Bye bye Canada / Au revoir, Canada

“the days push up against one another, too heavy and full to toss behind you in bunches. you don’t have today and tomorrow anymore; you have lost them. in their place, TODAY and TOMORROW, too swollen to change, and you live them like a race.”

-James Maskalyk, Six Months in Sudan 

“Having a goal is generally deemed a good thing, the benefit of something to strive toward. This can also blind you, however: you see only your goal and nothing else, while this something else, wider, deeper, can be considerably more interesting and important.”

-Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Shadow of the Sun

So this is it then. Today is my last full day in Canada. It’s surreal. I’m walking through the day as if I’m pushing through water. At the same time I’m unbelievably excited and sooooo depressed. Goodbye to five years of friends, support networks, swing dancing, long bus trips, Okanagan Lake, Saguenay Fjord, Stevie Harper, speaking Québécois, watching hockey, chugging Molson or Strongbow or maple lattés with friends  while you laugh, cry, reassure each other, slap each other on the back. Hello to a whole new set of rules, a whole new set of friends, a whole new everything! That’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. I’m not going to sleep for a while, I can tell you that.

Yesterday instead of packing, I hung out with Mbonisi and Eugène all afternoon and most of the night, first at school and then at Mbonisi’s place. Learning more about Africa. I’d be totally lost without those guys.  I did indeed relearn the words in Kinyarwanda for thank you (murakoze!) and beer (inzoga). I can’t even remember what we talked about! I love participating in a conversation with those guys; they use their whole voices and their entire bodies to make a point. One time, a month or so ago, the three of us were together in the journalism building late in the evening and Mbonisi was using a bottle of wine as a visual aid to make some point, picking it up by its neck and swinging it around. “And then it was like–” SMACK! Caught in the energy of gesticulating, he smacked his bottle of red wine against the wall. We were there cleaning it up for ages.

The two of them also have totally different attitudes about touch. Touch is cool with them. What in North America would look like two gay guys, for example, is normal for two African guys who are friends. Fortunately in my culture– Slavic culture– touch is also cool. The three  of us were practically cuddling on Mbonisi’s couch, but there was nothing awkward there. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt so loved.

The one major area where we differ is on what is private and what is not private. Eugène was practically shouting at me for talking about my sexuality on here, even using only three words.

My Swiss visa did come through, and in time. Now on to getting the French one. The organizers are afraid that if we don’t submit our papers by May we won’t have the documents by October. Mother Russia, I’m coming home! Oh, wait…

Alors. Ce soir sera ma tout dernier dodo au Canada! Pour un an et demi, au moins. C’est difficile à croire. Plus de poutine, du “là là”, du St. Ambroise Abricot, des longues voyages en Greyhound, de lindy hop, de mes amis canadiens qui m’ont soutenu incroyablement. C’est irréel. Mais ne vous trompez pas, je suis aussi extrèmement excitée! Je pense que je ne dormirai pas beaucoup pour les jours à venir….

Hier au lieu de faire mes bagages j’ai passée tout la journée avec Eugène et Mbonisi. J’adore ces gars là là. Ils sont tellement enthousiastes. Ils utilisent tout leur corps et leur voix de faire un point. Eugène a un des rires les plus bruyantes que j’ai jamais entendu. C’est tellement drole, parce que quand tu les rencontres pour la premiere fois tu as l’impression que Mbonisi est un type mysterieux et Eugène est un petit gars timide. Mais aies une conversation de 5 minutes avec eux… j’aurais toujours l’image de Mbonisi cassant une bouteille de vin contre un mur en gesticulant avec, et Eugène, vetu dans trois chandails chauds et un paire de mitaines, hurlant à propos du temps qu’il fait: “Ha! Ha! Ha! What the sheeeeeeeet man, this country is disturbing!”

“Il faut que les canadiens soient très intelligents,” a-t-il dit, “parce que s’ils peuvent batir un société ici, où l’homme n’était pas fait pour vivre, ils peuvent tout faire!”

On passait la soir à jaser chez Mbonisi, sur le sofa, tous bras et voix hautes. Je ne pense pas que j’ai jamais senti aussi aimée.

Mon visa suisse est enfin arrivée, alors pour le moment je suis correcte! Je dois aller faire mes bagages alors…

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About msmarguerite

Young Quebec City-based freelance journalist. once and future nomad. I blog about life, about travel, about things I notice and every so often about work. I enjoy language learning, singing, swing dancing, skating and...other stuff, sometimes. My heart is somewhere in East Africa, Haiti or Eastern Europe. English, français, русский, malo slovensko, un poco de espanol, um pouco de português ndiga ikirundi, mwen ap aprann kreyòl...
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