Sunday, May 4, 2014

Closing my accounts

Crazy beautiful graffiti in Montreal
Almost a full year since the last time I updated, which is not to say the travel stopped. Nope, where did I go after July 29, 2013?

I spent August, 2013 helping my mother complete her move to Prince Edward Island. Tiny red-dirt homeland, she finally bought the house she wanted and we shifted her stuff cross country and settled her into a place right behind where the Seatreat Restaurant used to be (for anyone who keeps track of Island locational methodologies..."that's where USED to be"is a common direction, and woe betide anyone who hasn't lived on the Island for twenty years). I volunteered for Art in the Open and saw Monica and Betty Jo's fantastic art projects: a dilapidated house in the woods, a set of teacups. Someone else brought a field of lit balloons under the stars of the waterfront...someone else led me in a commitment ceremony to my understanding of impermanence. It was a mini-Burning Man, before...

Beardy Erik, on our first official date
At the end of August, I went to Burning Man. On... Thursday? Of Burning Man, a bald man with a beard driving a mo'ai art car called my name through a megaphone and I started a whole new kind of trip that I had no idea I was starting. More on that in a bit.

At the beginning of September, I stayed in San Francisco a few days (previously mentioned bald man may have played a role in this) and then flew back to Montreal. Shortly after my arrival, Ray turned up...then Zach.

A few days after Zach left, I flew back to PEI to present a poster at the Canadian Sex Researcher's Conference. That first weekend in October is a gorgeous time to be on the Island, in case you're wondering. The tourists are mostly gone and the trees are sharp and beautiful, and it was certainly weird being there at almost exactly the time that I was when Anthony first made his appearance a year earlier. Now he only shows up in my thoughts as a bad example, but it was surreal having no feelings left about him whatsoever. Time heals all wounds something something.

When I was in SF, I went to Arlette's
Days after I got back, I flew to San Francisco. That bald guy, again.

A few days after getting back, my lovely wife joined me in Montreal...then my friend Dustin, on his way to Jordan to go hiking with his dad. Then I went to Toronto to see Sky again. This is into October still.

November, I spent the first weekend and part of the second week in New York City with Marcus, walking across Manhattan about sixteen times, visiting Kazuki, and playing would-you-rather over obnoxiously large pizza slices in the Village. Two days after coming back, I flew back to SF. Bald guy really seems to be having an impact.

December was lowkey: a trip to Toronto early in the month, and a trip to PIttsburgh for New Year's, a week of visiting old friends and new, kissing the bald guy at midnight, and making some promises we intend to spend this year fulfilling.

I spent most of January in SF, except for the weekend we drove to LA. The second weekend in February was a trip to Kitchener/Waterloo, and weeks later, bald guy showed up on my doorstep. In March, first I went to Toronto, then to Charlottetown for a week. Then I miraculously didn't go anywhere until the first week of April, when I went to Toronto. Then Vancouver for about 5 days.

New project!
Now I'm back in Montreal, preparing for the next trip: Sweden, then Kill Devil Hills, NC...then Vancouver. Bald guy and I started a whole different kind of trip. That one both already started and will be starting in October.

So the weird thing about saying goodbye to Montreal as I prepare to move to Vancouver with Erik and an extra third of a person, is wrapping up all of my ties to different communities and groups. Friends have already traded contact details or outlined the need to pay a trip to Vancouver. But some people will never know where I went and probably won't remember me, like the guy who's always behind the counter at the little Arabic grocery store I go to like every three days because I'm always forgetting to buy bread or another bag of unsweetened dried mangoes (how many bags of those do you need? Turns out, a lot). Other people -- like my regular meditation group or the other students in my twice-weekly yoga classes -- will probably sort of remember that I was there fondly but never really make an effort to find out where I am or what happened to me. "Remember Claire with the pink hair?" Ingrid from yoga who gives me all her cool pants might say. "I wonder what the heck ever happened to her?"

Good point
But all these tiny communities: the meditation group, the yoga class...the community art space and the vegan commune in the old church rectory and my friend Chris's band and the places I do regular figure modeling. I've been slowly taking my leave of them, giving hugs and saying goodbyes and just gently realizing I probably won't see most of these Facebook friends again.

For some reason, leaving Montreal seems more permanent than leaving Australia did. For example, I still seem to have it in my head that I will definitely see my Australian friends again, even though that is significantly more unlikely than visiting friends who live RIGHT HERE in the same country. The mind is weird. But despite not having lived here for very long, Montreal feels pretty home-like to me, so it's weird to be deliberately leaving the place. Even if it does have some truly weird issues about mafia corruption and language stuff. But I find those endearing, at least until a chunk of concrete overpass crushes my skull and the bureaucrats shrug in typical Quebecois fashion and say "Whoops!"

As if wanting to make me less sad about leaving, though, I received a series of requests from Revenu Quebec for copies of my Quebec provincial taxes from 2012. Which I did not file, because I moved to Quebec on December 11, 2012, and did not earn any money in the remaining 20 days of the taxable year. Which I explained to Revenu Quebec, but they were uninterested, preferring instead to believe that I did not understand what they wanted due to my poor French skills. Ah, Quebec.

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