Archives For Living

Observations, lessons, and miscellany on living life.

Earlier this week I returned from a 3800km cross-Canada road trip. I’d moved to Calgary back in late January but had decided to fetch my stuff in Montreal during the summer. To make it a little bit more interesting (and cheaper), I chose to Uhaul it back DIY-style.

ShardyXC-map

And it was indeed an interesting drive. I figured I’d capture some of that interestingness by snapping photos through the windshield at random intervals along the way.

When I look at the pics in my photo library, they seem kinda boring. But dropping them into an animated gif seems to show off the charm and mix of Canada’s beautiful landscape.

ShardyXC-snaps4

Such is Life

June 30, 2015 — Leave a comment

Such is life
to walk down the street
and not help but smile
to see the thousand colours
blur into one sight
to hear the hundred languages
form into one voice
to understand it all
and be none the wiser
Such is life

While packing for my recent move, I came across an old letter – undated and written well before being shared with me a year ago – from my dear mom. It’s lovely and philosophical and wise…

In life there is a transference of an energy that transcends the physical and takes residence in the deeper and higher facet’s of one’s being. The greatest of all is the power and energy that love possesses. It will extend to all who enter into your life and to the others who become part of your life’s circle. It is important to nurture and support this fragile relationship and respect it’s existence – with dignity and trust. And in doing so you will maintain the energy of love within your being on all levels.

When there are challenges, find comfort in the existence that the source is greater than the individual(s). Accept ownership and responsibility for what you have created (positive or negative), extend the benefit of doubt, and don’t be so arrogant or prideful that you are unable to say you are sorry. Communication is forever important – to dispel any misunderstandings, to enhance your world, and to eliminate the non-productive energies such as worry.

And remember, love is like standing naked in a lightning storm – prepare to duck once in a while.

I love you, mum. Happy Mother’s Day!

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

William A. Foster

Love is like a friendship caught on fire: In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.

Bruce Lee

My 13 Year Summer

March 1, 2015 — Leave a comment

mtl-skyline-canal

13 years ago today I moved from Calgary to Montreal, and one month ago yesterday I returned. I figured I’d take this moment to reflect on this huge chapter of my life and offer some tips to the many other hopeless romantics drawn to la belle ville. 13 years, wow. It was quite a ride.

mtl04

As the story goes, it started with a couple trips to Montreal for concerts – first in 1998 and then again in 2001 – as well as a summer roadtrip in 1999 from Toronto where I was interning at the time. Montreal is a charming city by default but it is an extra special place in the summer – and I fell in love with it. The diversity, multiple languages, ever-present festivals, delicious food, gorgeous girls, great music scene, stunning architecture, magnificent street art, history, vibrant street life, and, yes, a certain joie de vivre. It all captivated me and at some point during one of those trips I promised myself that I would spend one full summer of my life there.

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The Road to Montreal

January 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

This article by Christopher DeWolf was originally published in The Montreal Gazette on May 25, 2003.

The Road to Montreal

“You’re another one!” Nicole Fowler exclaimed when I revealed my Western Canadian roots. “Since I moved to Montreal, I think I’ve met more people from Calgary than I have in the rest of my life.”

Fowler, 33, is part of a new batch of younger people on the move – to Montreal instead of away from it.

Although it may be tepid for now, it is not all that surprising a trend. My own life in Calgary was populated by people from Montreal. My dad lived here for almost a decade before leaving in the late ’70s. Our across-the-street neighbours in Calgary were ex-pat NDGers and my best friend’s mother was Hong Kong-born and Hampstead-raised. Friends came from Montreal when Canadian Pacific jumped ship and relocated to the prairie town it built a century before. My mom’s boss was from Outremont.

Fed up with language politics and a stagnant economy during the 1980s and ’90s, thousands of people scurried down the 401 or schlepped themselves west to Calgary or Vancouver.

But, slowly, people are moving here. Between 1996 and 2001, the pre-merger city actually gained 23,158 people (including those from beyond Canada’s borders) its first significant increase for at least 10 years. And, according to recently released data from Statistics Canada, 365 more Canadians from other provinces moved to Quebec between October and December 2002 than moved away – the first net gain in three decades.

***

Before moving from Calgary to Montreal last year, the path appeared well-worn. It seemed everyone I encountered had a brother or six friends or an old roommate who had moved to Montreal. The trend was evident upon arrival, too; a quick survey of people I’ve met reveals a lot of eastward pioneers who are bucking the trends established late in the last century.

In fact, there are a lot of new people in Montreal who come from a variety of Canadian cities, even big, booming Toronto. What makes this somewhat perplexing is that, according to the National Post, the Calgary-Edmonton corridor is the second-wealthiest region in the world. Cities like Toronto and Vancouver certainly aren’t hurting when it comes to job prospects.

So why come here?

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