Rain in Africa

Sunday's Goat Post left me with this surreal feeling....like, am I really living in this big city...essentially alone... in a...job that isn't terribly exciting (but stable....and I'm all about creating stability - even if it seems terribly unattractive at the moment).. and all I can come up with - is that it's time to return to the expatriate life in a relatively stable/safe country in Africa. I get an email every other month or so....but always reply with a, "No thank you".

It isn't the time for me to go yet. I have some family stuff that I want to see through. I'm dating someone that I don't want to break up with, nor do I want to marry and move him to Africa with me...

But I want an escape.

Since returning 4 years ago (but more like 3 years ago "officially" - that one year I was in Europe/Alberta/back to Madagascar/then Quebec), I have experienced more chaos than I could ever have expected. It has all been documented at some point in the blog.

I'm wondering if I don't know how to create a stable environment. If I only know chaos...so I go around creating it for myself.

I know I can't run away to Africa. But the idea right now....seems to incredibly appealing.


Got yer goat...

I am plagued....or blessed with the occasional urge to just be a complete idiot and do something fun, original, and unplanned. Although this specific event required a little bit of planning since I bought the tickets a few days in advance. But the idea kind of just flashed in my mind....I googled, and sure enough, Montreal had Goat Yoga - and they had it this weekend.

Yes - Goat Yoga.

Here's an article to read if you'd like to catch up on the fad

Seriously. It's not a joke...

City-slickers pay $30 (or more!!!) to have a yoga class, in a glorified barn, with baby goats (and in my case, two momma goats).

The goats are encouraged to run all over the humans....who are not so much doing yoga as they are taking photos for their Instagram accounts.

There's even a staff member on duty - on high alert for goat droppings.

I arrived at the event, WHICH INCLUDED PARKING. This simply does not happen in Montreal. Especially downtown. I was beginning to think this was a joke after all.

It was +12*C, POURING rain, and everything was extraordinarily damp. Ok, soaking wet. But, come on, I'm tough.

So we were led into the barn-tent, where we were greeted by maybe 10 goats, and the lovely barn smell that comes with their adorable little selves.

I'm trying to get a Goat Selfie - I'm predicting #goatselfie to be one of the top ten hashtags of 2017, by the way.
 I was trying to do some version of table top or downward dog, when these creatures...um....mounted me.

Throughout my practice, I would be regularly vistited by the goats. Their hooves kind of felt like a harder massage. Although....this morning....I think I'm paying for it - but what did I expect? I had goats jumping on my body.

We often had to take breaks based on the goats' schedule. Upward dog just not happening here...



 Downward dog was interesting with a kid in the middle of my mat.




Careful for my fingers!!
 Trying to force a cuddle in....but really - they have their own agenda!


There were several times that I thought....remember when I lived in Alberta and like, saw goats on a fairly regular basis driving past farmer's fields??? And now...I'm driving to this grassy area in the metropolis of Montreal downtown...and paying to be in a barn....and paying to have goats all over me?

Whatever. It was a fun event, everyone was extremely friendly (we all took photos of each other and uploaded them to Facebook), and it was just a goofy time. Most importantly, all proceeds went to a great charity that places guide dogs for no cost.

I needed this gong-show random activity. I kind of lost myself the last few years....but I used to regularly do spontaneous things...for fun....and I want to do more and more of that!

Just Try Me.

I've been kind of a mess....or can we just say that I stay in a mess state - but with varying degrees?


Someone I love very much is starting chemotherapy and radiation treatment today. I tried avoiding thinking about this for as long as I could.... the thought of what is essentially poison going into their veins....terrified me. But reality could wait no longer, so I called them and wished them well. Is it normal that the sick person seems more positive and empowered than those around them? I was amazed by their attitude and courage.....when I feel like falling apart and crying or having a massive panic attack.

Anyway, they told me this little saying and it encouraged me and made me feel ridiculously proud to know someone so brave.

But if you all could say a prayer for this person....and anyone going through a hard time. They need all the strength they can get.

Another Round?

I started my new job in Madagascar, EIGHT YEARS ago today.

You can read about it here ....but there wasn't much to say. I was in shock.

I remember everything so clearly....I thought I had an idea of what I was in for....I would never have guessed that those 4+ years would have changed my life so much.

I learned how to re-live my life. I stepped way out of my comfort zone. My life will never be the same.

Every two months or so....I get an email to see if I'm interested in another expat position....and the last email is still on my mind. Resident status, 49 vacation days, in Guinea. I will already know quite a few people there... But it's not my time.

But I still feel....like I left my heart in Africa.....(but haven't written the country song to accompany it yet)...and my time in Africa is not over. It's just on hold for now.

The first offer to expat life came in at the right time in my life. It was such a wonderful time...because I was ready for it.

If I wanted to take the resident job, I would either need to dump or marry my current beau (neither of which is an option), I would need to be healthier (which is still going to take some time), and things would have to be calmer with my family (which will happen but will take time. There's some personal stuff going on with quite a few of my family members that I'll talk about eventually).

Oh, I can't forget about Maggie! I wonder how she would like Africa. With all of the changes she has had....I'm sure she would adapt nicely - especially with all the new people.

Ok...I have to stop fantasizing. Madagascar also came with A LOT of negative aspects...it wasn't a perfect life...and I need to focus on my life today before I can look that far into the future.

But it's still nice to think about....

Perspective








It's been a long week (month?) (year?) and on Thursday night I had quite enough. I was exhausted, sad (family stuff), and numb at the same time....


So I decided to go and get a few groceries and a small bottle of Coca-Cola....'cause I needed that artificial sugar and chemical mix to cheer me up.

While in line at the grocery store, I noticed a service dog (because seriously, aren't all labs/service dogs the cutest things ever!?? They are sooooooooo smart!!!). Then I noticed the service dog's owner. I wouldn't have looked at her twice, she appeared to be any random Joe (or Joanne, I guess). I tried to be discreet as I watched what took place.

The cashier totaled her order, the woman then gave the cashier the palm of her hand. The cashier used her index finger to "write" the total cost. The woman then spoke, with a voice of someone who is hearing impaired and said (in French, of course), "Thank you, please go ahead. Also, I'd like to take out $40 on top of that please".

The cashier then took her hand and put it on the debit card machine, the woman hid the part where you enter your password with her other hand, typed in her debit card password, and then gave the cashier her hand again. I'm not sure what the cashier wrote, but I think she wrote "Approved" to tell her that the transaction was completed.

The cashier passed her the receipt and the extra $40, the woman put her debit card away, along with her money and receipt, and thanked the cashier, wished her a nice evening, and then left.

With my jaw on the floor.

Thank you humanity. Thank you for showing me that we are capable of anything. Thank you for showing me that everything is relative. That perspective is everything. That no matter what, the world continues on whether you fight or accept your limits.

To-Do List for the day

"Explore Montreal" has been on my To-Do List...for far too long. Last summer, just when things started to get good, I hurt my leg and was on crutches, and then off-crutches, I couldn't walk for very long, and I had air-conditionning in my car was broken, and I was too afraid to go and see what it would cost because I wasn't working...and I was still kind of exhausted, so I didn't explore very much.

It was kind of cruel because two weeks before I hurt my leg, I went exploring and spent the entire day outside and it was fantastic.

Since then, I've went to a few places here and there....but for the most part, my focus has been on finding a job, keeping a job, and making sure I have enough energy during the week for my job... Depression has played a huge role in my life since 2014. I was sort of getting better until February of this year, which is a story for another day (if you haven't already read it on my other blog).

So this weekend, it was my goal, to waste an entire day. No errands. No groceries (although I'll go later tonight...), just...me.

I love water, the outdoors, and camping...but I'm still not sure how much energy I have, so I thought renting a kayak was a great idea. There was a place not too far from me (Montreal is an island, so there are probably more places than I realize), and off I went this morning.

I actually couldn't sleep much past 08h30....so it was a quick shower, a quick stop at Starbucks, and off we went. Yes, "we". Of course I was going to take Maggie on my first kayak trip in Montreal!

First stop, of course, Starbucks! I love how the Gay Village looks early in the morning. It's so peaceful and colorful at the same time. I'm embarrassed to admit that if provided a Starbucks cup of water, she will only drink out of it if it has ice cubes. She is really getting the royal treatment these days....


On top of the royal treatment, I found a cross-body purse that works perfectly for her. Especially when I'm trying to run in quickly to a place that I'm not sure allows dogs. She hides and it's perfect. I throw in a little ice-pack so she doesn't overheat and we are good for hours in the heat with this thing.

Of course, I decided to get the "Intermediate" kayak. I'm not sure why and I'll get the beginner kayak next time....this one wasn't as stable but apparently I had more control with this one? I just felt like I was going to fall over a lot more - and into Lachine Canal....it's not somewhere I want to fall into...

Maggie started to get bored being in the safe spot with me, so she walked almost to the end of the kayak. And then fell in. Immediately after she fell in there a boat passed and there were some pretty big waves...so she was swimming underwater for a few seconds until I could pick her up. She's been swimming in a lake before, but I'm not sure it's her favorite thing...
She was soaking wet and shaking because she was cold. Next time I'll bring a little towel, I guess.

I kayaked the 2km to the end of the canal and then slowly started my way back. It was less choppy on the return, so the big dog decided again to be brave and head to the front of the kayak.
Her balance amazed me and her bravery amazed me even more. This is the dog that used to be scared of EVERYTHING, and here is she is falling and slipping on a kayak, but then wanting to try again because she's nosy (and I think she liked feeling the wind in her fur....).

It's funny because we get quite a bit of attention when we are out....but the very last thing Maggie cares about is people. She's all about the new sites and smells and is constantly trying to roll in disgusting things on the ground.

I use the excuse that I don't want to leave Maggie home all weekend....but really.....she's kind of my security blanket some days. There are some weekends that I'm pretty much on my own....and I can get lonely or anxious....and when she's around I feel less so.

I'm not feeling so great this weekend, so we went home shortly after and I finished some errands. I didn't do an entire day not doing anything, but at least half of it...and it was much overdo.

I'll be spending a lot of time travelling or working late the next three weeks, so I hope to go kayaking again...or find another outdoor activity to do. And start exploring my home city.

Perspective

I’m sure it’s come up a time or two that I haven’t met any “true” friends here. I’ve met some people that I hang around with….a friend that I keep in semi-regular contact here….but no one…really “solid”.

Add to the equation of 7 months of not working, an injury that kept me in crutches for 2 months, and some pretty low moments with my depression...

I hosted a brunch one day and met some super people I met, and I predicted that a natural friendship would take off, but work came up, I was sick, then stressed, then sick and stressed, and while they reached out, I kept forgetting to reach out back once I felt better (it’s still on my to-do list…)
I’m realizing that instead of searching for “true friends”, I need to meet more people and most importantly, I need to realize the people that I already have in my life.

Example: the dog walker. I met this guy while I was sweeping up leaves on my patio at my first solo apartment in Montreal. Maggie ran up to the other dog that he was walking, or else I may not have noticed him. He asked me if I was looking for a dog walker (I was) and then he gave me his flyer. We chat for a little bit…I was pretty standoff-ish… but he mentioned two other dogs that he walked in the neighbourhood. I didn’t think anything would come out of it….but that weekend I ran into the other dog’s owner and asked if she knew my dog walker and what she thought of him.

Of course, she gave him glowing reviews, because Mr. Dog Walker, is a dog lover and has invested…at least the last ten years, into taking care of dogs.

I called him the next day, we met, and talked about some rules…and I gave him the key to my apartment. How’s that for big city living?

That was July 2015. Two years ago.

Since then, we’ve developed a relationship, no, a friendship, which I never thought as something special, but it is extremely special, and he’s more a part of my life than I realized.

He’s respectful of my place (it’s probably cleaner after he leaves it). He love love love loves Maggie and I’ve called on him last minute more than once. He puts up with my hanging my dirty/clean laundry everywhere – I often feel bad for when I’m hanging my bras to dry for some reason. He doesn’t care.

He is also extremely reliable. I can text him or message him if there’s something going on, and he helps me out when he can. He sends me the most random and often funny pictures of Maggie.

When I was in a cast, he brought me things. When I was sick January 2016, he took on the job as house-cleaner for a bit. He leaves me ½ loaves of fantastic raisin bread (that I don’t eat anymore….but I work down the street from a bread factory, so it’s kind of our thing).

The other day, I couldn’t find my clothes iron. He moved it because I had left it on the edge of my bed – which is the perfect spot for me to leave it and Maggie drag the cord and have the iron fall on the floor (or more importantly, her).

He stays at my house when I’m travelling. I have never once felt unsafe.

On days that I’m sick or under the weather, he comes quietly to walk Maggie and respects my space. He’s asked me before if I was ok (I wasn’t…but if I felt like talking, I’m sure he would have listened).

When I messaged him last night, kind of in a panic, asking him if he could help me around the house for the next few weeks, because even though I’m feeling much better since getting a new doctor, I still don’t have the energy that I’d like to, and I haven’t done something “fun” on the weekend that doesn’t involve errands…..in months…  He told me that he’d be happy to and we’d work something out to get help me feel back on my feet on the housekeeping department.


Maybe it’s not the typical “friendship”….but it’s still a friendship. And just maybe I need to change my perspective about finding “real” friends in this big city.