Five Years of Music



I was walking home from rehearsal recently, along with two classmates. It was around 1pm; I invited them to have lunch at my place.

Over at the table, one of them started talking about how his dad had a huge Benny Goodman vinyl collection, and that there would constantly be swing and dixieland music playing around the house. He grew up in southern France and learned most of his music by ear.

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Travelling solo is awesome for many reasons. One of them is that while abroad, your old habits are left behind and you have nothing familiar to fall back on. You’re forced to act differently and think differently. Somehow, you become a different person.

While in Montreal, like anyone living at home, I hang around the same people, I drink at the same places, I cook the same food. I’ve been conditioned to stick to certain habits that came to be mine throughout the years. But the minute the plane takes off, they all go out the window.

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Handstand Contest


I like to think I can be quite a charming guy. But please don’t get me wrong: I say this in a very humble way. I happened to hang out with a bunch of guys with strong personalities where wit and humor were just about everywhere. I just learned by exposure and imitation.

I am aware that the common understanding of the word ‘charm’ comes hand in hand with a hefthy dose of dishonesty. So let me get this straight right off the bat: I’m the what-you-see-is-what-you-get type. I try to be 100% genuine. I’m just aware that wit and humor make for good first impresions on people. And that doesn’t make me dishonest, but feel free to disagree.

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It must have been 2 am. I was on my way back home after a dinner-and-drinks-with-friends type of evening, and I was about ready to call it a night. Walking past the fruit shop on the way, I noticed that their merchandise had been delivered and  dropped at the doorstep. It would most probably not get picked up before the early morning when the first employees would show up. Alcohol affecting my otherwise very rigid code of ethics, I subtly grabbed a couple of veggies while no one was looking, thinking they could come in handy for lunch the following day.

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Heading Home


When I left Montreal in July, all I knew was that I wanted to try and live abroad. I was fascinated, almost obsessed, by the challenge: starting from scratch, making new friends, creating a new living environment for myself. I admired people I had met and who had done it in the past, and I wanted to take a shot at it myself.

I was very enthusiastic about getting started. No matter where I was going to end up, I was confident that something awesome was awaiting for me out there, and I was eager to find out what it was: a group of friends, awesome roommates to live with, a jazz trio to play in, a girl with tattoos, a sports team where I could fit. I was looking for a little bit of magic, in whatever shape or form.

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Purposeless in Rio


It took me about a month to get me from leaving Berlin to settling in Rio. I certainly didn’t take the shortest path. On the way I stopped by Lausanne, Zurich, Sao Paulo and Vitoria. All along, I kept an eye open for signs about where to settle next, but I guess the dice were jinxed: I had Rio in mind all along. Great music, warm people and nice weather 12 months a year: it’s hard not to like Rio.

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My Ten Year Plan

I remember having one of those wow-moments reading the book The Google Story. One of the Google brains was saying that when facing a problem he couldn’t solve, he liked to redefine it into one which he had a solution for. The example he gave was the classic prime number problem, where you have to tell whether or not a number is prime. From a computer processing time point of view, it can be very demanding, even impossible to solve within an acceptable amount of time. So he redefined the problem into one where you had to state whether or not a number had 99.99% of chances of being prime, and that problem, he could easily solve. I thought it was a pretty clever thing to do.

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