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I don't think there's anything that can isolate an expat as much as some form of tragedy at home. There's a sense of disconnection from everything around you - you're the only person you know hitting refresh, refresh, refresh waiting for new information, praying that it's all a mistake. Around you, people are going on with their day, because to them, the words "school shooting" and "Montreal" don't have the same emotional resonance. They have no memories of years of attending December vigils by candlelight, and names aren't etched across their memories like prayers.

I'm sitting here a thousand hours away and trying to gather up words and information, trying to get responses from people and guage emotional reactions, and I can't connect properly. I'm not there, and for all that I'm not from Montreal, I've never lived there, I feel like this is something that scars the emotional landscape. I feel like hearing "school shooting" and "Montreal" always brings me back to those cloudless December nights, those women (just like us, who sat their in vigil, women who just wanted to learn and for that had to be brought down) becoming names instead of deeds, nouns instead of verbs, and I feel that powerful grief that overwhelms at lost opportunities and lost causes.

Edinburgh is only in shades of gray today and the rain hasn't stopped since I woke up.

I would feel just as helpless in Edmonton, but at least there I wouldn't feel so alone.


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I read the news and hoped you didn't have any family in Montreal. Thoughts and prayers for the city.

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