White Night

(credits: photo - Yunpeng Li, 'giffing' - me
(credits: photo – Yunpeng Li, ‘giffing’ – me)

As an undergrad, I only remember having to do two all-nighters.

One was to finish preparing a demo for a class where we had to implement a 3D strategy game; obviously the demo ended up being completely rigged behind the curtains. The other – others? – I don’t remember so well. It or they must have been for another group project. All I remember is coming back home, staying up and returning to school in the morning dazed.

I also spent a night hostel-less in Sweden one summer. And for some reason I wanted to visit the cemetery where Greta Garbo was buried that particular morning. Right. You can imagine the surreal experience of attending a guided tour in such a peaceful setting in that state of mind.

Now that I am a graduate student, I would like to say that pulling an all-nighter is a thing of the past. Unfortunately no. Last year, I stayed up until birds started chirping to finish one last paper-project. Just thinking about it, I can relive the mind-numbing headache that accompanies such ordeals. Those headaches are bad. I don’t recommend them. What was worse though, was the fear and stress of just not making it. I suppose it is akin to stepping in a bear trap, except you are stepping with your torso…

The ones as an undergrad had at least the advantage of being spent with other people. Misery loves company! When it is over you feel as though you lived through something together. Yes, we did it! We got this thing to look rather… not bad! That bonding, if you want to call it that, is maybe the only good thing that comes out of these fuzzy nights. That and passing the class I suppose.

Enough of this. There are much better ways to spend an all-nighter and Montreal provided one last week. It was the annual Nuit Blanche!

You can try out some 'tire d'érable' (credits: Yunpeng Li)
You can try out some ‘tire d’érable’
(credits: Yunpeng Li)

The Montreal Nuit Blanche is the closing event of the Montréal en Lumière Festival. For one night the transportation system is open, well, all night. There are also activities strewn across the city: music shows, torchlight-lit museum visits (at our very own Redpath), high-brow underground art, ice sculpting, maple toffee offerings, Parcs Canada temporary tattoos and many other activities.

Like bad all-nighters, the Nuit Blanche is best lived with some friends. I first discovered the event through my German exchange student and her roommates. We had a great time going at the top of the Mont-Royal. Ever since I tried to get other people to try it out. Sledding down the mountain is a lot of fun as you can see.

The nicest thing to do is to just hang out with some other graduate students (or friends if you must) and take a break from the graduate life. Enjoy the night.

Four graduate students taking a group selfie before it was cool
(credits: Yunpeng Li)

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