In the Capital of North Pole: Ottawa

I’m so exausted that I can’t even remember how was the moving. I took a second shower few minutes ago. I feel dizzy.

I didn’t want to move the Winter tires, so heavy for me. On Friday, I phoned my landlord saying I was moving on Saturday, she reminded me the tires were on the basement and to pick them up. I replied my knee was still injured, so she said she wouldn’t be there the weekend and told me she’ll pull the tires outside….yeahhhhh, a job done for another person is always well received. I went to have dinner, trying to eat something to make remind Gatineau-Hull-Québec…so, I ate the good bye poutine. It was good but as much as a Montrealer one.

My German friend came with her son and her beautiful 4×4. After a big hug and a huge thanks for coming to do the dirty job, we talked about what to put first in the truck: the mattress or some furniture?. They moved it to the truck and some other stuff and suddenly, something very German happened. My friend stopped everything and started to analyze how to organize the truck puzzle loading. They stayed like 15 minutes looking for all possibilities, in a very rational way. It was like looking a Monty Python sketch about the Greek vs Germany soccer match http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur5fGSBsfq8

The moving itself wasn’t that long, probably 45 min since they stopped to rationalize the way to put all boxes in the truck. I put my Montrealer cat in the front seat, as usual, she was crying. My car was loaded with the tires, not heavy boxes, brooms, food, clothes bags, documents, trash bins, everything.

We took pictures of the truck and car loaded and coordinate how to get to Ottawa. She was looking in her GPS phone and me, trying to explain her where the bridge was. I told her to follow me. Her son was driving but since it too loaded he was driving slowly. I lost them in Parkway drive. I arrived and started downloading my stuff. I call them thinking they were lost but finally, they arrived like 14 min later.

I locked my bike on the fence (and it has a flat) and I helped them a bit. There was a minivan loading stuff, they were leaving, people from the #20. The landlord told me a Peruvian guy was moving there in August.

When were done, I should say they, because my knee was bothering me, I made them sit and asked how much they wanted for the moving. I mean, for paying the gas and other things. Katrin and her son say no. I was feeling very bad, since I took 100$ just in case. I though to pay even more. She told me “that’s friendship” and she added “now you have to help somebody to do the same” I told her I felt shitty, they I wanted to pay at least gas. She refused and she asked me “will you be able to live with that?” To be sincere, it’s better to pay than being involved in a kind comunitarianism help curse. They invited tomorrow to watch the Eurocup final between Spain and Italy. I will go and I’ll pay everything they consume.

I was alone in the apartment trying to look this chaos in something more disorganized. I tried my best until 2 pm when the actual landlord phoned me saying he could storage my tires. He moved them because I was so weak. He was very nice, we shacked hands and told me to get some rest. I was trying to choose a cd to listen to. Below Everything But The Girl, I found, Simple Red album called Home. Appropriated for the occasion, I sat since my legs were killing me.

The Internet technician came, change the router, did some changes in configuration and finally I’m able to write again.

I so dead, I ate and I read the email of my therapist saying she was enjoying the flowers I gave her and she was sending good vibes. Her email finished with the phrase….you’re second Mom. That was so touchy.

Life is changing….fast.

The Mourning of Almonte

Yesterday my collegue who helped to move my boxes remind me Cindy’s father service (who passed away 4 days ago) would be today morning. I forgot completely about the service and he told me everybody at the office would go….everybody? That means I should go too. I didn’t want to look like the nasty one but I decided to go. At the same time I had to leave some boxes in Ottawa and pick up my dark clothes.

I woke up around 4.30am, I went to shower, I had breakfast and coffee, I dressed up and before 6 am I was driving. This time I moved like 8 boxes, I was exhausted and my knee didn’t endure that much, I was limping at the end. At almost 7 I finished to put clothes in the plastic drawers (very practical by the way), emptied like 6 boxes for the kitchen, I left space for the “furniture” that might arrive this weekend. I found my black pants and went to the office.

Around 11am I did carpooling with my boss and my Chinese college. The boss is a proud owner of a Jeep Wrangler Sport 2012.  I should say Rubik car. Totally square and despite the 4×4 concept sport idea…I found it ugly and not practical. First of all, you think a 4×4 has space….wrong. It’s so small than even me who is short I was in the limit to be squizzed against my own knees. There were the baby sits on the back and I realize who miserable can be some straight people, using small sport car for family use. Zero!!!. Well, that wasn’t the end of my observation. The roof is no solid, since you can fold it manually, so not secure if you turn fast and fall sideways or upside down. Also, probably there cars like this where in every single corner there’s a loudspeaker. I mean it, 2 in the tiny trunk, 2 over my seat, 4 or 6 in the front. The Chinese was asking every 7 seconds about the car, comparing with her car, opening slots, touching buttons, moving the seat up and forward, talking about the swimming pool ….and more for 1 hour. You can imagine the way back.

We arrived to a little, cute village called Almonte. For me, it was those kind of city tours, outside downtown. Houses like in Hull, with flowers everywhere, houses on wood or brick, narrow streets, all looked even idyllic and beautiful since the sun was shinning royally there.

This is my first service in Canada, I mean, my first funeral. I wasn’t sure what religion the service would be, and until I have no idea what it was. Probably protestant or something like that, since the reverend or priest or whatever it was, was a woman. The place was decorated with pictures of the dead. In a flat screen, the power point  presentation shown Cindy’s father, fishing, hunting and cooking. I was expecting a coffin (old Catholic background) but I found a little glass box, and inside, the funerary urn written on it “Dad”. There was country music on the background sung by Cindy’s uncle, for a moment I thought it was Johnny Cash.

I was quite impressed since my own father wanted his funeral in that way. I mean with the funerary urn style.The service started with a typical Bagpipes song, that of course, I don’t remember the title. The kind of reverend said some opening words and invited Cindy’s brother to speak up about his father. He was crying most of the time, telling all kind of souvenirs from the moment his father met his mother until the separation, I mean when she died. The thing that captured my attention was when he was diagnosed with cancer. When he was sick, he used to finish the night saying to his wife “good night mama” and his wife replied “I love you” and he added ” I love you too” And when his wife passed away, he was expending all his sick nights in the lazy boy and saying every single night “good night mama” and then “I love you too”.

Cindy’s brother cried in front of the mic at least 3 times, I cried too because somehow I was seeing myself and remembering important moments of my own father. Dad is not younger anymore and I expecting his depart anytime soon.

I stopped thinking about the moving, boxes and papers for some hours, admiring the beauty of Almonte town, the love for a father and the shinning sun that reminds any single moment without no interruption life goes on.

Boxing Therapy

Last night I loaded the car with 2 plastic furniture and 4 boxes, a college helped to move them at lunch time. The apartment in Hull is looking a bit desert but still the ugly boxes/bags are visible. For instance, the apartment in Ottawa looks empty, could be this apartment is bigger than I have right now? Distribution is different. When my college saw my place said ” it’s a little nice place” Little? Excuse-me? Well, he lives in a house with his parents and brothers, he’s 25 and getting married in October, he’ll live after with his in-law. So, he never had experience with roommates or living alone. This “little”  apartment for the Ottawa standards costs me 825$ all included, heat, water and parking, electricity I have to pay. It’s not that bad, knowing that in downtown you can find cheaper but parking can cost you between 50$ and 100$, or sometimes parking in the street (you must pay also for that). It would have been cheaper Vanier, but it’s famous for criminality and a strange fauna there. I didn’t reply to my college, we’ll live a strong experience looking for an apartment when he and his future wife will leave by themselves outside her parents’ house.¸

I had therapy and my therapist birthday was at the beginning of June, so I bought her a bunch of nice flowers, a bottle of Californian Shiraz wine and a cookie fortune. She was happy, that’s what I love the most about her, with the simplest things, she’ll be glad. We talked about how scared I was when I received my keys Tuesday.

That Tuesday I moved some clothes. When I finished cleaning and unpacking I looked through the window….and strange sensation came to me. An old souvenir. Suddenly, I was having the same fear that my very first time in Canada, when I landed in Montreal. I remember looking through the window, looking to Laurier West Ave. thinking “this is another country” . They were speaking French, they were going to work, to school, waiting for the bus etc etc etc. I remember hours later I forced myself to go out. I felt the exact feeling in my Ottawa apartment. I just wanted to unpack my things a leave direction Hull. I was telling that to my therapist. She was more excited about my move, about my courage, and she was happy, and somehow, she was proud of me. All changes are scary, all changes challenge you unknown risks. She knew as I knew I wanted so badly move to the capital. I was stressed with the moving but she made me realize that in fact, I’m moving already, damn, mommy knows better. And she knows I look at her as a mother.

It’s almost 10 pm, I’m doing my last laundry here, I got 2 cold bags on my knee, I’m typing because I need to share this. The car is already loaded with at least 9 boxes, sometimes I wake up at 5 am, if I do that tomorrow I’ll drive and deliver them early. After I’ll have a super breakfast at Tim Horton’s. The washing machine cycle is done….time to dry my clothes. Time to sleep. Thanks mom therapist for being there.

Link

Moving in Motion

It’s almost 10 pm in Hull. I just started to move my stuff to my new apartment. I put some boxes this morning and delivered them at noon. Landlord met there and he gave me the lease to read. It was funny, the landlord’s father is 80 and it’s he who prepares the leases. He used a typewriter machine with a carbon paper below the original. (for those who have no idea what a carbon paper is check this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_paper). My father is still using the typewriter machine too…old school boys!!! I read everything and I received 5 keys, 1 main door, 2 my door, 3 second lock of my door, 4 mail box and 5 laundry room.

When I came back at the office, around 1pm I got nervous…Am taking the right decision? Am I doing the right thing? I got scared…what if I don’t like it? what if this and that? I got so exhausted and dizzy, I forced myself to eat my lunch and went home. I spoke to my actual landlord to take out my empty boxes from the basement and she yelling asking me if I liked my other place. It remind me The Big Bang Theory, when Howolowitz yells at her mother, anyways, I never answered her question, I was too annoyed with my own fears.

After moving out the things I went to speak to my friends in Skype, all of them, French women. They were very helpful calming me down. One of them asked me…”how are you?” I said 38, “you’re an adult, it’s normal to be afraid, you were there for 2 years and now you’re moving to something totally new”. Damn, she’s always right. Well, yes, it’s true I got used to my routine and Hull, now Ottawa it was scary for me since everybody speaks in English, I have no clue of my new neighborhood etc etc etc. I got calmed….and them my friend on the webcam, show me her body…Oh my Lord…she’s so hot…she knows I’m lesbian, I was suffering when I saw her, after that she added…”Now you changed your mood and ideas, that’s good, everything is going to be fine” Ufffff, well, my hormones were more than excited but she was right, at least I made up my mind.

Before 6pm I got into the car and I drove again to leave the boxes. The landlord, as promised, put a new fridge…I was so in love when I saw it. The apartment was dirty so I came back this afternoon and spent 1 hour cleaning the floor, kitchen door, the bathroom and my bedroom. I don’t know what problem or addiction the old tenants had with coffee because there were coffee splashes everywhere. I invited my Swedish friend to take a look of the place…at 7.20pm she wasn’t still there…I went down the hall and I realized the intercom doesn’t work. I went to the other exit and I saw her leaving….I was running with my injured knee yelling her name but she didn’t listen to me. After a couple of minutes she came back just at the moment I was going back to my car for leaving after deliver some other boxes. In fact, when I saw her the second time I was leaving the voice message to her phone. Anyways, she met me and I shown her my place. She liked it, specially the colors. She said I had everything to be happy there.

After my long long long day, I went to a Shawarma place, the guy knows me and loves teasing me. I said I was moving, he asked me where, and when I said Ottawa he looked at me as if I was having a mental problem to do that. “it’s expensive” I said yes, you must calculate at least 250$ more in rent, but for the rest you must choose your resources.

I left the place and I put some other boxes in my car. I’ll move more thing tomorrow noon. I’ll see my therapist and after I have school, geeez what a day will be tomorrow.

I took my shower, I wanted to sleep earlier but after listening Morcheeba Big Calm, I sit on my bed and I started to write again.

Now…I should sleep, no?

The Keys of Ottawa

I had a boring, busy and long Monday. I dissembled my BBQ in 2 pieces and delivered to my Swedish friend’s house, she’ll keep it there until I buy a house…in 2 or 3 years, of course, in Ottawa, if you want to buy something decent can cost over 300,000$, in other words, you need a partner. As I said before, many people are together not necessary because of love but because you split cost.

After the delivery, I finish my day earlier as usual, 3pm and I went home…when you live in Hull, you got 4 options, or 4 bridges. I always take the Champlain bridge, it was raining and it took me like 45 min to cross to the other side. Usually it can take like 20 or 30 but today it was awful. When I arrived home I wanted to pick up some boxes on the basement but because of the Quebec national day, the landlord business ( she’s a tailor) was closed. So, I decided to do more boxes, more cupboards are empty and cleaned.

I chatted as usual with my friends in France and one of them asked me “when are you moving?” I said theoretically I should move July 1st and I didn’t want to bother the landlord. I also said the other tenants were leaving the 23rd and that I was waiting for his ok to go there and move.

After chatting with a good friend of mine, I said good bye to everybody and went to do more boxes. I took pictures with my cellphone of the disaster it was my actual apartment and I uploaded to Facebook. I went to a second hand store to leave books I didn’t need anymore and went back home wondering if I should be poutine, French fries, burger or something totally unhealthy. I remembered I had a frozen pizza, my favorite, Dr Oetker, a German one, very good and a bit expensive. I was eating in front of my laptop sneaking in Facebook, reading newspapers online and trying not to look the mess I was surrounded when and e-mail arrived.

The landlord said the apartment was empty and clean and asked when I wanted to move in and give me the keys. When my mouth full of pepperoni pizza, one hand dirty with tomato sauce and just the right hand available to type, I replied “can I go tomorrow at lunch time?” He said “alright”.

Oh Lord….I wanted to cry, at least a couple of tears escape from my eyes. I was jumping around even if my knee is still injured but much better than weeks ago and I called my Swedish friend saying aloud “Anita, Anita, Anita….I’ll have the keys tomorrow….I wanna cry” She was just laughing and was very happy for me. She was the first person I called, after that I put an updated in my Facebook. I unplugged the laptop of the table and I pulled to cold bags to attach them to my knee. I put a Sasha Airdrawndagger cd in my super second hand RCA radio and here I’m ….writing to you the news.

I already loaded the car with clothes, something light I can carry because I don’t want to put much pressure in my knee…and I remember why I chose a Toyota Matrix….geeeez it has lots of space that rocket. Well, it’s a hatchback and it looks like nothing grandiloquent but it is, Lord, it is!!!!

Tomorrow at noon, the symbolic keys of a change will be given to me. Another new beginning, one more time, immigrant again.

As Time Goes By

It’s 8.45 pm in Hull, QC, I just finished some other boxes…I left this morning the apartment because I couldn’t bare see the mess it is right now, bags, boxes, food, cleaning, the cat totally crazy and my with my only joy since yesterday, my RCA RS2181I Audio System with Universal iPod Dock, a toy that brand new can cost over 100$. I found it in a second hand store for just 35$. (Funny, it has the Ipod thing and I don’t have one, not planning to have to, on the contrary, dreaming of a Android Samsung but probably in 4 months). It works perfectly and here in my bed, while typing, my cat in the left corner of the mattress (because I don’t have a bed) I’m listening a jewel that I bought by curiosity: Brian Ferry, “Time Goes By” a collection of jazz themes….fabulous, and with a incredible quality sound.

The soundtrack is perfect for the my movie: foggy, raining day of Summer. The mess is visible, but despite all the horror can be the preparations and consequences, I’m happy to move and leaving Quebec. If am I ready? I think nobody is 100% prepared for big changes, we assume it’s going to be tough and exciting at the same time, but the proportion or magnitude of those decisions we have no idea in the short or long term. I know I’m taking the right decision, it’s just it’s a bit scary…well, more than scary…..Brian is singing “when somebody thinks you’re wonderful….” what a moment to listen to that phrase. Some people considered me courageous. Sometimes you don’t have choice, well, I had, to stay in Quebec, but I wasn’t feeling totally happy, and people around me, no matter how hard I tried to fit, I never did. And I never told them I was gay (come on, doesn’t look like? I look  so dyke) I’m not saying I’m going to fit in Ottawa, but I have already contacts, which, believe me, it’s a huge progress!!! I know more people here than in my 5 years in Montreal. Great people who help me and listen to me. Again, all immigrants, my friend from Sweden and a couple from Germany. The solidarity with immigrants is always present. As I said in my previous post, native Canadian are most family thing, you can belong to their circle only if you lived among them since you can be inserted in society, that means, since kindergarten. And because I arrived in this land at 30, getting in track was more an accident than an insertion.

If you have time to check online, or Grooveshark this Brian Ferry’s album, no matter what you’re doing right now, it will put you a special smile, a special ambient in a dark day, or stressed Sunday.

Sundays, since I was a teenager, was the moment of sunsets through my window, listening music of the 80’s and dreaming to have a wonderful woman beside me, doing nothing but enjoying the orange-red sun agonizing in the edge of the wooden window in a dysfunctional home in Peru.

My First PSY Big Mc

Well, hot Summer here in the capital. I bought a ticket for the show “Psy” of The 7 Fingers of the Main (Les 7 doigts de la main). So, I went a bit early to downtown to get a free parking spot and grab something to eat. Bad idea if you’re planning to do that at 5.30 pm. In fact, traffic was heavy and parking was just awful. When I got a spot in the 3 rd level it was 6 pm, so I said to myself “there’s a food court here I should grab something small to eat”. Suddenly I forgot the Canadian eat like chicken, dinner is always at 5pm, as a result, the food court was closed….dawn….great societies like Chinese, Arab and French have dinner at 8pm, but here…the Queen would the only person to have tea at 5!

With an injured knee, product of playing soccer with a kid, I went to McDonald’s. The only cheap option available. I decided to try the big Mc, so, for 8$ have a mini sandwich, salty fries and a medium soda. Not bad, the cow had a decent life since the taste wasn’t horrible, eatable, I won’t ask for the cheap calories I got, probably calories I should have taken in t3 healthy meals. But can I do? Who possible would think to close food courts at 6pm when downtown is full of life and crowed by young people going to festival and other things? who? tell me who? A Canadian of course!

The show was awesome. It’s called experimental theater circus. It was about mental health, social issues and of course, social interaction with the hero of the 80’s and 90’s generation: the therapist. There were kids in the auditorium, I don’t think parents were expecting the dark sense of humor but it was amazing. The performance and creativity of the group was impressive. Also the chemistry between them was obvious an important factor to achieve the success. If you got the chance, got a buy a ticket, it’s worth it.

I never thought I would associate and social drama performance with the 1st big Mc of my life…there is always a first time, eh?