About mike82355

Dreamer, learner, kayaker, walker, runner, hiker, photographer.

City to City

Thursday, August 16, 2018 was my recent visit to Montréal. My first visit to Montréal was as an eight year old in April 1964. We had immigrated to Canada from London, England. We went to London, Ontario to start our new lives. From London in the fog to London in the bush. We sailed from Southhampton, England to Montréal with a docking in Quebec City. For me, it was my biggest adventure to date in my young life. I wasn’t in Montréal long. I returned to Montréal in 1967 for four nights for a visit to Expo ’67. It was a Scouts Canada trip, we travelled by bus to and from London, Ontario.

The next time I returned to Montréal was in the summer of 1969. I was in Army Cadets by that time and I was attending a summer camp at the old Ipperwash Army Cadet Camp on Lake Huron. Luckily, I was chosen to be included in an exchange of cadets from Valcartier, Quebec. Our month in Quebec was mostly touring around to learn about Quebec, Canada, the military and all their histories and how the Canada of the time was affected by them. It was another exciting Montréal/Quebec adventure.

The next time I returned to Montreal was in 1976 and I was now 21 years old. i was working for a firm that did contract work in the oil refineries of Montreal East. I spent the better part of 2 years there living at the corner of Sherbrooke St. E. and Rue L’Assomption. I had a riot. To be young, single and working in Montréal was a young man’s dream. I spent a lot of time in Montréal up until the summer of 1979. Then life changed again and I would not be back in Montréal for many years.

Fast forward to May 2010. I am single. I am a Locomotive Engineer working in freight service for Canadian Pacific Railway. I have worked for 20 years for CPR in southern Ontario, and now it is 2010 and I can retire at the end of 2015.

So I re-locate to Perth, Ontario and I work out of Smiths Falls terminal. For my first year there I work the CP Winchester Sub between Smiths Falls and Côte-St. Lucky in Montréal. I am in Montréal 3 to 4 times a week. While on my rest time in Montreal I would explore the city while getting meals or buying groceries. I always enjoyed being in Montréal. For just over 5 years I spent time in Montréal on a regular basis. Then I retired in December of 2015 and I stopped working into Montréal.

Now it is the end of August 2018 and I am moving to Montréal in 2 weeks. I have rented a room in the east end of downtown near Frontenac Métro station.

I will be attending Concordia University so two dreams are occurring in tandem. I am finally attending university, and I am finally living in Montréal, which I consider to be one of the greatest cities of the world!

My career with the railway took me to  work in Toronto and also Detroit, Michigan. From 1990 until 1997, working out of CP’s London, Ontario terminal Detroit was the away from home terminal for me. I moved trains from London to Detroit and back. Detroit was also slightly significant in my life because of music. Detroit has always been one of the music capital’s of the world. Growing up in southern Ontario in the ’60s, 70’s one of the Detroit superstitions on the AM radio was actually a Canadian station at 800 on the AM dial with the call letters CKLW, more commonly known as The Big Eight.

In those days if you were a successful radio DJ, you knew you had hit the big time if you got hired by The Big 8 in Windsor, Ontario.

So what does that have to do with Montréal? Well, I was in Montréal this past Thursday, August 16, 2018. the day after the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin had died. All day on CBC Radio 1 was a musical memorial to that wonderful, singing, angel, our dear sister Aretha! To be in Montréal on a day that Aretha, and Detroit, feature so prominently was a wonderful musical treat.

It was personally significant for me by virtue of my career and the amount of time spent working in both of those great cities. Yes, I do consider Detroit to be a great city. Detroit is great because of music, concerts, and hockey. And baseball!

Our perfect lives are perfect because of their lack of perfection.

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Happify My Life

Yesterday was a day filled with lots of good and some accomplishment.

I got to Montreal and met my new roommate and paid a deposit and got a key. I talked with Eric and learned about the apartment and the neighbourhood.

The neighbourhood is French, it’s poor, and I love it. There is a better area to the north and a worse one to the south. But I am familiar with the area I am living in and with the worse one to the south, so I am dealing with known environments. My room is four blocks from the Frontenac Metro station and I am only 7 stations from the university on a direct line. No changing trains or riding buses. That will be important once it starts snowing in Montréal. Just for the record, it snows nearly every night and it usually snows a lot. I will be living at the east end of centre-ville, and going to school at the west end of downtown. I live in an area called Sainte-Marie. Think Hochelaga. There is also the Ville-Marie Tunnel for the expressway in case I find myself needing to drive in the winter. The tunnel is because of the snow. In Montreal, it is all about the snow.

After my hour of business with Eric, I went north into the east side of the plateau and found a nice park to have my picnic, go for a walk, and read some Latin, then snooze for a half hour before I started my trek home. The Turcot interchange was a traffic delay because of volume and then there was a 45 minute delay, on Autoroute 20 in the West Island, due to an accident.

I got back to Perth just in time for the last summer concert in the park and chatted with 5 people I saw there.

I am filled with happiness that this has come together so well. My first phone call to Concordia University was on July 4. That was 44 days ago.

One year of university, 5 courses for $86.00, at 63 years of age, and even better; I am going to be living in downtown Montreal for the next few years.

Grateful, happy!

If Forever … Right Now …

If I could live forever, how would I live?

If I could dream forever what would I dream?

If could see forever what would I see?

If I could speak forever, what would I say?

If I could listen forever, what would I hear?

If I could write forever, what would I write, right now?

I don’t need forever, I can do all these things right now, right here.

Inconvenience

It is resolved, and I do enjoy resolution. I am moving to Montréal for September 5, maybe. I have my current room until September 30, 2018. I can stay where I am for September because the weather is still warm. I only need to spend Monday and Tuesday nights in Montreal to accommodate my classes which are on Monday and Wednesday. My classes begin at 2:45 pm and end at 5:30 pm. While the weather is good, driving to Montreal during the day on Monday’s and returning on Wednesday evening’s won’t be inconvenient. There is also another convenient fact that assists my new life. Starting on September 4, 2018, the university library is open 24 hours a day. So even if I sleep in the car for those two nights, I have a place to study and hang out. That is convenience.

So is it inconvenient to move to Montréal when I live in a quiet, small town of 6,000 souls? No, it isn’t. Because of the pros, because of the positives. It is a gain/loss comparison. I gain a lot by living and studying in Montréal.

At the other end, the Perth end, there will be inconvenience to my landlords because they will have to find a tenant for October 1. My landlords are wonderful people and the house is a beautiful residence. I had thought that I would be there for a long time. Life happens. I told them about my change in plans yesterday and I think they were disappointed. I spoke with Faye (name change), this morning. I expressed the idea that maybe it appeared to be a bit of a challenge, but at most it is an inconvenience. Faye seems to be a little cheerier than Roger today.

So something that I viewed as a challenge, albeit a happy positive one, isn’t even an inconvenience.  And I will still be able to attend the same Taoist organization that I am involved with here. Yes, there is an upcoming move soon.

My realization is that not everything is a challenge. Inconveniences occur. Challenges occur also. There is a difference.

Ch Ch Ch Changes!

Change was a fact of life that I never enjoyed until 2005. Before that I was not resilient enough, or psychologically strong enough to regard change as the positive event it is.

Since 2005 I have embraced change as an opportunity to a better way of living. That last statement has been supported by a number of change experiences since 2005.

Recently I have been dealing with two changes. One is impacting my life in a big way. The other isn’t impacting my life in a big practical way like the first.

The first change is good news. I have always wanted to go to university and now, at the young age of 63, my dream of attending university is coming true.

Here is the paradigm. No degree. No final mark entered to the student transcript. This is what I do get. There are three semesters, fall, winter and summer. I am permitted to take up to three courses per semester for a total of nine per year. I get everything a regular student gets. Student ID, Student Number, access to the university as a regular student. All the discounts and access to all facilities. The cost is minimal: $12.00 per course and an administration fee of $26.00 per semester for a total of $62.00 per semester. My first semester I am enrolled in two courses for $12.00 each plus the $26.00 administration fee for a total of $50.00. If I took nine courses for the year the total cost would be $186.00, plus tax, I assume. The only two requirements are that the individual is 50 years of age or older and a Canadian citizen. The last requirement is that the applicant attend the university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. That is another huge bonus.

I start Wednesday, September 5, 2018 in downtown Montréal. I am enrolled in Latin 1 and Introduction to Linguistics. For January 7, 2019, I am enrolled in Latin II, Language and Mind Linguistics: A Chomskyian Program and Beginning Spanish Intensive. I will register for a French course next fall, and a Spanish II Intensive. I may repeat Latin I or II, just to plant it more firmly in my mind. Another bonus is that in order to accomplish this I have to move to Montréal, where I will live my life in the French language.

Are there downsides? Not a lot. The big concern is that I have to leave the room I am currently renting. It is disappointing for my current landlords, whom I consider friends. They have had some expensive house repairs this last month. My departure causes them some financial worry. I would prefer that it isn’t that way, but that is life. And I have to live my life. The other new reality is that I will be living in a large city again. This opportunity may not always be available to me.

The other change or challenge concerns my youngest brother. Recently there were three occasions where I would start a conversation and he would tell me that he wasn’t interested in me talking about that subject. Of course he practices his right to free speech at length. Recently, he hung up on me when I phoned him and then he did not reply to the message I left immediately after he terminated the call. This situation was difficult for me in an emotional context. There are four of us siblings and we all live with residual childhood trauma. That’s life. In this instance I had to separate the emotional sadness from the gladness of the reality. It’s his life. If he doesn’t want to have a relationship with me, I’m good with it. He does these things in a mysterious manner. He never explains or describes what he is thinking or the reasons why. It is propagated as a dramatic mystery. He doesn’t explain, he chooses to be rude. So I had to remind myself that he is 54 years old and I am not his 63 year old babysitter, co-dependent, or enabler. If he calls, he is free to leave a message.

I am busy with learning. I have been studying Spanish with a tutor for 4 years. We are currently doing a comparative study between Spanish, French and English. I am also studying Latin because of it’s similarity to Spanish. As school approaches I will spend more time practicing Latin and researching Linguistics. I enjoy learning but I need to improve my study habits.

In retrospect, I believe I have been able to think through and understand the emotional reactions I experienced. Separating the emotions from the situation, is a good habit to learn. I am starting to discern between positive and negative emotions. I don’t need negative emotions in my life. I can choose the emotions I need to experience. Making that choice is an act of self-discipline.

Emotions are not needed for every change or challenge in life. Emotions are great for weddings, funerals (within reason) and birthdays and such.

My landlords will deal with their lives, my brother will deal with his. I will deal with my life and attend university in September.

What a great life.

Coffee Shop Talk

Call me Jebb. Call me Jebb Adams. Jebb I am. Estoy Jebb. Je suis Jebb. Ego Jebb. Because that is my “nom de plume”. My “alter ego”. “Ego” in Latin means I am. Enough of this playing with my name and these words.

I am back in Prince Edward County. Waupoos, Ontario to be somewhat more precise. Back on Lyra the beautiful Tanzer 28 sailboat that I lived on last summer and autumn. This summer the beautiful weather has been hot. Very hot. Consistently hot. Hot! The month of July I was busy with one sixth of an online French course. Still I learned a lot about French and I learned a lot about spending four to five hours per day online studying. But I was not studying everyday for five hours, so I took what I got and I am grateful. In addition I do a comparative study between Spanish, French and English with a tutor. I started that a few months ago but I have been studying Spanish privately for nearly four years. Clearly I enjoy learning languages. I am competent at reading and speaking Spanish but I need more experience writing. Writing is precise.

This morning I was in the coffee shop and met a retired professor and his wife. Retired from McGill University. They are both native English Montrealers. I was picking their brains about Montreal due to my upcoming move to Montreal.

I was at the boat for four hours and now I am at the coffee shop again,(good wi-fi here). This time I ended meeting a nice couple who had immigrated from Caracas, Venezuela fifteen years ago. Roberto and Carol. We spoke in Spanish as much as I was able. It was fun.

I got the boat moved to a new slip and it was nice just to feel it on the water again. I plan on spending more time on her this month. Next year I will get her closer to Montreal.

Learning is a great way to spend retirement. My tutor realized I like to learn so she suggested university learning. What a wonderful suggestion. There is a certain amount of purpose required to learn more than one language at a time, but it is possible. Our human brain can do it. And the brain can do it at age 63 like me. It is going to be weird living in a big city again. Then again Montreal is an easy big city to live in. Even with all the light, noise, people and all that goes with that, I am looking forward to it.

Well back to Waupoos population 150.

Thanks for reading.

Bonum Mane

Salve amicis!  Good morning! Greetings friends!

Another night of good sleep.

Summer is half over. I heard the first cicada buzzing two days ago. The heat continues, but not for long.

The projects are moving forward as intended. The list is my beacon of freedom. There is much to do between now and September 4. All those things on my list are items of happiness. they are my daily life. True, they are chores also. Yes, it is my daily “Things to do today list”. My life will be happier putting a bright, red line through the things on the list that have been accomplished. I mean really, how happy can I be doing my taxes? Well, just a little bit, but I will be immensely happier when they are done and I no longer have to sit and figure with numbers! Plus, I am getting a refund, and that will make me noticeably happier!

My mind is doing well with the positive consciousness that I guide it with. I have just noticed how similar the words “conscious” and “caution” are. I had been expecting a phone call from a close friend for about a week and a half. The wandering part of my mind was leaning toward the possibility of worry, but I stayed true to my mantra of “no news is good news”. Yesterday, this wonderful person called and it is regular, good news. In past lives I would succumb to the “feeling” of worry. Meditation serves me well on all levels, mental and physical.

The freedom to think is such a luxury in life. Viktor E. Frankl discusses that concept in his book “Man’s Search For Meaning”. One of the “meanings’ in my life, is the principle that there is always a silver lining. Always. Sometimes it may be a challenge to see it through the tears, but life has proven to me it is always there. Hope is not just wistful wishing. Optimism is a result of past experience. One of the most useful principles, or thoughts I apply to my daily life is the conviction, the mantra, “I can do this!”. I can. That belief directs my mind towards solutions when there are challenges. Life is challenges. Sometimes difficult challenges, sometimes not so difficult challenges.

I have started reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society. It is right reading.

Thank you for reading, for sharing. Enjoy your journey today.