• Menu

In a Parallel Universe

Don’t tell me about the winter storm that swept across America and Canada. Trust me, I know.

First, I received an email from the school board: “Gee, don’t even think about sending your kid to school, are you crazy or what?” (Okay, the official wording was “Alert – OCDSB Schools and Buildings CLOSED).

An email from Mark’s school followed: “No, but like seriously, we’re not taking your kid, good luck, eh!” (I may be paraphrasing; the official object was “URGENT: Schools Closed Feb. 13th, heavy snow and strong winds forecast.”

Then it was the City of Ottawa informing me that garbage pickup was cancelled, and that it would be delayed by a day for the rest of the week, because even the most Canadian waste management worker doesn’t fucking work in a blizzard.

Canada does weather communication very well, as you can see.

Once I was properly warned (garbage and kid stay home, write it down, don’t forget!), Feng and I discussed the topic at length over the phone, because that’s what Canadian couples do—they talk about the weather (it’s like phone sex to us).

“Yeah, this one is probably going to be pretty bad… it’s starting, wind is blowing like crazy! Remember the 2008 storm, when…”

Blah, blah, blah, usually weather talk.

Meanwhile, I took the bus in La Serena back to Santiago. Best early-morning ride ever—I got up, grabbed my backpack, walked to the bus terminal two blocks down the street, sat in the bus and slept for seven hours, all the way to Santiago.

“Hello, snowman. Just thinking of you. Take it easy during the winter storm! Has it landed yet?”

“Hi, snowbird, Ya, the snow was a bit crazy. Everything is shut down in Ottawa according to the news. No government working, no garbage pickup, no school.”

When I arrived in the studio I’m renting in Santiago, some crazy tenant had set the air con at 15⁰C—Canadian, probably. I changed it to 26⁰C, which is still cooler than outside temperature. Meanwhile, Mark and Feng were digging their way out of the house.

“What do you like best, building a snow fort or sand castle?”


Yep, definitely a born-in-Canada kid.


“It sticks better than sand.”

The storm was further discussed with my Canadian clients (“fuck my life…”), my European clients (“wow, you missed that one!”) and two Canadians I met on La Alameda (long discussion about cancelled and delayed flights).

After asking where my old Nikon was (“in the bedroom’s closet, in the new Nikon’s box, charger in the second drawer from the top on my desk”) Feng sent me pictures of the storm’s aftermath with the object, “In a parallel universe.” I loved it.

In my universe, people spent the day complaining about the heat and walking around Santiago selling, buying and carrying around giant red heart-shaped balloons and roses. Valentine’s Day is apparently taken seriously here.

“Have some chocolate!” Feng suggested.

“Can’t… it melts too fast, it’s too hot!”

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a shower—hot day, I feel sweaty and sticky.

“A room with a view” (picture Feng sent me taking from the bedroom in Ottawa after the storm)
“Hard work ahead” (Picture Feng sent me)
“Going outside” (Picture Feng sent me)
“Giant snowball” (Picture Feng sent me)
“Building a snow fort” (Picture Feng sent me)
“Mark & Snow Mountain” (Picture Feng sent me)
Terminal in La Serena, waiting for the bus to Santiago just after sunrise
Plaza de Armas, Santiago
Plaza de Armas, Santiago
Barrio Brasil, Santiago
Cerro Santa Lucía, Santiago
Cerro Santa Lucía, Santiago
Valentine’s Day in Santiago, Plaza Italia

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *