Montreal es mi casa
Even as a girl who grew up in Mexico City - one of the biggest, most complicated but amazing cities in the world - I was still nervous about moving to Montreal.
I had plenty of reasons to be scared: the weather, missing my family, the language, the people, the weather, the food. Did I already say weather? Canada is one of the coldest countries in the world, actually third after Russia and Antarctica, and to be honest I am not so good with cold temperatures. Let’s just say that going through Costco´s refrigeration room can give me a cold that will last for two days. So why did I pick Montreal? Well that is in fact a very interesting story that I rather tell over coffee and cookies, especially if the cookies are from Mandy´s at Crescent Street. Not to brag or anything but I consider myself a chocolate chip cookie expert and the cookies at Mandy´s are the best ones so far. My journey began 6 months ago when I arrived to Montreal on a hot summer day. I must clarify: this is not my first time in the city, I would say more like my 13th time after 6 years of coming and going back.
But this time everything is different, this time I intend on staying for good. No more time limits, no more end dates, no more tickets back to Mexico City. This time Montreal is home.
Montreal has amazed me in so many ways that I never thought possible. The more I go out explore, the more I realize I knew nothing about this city. For example, the food. Montreal´s signature dish is a plate of french fries, with pieces of cheese and warm gravy sauce. The name is poutine, and it is completely greasy, cheesy, and disgusting. Personally I love to order it with an extra of pulled pork and a cold beer on the side.
But Montreal is so much more than its famous poutine, and its maple syrup Timbits.
Did you know that Montreal has more restaurants per capita than New York City? I have been able to try a few ones so far, and they are pretty amazing! Another thing that surprised me is how artistic it is. Not only did I find that there are many cool galleries in Old Montreal from which I would love to buy a piece of art for my dream apartment in the Mile End. But also I have discovered that the city itself is covered with unconventional art paintings that give Montreal a very original and colorful look. Yes, Mexico City has graffiti too, but believe me it is not the kind that you want to take a picture and then put it in your Instagram.
One of the best things has been experiencing the changes from one season to another. I was completely amazed by the greatness of nature as I saw Montreal turn from bright green, the kind that makes everyone eat their lunch outside, to warm yellow; and from bold red, like each tree was an oil painting, to the coldest of whites transforming the city into a winter wonderland.
As I explained before, I was kind of nervous of what a Canadian winter would be like. Back at home they warned me about the “seasonal affective disorder”: winter depression. This sudden sadness that people experience because of the low temperatures, and the lack of sunlight. But from what I´ve witness, this term definitely does not apply to the people of Montreal. Oh no, no, no. First I was amazed when in October, as I patiently waited for the bus inside the metro station, I saw some people riding their bikes to work in the morning. This might´ve been normal if it wasn´t for the fact that it was pouring rain that day. Now a days, it doesn’t really surprise me much that even if it´s snowing, there are still some crazies out there that prefer riding their bicycles than taking the bus. I mean, these people are crazy! Some days I can´t even get out of my bed without putting on a pair of socks and a sweater, but them, as soon as the sun shines, they go out jogging with their babies on the stroller, not caring about the temperatures below zero.
On the weekends, the best activities are playing hockey outside or going night skiing to the nearest mountain. Yes! When it gets darker and colder, that´s when they like to go ski. But that is not all, I have seen them make a one hour line, outside, at -20°C, to have breakfast at a specific restaurant. Ok, I might´ve been waiting on that line too, but honestly though, they impress me more and more each day. Montreal in the winter means outdoor concerts, sliding down the slopes in Mont Royal, skating in the frozen lakes, and eating frozen maple syrup candies from a stick. No matter the temperature, rain, sunshine or snowstorm, these people DO NOT stop enjoying life. And that’s what I love the most about the people of Montreal.
It might not always be easy to move to a country far away from your family, where they don´t speak the same language or eat the same food. But the fact is, that starting a new life in a city that I don’t belong yet, gives me the thrill that fuels my desire to go out and get lost wondering the streets of the city. I love Montreal from its deepest metro station, which is the burning hell of Lucien l´Allier, to its highest peak at the top of Mont Royal. Every day I fall more in love with it, and I hope that one day, not too far from today, Montreal can love me just as much as I love him. Yes, to me, Montreal is a him. No discussion!