I’ve never landed on snow…*

Well, here we go!

Ich freue mich so sehr.

Ich habe aber doch ein bisschen Angst.

Ich gehe trotzdem, und vielleicht weil ich diesen Angst habe.

I guess I’m still reasonably tired right now – German was all I had to express myself right there…

It has been fun visiting Montréal these past hours.

It seems like a lovely place – not by the sights so much as by the lifestyle and the people I have crossed and noticed.

I’ve used almost no English while here, had not even considered that it was French-speaking Canada – mostly because my friend who lives here is from Houston and is not someone I would consider “French-speaking”, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be in this part of Canada, wherever he happened to live – and have loved every bit.

I always wonder when I go to the Mexican parts of our Houston culture – the tamale places, the panaderías, Fiesta – how the workers know which language to use, Spanish or English.

Do they judge people by their covers, as we were always told not to do?

And yet, I think they must.

And I think that is exactly what is great about a successful business like that (cross-cultural business, I mean): their being able to identify appropriately the customers’ culture, and then interact accordingly with the customers.

When I entered the plane yesterday, to go from Houston to Montréal on Air Canada, I knew they would be operating in bother French and in English.

I also considered briefly how any American airline likely would not do such a thing, and would use exclusively English, just about always, no matter the destination…

(When I interviewed with an airline once as a multilingual flight attendant, they made it sound terrible: the multilingual flight attendants are only ever one individual on any given plane, used to act as translator, and only when needed… it wasn’t about greeting people’s home cultures at all, or serving… it was just about putting out fires, essentially…)

And I wondered how the airline workers would judge.

At baggage check-in, the man greeted me easily and mid-conversation style in English, and I thought nothing of it.

But, at boarding time, as I was surrounded by passengers speaking a mix of French and English, I wondered how the flight attendants would handle it.

Sure enough, as we were stepping into the plane, the greeting post was using one language or the other, depending on how she judged each individual.

And she always had a happy passenger, so she was judging correctly.

My mother and I have discussed how I am rather European, at least for an American – I have many contrasting aspects of the two cultures that kind of go back and forth for me (I’ll give an example in a moment.).

As I took my own steps onto the plane, the greeter gave me the direct-look evaluation, considered, and then said, “Bonjour.”

I automatically respond in kind.

And I was elated.

I was taken for a French speaker, likely due to the European style of my outfit for the day – fitted half-collar long-sleeved black shirt, scarf, snug – but not tight – jeans, and fashionable winter boots.

People from Texas just don’t dress like that. 😛

Today, in contrast, I am very American in my dress: oversized purple long-sleeved t-shirt, same boots and jeans and scarf, and a beret… an odd combination of the two cultures.

But I don’t have to worry about what language people will use with me today – everyone uses both automatically at the airport.

‘Bonjour, Hello,’ they always say.

And the response determines the language used.

But they always say the French first…, and so I automatically am responding before they are finished with the English greeting…, and so they end up using French with me…, which I like very much.

I don’t often have such an opportunity, and I am grateful that I am embracing it.

Anywho… Montréal is nice, is really, really cold, and is beautiful with the snow everywhere (and gives a new experience for me with everyone acting like the snow is normal and nothing big deal [because it is normal here]).

Snow:

*This first was the airport last night, when we had landed on a boatload of snow… snow was everywhere, including where the planes were driving…(!!!)

Including when I picked up my bags at baggage claim:

Now I am off to Japan.

See you on the other side (literally)!

P.S. This flight is to Japan, now, so they will be using all three languages, and I am delighted. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Ouch

Well, there’s nothing quite like trekking through snow with a bunch of luggage on your own in an unknown town… especially when you hadn’t realized it would be any cooler than about, say, 5 or 6°C, and it turns out to be -8°C right this minute….

Yup.

Nothing quite like it.

Fortunately, the unanticipated snow is beautiful to me.

😛 Made it to Montréal, and my friend’s place here… next step is back to the airport in the morning when they head off early to work, check my bags back in, take a photo at Tim Horton’s for some kids, and nap before and during my flight over to Japan.

I’m too exhausted even to think about how exhausting that all sounds…

Anyway…, goodnight.

P.S. It’s so cold…brrr

Post-a-day 2019

Road trip, again

“Okay, butterfly woman, let’s go.”

“Just a second – I’m holding a box of dogs.”

I made it home to Houston on Saturday afternoon, and delighted in my new home Saturday night and all yesterday.

I haven’t even unpacked everything, and I still love it… I even stayed up until two AM last night unpacking boxes, because I was so happy about where I now lived that I wanted to get things set up as soon as possible.

Tonight, I am back to an odd sleeping situation, sharing a sort of shack-like room – an average-sized room that stands alone in someone’s backyard – with my aunt, a family girlfriend, and a box of puppies, all in what feels like the middle of nowhere (aka Oklahoma).

(No offense to Oklahoma here – it just feels like the middle of nowhere to me, quite similarly to how I say that the college I attended is ‘in the middle of nowhere north Texas, almost to Oklahoma’.)

What a January if absurdities and adventures, eh?

P.S. I saw a super Texas Chevy truck yesterday, while out riding my bicycle (looking for Target, and taking about an hour to go the estimated 16 minutes that Google Maps thought it would take me), that had a vanity license plate with “NHL EH” on it, and then two hockey stickers on the back window. ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarves…?

I like to knit.  Crocheting is nice, too, but I tend to knit much more often.  I think I prefer the patterning of knitting to that of crocheting.  Crocheting to me is like hipster headbands, baby blankets, and huge afghans.  Whereas knitting is more anything clothing, and even various accessories, too (think bags and such).  So, while I do both, I tend to knit more than crochet.

That being said, the thing I knit the most is scarves.  Why?  Because they are simple and rather quick, and it is utterly satisfying to have something materialize before my eyes so quickly, and with what feels like such little (and typically meditative) effort.  It’s always a sort of medicine for me, I think, making scarves.  I often just make them, simply because I’ve come across a yarn that I particularly like and can see being a fabulous scarf.  I find someone to whom I can give it eventually, usually… sometimes, anyway.

I do tend to make a lot of scarves as gifts in this manner, though.  Sometimes I actually go to the store when there’s a sale, and I bring a list of people for whom I want to make scarves this year, and I pick out yarns for each of their scarves.  I almost always get a few extras for unexpected add-ons to the list later on.

I had done just this recently, and was doing some volunteering for the International Weightlifting Federation’s World Championship, when several of the weightlifters and coaches saw my scarf-making.  They would pass by me on their way to a meal, and comment on the fact that I was knitting at my station.  (My response to the inquiries were that I was simply working on Christmas presents.  Which I was.)  When they were later leaving from their meal, they would be shocked and would comment on the great progress I had made in the scarf – it typically took me a single shift to make a full scarf (if that long).  And, eventually, some of these people either asked or hinted (and I, of course, offered) for me to make a scarf for them.

So, that week sent my scarves around the world to France, either Guatemala or Ecuador (I honestly don’t remember which – I just remember that they team had lots of yellow on their warm-ups, I always spoke to the girl in Spanish, and they were from somewhere down south of Texas), and Italy.  Now, I have scarves currently residing in Japan from this year’s Christmas presents, and future Canadian, Jamaican, and Australian residents.

For whatever reason, this incredibly excites me.  Not only do I travel the world in little bits, but so does my art!  😀

Who knew scarves could travel so far and wide?

 

Post-a-day 2017