- A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)
Friday, August 5, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
We have spent the last few days making our way down the St. Lawrence River, and two nights ago arrived at the Admiral Islands, the first “real” Thousand Islands group.
I have jotted down a few little vignettes in no particular order, that have typified our experiences, and since my internet contact is varied, instead of posting separately here it is all on one go...
Hot and Cold
The preceding nights were spent anchored at the eastern most tip of Wolf Island, in an off the beaten track place called Brakey Bay, (and yes my achey-brakey-heart is just fine...:-)). Brakey Bay, is about 16 feet deep, and just the right size for a perfect anchorage, with the shore line that perfect amalgamation of closeness/far-ness; close enough to smell the pines and see the fireflies at night (which we did!) and far enough to feel nuisance-less to the local cottagers. We experienced a night of heavy rain, which after the intense heat of the past weeks was very welcome - I have never felt so happy to don a fleecy! There are many things wonderful about Canadian summers, but one of them for me is the indescribable balance between hot and cool; hot lazy days, that cool enough in the evening for a campfire or a sweater - except living on a boat = sweater, but...fortunately no campfire.
One evening in Brakey Bay, as is our custom, Bruce and I sat chatting about the day in the cockpit, under the stars sipping a glass of wine and swatting away the odd mosquito as the boat listened silently, swaying gently in the waves. Just as we noticed a dog barking at his echo a few bays over, an entire pack of coyotes/foxes/wolves (?) erupted into song on the very near opposite shoreline. The high pitched howling voices were many as they briefly bayed, we both felt twenty perhaps; small and thin, and throaty and more mature. It lasted only a moment, as soon as it began the matriarchal howlers of the group wordlessly hushed the little ones back into the night. It was almost as though the calling of the first baying canine had been so compelling that the island pack could not resist calling back, even though they knew they should not. It was magical.
Living on Board
I just realized today that I and the children have been living on board Promise for a full month now! Amazing, it has flown past. I love it more every day. It would be easy (?) well maybe not easy, but true to my Unlikely Nomad moniker, to live on board full time.
We regularly imagine going around the world on Promise; wether we can make that a reality remains to be seen.
We swim every day. Always the water is fresh and clear, a drop of water takes 400 years to pass through the system of the Great Lakes to the waiting ocean, but pass it does. Sometimes the water we swim in is deep and dark, and very, very cold, and sometimes it warmly reflects the lush weedy bottom growth that we find entangled in our anchor when we pull it up. Once I donned goggles to peer under the boat while I swam. I immediately became unnerved to the extreme by the spectacle of the boats floating bloated underbelly suspended miraculously over a great depth of murky dimness populated with rocks and weeds and goodness knows what hidden else, the sight of my bluish greenish goose flecked flesh trailing behind adding to the creepy spectral.
Method of Entry
The kids love to swim, they swim for hours every day. Sometimes they like to bob around on their two tethered large garish florescent yellow and hot pink floating rings, like over decorated misguided buoyant donuts, and some days they just love to jump in, over and over. They have perfected pencil dives and jumps in unison where they twirl in time, and even spent an afternoon bailing off the side of the boat and onto their backs, like slick death defying sky diving Skyhawks parachuting into the great beyond.
I suppose in the end, it is not swimming that has been perfected, but methods of entry into the water that have become so well practiced. A favorite to this end, is swinging from the halyards. This involves unclipping a halyard,(one of the ropes that runs from the top of the mast to pull sails up and down) and tying a large and grab worthy knot at the end, taking care that there are no rough edges to cut hands. The jumper then holds onto the halyard for dear life while taking a giant leap off the cabin top, over the lifelines, and swings way out over the water. At the precise moment of inertia, and when the audience has held thier breath for the maximum amount of time, before the halyard and dangling soon-to-be-swimmer crash back into the boat, the halyard must be let go. The now swimming swimmer plunges deeply into the drink.
We do have a very small shower on board, tho we use it only in cases of the extreme: extreme heat or extreme smelliness! Normally we bathe in the lake, soaping up on deck, trying to be discreet as we scrub our undercarriages in full view, then plunge to rinse in the cool. There are few pleasures so wonderful as this, the soft water feeling of being squeaky clean, towelling off in the breeze and donning warm dry clothes.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Well, I always figure that when you have the wherewithall to arrange to get places to do things outside of the normal mouse trail that is the normal day of activities, groceries, school, boulangerie)(!), Starbucks (there is a new one at a corner near us...more on that later) it means that you have finally arrived.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
So update on our life (the good and the ugly!!) ....here it is....
Though it is lovely to be here, in this incredible city of light, (and LOVE says R) - living the dream of Paris...the pastry, the coffee...the food, the wine - the first week was...well... pretty rough. Everyone was feeling so out of sorts and we were all getting so angry with each other...everyone seemed to cope really well until we all got alone together and then, all hell broke loose..well...normal I suppose. I felt I should congratulate myself that my kids feel so comfortable letting it ALL hang out with me!!! *ha* So - I am remembering, now, that we take our secure environments for granted, and we easily forget what a stabilizing influence they have on our energy. (OK everyone who has a stable environment...please...take a break and appreciate it...for me!) :-) I felt sort of validated in a twisted sort of way this week speaking to a new mom at school and she confided to me that she thought her family was going to fracture they all felt under such stress before during and just after their move.....so I am just trying not to fight these feelings, accepting and realizing that this will all pass, and it has begun already.The kids now seem to be doing great, they are really enjoying school, and seem to be making friends, which is the most important thing. So far so good. It is a change that they are in a religious school, youngest said to me, we did "God" today Mommy...we ALL do "God" together...they are supposed to be in the multi-faith stream learning about world religion, which to us seemed like a wonderful and very unique opportunity, one which we were very very excited about.....so we will see...*hmmm*.....The kids have to wear a uniform to school (which is navy blue) and the first day of school L decided that she hates HATES HATES!!! -navy blue...."I HATE navy blue!!!!!!! BIG MASSIVE LOUD PASSIONATE temper tantrum... kicking - screaming..WOW!! ..really bad and not like her at all. Took me completely by surprise and sort of freaked me out....now she has settled down - thank goodness, and seems to be the exact polar opposite - very excited and happy about everything. Oddly so far she has exponentially more homework than R....*hmmm* must investigate that...R is seemingly very steady, and has had a few blow ups, but by and large seems to be doing really well. We are hoping the kids will begin the school bus next week, as it all seemed too much all at once. I ride the city bus back and forth with them for now... it comes right to our door and drops the kids right at the doorstep of the school...imagine? That has NEVER happened to me in my entire life before - and in this immense city to boot! The kids will start Tennis next week, we will keep it down to a dull roar for now and concentrate on getting settled first.We were in a temporary apartment last week; very small, very dark and in a not so great a neighbourhood (understatement). I was annoying hub B because I called it the "JAIL" all grey, no kitchen - just a bar, no windows....kids slept in the basement...creepy...clean, modern and trendy....but CREEPY!!! Thankfully we have now moved into a better one with a nice garden; yes I schlepped 7 suitcases across Paris with a completely stunned taxi driver...I am sure he was thinking why in the world does she need ALL those bags?? (and when will I learn not to bring/have so much stuff!!!) The new temporary apartment is still small but sunnier, quieter definitely NOT so trendy...but much more suited to a family - (I feel as though I have just walked into a 1974 french film set....like "Font du Ski" too funny)...because our plans were so late we were not able to get anything better (or so Bruce tells me!)The first day after we arrived, there was a mugging right behind us, some lady got her purse stolen...I thought the kids were going to have heart attacks right there on the spot.....it freaked them out so much! There she was, a little skinny old lady with no purse running down the street yelling "STOP....THIEF!!!! ... STOP!!!" at the top of her lungs in french - poor thing....so after that we felt pretty scared....! We are all feeling much better now, as soon as moved into a better environment, everyone relaxed right away...plus sometimes I think it is only time that is needed to help everyone feel better. My heart aches for all of my wonderful friends at "home" as that is how Hannover and the school feel for me... but we have leapt, and now.... we must forge ahead.I am in LOVE with the lovely ever elegant Lady Eiffel. I decided today that she is a "She". "She" is breath taking, I wonder if we will tire of her? She graces our skyline. Today R and I mused if Gustave Eiffel was satisfied with her when she was finally complete, or if he wished he had done something different. I wish I knew.We are very excited to actually get into our new apartment - only 120 sq metres but I am sure we will all fit nicely. We have explored the park next door, and have already met some new families, the area seems to be crawling with expats, which is nice, I think (?). Today I went to check out the market, which is a few streets over, and on my way found a great bio organic co-op, and good cheap stuff place, (like Aldi) for cheap stuff, and the usual french market yummy food! I have been eating on the fly for weeks....so today after discovering all this wonderful food, I ate ALL day!! I ate every comfort food I could get my hands on...chocolate, candied ginger, licorice, strawberries, fresh figs and a then a great big mess of pasta bolognaise....*burp* Guess I need to stop stress eating soon... *fattening as I sit here* ....!We are redoing the kitchen etc in the new apartment, and so I have been so busy getting organized with that. Also figuring out what we can bring etc. It has been crazy! Tomorrow I will set up bank accounts, next week I get the keys so can organize telephone internet etc. and then I will paint the kitchen.Me, well I am doing ok. Feeling a bit lost I suppose, but not in a bad way, in a new sort of opening-up-for-something-new kind of way, in a way I sort of like - after all. No thoughts yet for me of my school, I am so busy taking care of everyone else....but the idea of it is hovering at the back of my mind like a warm stew pot simmering on the back corner of an old wood stove. Yummy!So goes the update. Things seem to have reached a ZENITH here...if the zenith was up or down, I am not sure, but definately seem to be trending up now. I had the obligatory spat with the agency attached to the new apartment...so things can only go up from here!