I was fairly street smart by the time I settled in Ottawa. I had backpacked in China alone, had traveled through most of Latin America and had dealt with all kinds of nuisances all over the world from getting catcalls to being mugged, from losing my wallet to being followed by drunks. I found Ottawa pretty sedate compared to Rio, Guatemala City, Tegucigalpa or even Paris. But do you know where I felt uneasy? Suburbia.
Monthly Archives: August, 2013
The “mute” button was our most handy tool. Especially when we needed to take a break to laugh at a particularly weird customer, or share the details of a funny call with a co-worker. Some couples in the middle of a divorce were calling us to argue about points splitting on a joint account. Some folks yelled at us because their Petro-Canada credit card application had been denied. Some callers had an accent so thick we couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying.
Once we arrived at Petrie Island, I realized I had been too negative. The place was lovely. It wasn’t too busy, there was a decent stretch of sand, and the water looked clean—it was surprisingly clear actually. “Damn, we should have brought towels! Oh shit, I wish I had my Kindle. And my swimsuit! And drinks!” I complained for a minute or two (my French side) and we adapted (my Canadian side).
The first lead came early December. MaxSys, an Ottawa-based staffing agency, was hiring call centre agents for a short-term contract. The “language skills” section of my resume had caught the eye of the recruiter, who was desperate for francophones.
This blog is a great way to meet people, to fuel my passion for writing and photography, to show what I do to prospective clients, to network, etc. And it’s always rewarding to see the readership grow. But it has downsides as well. Earlier this month, I received an email from Site5, my hosting company, claiming that my resource usage was too high to stay on a shared server plan.
After a stop in Alexandria Bay, we decided to cross the border back to Canada at the Thousand Islands Bridge and to follow the parkway along the St. Lawrence Seaway. I do miss living by the ocean but I have to say that the Thousand Islands region is pretty awesome—peaceful, scenic and, despite being a popular tourist spot, it doesn’t feel crowded or tacky.
Good old Alexandria Bay, the cutest and nearest US town for a day trip from Ottawa! We took advantage of the Civic Holiday to take Mark there for the day… his second time in the United States, already!
Once upon a time, in my teens, parks were the place where you could: 1) hide when you skip class (not me, obviously) 2) smoke a cigarette discreetly (not me, obviously) 3) smoke illegal substances somewhat discreetly (still not me, bien sûr) 4) kiss and maybe more or maybe not with your boyfriend (not me either, come on!). Now, parks are where I unleash the “dragon”, as known as baby Mark.
Baby Mark is turning ten-month-old today, and as usual, I am marveling over the fact the tiny little thing I carried for nine months turned into a very energetic dragon.
We are back in Canada after a month spent in France, and Mark learned tons of new skills, some commendable other not so much.
Put him down for a second on the floor, on the grass, on the sand and you will see him quickly analyzing his surroundings, like some kind of Terminator. Once the “scan” is complete, he usually makes a beeline for what I hope he wouldn’t notice—the wires, the plugs, anything fragile or breakable, anything dangerous.
We had a great time in France and it’s always good to be back in my hometown. This time, I got to enjoy the French life for four weeks and I introduce Mark to his other culture. I am not the most patriotic person and I rarely get homesick but I do need to visit my birth country once in a while. It feels comfortable, it feels safe and relaxing.
Then I remember why I left in the first place… There are things from the New World I miss badly after a few weeks!
A good year after the trend picked (apparently I am not an early adopter!) I decided to try one of the many “subscription box” services. Why not? I love receiving mail and if the envelope can contain samples rather than another letter from my bank pressing me to apply for a credit card, I’m all for it.
Don’t get me wrong—I am not a very politically correct person and I like to call a spade a spade. But when did it become okay to comment on people’s appearance like that? It’s not like I am offended or anything. But I don’t think it’s very healthy to start telling a kid he is too fat or too skinny. The fact that Mark doesn’t understand doesn’t make it okay.