The Summer Solstice has just passed, marking exactly 3 months since I’ve been in Saskatoon: one-quarter of the first of two years. Though I’m not counting the weeks or months ahead.
Since arriving in Saskatchewan, I long for extra sleep to catch up on the exhaustion from my Big move. So I moved my bed into the living room putting an extra wall between myself and the vibrations from the bar nearby. Now there’s so much light coming from the east-facing window, that I wake at 4:30 instead of 6:30. Even going to bed at 9:30, it’s still so light out that I cannot sleep. He won’t let me hang my drapes. The smell in the bathroom is getting worse despite the air purifier. Will things improve when I have the air conditioner or should I continue to look for yet another apartment – the 3rd in 3 months?
Saskatoon is the noisiest city I’ve ever been in –apart from NYC. It is very much a “car-city”: designed with cars in mind and less with pedestrians or cyclists. Where Montreal is all about public transportation. Streets are narrow and slow-moving creating a comfortable hum. Where here, the main streets are like super-highways. When you want to cross, you press a large round metal button and a robotic voice emits the word: “wait”. Regulations for road-readiness must be incredibly lax, as cars are just loud, and so many half-ton trucks!
I live near the only area that is not a shopping mall and where you see people walking about: off Broadway. We hear 70s music in the shops. At times I feel as though I’ve stepped back 50-years in time. Not to mention the food: Everything with bacon! I miss the vibrant vegan movement in Montreal where people are very aware of the ethics and resource-conserving benefits of Veganism.
Nonetheless, I spent a lovely weekend. I had breakfast with Haleh, a refugee from Iran 30 years ago. Arriving early to the café, I set my bike helmet down on a small round table outside. A couple and their two children, sitting nearby and speaking in French looked up at me, and I responded with Bonjour! The boys were quite surprised. This couple are from Quebec and the father teaches at the Stoon French School. They plan to return in 10 years when he retires. Their dream is to go to Ile d’Orléans in five years to purchase a small piece of land for an apiary (bees).
What a wonderful surprise for the Fête de Saint Jean, Québec’s National holiday. Our conversation brought up images of that beautiful part of the country: Ile d’Orléans and the Bas Saint-Laurent. Similar scenes are at the back of my mind: being in the country-side of Québec. After breakfast, Haleh and I attended a public lecture about integrative medicine as she is a counsellor.
To celebrate the Fête de Saint-Jean on Sunday, Ellen invited her French-speaking friends to brunch in her garden. She had introduced me to a couple of her friends last weekend and I enjoyed very much meeting Eveline and her husband from Nouveau Brunswick.
Every evening I visit my community garden to water and just to dabble. Today Malik was there with his two children. They are from Sudan and arrived in Canada just one year ago after spending 10 years as refugees in Kenya. In fact, the youngest, Mohammed, was born in the refugee camp. He and his sister are so beautiful, and their English was excellent. They told me about their first winter here — which was so cold and windy. “How funny, how strange it was!” What a beautiful family! The Montreal Unitarians had sponsored two families to come to Canada. We are so fortunate to be able to welcome these lovely people to our vast country.
Will write more again later.