Moving in Montreal

   Moving, I find, is generally not a very pleasant experience. Although I am sure that some people enjoy it (I have yet to meet them), I am personally not a fan of packing up my stuff and relocating all over again. I find that moving in Montreal is less evident than in other places say, for instance, in Sherbrooke. When I was looking for an apartment in Sherbrooke I basically went there one day, looked at a couple of apartments and found the perfect one in a matter of hours. I stayed there 2 years but would have gladly stayed for more if I had been staying in the city. Moving in the lively city of Montreal, however, is a different story altogether. For me at least. (more…)

50 ways to say goodbye…

    I truly believe that one of the hardest things in life is saying goodbye. Perhaps it is because I am someone that gets attached to family and good friends or because I do not take people for granted, but I have always found it hard to say goodbye. Whether it is classmates, colleagues, family or, most difficult of all, friends, it is never easy. Depending on the relationship and the level of attachment of each party, such a departure can be very overwhelming and even at times unimaginable. (more…)

Where?

Warning: this post contains angst.

The third year of my PhD work is quickly coming to a close (Omg. Aak. Eeek.) I’ve been thinking a lot about post-docs. About the type of research I want to do and the type of researcher I want to become in the long run. About fellowships and funding applications. About finding a great lab and a great mentor.

There’s one other unknown that seems to consistently overshadow all these other considerations, no matter how much I try to convince myself that it shouldn’t be super-important:

where am I going to work?

That one word – “where” – stirs up a flurry of other stressful, intrusive thoughts: where will my wife and I live? Will we stay in Canada, or will we have to move to the US or even overseas? Will we be able to find a nice place that lets us maintain the quiet country existence we’ve both come to love? Will we have to sell our beloved old schoolhouse – or maybe we could just rent it out for a while? Will we be ABLE to sell our beloved old schoolhouse if we need to (the real estate market isn’t exactly on fire right now)? And then there’s our pets – if we move overseas we’ll almost certainly have to put them in quarantine – would we be able to manage that? What about our families? What about my partner’s career (she also returned to school last year to pursue a new path as a social worker)? Will we be able to live someplace that recognizes our marriage – will we both be able to get health care and feel safe in a new community?

This issue of “where” is awfully big. I feel like everything else is manageable, but this one…I don’t know. There are a lot of long-term implications and emotional investments wrapped up in “where”, and frankly it scares the poop out of me if I allow myself to think about it too much

I’m not sure what will ultimately settle the “where” question. We might have to simply follow the available funding. Maybe funding won’t be an issue and I’ll be able to carve out a nice niche for myself in a lab more of my choosing, and someplace where my wife can equally pursue her own dreams. (And maybe pigs will fly?)

I know many of you reading this have either recently made the decision to move to Montreal to attend McGill, or perhaps you are still contemplating it. Others among you may be at a similar point in your grad school careers and are having similarly angst thought. To all of you: what were/are your primary considerations when looking for post-docs/jobs/higher degrees, in terms of the “where” question?

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cross-posted at www.thebuggeek.com

Peace

East Side GalleryAfter my angst-ey previous post, I bet you are wondering, dear reader, how things went in Berlin!

Things went fabulously – everything that could have gone wrong went right, and everything that could have gone right went wrong. I did not get the contract with the Staatsoper, but after a little youtube research, I found out that they were looking for a voice that had a little more heft to it than mine. I also missed 2/3rds of the flights that I purchased, blowing my audition budget completely out of the water, but rebooking meant I got to spend the night in London with an old friend before heading back to Montreal. I met the curator of the Tacheles (possible concert connection there), and some amazing girls who are possible roommates for my imminent move to Berlin. I made phone calls in German and re-booked my flights in German.

Most of all, however, I finally felt at peace about my future. Instead of shooting straight to the top like some of my very talented friends are going to do, I think my tactic for success is going to be alot different. I am going to make the slow climb. My new tactic is this:

  • Be myself, no matter what.
  • Do things other than singing and embrace diversity in my life.
  • Make every day beautiful.
  • Accept the unknown future as an adventure instead of something to be feared.

I can have a career if I just stick to it, get to know more and more people and show them my good work ethic. However, I cannot have a career in Europe if I am not in Europe – therefore, even though I did not get a contract over there, I decided my next step is to make the move. Learn German, teach English and yoga, and sing sing sing for as many people as possible.

I’m ready!

Nostalgia

Wherever I am in fall, it always makes me nostalgic – either nostalgic in advance of the time when I will actually need to be nostalgic, or the real nostalgia.  Today, it was nostalgia in advance.

It surprises me how fast Montreal has become a home.  I live in the Mile End neighborhood, which happens to be a 15-minute bike ride from McGill, and a 10-minute bike ride from the Jean Talon market.  There is something special about an automne bike ride to the market, coming back loaded down with massive squash, colorful carrots, the last figs of the season, the first local apples of the season.  It is something that I will miss.

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