Rendez-vous dans dix ans

I have been following a certain blog for ten years. TEN YEARS! Which means that I have been blogging (on and off) for more than ten years! (In fact, I started one year after getting married, before moving from Montreal to Niagara, 14 years ago…)

My fellow blogger asked me and the others who commented on her original post, ten years ago, to reply to the simple and , oh so complicated, question of where were we 10 years ago, today, and how we see ourselves in ten years from now.

It gave me a bit of vertigo.

Ten years ago, I was writing this post. In July 2008, D and I were living in Niagara. We were childless, only one cat (I can’t remember if we had the Lily-the-bunny then, too), and had the freedom to decide at random to go to the movies on a weekday or spend the afternoon biking around the region (when we were not working) and come back home with the sun. On Saturday we would often walk downtown (a 20 minutes walk from where we used to live), have lunch at our favorite sushi place, and follow it by aimless hours at the public library.

Ten years later, we are a family of  five humans and two cats (the same first cat is now eleven years old). We no longer live in Niagara. In the mean time we have moved 7 times, we spent one year in Saskatchewan, moved back one year to Niagara, then the big move to Brazil, where we lived 3 years in Rondônia, less than a year in Goiâs, and another less-than-a-year finally close to family in SJC, before deciding that Brazil was not what was best for our family.

I feel dizzy again.

We can no longer make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Our escapes to the sushi place have to be planned in advance to coincide with the kids being at school and both of us not working. We managed to go to the movies only a few times in 10 years, when we were lucky to live close to the in-laws and they could keep an eye on the kiddos. Now I go to the library with the kids when it coincides with the organized craft activities, so that I can read quietly for 30-minutes before someone comes to show me his work of art, gives me a book, asks if he can go to the bathroom (have I ever said “no” to that questions?), or wants to use the library computer (for games — why do they have computers at the library?).

Professionally I was working a lot ten years ago. I had a job as a bilingual secretary which I disliked. The hours and the pay were great, but I was either bored or stressed most of the time. Luckily I was also teaching music in the evening, and I really loved that. I had a very busy life, but with no perspective. D was studying for ever, we didn’t know when that would end, and where we would go after he had finished.

Nowadays I am teaching piano only to my Goddaughter once a week. I had started teaching music to my boys, but my patience is not as good with my own children. I am concentrating in their swimming lessons right now. Maybe I will try music again sometime later.

And then I have these audio books projects that are taking most of my waking hours… Yes, I had the bad idea to accept a second audio book project before finishing the first one. The due date of the second being before the first one, I am a bit stressed. Actually I shouldn’t even be wasting my time writing a post right now!

In retrospect, I am as stressed today as I was 10 years ago, only for different reasons! 😕

Our lives have changed dramatically in ten years, not necessarily for the better, not for the worse. Just different. We try to make the best of things, but let’s say that I had probably imagined something more stable 10 years ago… It is my wish, hope and dream that we will have put down some roots somewhere (anywhere, really, please ô God) in 10 years from now.

(The following song as nothing to do with the post. I am just a bit obsessed with it at the moment).


Above & Beyond

First of all, the title of this post is the name of a band that I have discovered some time ago. I wasn’t familiar with their music because I dislike the electro-dance-trance stuff that they usually produce (the heavy beats give me palpitations), but the acoustic concert that I’ve discovered by chance on Y*tube literally enchanted me.

I’ve been listening to the full concert (Here) quite regularly these past months.

It’s now time to finally write down what I’ve been up lately.

The weather has been fantastic for the past 2 weeks. Very sunny, but not too hot (around 20C) with a very agreeable cool wind. My kind of perfect weather. So it’s with great pleasure that I’ve kept my weekly program of biking along the river for about 15 minutes to the swimming pool, and swimming for about 45 minutes, before coming back home. I’ve been meaning to do this 3 times a week, but so far I’ve only managed twice a week.

A lot of people fishing.
A big boat passing in front of Detroit.
The bike and my happy place. 🙂

You see, while swimming laps, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should do about earning some money while doing something interesting with my life. I love teaching, music, languages and reading. I could teach music and languages again, but after school is the time that I would need to be available for students if I did this again. For me it’s simply inconceivable that I would give up the time I have with my children to be with others… Plus, the house we live in right now is not fit to accommodate students, we don’t know how long we’ll stay here, and D’s working hours are variable. Teaching is a no go for now.

For years I’ve been doing translations, but my university degree is in Music, not languages. To earn credibility and some regular clients, I would need some kind of diploma, which costs time and money, both of which I’m short of these days.

All these thoughts were rolling around my head while I was splashing back and forth in the pool.

I am really enjoying the odd projects that my friend is giving me for her Youtube channel. I am translating her cartoons into French and recording some voice over for her. It’s fun, interesting, and pays a bit of money. Maybe I could open a Youtube channel too? It has worked for her and her family, why not me? Ha! What would I talk about? How many languages I speak? (I’m pretty sure there are people out there who speak more than 6 languages. Just do a Google search, I’m nothing special).

I wish someone would pay me to read books. Since I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago I realized that I am reading between 50 to 100 books a year. Not all of them are prize worthy works of literature, but I’ve had nice surprises. Maybe I should seriously start reviewing books. Yeah right, I can’t even keep up with my blog, who am I kidding.

Laughing at myself here, while pedaling on the pathway along the river.

Wait. Aren’t there people who read aloud for audio books?!! I could be using my voice (which I trained for so many years, might as well use it), while reading (which I usually do anyway), recording at home, in the quiet hours when everybody else is either at school, working or sleeping… And eventually earn some money for it!?? I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before.

Anyway. So, after many hours of online research and instructive videos, here I am. I bought a decent microphone, dug myself a makeshift recording studio in the basement, created a profile on ACX (audiobook creation exchange), uploaded a couple samples, sent auditions a few times (fiction in French, English with a French accent, and language instruction), and ta-dah! I am now working on my first audio book project! Quite exciting. It’s taking a lot of my time because I have to learn not only to record (I am distressed at how much I can hear myself breathing), but also all about sound editing and mastering (erasing the aforementioned offensive breathing!). Hello learning curve.

The magic school bus

Our first concern when we arrived in Canada in November was to enroll the kids to school as soon as possible. While the school year in Brazil is from February to December, the following school year which is from September to June had already started here! The twins were only finishing their first year of primary school in Brazil, but they had missed the first months of their second year (Gr.2) here in Canada! And Uriel had missed his first months of primary school (Gr.1)… I was afraid that their reading skills would be behind from the rest of their peers.

Another concern was the language. They had started to read and write in Portuguese and had  adjusted rather well to the Portuguese language. I was completing their education with some French lessons at home and French is also the language we speak at home. However, they’d had little to no contact with the English language before coming here. What would happen now?

In Southern Ontario we discovered that there are four publicly funded school boards, English public, English catholic, French public and French Catholic. Free education of good quality (and free school buses!) was after all one of the main reason we came back. I’m loving it! 🙂

The choice was hard for us. On the most practical side, there is an English public school two blocks from our house. The other option was to send them to a French catholic school a little further away, but with free school bus service. Should we drop them in the English language and see what happens (we know how kids learn fast, right?), or ease the transition and look into a French school (their oral skills are obviously good, but the writing and reading in French in not as… intuitive).

We ended up deciding to send them to a French school for now. The idea is that they will hopefully learn to read and write the harder language first, be exposed to the French Canadian accent (which is not a bad thing in my opinion — they are French and Canadian after all!), then pick up English along the way (most of the kids in school speak English at home and behind the teacher’s back!).

Another fun fact: taking the yellow bus to school is a (very exciting) daily adventure! Their first thought was probably that they would step into the fantastic world of one of their favorite series. In truth, the ride that would take only 10 minutes if I would drive them directly to school takes them around 30 to 40 minutes… (not that they have anything else to do anyway, ha ha)

Magic school bus