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It looks like a cryovolcano erupted and spat out ice all over the city.

There’s more salt on the road and on the sidewalks than in a Breton salt marsh.

“We have to go through the garage door,” Feng warns me. “The walkway is just… solid ice. And it’s thick, eh, I tried to break it with the metal shovel but…”

Oh yes, I’m definitely back in Canada.

A friendly reminder to the rest of the world:

It’s this time of the year where even hardcore Canadians, the kind who can be seen wearing shorts in January, are looking forward to spring, this season most of the Northern hemisphere is starting to enjoy.

My twitter feed is full of Americans expressing outrage over the latest scandal/shooting/Trump idiocy, sarcastic Europeans playing with words, and Canadians complaining about winter and comparing snow-on-ground stats.

“Were you dreaming you’re in Santiago?” Feng asked me when he woke me up the first morning.

Nope, cause in South America, I didn’t need a comforter and a blanket on top. Even in chilly Valparaíso, a regular old-fashioned blanket was enough.

I mean, South America and North America and two different worlds, there’s no possibility of confusion.

Yet, the transition, these ten hours spent on a cramped plane, a day of travel in total, was almost too fast. It’s a bit like changing channels and going from a comedy to a horror flick—the first two seconds, you’re not sure whether you’re supposed to laugh or be scared.

And on top of that, today, I’m apparently turning 36.

Crazy world, I’m telling you.

“Feng, can you take my yearly birthday pics?” I asked yesterday evening.

“Sure, where do we go?”

“Outside? Okay, just jump in the snow!”

“No fucking way. I’m not Mark!”

“Okay, let’s see… this snow bank is too high… We can try the park but it’s still too icy. Man, sidewalks are dirty when the snow melts… Oh, wow, it’s really flooded here, watch out.”

“Whatever, anywhere is fine. How come Mark masters that fake smile and I can’t? I either look bitchy or goofy!”

“Take off the jacket.”

“Hurry up, I’m cold! Okay, let’s do a selfie. My eyes look huge compared to yours, makes me feel good. Thanks, Chinese man.”

“Mark, come, take a picture of mommy too!”

“You guys are silly…”

(Like all photoshoots, this one is deceptive. It wasn’t nearly warm enough to stand outside wearing a t-shirt, it was about 0⁰C. Also, I never wear makeup but Mark and Feng absolutely love when I put lipstick on.)

36-year-old birthday pics (taken on March 20), Ottawa

36-year-old birthday pics (taken on March 20), Ottawa

36-year-old birthday pics (taken on March 20), Ottawa

36-year-old birthday pics (taken on March 20), Ottawa

36-year-old birthday pics (taken on March 20), Ottawa


From Mark


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Happy Birthday, Miss Adorable!

    I’m saving your South American posts for one of these days when I feel like taking a trip down south and will probably read them all in a couple of sittings.

    I hardly ever wear makeup either (sensitive skin, plus the time it would take every morning!), and when I do, it’s solely lipstick.

    T-shirt in 0 degrees. You crazy!

    • It was a quick photoshoot, I was outside for at most ten minutes! It actually felt warm(er) compared to the previous days.

      I always admire women who spend 15 to 30 minutes putting on foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, etc. It’s like blow-drying my hair, I see it as a complete waste of time and I feel it’s not “me”.

    • It’s kind of cool to see the pictures year after year. I notice I always have the same clothes, for instance (the Miss Adorable t-shirt is a gift from my mum for my… 27th birthday, I think!)

  2. Oh em geee! I hope I jump into thick snow on my next birthday! (Mine is on January)
    And Selamat Ulang Tahun ke Tigapuluh Enam!
    Happy 36Th Birthday in my language 😀
    Hope to read more of your travel story!

    • Thank you!

      I love when you share something in your language, I rarely get the chance to see it here (more Chinese and Vietnamese around).

  3. Ramesh Sundararajan on

    Hi Juli
    Happy Birthday ,Is seems like yesterday I started to read your blogs ,now I realized I am reading your blogs from your 29th Birthday,yes It’s been 7 years .
    As I earlier mentioned you are one of the inspirations of my decision to move to Canada ,Thanks for all the information ,Just survived 2 winters in Manitoba,looking for the spring.

    • Aaaw, this is so sweet! I consider myself very lucky to have readers and it’s always incredibly humbling when I hear about people who’ve been around for years.

      Winter in Manitoba? You deserve a freaking medal, that’s TOUGH! I hope spring comes fast (and without floods).

      Why did you choose Manitoba, by the way? (Lovely place, I’m just curious!)

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