William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

12. Lots and lots (and lots) of things


There’s so much stuff piling up that taking the time to write about all of it in French would just make things worse.

So… much… stuff… I have a few sheets of paper filled with little odds and ends. I’ll start nowhere in particular.

1. Alexander Keith’s Tartan Ale is 6.1%. Who knew? I didn’t notice the “strong beer” appellation until I’d drank several cans. Little wonder now why I was attracted to it. I do like my strong beer. Not Colt 45 strong – that stuff is disgusting. But stronger than average, that’s good for me.

2. I decided not to go to Grand-Pré and Port-Royal. It would have been an eight-hour excursion, and I went in 2007. My time was much better spent sleeping in, doing a load of laundry, and finishing most of my weekend homework.

Considering that so many did go to Grand-Pré, there was a decent crowd milling about the front of the cafeteria as we waited for its 11:30am opening. I’m of the mind that 11:30am is just a little bit too long to wait for breakfast – especially if you haven’t had a big night the night before. It was just one beer and a bit of champagne for me, and I got up just after 10:00 because I had things to do.

I thought I was going to get my clothes dried for free – the machine suddenly sprang to life when I finished loading it – but I came back a few hours later to find them soaking wet. Perhaps it was a case of a few minutes having been left “on the meter”. I put in my 75¢ and ultimately got my clothes dry with that.

3. Some of my dormmates didn’t participate in “Christmas” because they thought it was too commercial. I thought that argument was lame for several reasons:

- Many of the gifts are handmade. (There are always a few of them that are really touching.)
- The monetary value of the gift is supposed to be $10 maximum.
- Since it’s done by “Secret Santa”, most of the fun is finding out who gave / made you the gift.
- And on that note, you only need to buy for one person, and yet everybody gets to enjoy a little bit of Christmas in May (or July, if you’re in the summer session).

I got a dishcloth, and at first I told people (including my classmates) I was quite happy with it because it would help my girlfriend with the dishes. My professor asked gently yet quizzically, “And you think that’s funny?”

“Yes, because she who gave me the gift is a feminist… Okay, probably not.”

Hands-down the best gift of the session was a hand-drawn picture somebody made of Patrice, a musician-teacher-facilitator who lives with us. I know who made it, as she used one of my photos as the basis for it and she is the only one so far who has copies of my photos. Patrice had an unmistakable expression in the photo, and after looking at the picture a few times (he loved it and he showed it to everybody) I was able to put two and two together. I’m happy to have played a small role in the process.

4. It’s not good French to say something like “Tu regarde très bien.” I’ve kind of felt that for years, but our teacher finally made that explicit. You can put together phrases that suggest you resemble something, have the air of something, or appear to be something, but to say you look very well suggests that your visit to the optometrist has been profitable.

5. Am presently listening-and-repeating with a recording of our theatre piece. Now I know what my students in Japan felt like when we were preparing for those damned speech contests. We also have to have our lines memorized for Monday. Marcel from the Little Forest workshop (also a former professor here who also happens to have a lot of theatre experience) dropped by on Thursday and taught us some tricks of the trade. It was time profitably spent, even now when we don’t have a minute to lose.

6. The facilitators are crazy busy, too. They’re short at least one who was to come here from Senegal – this is likely because of the difficulty involved in negotiating a visa with Canada’s New Majority Government. More than ever, it feels like everyone is running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

7. Having to move residences certainly didn’t help matters! (Patrice joked that it was our “Grand Dérangement.”) We’re now in Poitevine, which is more intimate than Beaulieu, but unfortunately it’s more intimate in the same way that a Smart Fortwo is more intimate than the first-class section on your average Airbus A380. (The latter may actually be more spacious per capita than this residence.) My suitcase wouldn’t fit under the bed, so I put it, empty, back in the trunk of the car! In Beaulieu I was able to stand it up somewhere where it wasn’t in the way. No such luxury here!

It’s not even entirely finished – there is still work to be done in the basement, but we can always walk to another residence to do our laundry. More aggravating is that there are about 22 of us in a space that really only works well for about 16. I anticipate problems accessing the showers and the bathrooms, but we’ll find out for sure on Monday. The growing consensus among those in the know seems to be that these renovations have made things worse. Let’s hope they don’t replicate this style in the other buildings. Jean-Douglas himself conducted an information meeting at Beaulieu the evening prior to the move and said that they’d be anxious for feedback.

On the plus side, it’s great to be among the living again. Beaulieu might as well be in another country – we never got visitors except those who were specifically invited and necessarily cajoled. Now people just drop in. You get to see a lot more people being here in the middle of things than you do being far away from everything.

On the minus side, we lost some people – in all the shuffling and reshuffling (you’d need a giant graphic poster akin to “Character Relationships in Pride and Prejudice to keep track of it all), two students and a teacher left, though we kind of “gained” a student, at least officially – he was hanging out with us all the time anyway because his girlfriend lived with us. ;-p Good pair, though – they’re both philosophy grad students. They usually have pretty interesting things to say.

Very sadly for me though, one of the students who left was someone I was completely taken with. It ain’t over yet, but it ain’t looking too good.

8. This has little to do with anything – but this makes two residences where there weren’t batteries in the remotes for the DVD players! For the second time in three weeks, I’m donating my own rechargeable AAAs to the cause. Well, it feels good to be useful, I suppose. ;-p

9. Having moved to this vicinity, I now find myself walking instinctively towards Bretonne, where I stayed when I was here for Spring 2007. Funny how the body works when the brain is on standby mode.

10. I went to Weymouth yesterday to get a few things. I probably should have just gone to Digby. I keep forgetting that Weymouth isn’t so much a one-horse town as it is a half-horse town.

Amazingly, though, I got almost everything I needed except the opportunity to top off the air in my tires. Picture this – you put 70 bucks’ worth of gas in your car, then you pull around to get air and the machine is derelict and doesn’t even make a sound when you push its start button. The attendant mutters something about speaking to his boss tomorrow. Um, right. Next time I’m going in the direction of Metaghan.

I was also desperate for a white t-shirt for tonight’s graffiti party. I bought a 24-pack of Moosehead Lager specifically because it promised a free shirt. Unfortunately for me, I got a blue one. In the general store I found a white t-shirt proclaiming the barely-there village of Weymouth, but it cost $14.95. I almost bought it anyway, but I didn’t because if I let people see me waste more than 90 minutes of work on a stupid piece of cloth that probably cost less than a buck to make, I don’t know if I would have made it out of that little village last night. Yes, if you have to do something that’s blamed stupid, for godssake don’t let other people see you do it! If you’re stupid enough to buy that shirt, maybe you’re stupid enough to help that kind gentleman take his package through airport security. In my case, I was once stupid enough to be seen reading a map and I was unable to persuade the dishevelled stranger in a busy square of the capital city of a developing country not to take me on a tour.

Anyway, I had just about given up hope and was leaving Weymouth (I’d even checked the hardware store and I almost got a disposable coverall in lieu of a shirt – just the thing for when you want to dress up as a nuclear plant worker for Halloween) when I noticed that the Frenchy’s was still open. Open until 9 on a Friday night! What luck! So I got a white t-shirt and a decent pair of shorts, and I washed both this morning, so I’m ready for the party. Well, if I ever get this blog post done, that is.

The “Weymouth” Frenchy’s is just within the boundary of Clare, so I am obliged to speak French there. Some of my rez mates came by, also searching for white shirts. It was fun to chat up a storm in French while English country music played on the store speakers.

11. I went on one excursion where we were dropped off at the beginning of a beach trail – we then walked to the end, where the bus was waiting for us again. What convenience! Then we went for ice cream. The scoops were the size of a can of beans – I never should have ordered two! It was good ice cream, but when I finished I never wanted to eat ice cream ever again. You could even order three scoops there – I think such an order ought to be executed only after a grave warning from the server.

12. It’s $70 for a dictionary of “false friends” – e.g.: “actually” is not translated by “actuellement”, which really means “currently” – $70 is too dear for me, but such a reference might be useful if I continue my studies in French.

13. “Je suis” means not only “I am,” but also “I follow” – the first-person present singular for être and suivre have the same conjugation. When I first heard “Je suis le même chemin,” I thought it was some kind of idiomatic expression. ;-p There’s probably some obscure joke about highway route multiplexing that’s already been told by my doppelganger in the francosphere.

14. Four pages?! Holy crap – I’d still be here at dawn tomorrow if I’d tried to write this in French. I’ll try not to let so much stuff pile up again.

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Tags: sainte-anne, sainte-anne 2011

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