First published in The Concordian
Episode 18: in which Mim reminisces
In the nine months that I’ve lived here, I’ve met many different Montreals. I discovered that it is the four seasons that unequivocally define this city’s many characters. Never in my life had I dreamed of talking about the weather so frequently. However, there is no denying the fact that snow, wind and sunshine have a huge impact on a Montrealer’s way of life.
The first part of the city that I became acquainted with was the Plateau. Dressed in pastels and adorned with quintessential winding staircases, I quickly fell in love with the neighbourhood. It was the romance phase of my relationship with Montreal; we picnicked in Lafontaine Park and strolled along a lively Mount Royal Ave.
September quickly passed and then I ate poutine. This was the introduction to my quest to experience all things Montreal. Not surprisingly, most of my outings were centred on food. I had Orange Julep, Chinatown dim sum, fresh bagels, BeaverTails, a Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich, maple taffy and Easter brunch.
When November came around, Montreal grew cold and grey; we drifted apart. However, our relationship was soon rekindled when the city gave me something magical and new: my first snow. If you’ve seen The Truman Show, my excitement for snow could be likened to Truman’s desire to see the ocean. To me, snow was of fairy tales, of Hollywood movies. For the first two months I loved it. Dressed in white, Montreal was beautiful. We skated on the lake and went to Nuit Blanche.
Then, like Truman, I hit a wall and realized that everything wasn’t as wonderful as I’d thought. Montreal turned to a sludge-brown mess. The honeymoon phase was over. I struggled; I became a recluse. I almost left Montreal.
True, there were obstacles. But it was seeing beyond all the grandness and glamour of travelling that allowed me to appreciate the small things, and that is why I would highly recommend exchange. I was reminded of the value and importance of close friends, a comfortable home, good coffee and, of course, sunshine.
Indeed, the warm weather is bringing people out of their shells. On Sunday I saw joggers, happy couples, bike-riders, dog-walkers and groups of friends. I heard laughter, cheering, music and bongo drums in the distance. There was no festival—the occasion was spring. There is so much more of Montreal to meet, like bike-riding, sugar shacks and climbing Mount Royal. A trip to New York will also be featured. This chapter might be over, but the next is only beginning…