exploring my city

2

bagginshield???? my city now

7

Darling

Location: 4328, boul. St-Laurent, Montreal

Metro Station: Mont Royal

End of April… marks the end of finals. School’s out!… Well only for about 3 days until I go to summer school. 

Nonetheless, gives me enough time to explore my city without any pressure from my academic responsibilities!

Today, my boyfriend and I were planning on having a lunch type date in the Mile end until our plans miserably failed when we realized our chosen restaurant wasn’t going to open for another 4 hours. We decided to hop on a random bus on the corner of the street since it was pouring like crazy and we didn’t feel like staying out in the rain. We got off a stop when we started feeling like we knew the neighbourhood and ended up in the Plateau… again. 

After finding a place to eat, we decided to walk around some new areas in the Plateau we hadn’t discovered yet. Although it was raining, breathing in fresh air was so refreshing considering we had been locked in our room the past 3 weeks trying to stuff 5 courses worth of information in our heads. 

I felt like I was in a European dramatic movie - walking in the rain with a little umbrella with my favourite person, discovering places with nothing else in mind. Queue the Parisienne music. 

We suddenly stumbled upon an exotic looking shop on the corner of a street. From the outside looking in, while we were dripping with water, we could see plants and wine and bright lights and greenery and comfortable couches and… coffee! Sold.

We went into the coffee shop and was immediately warmed with welcomes from the waiter. A coffee shop - but a different kind at that. The first thing that caught my eye was with no hesitation the lights on the ceiling. I don’t really know what the letters spell out, but they sure look aesthetically pleasing so I rolled with it.

The section next to the windows was very casual with the couches. There were mini candles decorating each table and plants flowing around every corner, making the space extra inviting - battling the coldness of the weather outside. As the Jazz music was playing in the background, we took a seat on the couches, avoiding the tables since we didn’t have laptops since we didn’t have school. Emphasis on the comfort!!! No school equals we can sit on the nice couches and relax. 

I saw students around me on their laptops still working very hard on their studies… accompanied with their glasses of wine instead of the usual latte. I liked it. I love coffee but i live for these different little details in shops. 

Let me explain the wine though, because it is a very important part of this “coffee shop”. It’s not really a “coffee shop”. It’s a hybrid. Half coffee shop, half bar. You heard that right. It’s also a bar. Order food, order alcohol, order coffee - sit at the huge circular bar for a nice glass of wine or beer or anything else, or sit on the couches like me and still order your usual. I got a chai latte this time so I tried to be a bit different than my regular latte. And it was delicious! One of the best I’ve ever had.

I felt like I was in a different country in this cafe. With decorations like mini instruments on the walls, to the candles on the tables, to the vintage looking decor, I also felt like I was in a Jazz club. Everything was so perfectly shaped together. 

I know I say I love all the cafes in Montreal - and I do, don’t get me wrong - but this place is really one of my favourites now. It made me feel like I’m in 1920s Paris and I lived for it. Next time, I’ll even dress for it.

Sometimes, your plans might go awry and your chosen restaurant will open only 4 hours later. However, sometimes… those moments are calls for better adventures and more exploration with improvisation. Let the rain guide you to beautiful shelters.

τ’ όνομα σου, μου θυμίζει τα πιο ζόρικα ξενύχτια…


iwnts

2

“I met Chloe on March 25th, 2017. It was at the HVFF in Chicago. I arrived three days before the event to have some time to explore the city on my own. When the day came I was a complete mess. I flew almost 3000 just to see her. Of course I was first in line that day.

She was a little bit late, which gave me plenty of time to get more nervous. We were expecting her to come through the black curtains. I was just talking with the staff guys (they were so nice to me) when they saw her coming behind us.

I really can’t describe how it felt to see her. She walked right pass me and suddenly I didn’t want to go first. She came with her manager and sat down and I still wouldn’t move. She was like waiting and I didn’t move. She finally told me to come over. I literally had a speech planned and all the things that I wanted to say. I brought some presents, but when I was in front of her I went totally blank.

I think I forgot my English in that moment. I managed to say some words. I introduced myself and said that I had come from Colombia and she was really surprised that I had done that. It’s true that when you’re with her she’s hyper focused on you. She grabs your hand and she looks at you, and only you and pays attention to every single thing that you say and when you’re an incoherent mess (like I was) she starts complimenting you. She grabbed my hair and said that she loved it, because she missed her long hair so much. She said that she loved my shirt (I was wearing the fight like a girl sweater) She always tries to keep the conversation flowing. One thing that struck me is that she seems to be very aware of the kind of person that is in front of her? I mean, I noticed that a few people only approached her booth to see if she was taking pictures. She had a no photos rule. I think with that she makes sure that people go there to have a special moment, not just to take selfies with some celebrity.

I think she knows how to read that love and reciprocate it when she sees that people are being honest with her. So many of us went up there so excited only to say hello, to spend some time with her. She tries to make that small moment special. I told her I had totally forgotten my English in that moment and she said that Natalia would love me, and mentioned the episode were they recruited Yoyo in Bogotá. I was mostly trying to get out all the things that I wanted to tell her, I was so nervous, but she never stopped holding my hand. She would hug me and she would thank for every nice thing that I had to say.

I forgot that I had to get her autograph so she asked if I had something for her to sign. I remembered the Daisy pop and the gifts and I got the box out of my backpack. She asked which color I wanted for the autograph and she started writing my name while I tried to find the gifts, and I couldn’t find them! I was taking so long and getting even more nervous so she got curious and started looking inside my bag. She found another pop and asked who that was. It was a gift for a friend. She had like her face in my bag and I was so clumsy trying to get the candy out of the bag. (I gave her candy from Colombia) I explained some things about it and she said that she loves treats and candy and everything sweet in general… yeah. No surprise there.

I think she was smiling at how clumsy I was the whole time. As I said, I think she really appreciates when people cares about her. I told her that I was going to come back and also see her at the photo ops and then she offered another hug and then went around the table to hug me…and she just hugs you like she means it. I mean, I know that I’m just another fan but I think she has a very special love for us and she shows it every second. In that moment she makes sure to make you feel special. She kept smiling and grabbed my hand again. I was shaking. I forgot half of the gifts, but I was incredibly happy.

Then it was the first photo op. I was like third in line. When I went in she hugged me again, called me by my name, and I was a bit more confident at that point. The photo ops are super fast and Chloe asked if I wanted a hug. I really never asked for anything because I didn’t know the rules for these things but she was always warm and nice. I mean, she doesn’t have to be like that and I think it can be exhausting for her but again, I think she tries to reciprocate the love that we show her in those brief seconds or minutes.

I got my picture and then I felt like I didn’t want to go… so I just waited until she was back in her booth and went to get the picture signed. I gave her a little bracelet and she let me put it on her wrist. I babbled some more about how much Daisy and her mean in my life. I thanked her. She hugged me again. I really lost the count on the hugs hahaha. I asked about her kids and she told me they were back at home. I said that I would see her the next day and then said goodbye.

On Sunday things were even better. I actually felt like I could talk to her like a normal person hahaha. I went back to her booth, of course (I really just spent my time there) Then I was first in line again. That day Chloe arrived around 11. When she came I started feeling a bit weird, I didn’t know if it was okay to go in so many times… but I really went to Chicago for her, so I had to make the most of it.

She sat down and said hello. I was wearing overalls and she said that she loved them. I told her that I knew, that I always wanted to try but she gave me the confidence to start buying them. She hugged me again and asked if I was going to the panel. I said of course. I told her that I had another photo op with her and she told me that she would see me there.

I kinda started feeling the withdrawals at that point… so I just lurked around her booth for the rest of the morning until it was time for the photo op (it was a duo op with Brett) that day things were a lot more organized. I was one of the last ones in line. For that photo I had a pose in mind.

It was as fast as the other one. I think when it was my turn I went straight for Chloe and forgot that Brett was there for a second haha so I quickly turned to say hi to him but never let go off Chloe hahaha. The photographer would always get annoyed… and even more when I tried to explain the pose to Chloe and Brett but they just wouldn’t get it. It was funny because they got it wrong in the exact same way the first time. Chloe kept asking and trying to show me if she was getting it, and the next thing I know her leg is like around me, and then Brett got it and I started laughing and almost ruined the photo… I’m still not totally happy with my face, but at least we had a good time for those… 30 seconds hahaha. I said thank you and apologized. Chloe said that we almost didn’t get it… and then I started to feel like I didn’t want to say goodbye. I hugged her and then left because I took too long and the ops guys hated me already. On my way out I was like… shit Brett! And then hugged Brett. I think they both were laughing the whole time about my clumsiness. So that was a bit of a mess but a good kind of mess.

But then I picked my photo… I didn’t turn out that bad, and I realized that I had to do something else. I mean, I was already there. So I ran back to the table and got the last ticket for the next op. I ended back in line. The last person for the Chloe solo op. I’m so glad I went back. When I entered again I asked if she was getting tired of me. She received me with open arms and said that she never would. She peeked outside and when she realized that I was the last person she told me “best for last!” and grabbed my hand to take me to the center of the booth. She asked if I had anything in mind so I just told her to make faces. When they took the pic she quickly told me that she would say that she messed up, and then told the photographer that she had messed up and to take another one. So they took another picture, and I made the same face like the idiot I am. The thing is… every time she would do something nice my brain would stop working so I had nothing in that moment. I kinda wanted to cry.

So that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t know if that was going to be my last personal moment with her so I started thanking her for everything, again. I told her that I was glad I took the very irresponsible decision to fly to Chicago in the last minute. She thanked me for doing it and yes… more hugs. I got some time while the next celeb took Chloe’s place in the booth so I told her that I wanted to say goodbye and she told me to go to her autograph table again. I told her that she was my hero. I felt like a guy was about to take me out so I gave her one last hug and left.

Next it was the panel. You all know how that went. It was hilarious. I was really close to them but then went back to be closer to the mic line. I did get to ask a question about Daisy. At that point we didn’t know if the show was going to be renewed and I also started thinking that maybe this was going to be the only time that I got to see her. I was happy with the things I told her. I was happy to see with my own eyes how nice and honest in the way she interacts with people that she is, but it was heartbreaking to think that only had like a few minutes more to see her.

So yes. I went back one last time to the autograph table… Actually I waited for HOURS to be the last one to go. Since I had become such good friends with the staff they just let me be there. At the end I got to hang on the table where they had the pile of photos for Chloe to sign, right next to her table. That’s when the funniest thing happened. I see a huge, Asian guy come out from the back, He came to the table where I was and started looking through the photos. So I went like…”Mr Bennet?” He said yes with a smile. I introduced myself and told him my name and when he heard it (and probably my accent) he said that I was the girl that came from Colombia, that Chloe had told him about me. I died in that moment… for the tenth time in two days. It was almost my turn so I just told him that he had the most amazing daughter in the world. That she’s important for so many people and women, that she was amazing and for me it was worth it to take such a trip just to tell her that. He went full proud dad mode in that second and told me that she really was, and just the way she was here with her fans she was at home. He told me that she really appreciated me being there, and all the people that support her. He thanked me and said that she probably would have something special to say to me.

I went back. I really don’t know what was going through her manager’s head at that point, but Chloe looked happy. I went like: “I just met your dad” She was like oh no, what did he say? He’s talking to the fans now? I just told her that we just agreed that she’s the best. She took one of the other pictures that I was carrying to sign it while we spoke. I thanked her for everything she did. I told her that it meant a lot. I really don’t remember how we got to her birthday, but I wished her a happy birthday and told her that mine was coming up too. She wished me a happy birthday. I was trying really hard not to cry in front of her, but I told her that I really meant all the things that I had told her, and that it might seem like just a tv show, or a fictional character… but it really makes a difference in the lives of so many people. She knows, she works her ass off to brig Daisy to us and she loves every second of it. She thanked me and hugged me and she wouldn’t let go off my hand while I told her.

Then she eyed my iphone on the table. She asked if I wanted a selfie. I turned to check if there were people in line and actually some people arrived after me so I just looked back at her, but she was grabbing my phone and she told the others that it was because my photo op came out wrong. She told me that I had come all the way here, that I should get one. I just nodded and she was already going though my phone and opening the camera app. She took a pic, and then I said that my hair was terrible, so she just took another one. She didn’t look like uncomfortable or like she had to do it. She really wanted to make that moment special. I think she wants that for all her fans and I think that it’s important not to pressure her to sign things and take pictures on do things. She’s a person just like us, she could be tired or having a bad day, but she’ll offer something special to make you happy if she can. She wouldn’t stop thanking me and I told her that I was happy that I got to see her one last time. Then I saw her manager check her watch and I think I said it out loud because Chloe laughed. She got out of the table again to hug me and that’s when I broke. I told her that I didn’t know if I would get to see her again, but that she had made everything so special that I would always treasure these days. She told me that we would see each other again and I told her that we didn’t even know what was going to happen with AoS and that I just needed Daisy in my life. I told her that it would kill me (Don’t judge me. I was a mess in that moment) she was like noo! Don’t die! Hahaha She said that she was going to do new things.

In the end she just hugged me and thanked me for coming. I waited until she left and waved her goodbye. I actually didn’t cry when she left hahah I think maybe I’ll get to see her again. Now I know that going there was totally worth it and I would definitely do it again.”