Tag Archives: montreal

First Ultrasound: A Landmark

Coliseum Theater New Orleans The building was damaged in Hurricane Katrina in August 2005; work was ongoing to restore it when it caught fire in February 2006 and was a total loss and the ruins demolished. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coliseum_Theater_New_Orleans_To_Have_and_Have_Not.jpg
Coliseum Theater New Orleans
The building was damaged in Hurricane Katrina in August 2005; work was ongoing to restore it when it caught fire in February 2006 and was a total loss and the ruins demolished.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

My pregnancy is advancing. 3 months already… I realized that pregnancy came with its surprises and I wondered, how come so many women got through the same thing but so little is told about some experiences throughout the whole process…

A few days ago turned out to be a landmark of surprises for me. I finally met my obstetrician, who seems very nice. I was expecting to be brushed off after a brief look at my blood tests… but I was actually asked if I wanted get an ultrasound done… Something I thought was unreachable here in Canada. As far as I can tell, most clinics do not have ultrasounds… And even if they do, it is hard to meet all the requirements to get to one, to feel the cool touch of one on the tummy…

So I thought the soonest I would be able to have the cold, transparent, semi liquid thing squished on my belly and be used as a skating ring for an ultrasound gadget would be in a month, at four months, that is…

Well, apparently, I was supposed to have gotten my ultrasound sooner… As told by my obstetrician, no other person I saw until I finally made it to her said anything about that! Come on, this is once in a lifetime (for me) experience and you guys are making me miss out on stuff…

Plus, I paid 130 dollars for it… The result: There really is a living thing in me!!! It was incredible… I shed a few tears, and could not believe, though it may sound cliché, that my hubby and I could have unprotected sex and produce a living being!

I never thought much about human’s or any other creature’s ability to procreate, but since that day at the obstetrician, this has changed for me… I cannot believe that the body whose only function was to move around, eat and shit until 3 months ago has now taken on a new mission, producing the right environment for a new living being to flourish…

Cheesy but still, it all gets one to wonder…

I was also astounded by how much that little thing of 5 cm, a tiny replica of the smallest baby, complete with a set of legs and arms and a huge round head (much like my husband’s) was moving! No one ever had told me that babies move no matter how small they are. I thought it would be sleeping and resting like a sea cucumber!

But no! It was so active that the doctor had difficulty making some measurements. Now I see why every parent to be, on seeing their kid on the ultrasound decide it will be a footballer…

Mine will be a dancer… despite the giant daddy head 😛

Hormonal resentment of the week: Of all the screenshots my dearest doctor (whom I will be seeing maybe 6 more times?) before labor only to be greeted by a completely strange person dressed in green to be by my side as one of the most valued parts of my body are being ripped apart…


Probably because I come from a third world country, I am not civilized enough to understand any of this… (Part 2)

The "Watch" by Gerald Murphy This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.      You are free:         to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.
The “Watch”
by Gerald Murphy
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.

So where was I? Oh yes! I was climbing up the ladder of disappointments, rage and tears in the bureaucratical artifacts making life ever so difficult here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Surprised? I was…

I had to register for the TEFAQ, the French exam to prove that I am Francophone enough to live here in Quebec. Well, TEFAQ is sort of the French equivalent of TOEFL… Have you ever registered for TOEFL? You can do everything, I MEAN everything ONLINE from one particular website, without having to search all the different establishments that may be giving the exam, while registering. For TEFAQ, I had to google search all establishments giving the exam, plus the prices were different (how is that even possible?) and figure out how to get to their online registration site. Well, most did not have one, or dates or something was missing! Except for McGill! Thank you McGill, for figuring out the internet.

Plus, I have registered for a few classes and applied for CSQ, the first step of permanent residence and am paying rent on a regular basis in Montreal. I have undertaken similar endeavors in different countries, it was never a big deal. I have used the internet to make my payments for exams in Turkey, for work permit and rent in Australia, to register for a number of things here and there. It was always simple, use your credit card, and voila! You do not have to do anything else! Worst case scenario had always been depositing the amount into a specified bank account and sending the proof of payment, which, needless to say, can also be done online!

But here, for some reason, old school checks are a favorite. You have to send a check for course registrations, rent (!) payments, governmental applications (which LOVE payments) and anything else you can think of!

And of course, if anything goes wrong in the mail, or if the recipients happen to lose that little piece of paper representing a certain fraction of your account balance, you are the one to be blamed and miss your chance for whatever you were sending your money for.

Now, here is another little experience my friend and I had: He won tickets for the Just for Laughs festival here in Montreal through the company we work for and since I am such a great friend, he picked me as his plus one. It is a big deal! He already has tickets that have been paid for, right? All we have to do is choose the shows we want to see and everything will be fine. That should not be so hard once you have your registration ID number, right? A very easy task that can be done online; time and nerve saving!

Instead of a huge web address to get the easy task done, they have inserted a huge phone number, so that we can easily reserve places for the shows we want to see.

I called them. On the phone, I learned that most shows we wanted to pick were already sold out. So making a representative wait for our decision, still on the phone, with major difficulty, we picked the shows and paid for the delivery of the tickets.

Oh nothing is ever free in Canada! Not even a show ticket you may have won!

Then we waited… Nothing, no mail, no ticket, no e-mail for a month…

So we decided to call them… No answer…

Now my friend has given up on the show and does not care for any other prizes that might take a toll on his time and energy. Side effect, I am not being taken to a comedy show…

In an era when plane tickets can be bought online and printed, when tiny codes are used as entrance tickets or even as currency, why is it so hard to make online registration and payment available?

But I still love you Canada. It is this naive side of you that makes you so attractive, and safe, as I like to believe.

Not quite finished, yet. More to come: Health and Banking…

SWPD- Summer-Winter Personality Disorder- coined by me based on me in Montreal

Mahabhrath Duryodhana Vs Bhimsena
Mahabhrath Duryodhana Vs Bhimsena Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%275%27_The_Mahabharata,_Duryodhana_versus_Bhimsena,_Sanskrit_Epic_India.jpg

When I first got to Montreal in august 2012, the hottest and most humid month (at least it felt so to me) of the whole year, I could not help asking the people we had found through airbnb why they spent all their time on the balcony. They wanted to enjoy the hot summer having spent the whole freezing winter sealed in their apartment. Then I realized that actually, every night, all balconies seemed irresistibly crowded and lively with people, wine, weed and laughter.

But I still could not wrap my mind around this balcony addicted life. I had after all come from a country where we have four seasons and the winters are cool enough. And yes, we enjoy summers out on the balconies but definitely not as much as these Montrealeans…

This year, I realized how this whole deal works out. A Quebecoise friend explained it was as if she had double personalities. In the winter, she became extremely solitaire and anti social, while as soon as spring induced a little warmth into the streets, she became a people’s person. This turned out to be such an accurate diagnosis for me as well. Throughout the winter, with a cold that goes down to -40 degrees, it becomes impossible to move the windows even a cm since they are shut frozen. All you want to do is watch movies or read or do any lonely activity you enjoy, rather than be forced to step out into the energy consuming freezing cold. On some days, a warm bed is so much more attractive than seeing people even on Friday nights…

When the snow melted, a personality change took me over. I am biking everywhere, finding everyone agreeable, adorable, loving and gentle. I am enjoying the courses I registered for and even finding the Quebecois French of the teachers somewhat cute. Drinking and socializing more but cleaning and cooking much less. Feeling less depressed and more hopeful… But also creating less time for this bloggy, which sort of helped me through the winter and in a way added some sense to the senseless job I attend every day.

So, although I am definitely going to enjoy the coming season to the fullest with gatherings in parks and festivals lighting up the city, one thing my summer personality should learn from my winter personality is to write more. That is what writing experts strongly advise, right? Time to heed some wise advice…

PS: I wonder how a conversation between my winter and summer personalities would go… Terribly quiet, I bet. While one would be too sleepy and pensive to talk, the other would be too hyper and a little tipsy to sit still for a meaningful conversation.

A Lovely Crappy Day!

"La Libre Esthétique salon annuel: Musée Moderne, de 10 a 5 heures, ouverture: 24 Fevrier, prix d'entrée: 1 Franc, le Dimanche 50 centimes." Poster for art exhibition of the Brussels-based artistic movement at La Libre Esthétique.
This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b52530

So I took the famous French exam on Friday to apply for permanent residence in Quebec… Boy was that a failure… It feels great to finally be able to let that out… My French is actually not bad. Definitely good enough to talk about lame situations but when my performance is being scrutinized, I tend to get nervous and start speaking gibberish… No matter what language I am using at that moment… And that is exactly what happened during the exam. The less I care about the results of an interview, the better I perform… In other words, I don’t perform well under pressure… Unless it is a task involving writing…

And, completely acting in contrast with my personality, I told everyone it went OK, instead of freaking out and expecting everyone to relieve me with soothing words… Is this what finally growing feels like? Meh…

I didn’t tell my friends about how poorly the speaking component went because almost all of them have to take the same exam and they are still at preliminary stages of learning the language and are immensely freaked out about it… So telling them that I fucked up would not be much of a help… Plus, they sort of consider me to be one of those straight A types who always walk out of the exam room with despair of certain failure. They might be right, but it is so hard not to shriek when my mind is consuming the few neurons I possess to eat me up alive…

Neither did I mention the anguish I was swimming in to my husband because he rarely has any story in store to make the anxiety go away… Except for the jokes, which did help right after the exam when we met up… Though he had no idea his funniness was being exploited for selfish self appeasement ends.

And, I am finally getting to the point where I do not run to my mummy’s arms for comfort… I am in a way preparing myself for the day she might die and I will have to deal with my problems on my own… Although she is perfectly healthy… Sort of like encouraging yourself to push harder by telling yourself giving birth is much more painful when you are constipated… Surely, you know what I mean…

Yes, this is exactly where I want to put an end to today’s post… I felt like crap for Quebec’s sake… And here is a bunch of crap in the form of a blog entry… Have a lovely Sunday crap…

So, where was I? And where am I now?

Female Trapeze Artists
Female acrobats on trapezes at circus. Hand-colored lithograph by the Copyright by the Calvert Litho. Co., Detroit, Michigan, ca. 1890.
From the Library of Congress
[PD] This picture is in the public domain.

I was away on vacation for a few weeks, back home in Turkey, visiting, hugging and talking to friends and family, remembering what it feels like to be loved…

No, I take that back. I do feel loved now, here in Montreal, so far away from Anatolia, but being back there gave me space to err… Spending evenings with parents helped me remember the feeling of having a safety net underneath my acrobatic jumps between jobs and housing quests. It reminded me they would be there for me no matter what I did, and they would not let me fall even when I missed a swing…

Seeing my friends, observing the sincere happiness in their faces to see me, knowing that they accept me with every attractive and weird aspect of my personality gave me confidence… They embraced me and invited me to days where social anxiety was a thing that only belonged to an outside world among strangers… It gave me confidence to make silly jokes and voice experimental ideas that had not yet fully formed but needed to be pulled and tugged at to find its final shape and place in my head.

Being back home gave me confidence to reassert who I really am, without having to censure thoughts or actions in accordance with who I am frequenting.

And now, after almost two years in Montreal and more than a year at a steady job, I feel a similar fort of friends building up, though still in its preliminary stages of construction in certain ways… I feel more freedom in my moves and fewer filters before words formulated in my head become words in others’ ears. I feel greater courage in taking bold steps as I slowly bond with a small but strong group of allies.

Yet, one thing that cannot be subsidized is the safety net family offers. I have to accept this as the cost of immigrating away but it does not change the fact that I miss crowded family gatherings. Although we do not celebrate Easter holiday in Turkey, I wish I could be at my grandparents’ dinner table, waiting with cousins for our share of the chicken…

Happy Easter! Enjoy all the love you find!

Coming to Canada (3): Where I was mistaken

First I found a job at a restaurant as a waitress. Working as a waitress with a master’s degree from a fine university in Australia would be unthinkable in Turkey. Where I come from, waiting tables pays very little and it is even seen as a demeaning job for a well educated person, a perception I could never understand. That is why I told few people back home when serving food to customers turned out to be my starting point on the new continent. I thought that that was the point where I could finally observe some improvement in my standards. After all, in many American or Canadian movies, people seem to be somehow able to survive on a waiter’s wage. Well, soon I found out that though the pay was much better than what I would have earned in Turkey, it still turned out to be too close to minimum wage and tips didn’t make much difference. Apparently, whenever I chose to eat out, the waiters/waitresses could easily express their frustration if I ever tipped less than 15% and demanded more but when I started working, demanding more was not an option.

Things got even weirder when I found out that the owner of the restaurant, a divorced mother had led a difficult life which probably had contributed to her being a difficult and maybe a little bit of an abusive boss. After a couple of months I spent there, not going back home for my grandfather’s sudden funeral simply because I had promised to work there while she was on vacation in Cuba, after helping the mother and her kid with homework that they took hours to do and trying to be positive no matter what, when I announced that I had finally been recruited for the translation job I had been telling her about, she refused to realize that I would be leaving the restaurant and that she would have to put a job announcement for a new waiter if she did not wish to be doing it herself. When I finally did leave, working in both jobs for two weeks, in other words spending every moment I was awake working just to be able to say goodbye to the restaurant owner in a friendly atmosphere, she did make an announcement. I was announced a “foe” and the one time I had to step back in there afterwards, stepping in from 12 degrees below zero, I wanted be out on the street again to warm my spine. So that was a few months’ “close” friendship wasted. My first professional experience and first person I thought I could call a friend ended in dismay. The only relief of this outcome was that by the end, I had accepted for a fact that a friendship with her was not an easy one to maintain and would require a lot of sacrifice on my part with little appreciation in return.

 Nevertheless, the new translation job was my new bundle of hope!

Coming to Canada (1): Leaving Home

It has been more than a year since I got here! I still remember the anxiety that kept boiling up in me for a year before I made the “flight of my life”. I had done several life changing flights where I thought there would be no going back and I had always gone back although to a life that was much different from before; people had moved on, new job opportunities were ahead and new dreams in my head.

However, before each journey, I was full of hope. The best part about embarking on complete life changing travels is the hope I feel before I know what I will encounter. Each time I know that things can go completely wrong as they did when I worked in the Arabian Peninsula for a year, but I cannot help the heightened joyous emotions.

At 4 am in the morning of the flight to Montreal, I woke up to my alarm clock and began a major run through my parents’ stairs screaming “energy blast!”

On that day, I had quit the job I loved at the college I adored a month before. I had emptied the apartment I was crazy about, the apartment I had wished to live in for years, the apartment I felt I belonged to. The apartment and neighborhood that gave me the sensation that I belonged somewhere in contrast to many of my peers who have had to change countries every few years following their parents’ business assignments in different parts of the world. That apartment had witnessed me at age 3 fall off a chair and break my arm, advance to my first teenage year, move to different countries and come back a few years older, and finally, move back in there as a grown woman only to be married a couple of years later and leave the country a year on. Emptying this apartment and moving on was hard and made me question my decision: I was finally settled down. I had a car, two cats, a good job, great friends, and family living nearby. Why leave now?

Because I had lived it and was ready to move on. In a matter of four years, my life was at a level that I found satisfactory but not quite… fulfilling.

Thus, I was screaming “energy blast!” at 4 am in the capital city of Turkey.