'm not sure how similar the Toronto version of Nuit Blanche is, but if it's anything like Montreal's, I would certainly recommend it.

Another way to embrace this weather is to frolic in it. During the height of the latest storm on Saturday night, a few of us piled on some winter gear (and in my case, some scuba goggles) to play in the snow. Instead of grumbling about the storm, why not make the best of it? There's nothing to get endorphins pumping like flailing one's body into 4 feet of snow.

Option 2: Become an Indoor Activity Enthusiast

In addition to my ballet classes (which I do not enjoy, but take as some kind of self-imposed torture), I have recently started taking ballroom dancing lessons. Believe it or not, this was my dad's idea. He thought it might be good for my dancing confidence (of which I have little) and brighten up my winter life. He was right. I think I have found a new passion. Despite his penchant for silk shirts, my instructor is great. Let me tell you, busting out a Viennese waltz is one way to dance away the winter blahs.

One aspect of the lessons is a supervised practice period. At this point, the instructors lower the lights, turn on the disco ball, and start calling out dances to each successive song. I managed to learn the basics of the tango, foxtrot, swing, hustle, mambo, rumba and many more within that period. My favourite partner was 80something man who hobbled over to me to ask for a dance. Once the music started, however, he straightened up and, as if by magic, was the strongest dancer on the floor. I could not keep up with him if I tried, and believe me I was trying. If you are a hardcore Dirty Dancing fan, or just looking for a new activity, I would suggest taking a ballroom dancing class. It is surprisingly fun.

I am leaving for Toronto next Sunday. Before then, I have a heck of a lot to do. Here goes nothing!

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Wow, what fun!!!!
Excellent shots in this post
Love the river shot, playing in the snow shots and the first street shot.
Keep on dancin'