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Published: January 22nd 2016
I never quite know what to expect when I return to Montreal for the summer. I always return with a small sense of sadness, having left my happy place. But it’s certainly sprinkled with some excitement to be back amongst the people I feel most comfortable and myself with. Although each time I return, I feel as though I’ve let go a little more of the Trish that grew up here and gained a newer, more confident and slightly (some might disagree) wiser version of myself. Each year it’s exciting to see if that’s true and also challenging to refrain from regressing back to the teenage Trish who finds comfort in being in her mommy’s home. Rather than being completely independent, looking out for myself and finding my own way, I revert back to eating my mom’s food, letting her do my laundry (happy to have a break from hand washing my clothes in a bucket!) and lazily having everything taken care of for me. When I’m on my own, there’s no question of who does any of that. It’s always me! I turn to myself for nourishment, for care and for problem solving. Ok I turn to Neelam (who owns
the house I return to each year) or whatever guy is available to remove the huge spiders from my room. And I almost always asked Thomas to carry my backpack…but that was a small price to pay for looking out for him as well…cooking for him, bargaining for our taxis and accommodation, booking our trains…it was actually more work to plan for 2 than to just be on my own. So, for the most part I am pretty self-sufficient in India! But back in Montreal, I am lazy. Every year I observe myself regressing from independent-Trish to take-care-of-me-Trish and realize the effort and discipline involved in carrying Indian Trish with me wherever I am.
This year, I felt a change building towards the end of my time in India. A determination I never knew before gained momentum as I continued my Ayurvedic studies, leading me to feel confident in introducing my skills in Montreal. I bought an Ayurvedic massage table online, to be delivered to my house before my arrival, in an attempt to carry that momentum with me through the summer…rather than leave it behind in India. I also created flyers to advertise, structured ideas of
workshops and listed short term monetary and business goals. And I thought my business degree was a complete waste. Ha!
And alas my Ayurvedic knowledge had grown into something I was proud to share in Canada and allowed me to save enough money for a future trip to India. My parent’s garage turned into a massage studio, their kitchen turned into a cooking class venue and Felicia’s basement served as a fantastic yoga studio. Ok so I didn’t exactly rent out a space, but new business ventures often need investors!
Taking a few days off to visit the Berke’s in Michigan….was the first time I understood what it means to lose out on a paycheck when taking a vacation. Of course I went anyways, but I finally get that loss from an expected income to pay the bills…or in my case finance a trip. Still worth it though!
And just for a little extra fun and the bonus of extra work…I spent my last month in Vancouver living with Jeff and Sue & their kids. We played a lot…Ellie outwitted me when the spider invaded my space, Daniel learnt how to
meditate (or rather did it on his own at my suggestion) and Alex became as obsessed with my ali baba pants as I am. Oh and I introduced them all to Billy Madison…a highlight for us all!
And now I am back…year #7.
I decided this year that my health is more important than scouring the internet for the cheapest deals…which often mean long or multiple layovers. It turns out making that decision didn’t factor in whatsoever to ultimate choice and I ended up with 2 layovers and a longer total flight time than I think ever before! Funny how my decision making almost invited in the exact opposite of my wishes, as if mocking me for thinking I could give up money in exchange for time or even my health!
Nevertheless, after 2 separate nights on planes (a 12-hour layover in which I spent 7 hours asleep spread across airport chairs), I night in a bed that felt like a plank of wood and then a final travel night on a bus with a reclining seat…and I arrived in Dharamkot….my Indian home. I usually go directly to the beach, arriving
all about the feedom these days
but not for real...a fake tattoo for real freedom from any commitment!
in January. But this year, staying true to my ‘stay-healthy’ plan, landed me up in the Himalayas where I usually end my trips. It’s different for me to arrive in November, but it was intentional, seeing as the fall in Montreal tends to lower my energy level and weight quite significantly. So far, I’ve managed to create a schedule that energizes me with walks through the mountains, maintains a decent although child-like appetite and allows my ass to still fill out my jeans! I can’t complain. A minor adjustment to my timeline – from fall to spring, rather than winter to summer – and I can still work enough to get me to india for 6 months but also stay healthy enough to avoid hospital visits. It only took 11 years but I think I’ve finally got it! Maybe before you ask me how I do it, you should take into account how long it took me to figure this out and answer that yourself instead!
I got back here, all ready to approach the kitchen situation from a peaceful but assertive position…with labels for all my food and appliances. If other travelers wanted to steal my
possessions, they were going to do it with the knowledge that it “belonged to Trish” or having at least read a little memo from me saying something like “If you didn’t cook this food yourself, then don’t eat it” ok maybe slightly more aggressive than peaceful…but I really did not enjoy my disappearing food and pots last year! Again, joke was on me…2 weeks here so far and not 1 other soul has stepped foot into the kitchen! hahaha
While leisurely spending my days cooking, reading, visiting old friends, walking up into the mountains for spectacular views and occasionally watching movies (I’m still excited to have my own laptop!), I have also sat around the odd touristy café listening in on conversations that I prefer not to be part of. They remind me of the naivety I once carried around, of a first-time backpacker, thinking I was on my way to seeing it all.
For your entertainment purposes, here are some remarks that can be overheard in any given backpacker spot of India:
Dude, have you been to the Beatles ashram?
That’s the 8th
time today that I’ve
the next generation
Daniel's a serious meditator these days
gone to the bathroom!
Vipassana totally changed my life. I am such a good meditator now.
This isn’t the “real” India.
I spent a month in a village where I was the only white person.
Have you read Shantaram?
It’s all empty anyway.
“The French are so snobby. The Germans have no sense of humour. The Canadians are too polite. The Americans are always loud. The British are so proper. The Israelis only come here to get high. The Indian tourists are the worst!” Aaahhh stereotypes
All you have to do is pay off the cops.
Don’t eat with your right hand. That’s so disrespectful. Or is it the left. Shit. Use a fork.
Did you get scammed into buying that woman milk, too?
Have you been to the “real” India?
People are so poor in this country. It’s so sad. We really have to help them.
I fell in love with an Indian guy. We had the deepest connection. I considered
moving in with him until he told me to first put on a sari and then learn how to cook.
That’s it for now…today I am in Chennai, awaiting my flight to Bangkok. After a few hours there, Pete and I will fly to Yangon to spend 3 weeks in Myanmar. Who’s Pete??? If you have facebook, you already know! And if you don’t…you’ll just have to wait for my next blog. This is the one I forgot to send last month. Oops. Next month I will catch you up on my love affair in the paradise of the Andaman islands….a wonderful place to fall in love and for sure a great place to spend the winter!
Namaste cold Canadians
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