3 Cups of Coffee

The one decent house on the block. Too bad they weren't renting! Sweet window display!
The one decent house on the block. Great window display! Blue bottles galore!

Despite the fact I was up until 4am last night, I woke up relatively early. I downed two cups of coffee, yet still felt droopy eyed. I had a warm bubble bath and went to make  a fried egg for breakfast. Unfortunately, the one egg left in the carton was cracked, so  I snooped around the cupboard to find something else to eat, but came out empty handed. No brecky for me!

I put on my interview dress (my black wrap dress from BEDO) and prepared my notes for my second room viewing. It was conveniently located in a duplex behind Laurier metro station, close to the grocery store, post office, and not that far from the trendy area of Montreal. However, the neighbourhood the house was in was like a concrete wasteland with ill-kept houses squashed in tightly next to one another. I was not impressed by the outside of the house, nor the inside. The room had such a low ceiling that even I bumped my head! The backyard was all poured concrete- ground and wall, with a chicken wire canopy! Not even the balcony of the house was attractive- it was covered in old brown carpeting. I politely said thank you to the landlord for showing me the room, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. That was an understatement.

As I was so close to St. Vitateur, I decided to go visit my second cousin Emilie. She had recently moved to Montreal and now lived with her boyfriend over his antique shop, Monastiraki. I had never met her before, but we got on quite well. She was very nice and we had a lovely conversation. She showed me one of her tapestries (she’s a fiber artist) which was amazing! It was a large scale line drawing of a swimmer, embroidered by hand with black thread on white wool. The embroidery seemed to just float over the fabric! It had a very light and airy feel to it despite the use of the high contrast combination of black on white. I loved it!

As I was only a few doors down from La Cagibi, I decided to pop in there for another cup of coffee. When I got to the counter and saw all their baked goods, I realized how hungry I was! So, I ordered a bowl of spicy carrot ginger soup with came with two slices of fresh bread. It was delicious!

I savored my soup and the setting. All around me were young and attractive hipsters having interesting conversations, drawing, reading, and surfing the net. It was a great atmosphere to be in. I hope I can find a place to live close to Le Cagibi so I can go there more often seep in it’s young, artistic culture.

Now I sit at home. The house is silent. The only sound is the neighbour’s air conditioner gently humming away. I will go work on my resume and cover letter now. I’m applying to Starbucks tomorrow!

PS: If you like typ10ography, you may find this hilarious! I’ve just been giggling away reading this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/larsveldkamp/sets/72157607710779069/


A Particularly Rainy Day

On Pins, near the Portuguese bakery.
On Pins, near the Portuguese bakery.

It rained ALL DAY today. I had alot of errands to do, so took the metro to McGill. The metro was doing a lot of funny things this morning. On the orange line, it did these unexpected jerky stops and starts, then when I switched to the green line, the doors didn’t open for the longest time while we sat at a stop! Very preculiar.

I went to the post office to mail some letters, then went to Lianna’s work to say hi. When I requested staff to speak to her, a confused albino named Rhinna came over to me. Once we had clarified the name mix-up, I was told Lianna wasn’t in work today, so I left and went in search of a Blacks Photography to print some photographs. I had looked up the address online, to find that there were only two in Montreal. I went in search of the one in Place Ville Marie, however no one there knew what I was talking about. Eventually I found out that its called Astral Photographie in Quebec, and managed to get my 66 photos printed there. I then returned a shirt to Simons which I had bought and then realized I couldn’t afford, grabbed a $1 coffee at Art Java, amd went to YES- the youth employment agency.

YES was on the 7th floor of an obscure building on Sherbrooke. I had got the impression from their website that you could drop in any time, but when I got there, the sepretary said that I would have to come back on either a Tuesday or a Friday between the hours 1:50 and 4pm to attend a job-search workshop before they would even look at my resume or help me with my job-search. Well thanks. I left there a little peeved, but decided to return the next day at the alloted hours.

I walked home, stopping in at the grocery store to pick up some juice and an avecado for my lunch. Alot of stores seemed to be closed- including the ice cream store in the park. I presumed it was either due to the persistant rain or the fact it was a Monday.

When I went to return my groceries to my house, I found a postcard from Natalija and a letter from Nicole at the doorstep. I sat on my bed and read them, listening to the rain, and missing them deeply. I decided to write them both back, and ventured out in the rain again to go to the postoffice once more that day. I stopped into Dollarama and Jean-Coutu on my way to pick up some envelopes and a photo album for my freshly printed photos. I then walked up to the Duluth Community Centre to sign-up for their July beginner French lessons. During the walk there, I came across a community garden with tiger-lillies growing through the fence. The sight struck a cord with me and I took various pictures of the fence and gate, one of which I have posted with this blog post.

Now I sit at home, having done the second load of dishes today, and trying to decide whether to watch an episode of Hercule Poriot or do the laundry. I think I’ll aim for the Hercule Poriot. My socks can wait.

Fabulous Few Days

My photography skills seemed to get more artistic with champagne.
My artistic skills seemed to have improved with the champagne.

The last few days have been fabulous. On Thursday, Nicole cooked me dinner in celebration of my convocation. There was chicken smothered in honey and Dijon mustard, corn, and baked potatoes with sour cream. It was all delicious, hearty food. After dinner, I got a surprise gift sent by her mother- champagne! It took the three of us 20 minutes to open the bottle though. It was quite the ordeal! Aria pulled while I pushed, making our thumbs numb, as we giggled away. Eventually we took a knife to it, then a pair of scissors. The cork popped quite un-expectantly once I used the handles of the scissors on either side. We all squealed and ducked. Nicole caught it all on videotape- but its so embarrassing, I don’t think anyone will post it.

The next night was Nicole’s going away celebration. She was leaving for Italy to work at a consulting firm the next day, so a bunch of us got together to wish her fairwell. We went to a bar with grass-covered walls, Tintin themed tables, video projections, and an electric bull. The electric bull was the star of the night. Everyone wanted to ride it. Aria made the evening’s record, lasting a full 77 seconds on it. She and Nicole were very sore on the walk home. It was quite funny. I was still very energetic when I got home, so tidied my room and did pointless tasks such as filing my nails. I didn’t end up turning the light out until 4am- rather unusual for me!

Saturday was Emily’s birthday, who is a St. Catharines native like myself, working in the costume design industry for theatre. She invited some of her friends over for supper and made the most amazing pizza from spelt flour! It was absolutely divine and a guilt-free indulgence. Once well fed, we went to a Canadian short film screening at a random place on St. Denis. The films had a strong art-school feel to them, combining illustration, photography, and vector animations. I felt like I was at OCAD.

At intermission, we snuck into a dance performance* nearby which her friend was performing at. It was held in a run-down, empty pool, likely from the 1930’s. The first piece had a very S/M look to it, with a hooded man with two collared girls with chains like puppet strings. The second was very hipster- with an American Apparel worthy gentlemen in only yellow booty shorts and big red sunglasses. He danced away to a bad disco song while stuffed animals were tossed at his vibrating body. The third piece was the most impressive, with two lovers throwing each other around, running up walls, doing a lot of jumping and falling. It was a very emotional piece, and I felt it depicted the trials of love very well. It looked both emotionally and physically painful as the dancers were being very vicious on the hard, cold tile of the empty pool!  The final piece was very funny, with the lead dancer dressed up as a janitor with a big moustache. He eventually turned into an owl, with a big paper-mache owl head on his shoulders and wings attached to his arms. By then, he was a very confused janitor/bird.

After the dance, we sat in the parking lot drinking beer with Emily’s friends. It was a lovely night and it was very peaceful. Her friends from the dance show were going to Dieu de Ciel for a drink, so we followed. It was a nice place, similar to the Merchant Ale House in my ‘hometown’ of St. Catharines. It had a wide variety of unique beers, including one that was pink, called ‘hibiscus rose’. I wasn’t drinking that night, so just ordered tap water. I tipped the waiter well, which proved to my benefit as he kept refilling my glass whenever it was empty. I got my 8 glasses of water that day.

On Sunday, Dunter, a friend I’d made at a dinner party awhile back, invited me out for supper. We went to the Village, and randomly picked a contemporary Mexican restaurant. We had salmon pate with a coriander sauce drizzled on top, with salt that looked like rock crystals on the side, salad, and an unknown meat dish. It was all beautifully presented on square plates, and tasted far better than any Mexican food I’d had before. After dinner we went to Sky, a gay bar which had hot tubs on their rooftop patio (Montreal has the craziest bars!). I asked the waiter what they had on top, which he replied “White, red, and blue.” in English, which was the extent of his English skills. It was adorable. I ordered half a pint of the ‘red’ beer, and enjoyed the view of the city and Mount Royal from the patio. Once I had finished my beer, we went to a nearby park, where Dunter showed me how to tie a variety of marine knots. I found it all rather interesting. I can’t decide whether knot tying is an art or design, but whichever it is, its pretty cool!

Around 8pm, I headed home to work on the concepts for the business card I am designing for Aria. I did about 7 concepts while listening to Amon Tobin and Daft Punk to aid in the creative process. I went to bed at a decent hour, and ta-da, it’s Monday morning! I am sitting by the open window typing away, enjoying the sun and the breeze. It’s a lovely day! I think I will go to the post office today and take advantage of this gorgeous weather.

*Piss in the Pool preformed by wants&needs danse at Bain Saint-Michel.

Reflections Aboard the Train Home

My boots & the garden
My boots & the garden

Sitting on the train gives you a lot of time to think. I found myself contemplating how I felt heading back to Montreal: remorseful, relieved, or happy. I could not settle on one emotion. I was happy to leave behind the drama I had encountered during my moments in Toronto, but sad to leave my friends, family, and the places I loved and knew so well.

The weather had been lovely all week. It was perfect weather for a garden party! My mum threw me a tea party in celebration of my convocation. Many old faces came, some traveling from afar. It was nice to be reminded how much people care for me, amidst the nasty e-mails and silent treatment I was receiving from others at the same time. My mum had gone to great efforts to get all my favourite foods for the party. There were lemon squares from Dufflet, artisan breads from the market, huge slabs of camembert and goat cheese, baklava, and scallops too! Judy even brought Turkish delight! I was in culinary heaven.

Although we popped many corks from bottles of sparkling wine, I lacked the glint as in my glass. Despite the festivities, I still found my thoughts drifting to the drama in Toronto. My friend Natalija comforted me with some of her worldly wisdom, saying that some people will “…unconsciously cut you off because you’re no-longer in the city and they never see you… so they get angry at you for unusual reasons in order to sever all ties.” This made me feel better, but I hope those ties can be sewn back together sometime in the future.

Now I sit on the train, writing. It is 8:06pm and its still sunny out! There is a delicious peachy golden light seeping over the treetops of all the trees we past. It looks like some sort of sugary dessert. We’ve past some of the sweetest farmhouses as well, all in brick or stone. I’ve been admiring the clouds as well. The sky is like a pale blue canvas with dry brush strokes of white paint wisped across it. Its quite lovely. The world is so peaceful and beautiful, sitting on the train.