En route to Montreal, Quebec to temporarily escape the fires of Fort Wayne–I was psyched to be in a different narrative…even if only for a week.
The thing about this life is that these moments don’t last. But that’s not the greeting moment you want to have on the back of your mind with a “bonjour” from the customs Quebecois and your Canadian cousin who Snapchats your airport arrival with the maximum level of excitement I would only expect from her.
What I’ve been chasing hit me as we bused to her downtown neighborhood and walked the night path past dark street art, winding apartment staircases, and French signs.
The wonder and awe continued as we saw as much of Montreal as possible with four days, no car, limited funds, and my complete lack of French (thankfully my cousin is fluent). It’s a big city–so much bigger than what I originally thought.
And it’s a city of stairs.
For the amount of snow this providence gets in the winter, I was shocked at the common, steep, winding staircase structures. It seems to come from a French-gothic-victorian hybrid world. People on the street wore what they want, headphones in, preoccupied with whatever mysterious direction they were heading. Bikes and bike-lanes ruled. Sidewalk traffic at all hours of the day and night were common.
It’s a city of students.
With plenty of French and English colleges in the area, I blended right in with my misconceived youthful look and backpack.
Living in a different culture, different environment, different narrative before I headed back to my own was refreshing and exhausting.
To see my cousin’s reality, even if only a glimpse, was wonderful.
And I want to go back. Maybe someday go back. But continue to explore new cultures, new scenarios, new travel problems, new people.
That high. That reset from the day in, day out. It shapes me and creates me.
It reminds me I’m much smaller in this world than what my circles presume.
And it’s fascinating to learn, to never assume or take anything for granted. Montreal is my cousin’s reality. And it was wonderful.