Ça va bien. Et vous?
As a Canadian child, everyone learns French in elementary and junior high (and often high school as well). I believe it's in the hopes that it will encourage more of Canada to be bilingual, unfortunately...I grew up in Alberta where Francophones are reviled. I'm not kidding. It is perfectly normal for people to insult Québec (the French province) and its people. It's especially common in rural areas. This is largely due to the fact that Albertans believe they are responsible for sustaining Québec with oil revenue. While some Canadians dislike the French, the feeling was mutual. At one point Québec threatened to leave Canada and actually held a referendum. The vote was 50.58% against leaving with a 93.52% voter turnout. The 2016 US Election had a mere 55% turnout, and in 2008 (Barack's campaign year) there was only a 57.1% turnout. So yeah, Québec was deeply divided and invested. I've often heard Albertans lament the fact they didn't leave.
I may be Albertan, but my father is from Saskatchewan (the province next door), and my mother is from...dun dun DUN...Québec. While my father grew up in the prairies, my mother had grown up in Montréal-Nord with a large Catholic family. This was before the Quiet Revolution, so health care and education were in the hands of the Catholic Church - along with everyday life. It was the duty of every good Catholic woman to have as many children as possible. The Church expected to have loyal parishioners, but instead my mother and all of her siblings decided they weren't Catholic. When she left home, she left all of Québec behind, and eventually came out west to settle down. By the time I was a child, I never heard a drop of French. When my sister and I were a bit older, she taught us a few things to appease our adolescent curiosity, but that was it.
Part of growing up was pointing out how snobby the French are. Some schools had something called, "French Immersion" which meant that every class would be taught in French. One school I attended had split the school in two, some students were taught in English and some in French. This created a very real division in socializing. French kids stuck together and conversed in French blatantly, followed by sneers and laughter. As an Anglophone, it felt very rude. So began the theme of snobby French. While the French kids stood united in their secret language, everyone else commented on their attitudes. Bienvenue au petit Canada. While that behaviour was fairly tame, when I was in grade 4 during a parent-teacher night, my French teacher reprimanded me for being a failure in French class. She actually scolded my mother. Luckily my mother laughed it off, but I was incredibly embarrassed and hurt.
So why is an Albertan like me learning French? I'm part French, so that helps, but more importantly being bilingual opens a lot of doors. Especially if you ever want to be involved in politics or government. If I can manage to learn French as a second language, it'll be equivalent to a rebirth. Plus, better to try now and not later so I'm the object of public humiliation for weeks after...*ahem*
At the moment, I'm going to be taking French lessons until May. So far I've already learned more than my combined time in school. Who knows, maybe this could work out for me...
Here's the link for the gallery upload this week!
Next update will be February 17!
Friday (November 22) evening I had gone out for pizza and drinks with my best friend and my partner. It was a momentous occasion, since it was the first time both of them were meeting. We were enjoying bulgogi pizza with shots of Soju while my phone was ringing silently. It wasn't until we were all in my friend's car after eating, that I checked my phone. Several missed calls, a voice mail and a few text messages were waiting for me. My sister's message was urgent. This was only somewhat typical - it was the missed call from my father and mother that set me off. I hadn't spoken much to my father since October 25. We had a falling out, so to speak (parents just don't understand). So it must have been important for him to breach the awkward tension to call me.
I called my sister first. She gave me the news. My grandmother is dead. Just like that. Now, just imagine for a moment, a person who is akin to a Nazi, dying. Are you sad? No, not really. Actually, you probably feel elated. Like, finally. One of the most evil people in the world died - no great loss. I know it's a horrible thing to say - people say you should never celebrate someone's death. Well, perhaps if it was a regular person or even if they weren't, as long as they weren't bitter and cruel to their dying days. Unfortunately, my grandmother was like a Nazi. She hated everyone - every sexuality, every colour, every nationality, everyone. She hated her friends, her family and her peers. I don't remember her saying anything nice about a single person - except herself. She always had praise for herself. How kind she was - how smart she was - sadly, all delusions. She may have been steeped in denial and lost all objectivity. Either way, she was not a good person.
I dislike this fact however my opinion isn't necessarily shared. My sister was broken up about it. She was crying. She actually felt sad. I was surprised. I mean, my sister never visited - if anything, I visited much more frequently (to my chagrin). Nor did she speak kindly of her or to her - she would openly mock my grandmother, but in a way that my grandmother didn't know it was happening. It was embarrassing. I never dared to behave that way, despite not liking her. Yet, my sister was broken up about it. My father's reaction was expected - he was sad, but sad for different reasons. He felt like it was a life wasted - she didn't learn anything and she died alone, with no one who loved her. Perhaps she could have arguably deserved some pity if it wasn't for the fact she lived her entire life abusing others. I have zero tolerance for abuse.
So here I am, contemplating. My grandmother was 91 when she died. My father told me that she was found standing up, leaning on her walker with her eyes open. I hate to have been the one to find her. It must have been terrifying. The workers knew my grandmother and did their best to avoid dealing with her except when mandatory. She was in an assisted living facility where they had to check on her twice a day. So there she was, still moving, still stubbornly pushing - she died mid-movement. I can't think of many people who do that. That was her though - she was incredibly stubborn. So stubborn in fact, we were all convinced she would never go. She had already defied the odds years ago when she walked again, after doctors said she wouldn't. She had disc surgery in her back, and in more recent years, both hips replaced. Yet, she walked. Nothing stopped her.
While it's obvious there's no love lost between my grandmother and I, I can admire her tenacity. I have never known another woman so fierce, so stubborn, and so determined. Maybe I have her to thank for those attributes in myself. Either way, she's now gone. There's no point in belaboring the same point again and again, she's dead now.
Yet, it does leave me with some curious questions. How am I supposed to feel? Despite not liking her, I had visited her frequently throughout my entire childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I knew her closely. My father, sister and I played cards with my grandmother. We ate at the same restaurant for years and years and years. This Chinese buffet she preferred going to - she was also incredibly cheap and refused to eat anywhere else. We had gone so frequently, I recognized all the staff and knew exactly what food was served where. I had a preferred route!
So I was "close" to her. Although no one was truly close to her. She didn't have depth - she had layers of manipulative abuse. How do I feel about her death? I was honestly happy. I thought, finally. She's no longer a burden to my father. He often complained about how difficult it was for him to take care of her, and her affairs. She was stressful and demanding. If he didn't answer the phone, she would call the police and have them search for him - from another province! Controlling is a word that describes her. Yet, is that okay? Is it okay not to care about the death of a close family member? If one of your relatives was a "Nazi", would you feel bad upon their death? I will say that she was one of the last remaining ties to my father's side of the family. That part is sad.
Regardless, I wanted to update the Blog with what's going on in my life. I moved in October to a different place, so it's taken a long time to transition and organize everything. I've only begun to get settled in. I apologize for my absence but hopefully there will be more updates coming soon.
I read an article recently about how movies were horribly inaccurate in regards to in-laws. I attempted to find the article again but unfortunately no luck. I will update if I find it.
Regardless, I just shook my head. Obviously the author of said article has not dated OR they have had the incredibly rare luck of finding mates with decent, genuine in-laws. I am almost entirely convinced that such a thing does not exist.
In the article, the writer mentioned the film "Monster-in-Law" as being ridiculously dramatic but frankly, they are wrong. Okay, fair enough, some of the events are quite over-the-top however not unlikely.
I've had some experience with "in-laws" and let me tell you, I would recommend avoiding the in-laws, forever. There is no real reason to meet in-laws unless you're getting married. I know that might sound rude or something but let's face it, once you're over 21 your parents are not the decision makers. If they are, you have a problem. I'm specifically speaking about mama's boys - stay the hell away from any man who "loves his mommy". That is a waste of time. You will always be second, if not last.
The very first boyfriend I had was a mama's boy. I wish I had known something about that beforehand. I had no idea that one person could have such an influence over someone's life. I know that when I make decisions that the only opinion that matters is my own. I will consider input from my family or very close friends but ultimately I will have to live with the decision.
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