About estherzs86

I seem to have endless questions to ask about life. The answers are always given to me in all so many forms. Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't. If I don't, the lessons will come back again until I find my answers. A journey of requests has allowed me to choose the kind of life I want to live. Things which I once thought were important aren't so important any more. Pursue what's important to you and not what other people are important to you. Dream well, live well, be well. Love yourself and the universe will align itself to you.

A Stressful Veterinary Experience

Shiro survived. He had been barfing for a good one month. He was getting thinner every day and at certain point in time, I wondered what his chances of surviving were. I had to force feed him twice a day. I mashed up his food, heat it up slightly to ensure that he would be able to digest the food easily without throwing it up. Having done all I could, I prayed that he would recover on his own. Fortunately, he won the battle and now he is looking as healthy as before.

This whole incident provoked mainly two emotions – fear and guilt. Surely, I was afraid that my little furry friend would die if he continued throwing up like he did. However, what was worse was the guilt trip that the veterinary made me go through.

So what exactly happened?

Chilling cat

Shiro is a cat who loves to chew on plastic, especially plastic bags. The thing is, he does not stop at chewing it but he swallows the plastic for unexplainable reasons. Thereafter, he would cough out the plastic piece. One day, he started to vomit his food over consecutive days and sometimes I would find traces of plastic in the brownish puddle. He was still having his appetite so I did not think anything was wrong. Soon, he then started to stay away from food like it was his worst enemy. He also became all quiet which is not normal since he is a pretty dominant cat.

The signs were all pointing to the direction that it was time for me to bring him to a vet. I brought him to the vet near my place since the place where I adopted him was close on Sundays. The receptionist was all cheerful and friendly when she greeted us. After the first meeting, they gave us three options with the two of them involving an operation procedure. The cost was easily from 200$ to 1000$CAD. Note that that was only the first check up. There would definitely be other costs incurred for observation period. We were selective of what we wanted for Shiro and headed home. The vet followed up a few days after. When she realised that we were not willing to proceed further with Shiro i.e. leaving him at the vet and going through blood test, x-ray, operation etc, she started to be impatient and naturally, the conversation ended there.

Two weeks after that stressful visit to the vet, Shiro was still barfing everywhere. The house started to reek of an unpleasant odor and we were worried about the bacteria that might be borne from the stale vomit. I decided to take him to the hospital where I adopted him. The results were pretty much the same. They cannot really identify the problem unless we go through various scans. However, the difference was, they respected the fact that not everyone has the budget to bear the cost of going through the complications of treating an animal. They proposed another solution where they prescribed some medications for a span of two weeks. They followed up patiently with me and finally, Shiro got better. A huge relief indeed!

For animal lovers who might not have the financial capabilities to treat the complications of your animal, it is important to find a good vet who respects the decision of people. To not be taken on a guilt trip because who is to judge our love for our animals? We are all adults and we make and bear the consequences of our decision. I am also lucky to have a small family petshop just beside my home. The lady boss is someone who loves animals and she gave me some ideas on how to bring back the appetite of Shiro. A business is a business. I acknowledge that they need to make money to keep the business going. However, it is also important to have some basic humanity and respect when running a business.

To sum it up,
1. MTL Vet (http://mtlvet.ca/hopital-veterinaire-verdun/),
– The consultation fee is higher by a good $10 than that of Hospital Lasalle
– For the exact same medication, their prices are almost twice as expensive
– If you have the financial means to pay for the treatments, they will treat you like VIPs, if not, they will show you how pathetic you are

2. Hopital Vétérinaire Lasalle (http://hopitalveterinairelasalle.ca/)
– Had a good experience with them since I adopted Shiro and Sora there
– They were more sympathetic and provided alternative solutions for treatments

3. Coquette et Finegueule Inc (Verdun)
– Although some of the products are a little more expensive than big pet stores, the service provided is personalised and passionate

Shiro looking all healthy again

Signing off with love,

Esther

Bucket list

Bucket list

A good friend brought up the topic of bucket list.

“So what do you have on your bucket list?”

I was stunned momentarily. I did not know. It has been a long time since I reflected on this question. The definition of bucket list was even vague to me. Seemingly fighting a blank space in my memory, I asked myself, “I once had a bucket list… but… what was it?”

Google search: ‘Definition of bucket list’

Definition #1: A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. 

Definition #2: A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term “kicked the bucket” (urban dictionary)

Once upon a time, my bucket list consisted of skydiving, bungee jumping and I am sure that travelling around the world was part of it. The rest… obliterated.

However, today, what I envision for myself seems to indicate that I am in a completely different world. Like I have mentioned, I do not have an up-to-date bucket list but when I ask myself, what I would like to have/ to do in this lifetime, I came up with a rough list like this:

–          To have a pet dog

–          To have a small cottage with a big land where I can grow my own plants and vegetables

–          To live in the countryside (to be surrounded by nature)

–          To learn how to ride a horse on my own

–          To raise my own family

–          To have a career where flexibility allows me to dedicate time to my family and allows me to have at least a month of holiday in Singapore

–          To integrate the dreams of my husband with my own

Our desires, dreams and wants change with our reality. So does our bucket list. In my previous life time, achievement, success, money and status played a big role in my well-being. If I do not perform well, I am judged (by myself and others). Life was stable in the sense that my parents were there as a strong pillar of support. I was surrounded by loving family and friends whom provided great companionship. Career was taken care of i.e. I had a job where I could progress in over time. In the scenario where things were well anchored, my bucket list reflected actions which embraced adventure, thrill and excitement.

A flip of the coin, I landed myself in an all new environment with the need to learn a new language. I found myself without work for a good two and a half years. My ego crashed. I felt myself inutile. Financially strapped, I had to lead a frugal life (when I was not even a big spender to begin with). Surrounded by instabilities, I began to yearn for some stability. Who cares about risking my life jumping off a cliff or an airplane? I have found myself an amazing husband and the second part of my life has just started. As a young couple, we have many other adventures awaiting us.

I am glad to have reviewed this topic. It gives me a sense of where I am right now in life. It also made me realize that we do not need to have BIG goals in life to be happy. As humans, we evolve and adapt. Changes would occur over time and that means that my bucket list might alter in a few years time too. While noting down a list of things we would like to accomplish this life time, we should always remember to still embrace the present moment.

So, what would you like to have on your bucket list today?

Live like you were dying by Tim Mcgraw

 

Signing off with love,

Esther

 

What’s next?

Women are better at multi-tasking than men. I have to agree only to a certain extent because I can only focus on one BIG thing at a time. I definitely do not consider eating and watching television multi-tasking. Since the day I received my work permit, my life revolved around paving out the path before me. I had neither the time nor the focus to do what I wanted to do i.e. to practise my Ukulele, to update my blog etc. I sent out several resumes, mainly to banks. I wanted to work in a call center as I thought it might be a good place to start since I wanted to try out the financial industry. I found it such an irony as I never wanted to work in banks back home. Eventually, I was not accepted for the roles I have applied for. Probably a blessing in disguise.

Since my job search had been kind of quiet, I decided to enrol myself in a full time French class which is fully subsided by the government. Finally I am entitled to some benefits instead of being a ‘tourist’! My stay with the course was a short two weeks. However, during this limited period of time, I met a bunch of lovely people and an amazing teacher who made a difference in my learning journey. Initially I was reluctant to start another French class but in the end, I was unwilling to quit half way!

Our Sugar Shack Trip

Our Sugar Shack Trip

I had to leave my French class as I had to go for another course. I decided to join an insurance firm as a Financial Advisor. In order to be legally licensed to work, I have examinations to pass before I can be officially engaged by the company. Five weeks of classes, three weeks of self study, five examinations over the course of two days. My head was buried in my pile of books, “mugging” away. I missed spending time with my husband, my friends and chatting with my parents on Skype. In the end, the sacrifice was worth it. I succeeded in my five papers and I am now waiting for the administrative side of things to be settled before I can officially start working.

I am excited and nervous at the same time. Working and studying are two different things. Studying has always a comfort zone. You work pretty much on your own and the outcome is usually a reflection of the amount of time and effort dedicated to it. Working means dealing with people and situations. These are variable factors where we have no control of. We just need to go with the flow and adapt accordingly. While saying that, I have always preferred working to studying. The thing that worries me is the fact that I have been out of the job market for almost three years. Now that I am starting afresh in a new country, what kind of challenges would I be facing with? Am I able to take the physical and mental challenge? How would I deal with the disappointments? Would I succumb to the pressure of performance and working extensive hours hence forgetting what’s really important in my life?

I would definitely not want to return to my previous lifestyle working long hours, sleeping insufficiently and setting priorities which are not even the real in the first place. I hope that these two years of value building has created a strong core within me, keeping me strong regardless of what’s ahead.

As of now, summer is finally here. It is time to enjoy some sun and get some tan!

The kitty stretch on a lazy afternoon

The kitty stretch on a lazy afternoon

Signing of with love,

Esther

A Non-Traditional Chinese New Year

祝大: 马年吉祥!马到功成!马年行大运

Chinese New Year has been pretty simple this year. No spring cleaning, no shopping for new clothes, no visiting of family and friends. There has not been much of a 气氛 (atmosphere) for me here since my family are not with me and I am not at all integrated into the Chinese community. While saying that, I still enjoyed this festive season, with my two BFFs, Xiaowei and Lili, in an untraditional way. We tried to hype up some fun amongst ourselves. The plan was to have a meal together and bake some Singaporean style pineapple tarts. XW and I were in charge of the pineapple tarts, naturally, though we are two newbies at it, while Lili was the head chef for our CNY lunch. The menu was evident – hot, spicy Sichuanese food. As she says it, “我的招牌菜 (my signature dish) !”

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Another way to commemorate CNY is gambling. However, instead of gambling with money, we decided to use wasabi peas since we had a newcomer. A little creativity allowed everyone to spice up their life with wasabi burning up the nostrils. 

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We planned to finish making our tarts within a day but we started the day late (how does it always end up like that…) and on top of that, we took our time to savour the amazing home cooked meal. In the end, we only managed to do up the jam.

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The pastry was left to the next day where we tried to work as efficiently as possible since we + husbands were craving to have a taste of the end product.

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For first timers, I must say we have done a darn good job. Of course there are always areas for improvements but for now, I am popping those tarts in my mouth like nobody’s business! 

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Not too bad for a quiet CNY. Sending out all my love and wishes to friends and family back home! You have been missed! 

 

Signing of with love, 

Esther 

20 Centimetres of Snow

Saturday afternoon hit a temperature low of -18 degrees yet it was supposed to feel like -28 degrees due to wind and humidity. It was all good then since Dan and I were taking our time waking up to the gloomy sky and having our brunch at a placid pace. However, we had a Christmas party that evening which meant that we had to leave our cozy nest. With the extreme cold in Quebec and the inconvenience of staircases in metro stations, I have long ditched heels and fancy shoes. Flats, snickers and boots have been my top picks. Yet for that faithful evening, I wanted to dress up. Vanity overpowered comfort. I headed out with four layers of top (sufficiently warm), a pair of skin toned stockings and a pair of winter boots. We had to walk to a friend’s place for a car ride which was a stone’s throw away. Within thirty seconds, my legs were numb from the cold and a minute later, an uncomfortable sizzling sensation coursed through my almost naked thighs which made me squirm in agony. Fortunately, we managed to reach our destination before my pair of legs was a goner. *exaggeration*

The Christmas party was great fun with the usual gang of people who hung out till late. The dance floor ‘stopped’ at about 230 a.m. The snow storm had probably started while we were feasting like hungry animals. By the time we left the place, we could barely see the roads. As we made our way to the car, beautiful flakes were showered upon us while we used what’s left of us to plow through the snow. In a car pool of four, we drove at a turtle speed of 45km/h as driving visibility was not more than 50m to 80m.

The snow did not take a break for a good whole night and the following day. That resulted in a city covered in white with cars disappearing under the blankets of snow while residents busied themselves with clearing their walkways and balconies.

On my end, I remain fascinated with the snowfall. As a tropical girl, I feel like I am in a fairytale!  As I walked down the streets snapping some photos, some people greeted me with warm smiles before resuming their shoveling. With a little more time at hand, I would definitely love to head up to Mount Royal to do some magic carpeting!

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Signing off with love,

Esther 

How much time do you need to commit a day for two kittens?

I decided to adopt Shiro and Sora because I needed some companionship and at the same time, to keep myself busy. I underestimated the ‘busyness’ that came with them. The thing is, unlike kids, I do not have to supervise them because they are pretty independent to a certain extend. On top of that, unlike dogs, I do not have to walk them every day. However, the small pockets of time spent in various forms do accumulate, filling up my schedule rather quickly.

Clearing the litter

Time spent: 5 minutes each time, 10 minutes per day

This is a necessary act to avoid one’s place stinking up. At the start, I only had a covered litter box for Shiro and Sora and I cleaned it once a day. It worked fine for the first one and a half months. Thereafter, they started to pee and poop outside of the box i.e. the carpet which is placed just outside the box and their carrier. I am not sure who the real culprit here is so I will just assume them both guilty as charged. To avoid more disasters, I added another litter box and after reading some tips from fellow cat owners online, I decided to clean the litter box at least twice a day. Apparently these feline creatures are very particular about cleanliness and sometimes they do not want to pee and poop at the same place. So far, no other accident occurred and I hope it stays this way.

Sweeping/ Vacuuming/ Cleaning the Floor

Time spent: About an average of 30 minutes per day

Before having the cats, I swept the floor every two to three days. During summer, I may need to sweep the floor every day as all the windows are left open and the wind brings dust and dirt into the house. Now, it is a definite must to sweep the place each day as cat litter traces the floor while stray furs float all around. Aside from the daily sweep, I do an extra sweep of the room where the litter boxes are because there are just too much wood shavings scattered around. I would probably need to get a better carpet to remove the shavings from the paws of the kitties. In general, six days of sweeping, one day of vacuuming and seven days of an extra sweep of the room.

Removing Fur from the Sofa

Having their afternoon nap.

Time spent: 5 minutes each time, 10 minutes per day

They love sleeping on our sofa and our of course, leaving strands of furs entwined into the material of the blanket. With my reusable lint brush, I roll through the blanket cover twice a day.

Feeding Time

Time Spent: 3 minutes per meal, 9 minutes per day

Three times a day. Dry pellets are given twice a day while the wet food is given once a day. Giving the food is pretty quick but what takes time is to have to close the door of the room to ensure that Sora, who eats much slower than Shiro, finishes her food before allowing Shiro to enter.

Brushing and Grooming

Time spent: 5 minutes per day

Most people on the forums say that it is good to brush the kitties at least twice a week. I cannot imagine doing that because even having brushed my kitties at least once a day, they still have loose fur invading the space. When the weather is warmer and Shiro seems to lose more fur , I would give him an extra quick brush at the end of the day.

Putting Things Back in Place

Time spent: 30 seconds per item, about 10 items per day, an average of 5 minutes per day

Every morning  as I step out of my bedroom (nope, the cats are not allowed to sleep with us), there will definitely be something out of place. It may be a plastic cup or lunch box on the floor, my notebook thrown off my desk, a blanket pulled away from the sofa etc. Throughout the day, they will always to toppling over different things, depending on their mood. Just this morning, I realised that Shiro has been munching through my loaf of bread. He has this incomprehensive fetish love for plastic bags.

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Searching through the recycling bin

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The mess created.

Chasing them off the Kitchen Counter

Time spent: 15 minutes per day

With their predatory instinct yet not being able to hunt in the wild, they ‘hunt’ my dead meat of chicken, beef or pork. Even when I am cooking an all vegetable meal, they will sniff around to make sure that I am not hiding stuff from them. Instead of taking an hour to finish preparing a meal, I take an extended amount of time because of the unwanted interruptions. Sometimes they get on my nerves so much that I just put them away in the room to be able to cook in peace.

Saying ‘No! Get down/ Stop it!’

Time spent: 10 seconds each time, about 20 times a day, about 4 minutes per day

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Shiro sniffing our breakfast plate.

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His highly skilled paws.

As they are still young and full of energy, they keep finding their paws in every possible corner of the house.  Whenever there is something new in the house or when something is not in the same state/ condition/ position, they are the first to spot it. For example, sometimes the door of the cabinet where we store food opens a little on its own due to unaligned fittings. The cats would paw through this gap and happily hop into the cabinet to inspect our stash. They love to jump onto our dining table which is totally prohibited. There are many more examples which I shall not elaborate on.

Play Time

Time spent: About 15 minutes per day

The young always has lots of energy and I prefer that they release it positively instead of destructively. I play ball with them. Surprisingly, they like chasing after the tennis ball though they don’t fetch. I vary my activities as their interest does not last more than a few minutes.

‘Pet Me’, ‘Love Me’ Time

Time spent: About 30 minutes per day taking place randomly throughout the day

We are fortunate to have two cats who enjoy a great amount of love and affection from us. In the day, they would usually come to me to be petted and to nest in my lap. At night, they will go to Dan for their second dosage of love.

Grand total: 133 minutes/ about 2.5 hours per day

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It wasn’t me…

People have been asking me what I have been busy with and my reply has been ‘my cats’. I didn’t know how but after this breakdown, I have a better understanding for myself. They are indeed, integrated into my schedule now. For those who are eager to have cats or kittens or animals in general, be mentally and physically prepared to commit your time and energy to these furry creatures. The acquisition part may be fun and exciting but the maintenance part is less of a novelty.

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I am just sitting on the chair with absolutely no intention of jumping onto the table…

Signing off with love,

Esther

Shiro and Sora – The Unstoppable

Cats in the house

I have been meaning to introduce our new furry friends but it has been one month since we brought them home. I believe that in my previous blog, I wrote about my short lived experience with a pet bunny. My landlord does not allow any pets in the house (especially not a rabbit! They shriek at the thought of a rabbit as if it was an unclean, wild rodent), except… cats! How bizarre but it is true. I am not complaining as it is good news for me. I had spent a fair amount of time thinking about adopting A cat because they need a fairly huge amount of responsibilities i.e. time, money, affection etc. Dan has been supportive about it but he warned me, ‘If you are ok with things being destroyed in the house, I am ok with it.’ So we started our kitty shopping, 

A few questions were on constantly on my mind then. Should we adopt from an animal shelter or should we adopt from someone who is letting go of their pet? Should we adopt an adult cat or would kittens be more interesting? Does a male or female cat really matters? Should we de-claw our cat?

After some research and talking to friends who are cat lovers, we got a conclusion for ourselves. First and foremost, we decided to adopt from an animal shelter because with a package price, all the necessary vaccinations and sterilization is taken care of. For sure we could adopt a free kitty but to not have it sterilized and no vaccinations? I don’t think we would like the side effects of that. 

As for the age of the cat, I have read up on how we should give adult cats a chance to live and I do feel sad for these abandoned cats. However, adults cats come with their behaviours and attitudes which would probably take lots of patience to help them unlearn and relearn certain things. As a first time cat owner, I decided to take the easier way out. Furthermore, I would like to witness the growing up process of a young cat. 

Male or female? Dan is definitely for a male cat because he has been around several cats in his life time and the affectionate cats were usually males while the females were mainly aloof and independent. I am sure there will be people disagreeing to this but to each his own since there are no scientific fact about this. 

There has been a big hooha whether cats should be de-clawed. People de-claw cats because they are clawing almost everything in the house. Apparently, the act of de-clawing is pretty common in US and Canada. Guess it boils down to the pragmatism believed by the countries? Whereas, this very same act is illegal in other zones. So if the cat starts biting everything, should we then remove their all their teeth? The decision is clear.

How do we choose the ‘right’ cat? That was one question I google-searched quite a bit. All the cats in the picture look almost the same, how do I distinguish one from another? What I found useful for me were the several visits I made to various animal shelters. It was a tedious process but finally, at the last stop, we fell in love with three cats. We have got to choose ONE. I fell in love with a baby female while Dan still prefers to have a male. After some deliberation, we brought two of them home and name them Shiro and Sora. So the ONE cat became TWO

Shiro means ‘White’ in Japanese. At the date of adoption, he was about seven months old. He is de-clawed on all four hence he tends to bite when he wants to communicate his unhappiness. He is the bossy one here, talks/ meows quite a bit and definitely knows how to push his limits.

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Sora means ‘Sky’ in Japanese. She was four months old when we adopted her. She started off timid and stayed hidden for a good one week yet now, she is bouncing all over the house and giving us sweet sounding meows when she is hungry. 

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I have had my good times and frustrating moments with them but one thing for sure, they have kept my hands full and brought a lot of furry fun and love into the family. 

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Signing off with love,

Esther 

Friendly Green Giants

When my parents visited last year, they took half a day to explore Montreal’s botanical garden. I was not with them. It was either because I was busy preparing for the wedding or I was on my honeymoon. Either way, I did not feel that I have missed something exceptional. In my mind, a garden here or a garden in Singapore would probably be the same thing, being surrounded by lots of greens.

We had visitors from France, friends of Dan. While discussing over possible places of interest, the botanical garden entered the priority list, naturally. Since there have been heavy publicity done on this event called Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 – Land of Hope, we decided it must be worth visiting. Guess what made the impression? Beautiful pictures of giant sculptures done out of plants. The wonders of visual effects.

Nothing beats the real thing. Standing in front of these giants, I felt towered over by them. Looking up close, I was impressed at how the details were skilfully accentuated. In my mind, I was wondering how they actually maintain these plants sculptures on a daily basis. Imagine the manpower needed! These sculptures have been brought to us by professionals all over the world. Every sculpture has a meaning and inspiration behind it so if do you visit, take some time to read through the write up. I am glad that I had the chance to walk through these majestic friendly giants. The event ends on the 22nd of September so you still have some time to catch this magical display if you have not done so yet!

Some of my favourite shots of the day:

Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013 Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal 2013

There are many more to see than what’s here! For more information, please visit: http://www.mosaiculturesinternationales.ca/en/

Signing off with love,

Esther

 

A Road Trip to Gaspésie

A rejuvenation for the body and soul.

We decided on this one week road trip quite randomly. Dan said that he needed to disconnect hence a holiday far away from home is ideal. Our far away equates to more than three hours drive from Montreal. Since I have not visited the region of Gaspésie, Dan thought it would be a good place to visit because he enjoyed his previous trip there.  We decided to camp at the National Park of Gaspésie.

Our total drive time was approximately eight hours (one way). We broke down the travelling time into two days where we stayed over at a hostel in the city Rivière-du-Loup for a night. This is the longest road trip I have done thus far and I have learned certain important lessons during the journey.

Be mentally prepared – Anything can happen during a road trip, whether it is human created chaos or Mother Nature taking her course. We should definitely have an plan for our trip but we need to be mentally prepared for things to happen unexpectedly and adapt accordingly. In our case, we had a flat tire just after 45 minutes of car ride. Under the hot, sweltering summer sun, Dan had to change the tires and we had to send the car to the nearest mechanic right after. We got delayed up to four hours.

Give sufficient travelling time – Due to the flat tire, we reached the hostel at 8pm. Imagine if we were ambitious and tried to reach our destination in a day. We would have reached the park at midnight where we would be buried in darkness, feeling tired and frustrated.

With abundance of time on hand, we had the luxury to stop over at places of interest. We were drawn to fromageries (a place where they produce and sell cheese) and the one that blew us away was Fromagerie des Basques at Trios-Pistoles. They are known for selling a type of cheese which makes the sound ‘kwick kwick’ when you chew on it. I was definitely in cheese paradise.

Cheese from Fromagerie des Basques at Trios-Pistoles

Cheese from Fromagerie des Basques at Trios-Pistoles

Check the condition of your car – We forgot about this totally. Since we do not have our own car, we missed out the important routine of checking the condition of a car before heading out on a long drive.  Areas of inspection include the wipers, fluid levels, the car battery, the rubber of the tires and the car’s brake pads.

Dress comfortably – Whether you are the driver or the passenger, you are going to be in the car for a long time so put on clothes as comfortable as your pajamas!

Once we reached the park, we set up our tent and got ourselves installed. We were blessed with good weather as it was sunny until the day where we were supposed to depart. Situated near a lake, we took daily dips in the chilly water where freshwater leeches hid under rocks. We did not know about the leeches until one day, a family with two kids warned us of leech sighting in the water. I was afraid of going into the lake initially but when we caught a leech in a small scoop and the little girl fondled it curiously, I realized that they were not so dangerous after all.

Sunset by the lake

Wanting a challenge, we did a five hours hike up Le Pic du Brûlé. We were rewarded with a magnificent view of an array of mountains but at the same time, we were exhausted at the end of the day. I was reminded of my first and last half marathon where my knees and ankles throbbed with unpleasant sensations at the end of the race. We took three days to recover from the fatigue before doing our second hike which was only two hours. The view was no less satisfying. We also managed to catch sight of a female moose with her child.

Right on top

Overseeing the mountains

 

Le mont Ernest-Laforce

The moose on the trail

Last but not least, Gaspésie has fresh seafood everywhere! Back in Singapore, I did not really crave to go a restaurant just for fresh fish, prawns, crabs etc because you can always buy them at the market. However, in Montreal, it is almost impossible to find fresh seafood (or it is really pricey) since the cargos have to be shipped from other cities, provinces or countries. We feasted on various types of fishes, prawns, scallops and lobster. Enough cholesterol for the next few months!

Fresh scallops and prawns with garlic

Signing off with love,

Esther

Does Spring ‘BLUES’ Exist?

The words started to mean more than instructions. They seem to be directed at me. I shook my head subtly. This can’t be right. She must be talking about something in an objective manner. The words droned on. My mind started to catch words like ‘integration’, ‘culture’, ‘exposure’… She was saying something along the line of I am not doing it right. Flustered emotions began to rise within me. My lips started to quiver as I felt the words attacking my body, my mind and my soul. She says I act like a kid. Really? My brain started to justify. Stop it, I told myself. This is nothing personal, I added. She continued her lecture on being an independent learner, one who learns from both inside and outside of the classroom. Stop it, I told her silently. My chest started to heave in a faster rhythm as the time between breaths gets shorter.  I wriggled uncomfortably in my seat, trying to distract my mind from the words that seemed to be hurling mercilessly towards me. She is finally turning the spotlight away from me. I stood up and moved towards the door, ending my morning class with, ‘Je m’excuse.’

Tears spilled as I ran off to the green patch of field just beside. The short burst gave my body the opportunity to release the unspoken sadness. The day was beautiful, with the almost perfect weather where you can take a nice long walk without feeling too uncomfortably warm.  I settled onto a wooden bench where I faced an empty tennis court. Questions came, making me wonder what had just happened back there. The ego probably took a hit as she felt that her hard work and effort have not been acknowledged. The space was heavenly compared to the suffocating room. The quietness which surrounded me allowed the noises that crowded my mind to slowly seep away. I took a deep breath before continuing sobbing away in solitude…

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The miscommunication has been cleared up between the teacher and I. Today’s episode has just triggered off months of unsaid thoughts and emotions. Learning a new language is a challenge. You meet people who are encouraging, you also cross path with people who are not. As a tourist, life is in general cozy and blissful. Yet as an immigrant, things roughen up a lot more. Will all these experiences strength me as a person? I do hope so. As of now, I am still going forward of course.

Signing off with love,

Esther