French that people speak there is called Quebecois and does not have a
bunch in common with the French that I learned at school. It rather sounded
to me like a chainsaw. Never mind. Do try to speak French there. People
there will greatly appreciate the effort.
the French influence in Montreal, there are some choice French cafes. You
can enjoy there the French ambiance while listening to French background
music and writing postcards. When looking out of the window, you see Montreal’s
skyline as a backdrop and snow falling. We were there in winter. In a nutshell,
Montreal is different.
wrote a book with the title “The Importance of Living”. In “The
Importance of Living” the author notes that “those who are too busy
can’t be wise”. The statement makes perfectly sense to me. You cannot always
work. You cannot always put business deals together. Of course you can.
But then you are to be pitied. To create some balance in your life, you
have to relax every now and then. Every now and then you have to make time
to read, to have an extensive breakfast or dinner at a pleasant restaurant,
play golf or….whatever you may need to relax. That is more or less what
I needed a few years ago. It was overdue. So I did it properly and spent
an entire summer doing this sort of thing in Vancouver.
breathtakingly beautiful. Besides San Francisco and Cape Town, it is one
of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. Vancouver is surrounded
by the Pacific Ocean and a range of mountains. From various parts of Vancouver
you can enjoy mind boggling views of the Pacific, a number of bays and
the city itself. Stanley Park is a huge park in Vancouver, in which I managed
to get lost more than once. Vancouver gave me the impression that it is
something like Canada’s gate to Asia, economically and culturally. Similar
to San Francisco and Auckland, there is a significant Asian population
living, working, studying in Vancouver. The city radiates a very relaxed
and liberal flair that you can find in many English speaking cities on
the Pacific Rim.
on the Pacific Rim with a relaxed and liberal atmosphere are usually the
remedy that I prescribe when something or somebody – in my opinion rather
provincial – annoys me every now and then in Colima. Friends of mine
in Colima who know me very well are familiar with the phrase that comes
out of my mouth in those situations: “Put them on a plane to Vancouver,
Sydney, Brisbane or Auckland and let them live there for at least five
years. It will turn them into useful human beings”. Of course London is
also an option for this sort of transformation process. The city itself
is great. But the weather is usually a disaster.
the purpose of the exercise in Vancouver was the relaxation thing as outlined
above and not the tourist thing, I did not stay in or near the city center.
Instead, I stayed on campus of the University of British Columbia. The
campus of the University of British Columbia is the most beautiful university
campus I have ever come across anywhere in the world. The campus of Harvard
is impressive. The campus of the University of Cape Town is beautiful.
But the campus of the University of British Columbia blows you away. Let
us wait and see. Perhaps I will end up teaching there sooner or later.
A Song of
Rust wrote “A Song of Nassau”, which goes:
feeling the need for real relaxation,
In a climate
that’s lazy, a perfect vacation,
the snow and the slush that annoys you,
the worries and cares that destroy you,
the Island of June.
There are bluest
of seas at your door to enthrall you,
With no sudden
temperature changes to gall you,
comes on you, quietly stealing
a cheerful, a world’s all right feeling,
the Island of June”.
presumably puts in a nutshell what a lot of people dream about doing. They
dream about quitting their nine to five jobs. They dream about dropping
out of the rat race. They dream about living in a warm and pleasant climate.
They dream about doing something they truly identify with. Of course it
does not have to be necessarily in Nassau or the Bahamas. The place is
more expensive than necessary anyway.
There are a
bunch of opportunities for this sort of thing all over the world. You just
need to be serious enough about finding your niche and then doing it instead
of only talking about it. For some it means having a coffee plantation
in the Dominican Republic. For some it means having a wine or ostrich farm
in South Africa. For some it means teaching at college in the less developed
world. For some it means teaching online while living on a yacht. For some
it means having a bed and breakfast in Patagonia. The list is endless.
When you actually
do what you have been dreaming about, it does not mean that you run away
from work and responsibilities. Your new work and responsibilities are
just different. They are more stimulating because you like doing what
you do. Moreover, you leave loads of stuff behind that you do not really
need. We are human beings, not human havings. All this means in my case
that I would not have presumably ended up living in Canada for all my life,
if my mother had not chickened out. Often one thing leads to another, one
way or another. In case you do have this sort of dream, do something about
it. The accent in life is on living, not on dreaming.
French speaking Canadians live primarily in Quebec and thus French Canadian
culture is alive primarily there, the culture is vibrant and deserves to
be sussed out. One example of French Canadian culture and literature is
Rejean Ducharme. Rejean Ducharme is a French Canadian novelist and
playrwright. He published a few of his novels – for example “Lez Nez qui
voque” – during “The Quiet Revolution” in Quebec.
Revolution in Quebec” covers more or less the period from 1960 to 1966
in Quebec. When that revolution started, Quebec was characterized by being
more conservative than the rest of Canada. That conservatism in all spheres
of life significantly contributed to Quebec’s falling behind economically.
However, during “The Quiet Revolution in Quebec” the province was being
revamped. The period resulted in social change and a new definition of
the role of French Canadians in Canada. Rejean Ducharme did make an impact
on that modernization of Quebec.
After a rather
lengthy period of silence, this original voice of Quebec literature wrote
a couple of more novels. Assuming that I am still up to date, his latest
novel is “Va Savoir”, published in 1994.
Revolution of Quebec” must have been a period in Quebec when it was
worth living there. People there must have been overwhelmed by the desire
to do things. Once more, the accent in life is on living, not on dreaming.
On the other
hand, do not overdue it. Take it easy. After mulling things over a little,
I have come to the conclusion to quit playing soccer. Last year I managed
to faint on campus after playing soccer. On the first day of the new semester
this year, I crashed with my head into a goal post, in the second minute
of the game. After being treated by the paramedic, I look now like a war
hero. At the age of forty one the time is right to finish a soccer career.