This is the dream.
I have been gainfully unemployed for almost 23 months. The teacher in me is distressed at this. I miss my former students, despite my unwelcome ability to make horrible mistakes in class that probably scarred us all forever.
Anyways, I am sitting in a library in Connecticut,
WHAT CONNECTICUT I THOUGHT YOU WERE IN CANADA
Shhhh listen. …pretending to write grants, but actually writing you, and watching the fire truck opposite me pull out into the rain-soaked streets with its flashing lights. I got here two-and-a-half days ago, after a verrrrry long and delicious train ride (ONLY 20 hours). Story is, I was sitting on a hill in Quebec city, wearing my heavy winter boots, debating the relative merits of:
a) get down to Vermont somehow. Send and repair gear from there. Ask family to send summer things. Be alone. Spend much moneys on shipping. Be in mud and rain.
b) take train to Connecticut. See family. Eat their groceries. Repair/switch out gear from house. Spend moneys on train tickets.
…And then my friends next to me on the hill (Georgie and Gwen) said, “Yo you won’t regret spending time with your fam.” Good hill. Nice hill. Georgie is an excellent photographer, though she is British, and Gwen plays the bassoon and also my recorder. Wise and good friends. Now I am here in Connecticut.
So I visit family, repair or replace all the broken things, switch my sleeping bag and clothes and boots to more spring/summer appropriate gear, and wait for my new debit card to come in because I guess they replaced it since someone was using it in small towns in Canada. I guess I am all right with being sketch; because I woke up this morning by being jumped on by a curly-haired two year old, who then yelled, “AUNTIE,” and snuggled with me. Yasssssss. She got chocolate all over my pillow.
I was up in Quebec City for about 10 or 11 days- it is maybe one of my favorite cities! Everyone speaks French there. If you are rude, nobody speaks English. Very strange correlation hum. There are maybe 11 million francophones in North America (the google says 8 million; I got my number from a random human in Quebec city); and language divides make for interesting social dynamics*
*says the random human walking through the area not talking to anyone but trees
…but actually, it is very different from the Spanish/English I grew up with, in north central Texas. In Quebec city, for the folks I met, English was viewed less as “Ah yes here is this useful tool for communication,” and more like, “Well, it’s necessary because everyone speaks it, but man it’s destroying our heritage, these people are so egocentric and rude.” English is an odd bird. I like it, because I speak it, it is the only language I am fluent in, and it is beautiful.
It is also a tool that people have used to eradicate folks’ cultures, (hi)stories, and entire ways of life; and if I’m going to appreciate it with any integrity, I keep telling myself I’ve gotta take it for the fullness of what it actually is, and not cut out the parts that I don’t like. I think about this often, because I get to meet speakers of other languages a lot, and their pictures of my language are very different from mine. It is like fire; where a tool misused can be terrible, and destructive. Um this is the surface of a thought. We all might wonder what kind of trees I have been meeting, to make thoughts of such things. Hmm.
But enough of maudlin maunderings. Speaking of languages, I have a new game for you all.
- Pick a fight with a Canadian.
- Wait until they’re almost winning.
- Shout, “Oh yeah well your entire country is named ‘village'”
- Run away. You have WON.
Ok. Well actually you’d probably get stuck at step 1. Then they’d say, “eh” and you would be apologetically accosted by a beaver, or offered the concentrated life-blood of Canadian trees, or something like that…
But I guess the way the story goes is that when ole explorer Jacques Cartier was in the area of current-day Quebec City, back in the 1500’s, he was directed to “kanata” by a couple of youths. The internet has informed me that it’s an Iroquois-Huron word for “settlement” or “village,” and Quebec City itself is on the site of the kanata he was given directions to (which was a 500-person settlement called Stadacona, subsequently decimated by European diseases… He also may or may not have kidnapped the chief and/or his sons, I currently forget). Canada.
Anyways, I’ll be on a bike trail called the Route Verte up through Quebec. Stay well, you excellent human beings.