avrelia: (Canada)
I am madly excited about Canadian elections. There is a chance it will be the last Canadian elections I will be able to vote – or the last for a really long time. There is a five-year period for Canadians who live abroad for being able to vote in federal elections. Those who lived outside of Canada for longer than five year, are out of luck. I can see the reasoning, but I feel it's unfair. It is a good way to keep the connection between the citizens and the country still alive, when so many Canadian things are out of reach. People who don't care, they are not going to vote, anyway. And for me – Canadian politics are so refreshing in its relative sanity, and in me being able to influence outcome, or at least feel that I can.


Of course, I can always vote in Russian elections, as I keep Russian citizenship and they allow to vote anyone with a valid passport. But see above – sanity and influence are lacking, so I believe the strongest way I make a stand is by refusing to participate in it. But it also looks like I just don't care...

I am not very passionate politically - there probably feels a burnout and cynicism after all the hopes of my youth, but right now I am filling out the voter registration form, and I am looking forward to be a proper citizen of a proper country.

And while we are on topic of all things Canadian - happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] jonesiexxx, one of Canada's most precious natural resources!
avrelia: (reading is hot)
One of the first cultural surprises, that happened after coming to Canada, was looking at the giant map of Canada for the first time, and finding out that the Klondike Gold Rush that I read about in so many Jack London's stories happened in fact, in Canada, not in USA. It felt just so American, you know, that even if there were mentions of Canada we jumped right over them. Not that I knew – or cared to know - a lot about Canada before moving there. It was the place north of USA, the land of randomly cool TV series (Degrassi and Les filles de Caleb) so, naturally I had a lot to learn. Finding Dawson city on the map was one of the first surprises.

I didn't want to re-read Jack London for a long time though, and when I did, last year, I had another surprise: one of my favorite pieces, and the one that is extremely popular and well-loved in Russia, Smoke Bellew is virtually unknown here. It is a later work, published in 1911-12, and Jack London himself called it a hack work, written for money. And yet, it is, I believe, great. I mean, I've read later London's novels that were over-blown, over-melodramatic and rather impossible. Smoke Bellew is none of those things. In fact, it combines the best of both worlds. It is a collection of short stories tied into unity by the same characters (both main and secondary), same time ( Klondike Gold Rush) and same place (Yukon territory). It escapes the the soggy plotting and other problems with novels that Jack London had – most critics agree that Jack London was much better with his short stories than his novels- and yet still allows for character development impossible in a short format.

Read more... )
avrelia: (Cabaret)
I am perpetually amazed how the view on US politics is changing depending where are you looking from.

From Russia democrats and republicans looked pretty much indistinguishable. Their differences trifle and in international relations hardly noticeable.

In Canada we got used to Canadian politics, obviously. That most of the time looked safe and boring comparing to, say, Russia, but also we could see democracy working more or less for people and not against them. Occasionally there happened soap opera events, and we were excessively diverted. US politics became understandable and exciting. Democrats started to look normal, republicans started to look kind of strange.

Now, I was amazed, how much the whole Canadian political discourse is leftier than US one. Stephen Harper from here looks kind of more liberal than Barak Obama. I am also surprised how many our acquaintances here are republicans or drawn to republicanism - all well-educated middle class people. All emigrated from former USSR as Jewish refugees in 90s or later, as professionals.

and I feel very socialist and very Canadian.

I also feel Russian, but Russian politics depresses me to no end. I cannot use words acceptable in a polite society to talk about it.
avrelia: (Default)
We are in Canada - for a week only. It feels so normal, so familiar and so dear. Even the things that normally annoy me (like Zellers). :)

We drove in the rented car (rented outside New York - way cheaper): the road is more or less familiar by now, and the drive would have been quite pleasant, if D weren't so horribly car sick. We ended up swathing him in paper towels like a mummy. Poor guy. I know how bad it can be - I couldn't drive in the car until my later teenage years, and even now I have to fight the sickness from time to time. Now we live at our friends' place and work on our things to do. planning to go back the end of the week.

The weather is nice, but the autumn in Ontario is far advanced. New York climate still confuses me a great deal.
avrelia: (wonder)
or I definitely want to be that much fun as she is.

I saw her on Monday, at 92Y, promoting paperback of The Year of the Flood.

She read, she sang, she told funny stories, she and Valerie Martin who introduced her were on fire, and the audience was in love. They chatted about eating maggots and ants and saving birds and speculative fiction and dystopias and books and bees, and we all laughed in delight.

Obviously, I could have also seen her in Toronto, but I didn't.
avrelia: (Cabaret)
Abroad means here.

A year ago I though we would be marking 10 years in Canada. I still feel very disconnected and discomfited by the fact that we are not.
10 years ago we flew out of Moscow, made a stop in Frankfurt, and landed in Vancouver. with two pieces of checked-in luggage and a carry-on bag each, and a major jet lag. We were mot immigrants - P has got a job, and it was kind of stupid to refuse a three year long contract in Canada, so here were we. With our books, CDs, tapes, and clothes.
We had a place to drop - P’s employer rented an apartment for us, and even though we hated it, we stayed there for the first six months.
The first week I spent mostly asleep - my inner clock refused to change and accept 11-hour difference. We did have short excursions here and there, to look around, to buy household stuff - we needed everything, and we had no money- almost. Our English, of course, was beyond pathetic - but we got by, and thankfully, there was a lot of Russian colleagues who were in the same situation and soon became our friends. the story gets long-winded )
avrelia: (Canada)
I miss Canada. I cannot say that I miss Toronto, of Mississauga, or Vancouver, or Ontario, or BC, but I miss the whole thing. The very Canadianness.

people and places, books and trees, metrical system and stores, TV and politics, healthcare and taxes... /sniff
avrelia: (Default)
Do we really need a snowstorm in April? Eh?
avrelia: (Лошадка)
I go with Daniel to a swimming pool where he is taught to swim. Well, they don't actually teach babies to swim, but to get used to water, blow bubbles, kick and splash and jump in the water. D. loves it, and I love that he loves it. The interesting moment in the whole swimming is that all classes in community swimming pools are thought by teenagers. Or early-early twenties who look like teenagers. It didn't feel strange when our class was taught by a girl, but now it is a boy, extremely young looking boy, and I suddenly look so old by comparison... Weird feeling.

Also: my mom is here, and I enjoy a vacation from 24/7 child care. Yay!
avrelia: (Rowan)
When did it happen that half of December has gone away? In my mind it is still the very beginning, but then I look at the calendar, and see that it is well past its middle, and the next week it's Christmas holidays already. We spent most November taking turns in having a cold, and now we seem to be in the clear. As most people in our part of the world we are covered in snow, which means I can hardly get anywhere with Son, but without a car. No stroller can get through these mountains, and no 15-months toddler, either. Right now, Son is jumping and playing in his crib, and I am hoping he'll fall asleep any minute now, so I could go about my business. He just learned to walk on his toes and I am falling in the floor from laughter looking at him.

I look in the window, and I see vast expanses of Mississauga covered in snow. It's nice there. We have a park nearby, and a creek with ducks on it (guess who is a great fan of ducks?), and a community centre with a library, a gym and a swimming pool. Today we bought a baby sled and went for a walk - all three of us; the day was a perfect winter day, and we've had a jolly good time in the snow. Except for Son - he didn't appreciate being in the snow yet. He liked the sled though. Besides humans one can see lots of animals around - we see squrrels, baby raccoons, cardinals, rabbits, and - attention - a snake. In a meter distance from me with a stroller. I froze and waited till it went away, then ran to the Internet to find out that it was a harmless garter snake, and this area doesn't have venomous snakes anyway...

All these nice things nonwithstanding, I miss Toronto. I miss the city-ness, the crowd, the subway, everything I got used to in five years. The differences isn't huge, but it is there, and it feels so strange... Trips to Toronto are now a bug adventure, and it's hard to make myself to go - but if I go, I spend teh whole day there, enjoying the crowds. ;)

ok, Daniel is asleep, gotta run!
avrelia: (Default)
Couple of days ago we got to “Gender Bender” in our re-watch of the season 1 of X-files. The action there (and our favorite FBA agents) goes to Steveston, Some State. Only it was not in Some state, it was in Steveston that is in Richmond, BC. I mean, I know that X-files were shot in Vancouver, so it was natural to expect to see it there, it just I haven’t caught any sights as familiar as that one on X-files before.

Which brings me to the promised nostalgia picspam.

PcSpam and the story )
avrelia: (kbsword by indilime)
He said once (as the legend goes): “I know only that I know nothing.”

Well, he said it in Greek, so it sounded differently, and I’ve heard it in Russian first, so it may look different from what you’ve heard, and maybe he didn’t say it at all, just looked as if he was going to say it any time soon.

But then, you know, was executed by democratic Athens.

Anyway, I came to a conclusion, that it is the truest thing I can say for myself. I am not going to be in every philosophy textbook for that, but the hell with it, I would prefer to be it a literature textbook.

When I was a child I thought it was stupid (Socrates’ thing) – I knew a lot. I knew about Socrates even. When I was a teenager I thought I was very intelligent and educated: I was studying Socrates, Plato and other really ancient guys. I knew a lot if stuff. I still do.

Yet… It came to my attention how much I don’t know and don’t understand. About everything – but I meet people, and often I can’t remember anything about their country beside the fact that it exists. But even when I can…

Things in Canada surprise me every now and then. But, well, I knew next to nothing about it before I came here. I knew way more about USA. It always loomed around in the consciousness – best foe, best friend, everything capitalistic and good, or capitalistic and bad – we studied its history in the history class, its Constitution in the political science class, etc. I knew a lot about USA.

Then I realized how little I knew.

And those last days – here is what prompted this post – I learned a huge, mammoth-like huge stuff about USA and people that live there, and I realize that I really know nothing about it, and probably never will.
Moreover, when I look back to me beloved Russia, I understand that I know nothing about it, too: I have some ideas and some facts, and some conclusions, but, really I know nothing about Russia, too. (which I was told – you are from Moscow, Moscow is not Russia)

So, the more I live, the more I learn, the less I actually know.

Is it the road to wisdom or senility?
avrelia: (Default)
First thing: being a lawyer is an incurable disease. You can stop working; you can change careers, but if by any chance you start again, it is like slipping in the old favourite pair of jeans that you thought would be too small by now, but it is not, and after a couple of days you feel like you never stopped wearing them.

I feel like this. This is not to say that I don’t feel lost and confused, because I have no idea where everything is, and how it is working, and the Russian laws changed well enough in the last four years… There is a lot of stuff to do, but it is not as overwhelming as I feared. Yay!

Yesterday I picked up an old lady in the subway - a tiny, tiny, but lively old lady. She asked me when the St. George station is, I said I was going there and would show her, then I helped her to get to the Bloor line, then the train went off without us, and we were waiting for the next one and talking, talking, talking. Well, she did most of the talking. About that she is well after eighty, but independent. That she cannot recognize familiar places any longer, because her eyesight has changed and so are the places - with all the new high-rises and renaming the streets… that she doesn’t go to downtown often now, but when she comes she cannot find anything… that I don’t look my 28 at all, and if I keep it that way nobody would give 80 one day… that she worked as a nurse for 17 years, interpreting from six languages. I asked what languages. She said, “first of all, Russian…” I was surprised, really. She came long ago form Ukraine knowing only two words in English: “yes” and “no.” Anyway, when I had to get off the train, we were both very disappointed that I had to go. I kinda wanted to adopt her.

So, yes, I am working now. Have to write some stuff right now. Totally forgot how sleepy the reading of court documents makes me…
avrelia: (kbsword by indilime)
A question for anyone who knows Ontario: we are looking for a place to go for a day (half of a day, more likely).

Could you recommend something that
-is at a distance of around two hours drive from Toronto;
-is not a wilderness (ok, I am still thinking by BC standards)
-is pretty
-we could spend 4-6 hours (including dinner) there without being bored
-which means it has something to look at, walk, swim in, etc (swimming is optional, as it is an end of September)
-is not Niagara Falls

Thank you
avrelia: (Default)
I am back here. I still live by some other time, and woke up at 6 – which is unnatural for me, but lucky, otherwise I would be woken up by the vigorous digging works in the street an hour later. I am not yet connected to life around here, I look with the horror at my flist thinking “Who are those people, and why are they writing all this?” I put my stuff to its places, sadly noting all things I’ve brought across the globe for no good reason and all things I needed but haven’t brought. I think I need one more coffee.

The visit was wonderful, and I definitely tell you all the fun stuff, and show the pictures – whether you want it or not. But right now I feel floating over reality, not connected to anything other then chocolate candies.

I smuggled some food to Canada. I hope they don’t mind – we are going to eat all the good stuff by ourselves and will not endanger either public health or Canadian economy. Their loss, anyway – the sausages are delicious. The flights were fine. The plane on my way back was half empty – first I cheered, then I remembered that statistics tells that planes that crushed are going half empty, then I figured I could do nothing about it, cheered up again and settled with (relative) comfort on two seats. The plane didn’t crush. I was slightly worried about all questionable stuff I was taking with me (food), but I wisely let my mom pack my bags, so I could honestly say that I had no idea about their content. In reality when I was asked if I have anything to eat with me, I honestly told about chocolate and went away.

And now for your entertainment – two pictures.

pictures )
avrelia: (As if! (Clueless))
I hoped that after I applied for my graduate studies I would feel free and happy. Nope. I feel sad and directionless instead. I blame the fact that I can't change anything anymore (about applications), that my life next year depends now on some other people.

We tried to watch Super Bowl last Sunday - for the commercials. We managed two hours, trying to figure out what is going on on a field and why they call it football. My husband's theory: players have to get the ball somewhere. My theory: it is all about unappropriate touching. Anyway, we got bored after two hours and watched "The Two Towers" instead.

I kept compairing hobbits to Andrew (hair-wise). Which brings me to this: Yeah, I know it’s been almost a week. Anyway, I haven’t read anything this week but couple of reviews, and I wrote my own, and I post it here, and now I will go backwards, may be even commenting.

Read more... )
avrelia: (difference)
My husband sent me this quote. Isn't he thoughtful?

I finally sent an application to U of T! Month later than I planned initially, but still hadn't missed the deadline. Yay! My misterious wish to be a luminary in jurisprudence might actually come true. Now I have to wish it really badly. Which I do. Oh, and send one to York, too, but this will be tomorrow.
After February 1 I will be obsessing with Crete-Mycenean civilization (which is fun) and job-hnting (which is not).

I was thinking about doing BBC book meme, but then decided that it is pointless. So, not doing it. Here!

Do you know that Canadian beaver is heading for the world domination? Ask me how.
avrelia: (Pig)
I am supposed to be used to severe winters. So what? It doesn't make walking in –20 C plus chilly wind any more exiting. Well, I do think that winter should be with snow and temperatures below zero, I was missing it in Vancouver. Yet you know: wind sucks. Today is it nice enough actually, but yesterday I was telling myself: "Why did I what winter anyway? Was I out of my mind or what?"

Enough about the weather.

I am crazy re-editing my thesis proposal. Arguing with my husband about choice of words. What was I thinking, hoping to finish everything in December? Plus, I almost forgot about application to York University. I do not want there, not really, but it is supposed to be my back up plan. I am so have to send everything next week. Grrrrr...

Okay, about AtS 5.09Read more... )

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