Tag Archives: Victoria

LIV Your Life Dragonboat Fundraiser in Victoria

If you’re a woman, you can probably remember how scared you felt when your first period came. Despite having heard about it from your mother, an older sister or school, you never really know how it’ll feel until it happens.

Red Flower

Red Flower by Ahmed ElHusseiny

Fortunately, in the West, we have the advantage of education and access to the necessities that let us lead our life normally while we are menstruating. However, this is not the case for everyone in the world:

Without the resources to take care of themselves while menstruating, girls in Africa miss 5-7 days of school per month and stop going to school and get pregnant. This keeps the cycle of uneducated women, disempowered and with no voice.

It is a shame that something as simple as a normal, healthy biological function causes harm to girls and young women all over the world.

On July 28th at Go Rowing and Paddling (at the Selkirk Waterfront), there will be a dragonboat race fundraiser comprised of 18 teams of 20 girls who collected pledges to buy Lunapad menstruation kits for girls in Africa, which cost 5$ each.

Come watch the exciting race supporting this great cause on Saturday, July 28th at the rowing club at Selkirk Waterfront. You can find more information about Little Goddess Entreprises and the LIV Your Life Project here.


Leave a comment

Filed under Events

Absinthe Tasting at the Victoria Steampunk Expo

By a stroke of luck (thanks Lisa!), I was able to get two tickets for the sold out absinthe tasting of the Victoria Steampunk Expo on Friday, April 20th. And my friend Julian Gunn (a published poet, by the way, so look him up!) was more than happy to accompany me.

I’d never had absinthe before. I’ve heard about it, yes, but I had never tried it. This was the perfect occasion to get a taste of this notoriously mysterious and ritualistic drink.

The tasting was at the famous Union Club in Victoria, a members-only club that also used to be gentlemen only. It is everything you imagine a private club to be: lush rooms with wingback chairs, a full library, card and pool tables, music rooms with a dance floor, and many more absolutely luxurious things for retired millionaires. Heck, a picture of Winston Churchill welcomed us down the stairs to our tasting room.

If you don’t know what absinthe is, let’s make a quick summary: absinthe is a distilled alcoholic drink (usually between 60 and 80%) containing botanical extracts such as anise and, most famously, wormwood (read the full Wikipedia article).

So, basically, it tastes a lot like licorice. With alcohol. We tasted 3 absinthes: the Canadian Taboo (from the Okanagan), the American (I think) Hills, and the French La Fée.

Absinthe is only rarely drank pure; at 60%+ alcohol, you need a strong stomach. It is usually mixed with ice-cold water and sugar, to open up the flavours and compensate for the characteristic bitterness of the drink. It’s done by using a fountain of water dripping a tiny stream on a sugar cube, that’s on a spoon installed on top of your glass. The water transforms the clear green color into a milky, opalescent greenish drink.


Chris Adams of the Victoria Ghostly Walks delighted us with stories of the ghosts of Victoria, and other tidbits related to absinthe and the history of the town. Not being from BC, I actually learned quite a lot!

And now, for what you probably want to see: some of the nice costumes I was able to snap during the evening.


Sheila and her husband


Our hostess


Annette and Mela-Dawne


Jenaya and Ivan

Hopefully I can get more great costumes at today’s expo!

Have you ever had absinthe? Do you like it?

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Reviews

Victoria Steam Exposition III — April 20 to 22

Steampunk Power

Steampunk Power by molossus on Flickr

Oh my god.

How did I not know this was happening THIS WEEKEND?

Thanks to a friend on Twitter, I learned about the Victoria Steam Expo at the Empress and am now definitely planning to attend.

In its simplest definition, steampunk is a literary and cultural movement presenting a futuristic look on the Victorian period. Basically, it presents futuristic technology applied to the Victorian era. It’s an imaginative reinterpretation of Victorian technological advances seen from our 20th and 21st century point of view.

Steampunk celebrates the hand-made, DIY, “make your own mess”, idiosyncratic technological inventions. It features grease-covered mechanics who build their own dirigibles, and the ladies gracefully wear corsets as they do so. It stands against the mass-produced and the ordinary, against the repeated and indistinguishible gadget that promotes conformity rather than creativity.

Steampunk touches many cultural fields: from crafts and fashion to literature and art. Steampunkers believe in the power of imagination, invention and individuality with a Victorian twist.

As someone who studied Victorian literature, steampunk is a fascinating contemporary subculture. It’s a reinterpretation of our Victorian past from a technological angle that takes the best of the early days of science-fiction and infuses a sense of dissonance and asynchronicity typical of our own time.

This weekend’s event will feature authors such as Anne and Jeff Vandermeer and Kaja Foglio, artists such as Ian Finch-Field and the steampunk band Abney Park. The Saturday night burlesque cabaret event will feature burlesque performer Cherry Poppins. There will be a variety of vendors, artists and performers as well.

I will be reporting and hopefully take a bunch of pictures to share with you!

And now, enjoy this video about what steampunk is NOT:


Filed under Events

Mary and Elizabeth go to the opera

It’s your typical royalty story: two reigning monarchs, both vying for the same throne, use all the power at their disposal to get (or keep) the crown they believe is their due.

That this is a story is not surprising; that this is a historical one isn’t either; what may be surprising is that this story is about two women in power in 16th century England.

Maria Malibran

Maria Malibran, the first performer of the role of Mary Stuart in Donizetti's opera

The Royal McPherson Theatre in Victoria is currently presenting Maria Stuarda, a Donizetti opera featuring two of the most powerful women in history. The story is a long and complex one, as they all are; in short, Elizabeth kept Mary Stuart in captivity for almost 19 years before she finally had her executed for her involvment in a plot to assassinate her. Mary had been holding her claim to the throne since Elizabeth’s accession; too dangerous to let loose but to highly ranked to kill, Elizabeth had to keep her alive but stripped of her power.

In reality, the two women never met. Donizetti took rather large liberties with history and pitted them against each other in what is described as the best catfight in the history of opera.

I went to my first opera last year in Edmonton, thanks to a colleague who had worked for the Edmonton opera for years and had access to cheap tickets for the dress rehearsal. I saw Trouble in the Seraglio and Tosca. When I heard about this opera on the radio, I thought “nice! I should go see that”.

It sounds like it’s going to be a great show, with world-class singers and direction. I will definitely write a review after I see the show next Wednesday.

In the meantime, here’s the relevant info:

What: Maria Stuarda
Where: Royal McPherson Theatre, Victoria
When: April 14, 18 and 22nd
More info: Pacific Opera Victoria

Leave a comment

Filed under Theatre

The Dance (Scintilla Day 3)

The Dance by ahmad ali on Flickr

It’s a cloudy September morning, the kind of morning we always get here: threatening rain but never delivering its promises. The car is small but I feel far away already, the middle console shadowing the mountains I am about to cross.

It’s early; the drive is short. Not a lot of traffic going north at this time of the day. But my heart feels like those fully-loaded trucks going south from the ferry: heavy, reluctant, just like my suitcases filled to the brim with everything I could fit in them. My entire life. Except for you.

It was something we’d known might happen since we met, something we knew would happen since February. We’d danced a delicate tango around it for all these months, our words tangling over and under each other, pushing the thought away only to have it pull us back into a desperate abrazo.

But the music has stopped, and we have to face reality: I am leaving.


It’s Saturday night, an unusually cold one for Victoria, even in February. It has snowed all week. Luckily, I  brought my winter gear from Edmonton; boots and down coat wait on the couch while you get ready for the party.

I have just spent spring break with you, ten days of cooking and ironing and reading among your things, your smell, your rules. But something was off. You were sullen, distant, upset. My emotions have been building up all week, swelling the lake until the dam finally breaks.

I’m clutching my knees, trying to make myself as small as possible. I don’t want to bother you with my crying, but I’m crying anyway. My makeup is going to be ruined, and everyone will know.

You come out of the bathroom, concerned. You ask what’s wrong, and I need to gather all my strength to stop sobbing. Incoherent words about touching and distance tumble out. Your sad eyes tell me all I need to know: “I’m sorry for what I’m about to tell you.”

That night, I try to sleep, alone, on the old saggy couch that came with your apartment.


The day I leave Edmonton reminds me of that September morning almost a year ago, but it’s July now. The grey clouds threaten the rain that’s badly needed after days of uninterrupted Prairie sunshine. The rain starts during the drive to the airport. But it’s not Victoria I’m headed to; rather, my purgatory for the next eight months: Vancouver.

When I land, Vancouver is just as grey, but much more humid. The dampness falls on me like a favourite comforter, tucking my hope in. These kinds of days you never know if it will rain or not; the weather is so impredictable here.

You’re not here, but only water separates us now, instead of water and moutains and a provincial border. “Only a quick ferry ride”, I think. I don’t know if this will work or not, but I have to try. I left my PhD to make it work. It has to.


The treacherous March weather is hanging over my moving day, but it seems to be clearing up now. It takes about an hour to fill the rental truck with my stuff. Mostly boxes, a desk, a dresser, a bookcase and a chair, suitcases as heavy as they were that day in September. The console between us is wider, too. And yet my heart is lighter now, fluttering about like the playful dolphins I’ve seen on the ferry crossing once or twice. I’m with you now, and it’s all that matters.

The sun welcomes us on the island, as if to say “this is where you belong; let me light your way back.”


Filed under Personal

Employment–at last!

There are things that happen when they must. These last few months have tried my patience beyond anything I’ve ever had to deal with before. But finally, patience has been rewarded (along with a lot of time spent praying to those watching over me).

After three interviews, a translation test, a reference check and five days of waiting, I finally received a job offer. In Victoria. In a position that I am skilled for an interested in doing as a profession.

Which is weird, because I rejected this profession when I started my degree at Concordia. I doubt I would have found this position (and would have lived in such a beautiful place) had I followed through with my first impulse, but it seems that all the roads lead to Rome after all.

So, no more moaning about not getting called back or scrunging for clients or doing terrible work just for the pay. I will do the writing I want, use my French on a daily basis and generally be gainfully employed communicating messages to people in their own language. Which is awesome and meaningful, in its own way.

Oh, and it comes with a salary, vacation and a benefit package. But that’s just the icing on the cake!

1 Comment

Filed under Personal, Work

Home Is Where the Heart Is

I know, this is pretty much a cliché, but clichés exist for a reason–they’re often a reflection of a reality that’s so ordinary that people stop thinking about it.

I’ve moved 11 times in the last 10 years, and I know I’m not quite settled yet. I love Vancouver, I love its majesty and the feeling that anything is possible here. I love how it makes me feel young and hip and part of a community.

Vancouver also has its issues: besides being so damn expensive, there’s also a hidden, cutthroat attitude to it. Here, you make it or you’re nobody.

Despite all of that, despite how much attraction I feel to Vancouver, Victoria is more synonymous with “home”. The main reason lies in my SO living there. I only really feel home with him; however crazy, social, amazing my life has become in Vancouver, not being with him makes it all seem… less relevant. Victoria was also my first home in BC and I will always feel more “at home” here.

I’ve been having these fantasies lately, fantasies of moving to a remote cabin somewhere in the Gulf Islands to write. With him. Let go of the need for fashionable clothes and a bus pass and eating in fancy restaurants. I just want to do what I love–writing–with the person I love most.


Filed under British Columbia, Life, Thoughts, Writing