One hundred and eighty-four

“Attend an event in a language you don’t know”

I’ve been wanting to do this since a friend of mine suggested it to me at the beginning of the month.  It turns out it is pretty difficult to find an event in a language you don’t know in Toronto, when you don’t know the language or the community or where to find out about events.  Films in cinemas have English subtitles, cultural events celebrating different countries are in both English and the other language (unless it’s specific to that community, but then they don’t often advertise outside of their community).  I can wander around Chinatown or Little Portugal and listen to the language, but if I speak English, they will speak English back to me.  I should have just invited myself over to a friend’s family’s house where they speak a different language at home and make them speak only in that language to me.

Lithuanian Romeo and Juliet by OKT/Vilnius City Theatre at the Melbourne International Arts Festival

Traveling the world in my twenties I came across quite a few instances when I didn’t speak the language and had to communicate through body language or figure things out on my own.  You adapt quickly to certain words or ways of saying things so you can get by.  I remember sitting in a theatre in Prague for my 25th birthday, watching a play in Czech which I didn’t understand one word of, but understanding some of it through the movement (although, I’m still not quite sure why the whole audience stood up and sang at the end).  One of my favourite plays ever was Romeo and Juliet by OKT/Vilnius City Theatre at the Melbourne International Arts Festival – all in Lithuanian.  It was set in the kitchens of rival pizzerias with such amazing visual imagery, it didn’t matter what the words were (although I do know the story of Romeo and Juliet already, so that helped).

Entering into a world where you can’t communicate orally definitely puts you off balance.  Opposite from my experiment yesterday, I am relying almost completely on my sight to understand.

As I couldn’t find a cultural event in a different language, and had already written about Chinatown a couple of times this month, I decided to watch Cinema Paradiso – in Italian, no subtitles.  It was a beautiful film and I think I figured out quite a bit of the plot without language, but there were subtleties of the story I didn’t completely get.  I wanted to know what advice the older film operator was telling his younger protégé.  I needed to understand why his mother was so mad at him.  Was it the film like I thought?  Or the burning photo like my companion thought?  Sometimes I forgot it was in a different language and was caught up in the visual story.  But sometimes I felt like I was trying hard, but didn’t quite grasp it all.

Everyone should at one point watch a film in a foreign language without subtitles, spend a day around people speaking another language, or try to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak what you speak.  It’ll give a bit more perspective to what it’s like for immigrants moving to a foreign land and trying to get by surrounded by something that sounds like gibberish.  It can be really frustrating and lonely.

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One hundred and thirty

I got my delivery of organic veg and other items today from Front Door Organics!  I had bought a Groupon for two weeks worth of organic veg delivery for half the price during my couponing times and I saved it to use this month.  It was so easy to change and add things to my “box”.  And unlike the other organics delivery that I got during couponing month, this one actually has vegetables and fruit I will use.  I also had them add chilli hot chocolate, earl grey tea and tampons (sorry guys, but had to mention it).  They even dropped it off at my back door!  This should last me a couple of weeks with what I still have in my fridge from last month.

Getting food online has been so easy so far, although I’m still not certain about leaving meat and dairy products outside of my back door in the summer.  I need to find a solution to this or I will have to be vegetarian for the month.

Yesterday

I resisted temptation once again yesterday evening, but didn’t sacrifice my social life (a hard balance).  First, I was given two free tickets to see When Harry Met Harry at the Fringe Festival by networking through Facebook and the generosity of Allan Girod, the creator of this fun one-man show.  My friend who joined me bought me ice cream afterwards in exchange for the ticket/for next time we go out.  Then we met up with other friends of mine at a bar, where I sat and had a glass of water while the waitress gave me evil glares (I would too if I were her – who sits in a bar and only orders a glass of water?!).  Everyone was enjoying their evening and eating and drinking, and I sat with my glass of water and tried not to feel left out.

Funny thing is, I felt pretty great afterwards that I didn’t give in to temptation and I had a fun time regardless.  And I saved a bunch of money.  Maybe this only online shopping challenge is a blessing in disguise – teaching me not to blow all my money on evenings out and enjoying the simpler things like the conversations and picnics in the park with homemade food (how I spent my afternoon today).

Day eighty-three

The full day of dates

My day told through five photos, going backwards:

#1 How I felt at the end of the day

I was so tired at the end of the evening, I felt like it was a blur.  As the Arctic Monkeys finished their set and I tried my best to keep dancing, despite how out of focus the world was to me at the time, I was so ready to call it a night and crash.

#2 The Masseur

Luckily I had The Masseur who held my purse the whole concert, and massaged the huge knot in my shoulder during the breaks between songs.  If he hadn’t of been there, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the evening.  Our first concert together, despite the fact that I’ve known him for a couple of years.

#3 The Red Bull Factor

How I’ve made it through a few of the dates this week.  And I never used to drink Red Bull!  That and a nap in the afternoon helped.

#4 Youth Theatre in the middle of the day

Youth Theatre in the middle of the day.  I was supposed to bring a date, but couldn’t find anyone to come with me.  It would have been a great story, too, because we had planned to make them go up on stage as a contestant in the Spelling Bee!

#5 The Circus Show

I began my day with The Director at the Circus Show at the Harbourfront.  It was pretty lame (except the lady above on the ring), so we left to have a beer and some food.  I knew the manager and he ended up buying us an extra round of pints.  Starting a day (after closing the night before at the pub and only having a few hours sleep) with sunshine, beer, and only salad to eat = me ending up feeling like photo #1 by the end of the day!  And still feeling blurry the next morning, so I have to do a photo essay as my blog post for the day!

Today

Another OkCupid date with a handsome stranger.

Day sixty-six

The guy-I-dated-briefly-in-the-past date

The Actor

What is it about an ex that makes you keep wanting to return to them?  Do you forget the bad things?  Is it a comfort thing?  Do you think you’ll both change and it will work this time?  Even if you only dated briefly, there was a reason you’re not still dating.  If you read any advice column, listen to a talk radio show about relationships, or peruse online the Second Chances forum at LoveShack.org (a global peer-to-peer support resource), you’ll see all the people who are confused about their situation with their ex-partner.  Do I go back with them?  Will they come back to me?  I do firmly believe exes can be friends, after time and the healing process of the break-up is finished.  But boundaries need to be set and adhered to.  There is also a small chance that an ex-relationship will work out again, but that’s through fixing the reasons you broke up in the first place (a very hard task that requires a lot of commitment and communication and most people aren’t up to it).

For The Actor and I, it was simply a matter of future goals.  We had a bit of fun, but he never wants kids and I most likely do.  A definite deal breaker.  I didn’t want to waste time being with someone that I knew there was absolutely no future, despite the fact that we enjoyed each other’s company.  We originally met during our teenage years, then reconnected through the small world of Toronto theatre and Facebook.  There’s something so familiar about him that always makes me smile.  And it would be easy to have another fling with him.  But, as we enjoy our lunch and chat about our love lives, we both know that will never happen again.  Not because we don’t enjoy each other, but because our time has passed and romantic chemistry just isn’t there anymore.  There is no flirting.  He is casually dating as well, including one lady he likes who he met online.  But he does get calls sometimes from ladies he has dated, that are looking for booty calls or friends-with-benefits deals.  It’s easy to fall back into this, but not always the best decision to make.

Tonight

The quickie…

Day fifty-two

Last night I attended the Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille – a tri-annual theatre work-in-development festival, which I talked a little about in yesterday’s post.  The Buzz Festival takes place over the course of a week and features three short works-in-progress and one musician or band per day.  After each presentation the audience is asked to write down their thoughts of the piece by answering specific questions given to them in a booklet form in the program.  Examples of questions included tonight were: “what images stand out?”; “was there anything unclear/confusing?”; “what do you think the focus should be?”; among other more piece-specific questions.  The goal of the festival is to allow the creators to receive specific feedback and build on the partnership between audience and story.  As Andy McKim, Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille, said in the program: “Rather than theatre being created in isolation, artists are given the opportunity to incorporate audience feedback into the development of their work, ultimately creating stronger, supported theatre.”

This was the first time I had been to a Buzz Festival, and I will definitely go back.  Not only was it great to see works-in-progress (all in different stages of development), I really did feel a part of the process.  It was encouraged to write down feedback in the booklet and also to stay and chat with the artists afterwards.  You were also able to leave your e-mail for the specific shows you were interested in to stay up-to-date with the progress of the piece.  In live performance (like theatre is by its nature), the audience is a huge part of the production.  This is a great way to get the audience involved.

I also found the atmosphere made me very open to discussion.  I ended up chatting with a very interesting couple sitting beside me.  It turns out they are activists who were arrested at the same time as Tommy Taylor – the writer and performer of the third piece of the evening, You Should Have Stayed Home (about his arrest during the G20 summit last June in Toronto).  It was very interesting to talk to them about activism and the negative spin the public generally associates with what they do.  They suggested I should do a month of activism as my last month and told me about all the different ways to get involved.  They also have vegan and freegan (more about freeganism from Wikipedia here) roommates, so I left them my e-mail in hopes that I can chat with their roommates about their lifestyle for the month of September.

Tonight I’m going to see Joan As Police Woman in concert, so will be writing about my experience tomorrow.  But here’s one of her music videos: