Reading Week Diaries: Hometowns and Big Cities

“The night did shed / On thy dear head / Its frozen dew.”

– Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Lines: The Cold Earth Slept Below”

New York was not the end of the adventure; rather, it was only the beginning. After arriving back to Montreal late Sunday night we had a week to spend together in the colder climes of Montreal and Wakefield, Quebec. Both Michael and I had a lot of school stuff to catch up on so we spent a lot of time in Montreal with me writing essays and him restlessly fidgeting his way through class – though we still managed to squeeze some sightseeing and shopping in.

8th-11th February 2016

Monday was a bit of a write-off as we both had a ton of homework to get done that day. We consequently spent “quality time” together writing assignments.

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Michael looking so happy about homework. Sorry love, I had to! Hehe

Tuesday I toddled along the slushy streets of Rue St Catherine, checking out all the fashion, coffee shops, and crepes it had to offer. Wednesday, Michael and I froze our toes walking around the touristy, yet romantic, Old Port, then had the pleasure of having dinner with a lovely Dawson friend, Emile! I served up juicy wine and herb glazed chicken and veggies and we enjoyed good wine and conversation until the wee hours.

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Emile and I. Photo by Michael Maclean

Thursday, we headed downtown to McCord Museum to check out the cool vintage toy exhibition and visited another Dawson buddy at the deeeelicious gourmet pizza restaurant he runs, Magpie. I definitely recommend it!

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12th February 2016

Travel day! Michael had a big critique at the Universite de Montreal in the morning so I had time to entertain myself. The sun was shining brilliantly on the glittery snow and the sky was wide and blue, deceiving me into thinking it would be slightly warm outside – not the case. I bundled up and wandered around the little burgundy/St Henri neighbourhood, getting some snacks for later from the dingy and run-down depanneur on the corner of Rue Vinet and Saint Antoine, and meandering around until circling back to Lionel-Groux.

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Michael’s apartment

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The Saints-Martyrs-Koreans parish church. The monumental beauty of churches fascinates me.

Again, because we don’t seem to be able to make anything within a comfortable amount of time – or, as in this case, on time at all, we were a little late for the bus. Luckily, the depot people were lovely and put us on the next express bus to Ottawa, leaving us with only a ten minute wait. Michael’s Dad met us on the other side and drove us to their house in Wakefield.

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Excuse the rather dark and blurry photo of the view from the highway.

We enjoyed a yummy red thai curry made by Michael’s Mum, had a lovely little visit from Jean, got many many cuddles from the adorable Cooper, and watched the frost crystallize in our hair, eyebrows, and Michael’s beard while star-gazing in the hot tub. The feeling of peace I had instantly on arriving to Wakefield was almost indescribable. Perhaps the magic of being in someone else’s childhood home had sprinkled a little of its dust on me. Falling asleep in Michael’s huge bed with the soft sound of snow falling on the trees, I had the most peaceful sleep I’ve had in a while.

13th February 2016

The morning dawned gorgeous and sunny in the Macleans’ cozy abode, with sunlight streaming in through the dining room and lounge.

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Even on the opposite side of the house which faces away from the sun, dappled light managed to filter in.

Michael’s dad rustled up plates of steaming hashbrowns, toast, eggs, and a quebecois dish of ground meat and spices called cretons. After basking in the dining room sunshine, we ventured out with Cooper to see the town of Wakefield. We started with the cabin that Michael’s dad is currently fixing up, then drove through bucolic fields and hills blanketed with white and dotted with various barns and homes.

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All ready to go, with the handsome Cooper in the middle!
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I swear it was sunnier than this picture makes it look!
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That’s the cabin on the left.

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We stopped quickly at a family friend’s before arriving at the Fairburn House.

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The Fairburn House, featuring Michael and Cooper (who was not pooping, though it looks like he’s about to in this shot)

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After a nippy stroll through the bridge, we regained feeling in our toes and I had my first experience of the Tigre Geant. Next, Molos, a coffee shop where Jean met up with us.

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Two of the loveliest people I know!

Then up to the beautiful Mill house.

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Sadly, the adventure was already almost over and we just had a little while to eat some left over curry and chat for a bit before heading back to Ottawa to catch our bus. Thank you so much to Michael’s parents for having me, I had such a lovely time. I hope next time it’ll be a little longer!

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14th February 2016

A bittersweet Valentines Day for us. We were both so grateful we actually got to spend the day together and have as great a time as we did but we were so sad that it was ending! Nevertheless, we enjoyed a sunny (but frozen) morning cooking breakfast together, slowly turning from liquid matter into frozen solid matter on our way to a coffee shop near by -they even gave us adorable heart shaped cookies for free! – and wandering through the Atwater market where I demonstrated my extensive knowledge of French – that is, all the flavours of macaroons you can buy. I can’t pronounce French, or even say much beyond ‘bonjour’ and ‘merci,’ but I can tell you the difference between ‘framboise’ and ‘fraise’ (hint: one is raspberry, one is strawberry).

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Cooking up savoury waffles. Photo by Michael Maclean.

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Thus, the journey ended with many tears but a lot of great memories. I had such a wonderful time and will be back soon, I’m sure! Hopefully I will explore Montreal properly next time and give the beautiful city the credit it deserves. But for now, the countdown to summer and all its adventures begin…

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