The paper-society that we have constructed frustrates me. However, in as much as I am in this environment, I’ve decided to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me.
I can almost remember this time one year ago. Exactly one year ago, this was my first night in Montreal.
I had a plan but not much of one. I booked the last room, in the last hostel with space in Downtown Montreal. In addition to that, I was booked for only one night. After this night, the 1st of September, 16, there was no more room. With not enough money to pay for a lease, I’d have to wait until my scholarship funds got released to me. Only, I needed to have a lease for the funds to be released.
Around this time, I was making my way up Saint Laurent Avenue trying to find number 3655. The street bustled with bars, restaurants, more hipsters than I’d ever seen before and half drunk freshmen enjoying the ‘frosh’ activities of whichever of the four major universities they now belonged to.
Why was I heading here? A friend that I made a year before in Trinidad, while he was on a student exchange had just moved in. I carried two, half dead doubles for him. Of course, my phone had died and I was a wee bit lost. In those first few days, I was more lost than ‘found’. I had walked 40 minutes West or East in the direction opposite to the one I should have been walking in when trying to find Boulevard Saint Laurent. Now, on the street, I was just as lost.
When I eventually figured out how the numbers ran and which side of the street I should be on, I found the address. Out in front, as with most other buildings, there was a mountain of debris left behind by August 31st movers. Looking up at the old brick building, there was a window open with twentysomethings moving, smoking, chatting and drinking. I wondered whether to call out my friend’s name. I decided against.
Being lost humbles you in so many ways. Being in a large, loud, bright, city, makes me shy. I hung around the door that I couldn’t enter. I had no fob and the apartment number rang with no answer. I hung around because things work themselves out. Doors eventually open for you.
The person to open the door was a tall, lanky guy with a not very Canadian accent. I entered and tried to find the apartment. I got directions after knocking at the wrong door, then entered a place that unbeknownst to me at the time would become my home. Its inhabitants, my people. Its floor, my floor.
But on first days you don’t yet know these things. With my stale doubles and a gift of grapes, I sat there and chatted on chairs that I would sit on for many more times. On first days you don’t know. The people, the culture, the streets, the administration. You don’t know but you soon will. On first days you don’t know if you’ve entered a space that a piece of your spirit, being, vibe, heart, soul, whatever you wish to call it, will never leave.
On first days, you don’t know.
Very soon I’ll be having another first day. If you check back or follow this blog, you can be a part of that journey as well.
Stay in, stay adventurous, stay wild,
I wrote this, because that girl was being true to herself. Something that everyone tells you to do but I promise you, it’s easier to move a mountain than to be true to yourself.
Don’t go home.
We dashed through the waves while the sun dashed to bed. The weekend was in its last moments but the beauty was endless.
If you’ll be in Miami for even a few hours you should make the best use of those hours. This is an exciting city with great beaches, bars, hotels and restaurants.
Well, folks, somehow eight months have passed by. Eight months and five days to be exact. Two hundred and fourty-seven mornings have gone by. Two hundred and forty-seven sunsets.
Some days were warm, others were not. Some days I wore boots, others flip flops. Some days were blue, others were grey. Some days I was happy, some days I dismayed.
I’ve been here in Montreal for the majority of this time. In addition, I’ve gone out to Rigaud, QC, for sheep-shearing and maple extracting. I spent Christmas in Toronto, ON with my grandmother and aunts. That trip was in the middle of two other trips to Aven’s family cottage; one for the Winter solstice, and the other for New Years, in the Laurentides, QC.
After Easter, I went back out to the cottage, surprised to see how different it looked without snow.
When I was leaving Trinidad on September 1st, 2016, I was extremely happy to be escaping for at least eight months but I was also stressed out to be leaving my family in an uncertain time. I cried quite a bit. Yet, when my second plane for that day, banked and turned over Montreal, giving me a view of Mont Royal, an ocean of good vibes washed over me. Immediately I knew in my gut that I was going to be okay. I knew that this was going to be an entirely fulfilling experience.
Boy! Oh boy! Was I correct.
Now, the time has come to an end and it hurts to leave.
What I found in this city, is better than gold.
There are many things that I am not looking forward to returning to and some things that I am.
Things that Rushell is looking forward to in Trinidad:
1. Spending time physically with my family. Just us being in the same space together. Having evenings on the boat or mornings at home where everyone is doing their own thing and the house is alive. It never ceases to amuse me how we fall back into rhythms and it seems as if whoever was gone never left. (I would like to change some rhythms though!)
2. Sailing! It has been so long since I’ve gone sailing. I think this is the longest that I have not sailed since 2008. If things go certain ways, I just may be sailing very, very frequently come July.
3. Beach days out in the sun. I’m looking forward to feeling the sand under my feet and early morning drives along the North Coast Road to Las Cuevas. More weekends in Tobago are on my agenda.
4. NOT FREEZING! This wasn’t higher up on the list because being cold is almost comfortable- you can always put on more clothes. Unless of course you’re already waiting at the bus stop and it is 3:30 am, you’ve taken the wrong bus initially and you’re waiting for a bus that was supposed to arrive 23 minutes ago. In these instances, you’re just going to be uncomfortable and freeze. You can’t put on more clothes now. You should have thought of that six hours ago when you thought -12 was warm enough.
5. So, when I first wrote this list, it was on my phone in the notes application and I wrote something under number 5 but auto-correct has made it indistinguishable. So I’m thinking of something else that I’m looking forward to. I think it would be driving although I really enjoy taking public transportation.
Five things I am not looking forward to:
1. The inevitable anxiety that I feel continuously when in Trinidad.
2. small nation; BIG problems -government systems, politics, corruption, crime. Unfortunately, these faulty systems have impacted me in a hugely negative way.
3. Traffic in Port-of-Spain- Wrightson Road to be exact. I have to meditate to get through this traffic on my way to UWI.
4. Paying Bmobile’s fees for data.
5. Lack of community. What made Montreal so special for me was the community of people that I found there. We were able to connect in ways that I’ve always wanted to connect to other people in. At home, the conversations that I really want to have- Goddamit I don’t give a flying fruitcake about who put on weight and looks weird because her bath suit was too small- are so rare and in between here. There are projects that I want to work on but I haven’t met the right people here who are interested in working on them with me.
There ya go!
That’s what’s floating through, some weighing heavily on, my heart right now.
Stay adventurous, stay in!