My exploits

Family fun

On the Sunday after I got my neck brace off, my family and I went out for Korean BBQ to celebrate.

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Here are also some photos from that Christmas party with my parents’ church group I mentioned earlier:

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And here is what I had to leave behind because I wasn’t feeling so good:

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TRAYS UPON TRAYS of homemade Filipino desserts!!!

The first time I rode the bus again

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I missed Mississauga Transit my freedom.

I had to take the bus to meet our wedding photographer, Carrie, at a nearby Starbucks to discuss what photos would go into our wedding album.

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Sample page. I’m so excited to hold it in my hands!

I used public transit only twice that week. I left it to the end of the week, after my body adjusted to my new normal.

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What to do when there’s no one at the GO Train station

How to learn French when no one around you speaks French

As soon as I left Québec City for Toronto to meet my neurosurgeon, I continued learning French by taking one and a half hour private lessons online with online language school Iboux (around $20 CAD per hour). I was inspired by my mother-in-law who has been taking Skype lessons like these for Spanish.

With zero French influence around me here in the Greater Toronto Area, I had to keep up with my French because I’m spending this Christmas with my husband’s family! I’m also returning to my French school in Québec City after the New Year.

I love my teacher, Hadrien, and the platform on WebEx!

It’s so helpful when Hadrien writes the corrected version of what I’m trying to say:

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I’ve been taking lessons four to five times a week. One and a half hours of one-on-one French learning and speaking can be mentally exhausting. I’m also doing a language exchange on the phone with someone (Salut, Olivier!) wherein he helps me with my French, and I help him with his English.

All week (I’m not kidding, ask my friend Rabi), I had been preparing myself physically and mentally to survive a Mississauga to downtown Toronto commute, a commute I was well-accustomed to making pre-accident. Because the public transit system in the suburbs of West Mississauga is grossly inefficient in connecting commuters to downtown Toronto, the commute takes (MINIMUM) an hour and a half. THIS INCLUDES AN UNBEARABLE HOUR ON A JOSTLING BUS JUST TO GET TO THE FREAKIN’ SUBWAY. This is pretty much why I voted for you, Mayor Crombie.

Anyway, I wanted to make that long journey to downtown Toronto to join a drop-in French class! Hehehe. (This is what you do when you have free time.)

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From the Drop-in French Lessons Meetup Group

It was $15 for an hour and a half of group instruction. I joined the High Intermediate and Advanced class because I was the ONLY ONE who signed up for the Intermediate class. I thought it would be more beneficial for me to join the higher level with more participants. And I survived, no issues!

One of the things I learned was the expression, “Tu pousses le bouchon un peu trop loin, Maurice!”

At the start of the class, our teacher Mathilde, asked the group if we had any stories from the week. The lady next to me told us about how she volunteered for a French organization. How cute.

I, on the other hand, had more pressing news to tell:

J’ai eu un accident de voiture où je me suis cassée le cou. J’ai eu un collet il y a sept mois et demi, mais je n’ai plus besoin de porter de collet!  C’est ma première semaine de pleine liberté! 

I was pretty excited.

Although my husband said that I have not improved as much as when I progressed exponentially when I attended French school in Québec City, I think I’m better off now than if I lost everything I learned from two months of French school!

I had some catching up to do

I went on my first brace-free dinner with my friends Kanita, Rabi, Denise and Varun! I had so much fun.

We had dessert at this place called Sugar Marmalade where we had previously dined when I still wore my Minerva jacket. The bad memories of that cumbersome neck brace were replaced by good ones that night.

The emotional toll

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I thought it would be all sunshine and rainbows when I got my neck brace off. It was, but not entirely. I still cried and had my moments of sadness and regret about everything that had happened. I’m not sure if that will ever go away.

Exhibit A: At Starbucks with Carrie, our wedding photographer

While looking at our wedding photos

Carrie: “Feels like forever ago, doesn’t it?”

Me: “Yeah, kind of…”

Me, in my head: Huuuuuuuuuuuuuu, we were so happy then. But then the accident happened. SAD.

Exhibit B: At the end of yoga class

While thanking and chatting with the instructor…

Me: “Yeah, I actually had to get two surgeries and wear a neck brace for seven and a half months.”

Instructor: “Oh my, well you take it easy on yourself, okay? It seems like you’ve been through a lot.”

Me: *Fake smile*

Me, in my head: *Almost tearing up* OMG, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT?!?! I WANT TO CRY RIGHT NOW!

At least I didn’t go to the bathroom to cry it out… I kept it together.

Well that was pretty much it, real-life-encounters-wise.

Writing this post and editing my short story also didn’t help (or maybe it did? I don’t really know yet), as I had to recall everything so vividly to be able to write about my experiences.

Now instead of “Just take it one day at a time,” I can change my motto to “Just take it one week at a time.” And that’s already a step in the right direction in this long road to recovery.

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