Quarantième Jour – Nous serons en grève!

Tomorrow (le 30 sept) the students at the Montréal Conservatory are striking to protect the conservatory and our culture. There will be a small concert near the bureau of the Minister of Education, and a second feature concert at Place-des-arts.

Read more here:

Sign the petition to save the conservatoires! We need your help!

French Translations:
Nom: last name
Prénom: first name
Ville: City
Province/État: Province or State
Pays: Country
Courriel: Email Address
Confirmez votre courriel: Confirm your email address

Envoyer: Submit/Send

Yesterday (le 28 sept) I went with Abraham to see Day 3 of the Stop-Motion Film Festival and the awards ceremony and winning films screening, held at Concordia University. Amazing! Some of the films (there were about 10-15) were very sad, others very funny, and all featuring the work of some very talented artists. The Day 3 schedule featured films by international professionals.
My favorites included:
Anatole’s Little Saucepan, By Eric Montchaud, France
The music for this film was amazing. It held its equal with the visual art, which is very rare for a film I find.

Munya in me, By Mascha Halberstad, Netherlands
Watch the trailer:

MUNYA IN ME trailer from Mascha Halberstad on Vimeo.

They also showed us the very first trailer for “The Little Prince,” the movie adaption of the book that is coming to theatres soon. Some of the judges of the festival just finished working on it.
The very first trailer, in Japanese.

They also showed us a clip from the behind the scenes of making the film, that nobody has ever seen. It was really cool!

Check out the website for Montreal Stop-Motion here:

This also gave me the opportunity to check out the campus of Concordia University. It really reminded me of UVic in way, in terms of its aesthetic. It felt very friendly and welcoming, and had some interesting building architecture. The campus is spread out across a few city blocks near the Guy-Concordia Métro station.

Heading home afterwards some creep started following me, telling me how beautiful I was. When I didn’t respond to him, he became angry and started harassing me, asking why I couldn’t accept a compliment and waving his hands around. He actually followed me to my apartment! I really hope he drops it and doesn’t bother me again. Yuck.

Today (le 29 sept) I was reminded again of Luka Magnotta. His trial started today in Montréal. It made me realize: 1. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with police work and crime shows. 2. I could never be a lawyer. The defense is trying to get Magnotta off on less severe charges based on the notion that he is mentally unstable. That may be part of it, but I am really glad it isn’t me trying to prove that. I remember reading about the murder he committed and the man hunt to find him back in 2012.

I leave you with some funk, as it may brighten your day (or night).

À demain!


Trentsixième Jour – Une semaine tourbillon

What a week! I have been so busy I have barely had a spare moment to do anything.

My composition is now taking form, at least I feel like my ideas for it are more organized. I went and recorded material for it in the park across the street; the sounds of African drumming, rain, footsteps on gravel, an outdoor DJ, and a crowd screaming and cheering. I have some more text to record, with the help of the wind quintet that is learning my piece, and some theater students.

I also took my first test in French on art history. Honestly it was very easy, fill in the blanks information about Greek deities, but it felt like a large achievement nonetheless. I have learned all sorts of ways to describe sex and violence, thanks to this unit of study:

Description of sex (historically speaking): (most of these would not be commonly used, as their meanings are more like “unite” “grow” or “generate.”
s’unir -to unite
croître -to grow
engendre -to generate
violer -to rape

emasculer -to cut off a man’s genitals
tuer -to kill
torturer -to torture
poignarder -to stab
sabrer -to slash
battre -to beat
fouetter – to whip someone

Lovely words I am learning! Ah the joys of Greek mythology.

After spending the majority of my week studying, I needed a break today (le 26 sept) and I went to the Marché Jean-Talon. I think this is becoming a Friday thing for me. This time when I went to the egg stand to get my usual “douzaine gros brun” (dozen brown large eggs), the vendeur was also selling wildflower honey! (miel de sauvages) at 1 kg for $8. Sold. Done deal. I am a honey fanatic, and it plays an essential part in my daily 5-8 cups of tea regime.

I feel honestly like very little happened this week of great interest – unless you would like to hear about the terrors of music computer software programs. I am learning to use one called “Open Music.” Ça me rend vraiment peur. (Leaves me scared). If there was something I never thought, going into university 6 years ago, that I would ever have to learn, it is software coding. Every time I look at this program a sincere sense of panic washes over me and I put my tail between my legs and run to the Youtube tutorials.

In other news I have stopped sleeping almost all together at this point. I wake up early to study or for class, and at night I am having nightmares that leave me unable to fall asleep the day after. The nightmares have no pattern either. In one I will find myself in a zombie apocalypse, in another my boyfriend leaves me, in another my parents start chewing on leaves and are speaking a language I cant understand. In one horrible dream my lips start bleeding and one of my friends from elementary school, grown up, stands there lecturing at me to clean up the blood and my lips just keep bleeding until everything is dark red and its pouring out of my nose as well. Evidently I should set up a brain monitor at night and start charging money for people to watch my dreams; they tell a good horror story any night of the week it seems.
So… I am not sleeping more than 3-4 hours a night. On top of this, my apartment has a mysterious beeping box! It likes to beep, n a med-high pitch 3 times consecutively, then takes a small pause and repeats. It does this for about 5 minutes. IT IS SO IRRITATING AT 4:30 AM !!!
I think the box is a speaker connected to a central apartment building smoke or Co2 detector in the hallway just outside my door. I know it isnt my smoke detector because it doesnt even have any batteries in it at the moment. The sound also isnt as high pitched as any smoke detector I have ever heard, fully functioning or low on batteries. I really hope that the magical box stops waking me up in the middle of the night!

This weekend I am going to see a film festival at Concordia with my friend Abraham. Very excited to see some of the films that will be presented!

Also lets play a game. Can you find the dog in this picture (hint, look in the weed-ridden “garden.”)

And this sadistic pigeon. I am shaming him for hitting me in the head when he attempted his sidewalk runway landing. Fail.

Vingthuitième Jour – Des rideaux sont arrivés!

My curtains arrived today! J’ai mes rideaux, finalement! (le 18 sept)


A big thank you to my dear Mum for making them. I am so looking forward to a sleep uninterrupted by 5 street lights and the glare of a construction zone. This is my first night in the dark in 28 days. Sounds like a horror movie plot.

Today I also found out something very disturbing at school: an administration board is meeting at school in the morning to ponder the idea of shutting down several or all of the conservatory locations (there are 7 locations of my school in Québec: Montréal, Québec, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Val D’or, Gatineau, Rimousky). This possibly includes my school. I really hope this doesn’t come to pass, considering my program just started! Also the thought of taking arts and culture out of these smaller cities and concentrating it only in Quebec and Montréal is disgusting. The government is robbing the people of culture. I also feel enraged that my program I just started is being threatened. I need time to think this over, and see what comes of the meeting tomorrow morning. I doubt anything would be put into action this year, but I also wonder what the government expects to happen to all these students that are half way through their degree programs. It makes me feel sick.

In other news, winter is coming! It is getting really cold here! I was reading that the winter here is predicted to be quite cruel this year too… very glad I bought my winter coat already and my new snowboots. Come at me, snow, I am ready for you!

-But I am really missing Vancouver’s fog-laden autumn. Tomorrow I am going to the Marché Jean-Talon to buy a pumpkin, steam it, and make flourless cinnamon-pumpkin pancakes.

I leave you with this question: if higher forces that be in your city put you in such a situation: eliminated your job need, terminated your school program, etc, how would you feel? What course of action would you take? Between the BC Teachers strike back home, and this new threat at the conservatoire, my head feels a bit full tonight. How would you respond? Protest? Letter? Assassination with poisonous darts? Let me know!

Vingtseptième Jour -Presque un mois au Québec! et les Brasseries

I have been here almost a whole month! Cela me rend confidence pour aller vers l’avenir!

Today (le 17 sept) my curtains sadly did not arrive. They apparently tried to deliver them (even though nobody rang the buzzer for my door), so I can go pick them up from the post office after 1pm tomorrow. My last sleepless night! (J’espère….)

Today I would like to make a list of all the breweries I hope to visit during my time here, as well as the ones I have visited already.

Déjà visité:

L’amère à Boire
2049 Rue Saint-Denis
I had the hefeweizen beer, and salted bretzel with caramel moutard.

Les 3 Brasseurs
732 Ste-Catherine Ouest
Sauerkraut plate of sausages, promotional beer

Je visiterai à ‘avenir:

Dieu du ciel
29 Avenue Laurier Ouest

Le Cheval Blanc
809 Ontario Street East

Les Soeurs Grises
32 McGill Street

Vices et Versa
6631 St. Laurent Boulevard

Broue Pub Brouhaha
5860 Lorimier Avenue

245 Sherbrooke Ouest

L’Espace Public
3632, Ontario Est

L’EtOH Brasserie

McAuslan Brewery
5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise

381 Avenue Laurier Ouest

1219 Rue Crescent

9 Avenue Duluth Est

Le Trèfle – Taverne Irlandaise (not a brewery, but they have over 100 different beers)
3971, rue Ontario Est

Le Saint Bock
1749 Rue Saint-Denis

Let’s see how many i manage to visit in 2 years! I never thought I would become such a beer snob!

Vingtsixième Jour – Les inquiètes et poutine en conserve

I’ve had a very stressful few days… but first:

(le 14 sept dimanche) I went with my new friend Abraham to see the Musée des beaux arts à Montréal. C’était fantastique. We were there for several hours, almost until the museum closed, and we still didn’t get to see all of the exhibits. There were works by Picasso, Degas, Cezanne, Group of Seven, Michel Lemieux et Victor Pilon, Emily Carr, and others. There were also exhibits of Renaissance and Medieval Art, some Pre-raphaelites, Rococo, and… a Napoleon exhibit! I saw Napoleon’s hat with my own two eyes!

The first Picasso I have seen for real:
(c/o CBC Radio Ici)

(c/o http://bonjur.ca/?p=685)

This giant stuffed animal collage. This thing was huge! Almost the length of a whole hallway. It reminded me of the edible wallpaper from the Willy Wonka movie with Gene Wilder.
(Image c/o http://mjosef.blogspot.ca)

(c/o Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal/Marc Cramer, Radio CBC ICI)

Also these incredibly tiny stairs were throughout most of the museum that it was impossible to walk normally up… you could either “limp” or take gargantuan strides:
stairs musee

Afterwards Abraham and I went to one of the Les 3 Brasseurs locations for an early dinner. I managed to find a sauerkraut plate with 3 different kinds of German sausage! Also they had a promotional beer… it was okay, nothing as good as Steel & Oak back home, but not a bad beer.

I have had a bit of bad luck since Sunday in that I received my student loan and the amount was about 1/6th of what I actually need for school. After breaking down in the secretary’s office, she mentioned a bourse de conservatoire (scholarship offered by my school each semester) so I managed to fill that out and had an extension to hand it in late (today instead of yesterday). Thank goodness for the secretary/financial officer. She is one of the nicest, most friendly people that I have met here. I really like her!

On my way home from school today (le 16 sept) I stopped at Provigo (President’s Choice en français) to get some groceries and found this horrific sight in the canned food aisle:
CANNED POUTINE! Feel the bile rising in your throat at the thought? They also had canned chicken poutine sandwiches; I don’t even want to think about those!

I am so excited to receive my curtains in the mail sometime this Wednesday so I will finally have some privacy in my apartment. Only one more sleepless night full of traffic lights! Bon soir!

Vingtroisième Jour – Bière et concert

Aujourd’hui ( le 13 sept) il pleut des grenouilles! It rained “frogs” today – it rained so much and was so windy I couldn’t see where I was walking half the time, and I was completely soaked through my coat, boots, and umbrella. Miserable weather!

I met with my new friends Véronique and Maxime for souper (supper) at la brasserie (brewery), L’Amère à Boire. It was such a fun evening! I discovered they had “bretzels de sel” (a bretzel is a German pretzel traditionally served with beer, at least this is my understanding), and I ended up having a glass of hefeweizen beer with the bretzel and ….. moutard caramel! (caramel mustard) The mustard was amazingly good, I have never tasted anything like it. The bretzel was good too, although not quite as good as the ones that Jay makes.

After dinner we headed to the conservatoire to see a composition concert. I was really surprised at how may people were there, in the pouring rain, on a Saturday night. There weren’t enough chairs! The music was really, really good. I think the conservatoire has some very strong composers, and they really have a good grasp on colour. One of the pieces featured a film of a man in a full body black leotard (face covered too). He would put on and take off a white face mask, dress in French 14th ce style clothing, or pour paint down his face and smear it around. This film was so commanding; I loved it. I felt content, stimulated, disturbed, assured, and afraid all at the same time. I think this piece changed something in my perspective of art. I have some sort of new goal and idea now.

I was so tired after the concert, I did some work and headed home where I collapsed with a cup of tea and now I am writing this, wondering how on earth I could write something now.

Tomorrow I am going to the museum with my new friend, Abraham; the exhibits should be quite interesting! I also want to check prices on video cameras, find a pumpkin scented candle, and check out the McGill library if I have enough hours in the day. Then I need to write some music for my lesson! Once again I find myself composing at the last minute; I must make an effort to write more music this week!

Vingt-deuxième Jour – pommettes et bibliothécaires grincheux

Yesterday (le 11 sept) I said goodbye to Nadia and Thor for quite some time. Thor is in Greece for close to 3 weeks for a work conference, and Nadia is off to do basic military training before she moves further east in Canada to take her spot as reigning Corporal bassoonist in the military orchestra. We watched a group of very attractive men pack all of Nadia’s things off in a van (she wasn’t allowed to pack her things, the military comes and does it for her…. a little bit terrifying!). Afterwards we went for dumplings at Sammi and Soupe Dumpling Restaurant. Through a large glass window near our table we could see two Chinese ladies making all the dumplings by hand and placing them in bamboo steamer baskets. I had pork shrimp scallop dumplings and they were delicious -full of juice and very hot. They were served with chili sauce and soy sauce which just added to the “délice.”

After that I went to the Bell Centre to check out the Montréal Canadiens Museum. Really cool! I have to brush up on my history before Jay takes me to a game between the Habs and Boston Bruins next month, since I am not as familiar with the Habs as the Vancouver Canucks. Their goalie, Price, is a British Columbia boy! The other player I really like, P.K. Subban, is from Ontario. The museum had lots of cool artifacts – all sorts of jerseys and gear worn by Maurice “Rocket” Richard, and Patrick Roy, amongst other. There was even a whole corridor of gear worn by enemy teams like the Bruins and Maple Leafs. They also had lots of items with the Canadiens on them from the 1920s-current, such as cereal boxes, action figures, magazines, sweaters, pens, and hockey sticks. It was cool to see some of these things from past decades; it made me miss the 1990s. Very glad I went to see this museum; I can,t wait to see the season opening game next month on the 16th!


New York Islanders  v Montreal Canadiens

(Images c/o Fraçois Lacasse et Les Canadiens)

Today (le 12 sept) it really felt like the first day of “automne.” The air is suddenly cold and crisp, and the dark creeps in earlier at night. I have the urge to buy pumpkins.
I spent the morning emailing profs at school to inquire about flute playing opportunities. Unfortunately I haven’t found any yet. I am thinking about taking private jazz and baroque lessons at this point.

I went to la bibliothèque au conservatoire (library) to find some books of instrument fingering charts and some new flute etudes to learn. The librarian screamed at me for placing a book neatly on the ground next to the stack i was searching. When I asked her help to find a score by Gérard Grisey she pushed me over to the computer and scolded me angrily in French while she pulled up the score webpage. This library, I have to say, is not great. Thank goodness I have access to the library at McGill and Serge’s master computer because this library has very little in the way of resources and their filing system makes zero sense. They have an okay selection of scores if you are a singer and like only classical and romantic music, but beyond that there is a major lack of resources. Tomorrow I head across the mountain to the McGill library! Excitement! After getting scolded I felt pretty low (the librarian (bibliothécaire) gave me this look when I was speaking French to her that made me want to curl up and hide … a look of half disgust, part confusion, and part anger).

So… I went to the Marché Jean-Talon to buy some fresh produce. It was wonderful! I bought fresh veggies, a whole bag of strawberries for $5, a whole bag of crab apples for $4, fresh turkey, a piece ginger bigger than my hands, an onion bigger than my head, farm eggs from a local family, local dried cranberries, and some really inexpensive baking soda (600 grams for $1).

For dinner I made Ginger beef, but using turkey.. so “dinde de gingre avec des légumes.” Afterwards I broke in my oven by making baked crabapples (pommettes) with cinnamon, dried cranberries, cloves, vanilla, lavender, coconut oil, and a little bit of sugar. C’était délicieux!





By the way if anyone knows what the half dead looking flowers are, please tell me! They smelled really good; one of the vendors gave them to me as a gift.

Well I am going to fall asleep enjoying the lovely smell of cinnamon and vanilla in my apartment. Bonne nuit!

Vingtième Jour! Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch!

Today (le 10 septembre) I learned to mount a curtain rod! I was so proud I took pictures. My mum is mailing me my curtains in a day or two; I can’t wait to be able to block out the sun in the mornings so I can sleep in past 6:30am!Plus it will nice to have some perceived privacy from the world outside.


I also had German class today. We learned about “formel” and “informel” speech differences, and then rehearsed some dialogues and listened to recordings of young Europeans talking in German about where they were from. I am really surprised how little homework there is, but it is a beginner’s class. The text books are very interactive, I quite like them. I really feel like going to Germany after taking this class!

In other happenings, I managed to spend only $15 on groceries today, as opposed to the past 3 bills of $40-$80 this week. Buying start-up kitchen supplies like cooking oil and mayonnaise costs a surprising amount of money. I am so happy I can stop spending so much now that my apartment is all set up except for my curtains. I did find this gray sea salt from Maison D’Orphée today (I also use their brand of coconut oil). It looks very exciting; I will have to cook something salty!


Dix-neuvième Jour -Un nouvel oeuvre!

I haven’t written for a few days because….. school has taken off! Sunday and Monday are generally the busiest days for me, the might procrastinator. I wait until the last minute and then work most efficiently to cram all my composition in. This is horrible, and I am going to make an effort to get more on paper the other days of the week beyond just conceptualizing and thinking about my ideas. I’m very impatient, and getting my ideas on paper is always the most tedious and time-consuming part of the operation.

I had a wonderful composition lesson on Monday with Serge. I feel like I finally understand how French composers like Debussy, Messiaen, and Grisey think about colour and timbre. This is making a lit more sense! I am approaching the composition I am working on from a very different approach, kind of like building a house through the frame and then adding walls and insulation (the way it should be done!) as opposed to building each floor completely and then stacking them (more like my old style of composing). It feels very weird, like driving a brand new car, but also very wonderful and refreshing.

I was also selected to co-write music with another composition masters student for a financial donor,s benefit gala in October. We will have players in the foyer on each level of the building playing out over the foyer from balconies. Other players will be playing loudly in the elevator (what a surprise when the doors open!). Finally a third group of musicians will physically walk with the donors as they move from the grand recital hall to a different salon. The music will be partly improvised, partly conducted, and I am really looking forward to working to create this piece with the other student, Jonathan.

Today (le 9ième sept) I also had a drink with Thor, as he leaves for Greece on Thursday! He will be gone for almost 3 weeks for a work conference, lucky duck! Nadia is leaving this week too, I must see her before she leaves!

I also took pictures of my new teapot, Lucy! And more of my apartment too, in the day light.




Quatorzième et Quinzième Jours – le décès d’un écureuil

I have been so sleep deprived this past week I am having trouble processing the fact that I have been in Montréal for half of a month now. My apartment is now fully furnished! I am just waiting for drapes, which my mother is sewing, and that is the final touch!

Yesterday (le 5ième septembre), Nadia and I went to Ikea, the land of funky chairs and meatballs! We ate some lunch in the Ikea cafe, and started going through the maze. We lucked out and made eye contact with a van taxi driver the whole way across the parking lot after, and he drove over to pick us up. I was really amazed by how many stuffed human-sized dogs were in the kids section. Look at all of them!


Afterwards we had a furniture-assembling party, and built my new chairs, table, bed side table, storage baskets, and chest of drawers. I also picked up my parcels from the Greyhound station that my parents shipped to me. Everything is complete; I almost feel like I need a holiday now!



Today (le 6ième septembre) I walked over in a monsoon rainstorm to go see Chinatown Montreal with Nadia. I now know, if I ever get homesick really bad for Vancouver (which seems to be every second day right now) that I should go there! It is literally like Victoria drive, except with a few added standard Chinese architectural archways. Plus I must say that speaking French in a Chinese supermarket to the cashier is one of my weirder cultural life experiences. We found this amazing grocery store. They had cinnamon sticks the size of paper towel rolls, enough chicken feet to recreate a dance scene from Thriller, and some really spectular frozen dim sum items. I am going there again tomorrow to buy the boneless pork shoulder for the pulled pork I am making for dinner for Thor and Nadia, to thank them for helping me move in.

Also this Maple Syrup Tofu! Only in Québec!

Afterwards we went for a mile-high pile of vermicelli noodles, hot and sour soup, and rice, for $5.50. I love the prices! One of the restaurants we looked at before that had an interesting item on their menu. Think you know which one I mean?

It was a very amazing visit to Chinatown, despite the on and off rain squalls all morning. I found a giant soup pot with a removable steaming tray, a bamboo steam basket, bright red place mats, and – a tea pot! (Pictures to follow!). It was dubbed, “Lucy,” by the fair Nadia. Lucy is perfectly plump for holding approximately 4-6 cups of tea, and a deep Prussian Blue colour. I love her.

Nadia and I also passed the Place-des-Arts, where the symphony, ballet, musicals, traveling shows, etc, perform. I can’t wait to see something there! There was also a microbrewery out front!

Walking home in the rain along Parc Ave I was delightfully happy. I saw squirrels leaping like cats on springs across the fields of the park. They were evidently enjoyed the reduced temperature of the rain as much as I was. Two were playing awfully close to the road, and then one squirrel ran across to the divider in the middle. I prayed he would sit still there, but he didn’t. He panicked when the traffic started coming, three lanes wide in both directions and madly ran into the flow and perished. I will never forget the look of panic in his little body, and the moment when a car touched him, and his tiny legs tumbled over in the air and then he lay still. I looked away before any more cars could go passed him. I felt horrified. I still do.

Rest in peace, petit écureuil.

After thinking about the écureuil for some time I came home to find my shoe full of blood. I apparently had ripped my leg open on something and was bleeding down the street like a stuck pig. I bandaged myself up, feeling very disturbed between the écureuil and the blood (le sang). I did Pilates again for the first time in months, went and bought ingredients for the pulled pork tomorrow, watched almost 2 whole seasons of “Luther” (a crime show on Netflix -thank you Janet, Kieran, and Natalie for the recommendation!), and made the first real dinner in my new place – with a proper cup of tea!

Salade de tomates, fromage, fraises, épinards, avocat, poivre, radis, poivron, et vinaigrette du moutard Dijon, huile d’olive, vinaigre balsamique, et miel.

One last note: Minks Chocolates in Vancouver has just won the best chocolate bar in North America award for their Mermaid bar. Whoever sends me one in the mail gets a pie in December when I am visiting Vancouver!