Yesterday we arrived in Montreal. Wild! We're actually here. A few months ago we decided to try and live somewhere new. It has been an interested journey leading up to our departure . Neither of us have left the province before and stayed in another place for more than a few weeks. While our stay here isn't intended to be long, our stuff is in storage officially, and we don't have a permanent residence anymore. It's new territory for us, and I can see that it's going to be a good challenge after months of feeling pretty lost throughout the pandemic, I think.
I don't think I have many readers, but I do want to thank the people who helped us get going - whether with moving, being encouraging, or just listening to us chat about our ideas. Your support has meant a lot.
On living in an AirBnB
We're staying at an AirBnB for a couple of months. We've just arrived and so the transition into being in someone else's home is strange, especially after being home bound in our apartment for so long during the pandemic. AirBnB is kind of weird, and I'm not sure I feel as thrilled about it as I used to when I was younger. I'm a little more tuned into the effects that it is having on neighbourhoods and people who are trying to find places to live in an increasingly difficult market for housing. I feel a little bit better as the person who is renting their place owns it and can do whatever they want, but it's still a challenging thing that I haven't wrapped my head around.
This place is filled with interesting art by the owner - much of it made by them. Our previous apartment has some of our own art, which made me feel a bit at home here, but it is quite strange to be dropped into someone's very personal space.
It's so nice to hear people just speaking french fluently. I've been studying for over two years, almost entirely on my own, and I actually don't hear much french unless I turn on radio-canada. I do speak once a week with a friend I've made online, but that's about it. I am thrilled to just hear the language swirl around me that we're here. The words seem to be roiled and bubbling about around me and I like it.
Speaking French (trying to)
We're staying near Le Plateau which, if I remember correctly, is a largely Francophone neighbourhood. I, of course, want to practice my french but it's a nerve racking experience! Having heard a good deal of conflicting information about non-francophones being in Quebec (from "don't even bother to try, they'll just switch to Engilsh", to "I think people really appreciate when non-french speaking folks try and make an effort") I tend to overthink things quite a bit with this stuff, so I'm just going to try and be polite and do my best.
So, yesterday, we walked past a little corner shop that seemed to mostly sell craft beer (we don't drink much but we saw a non-alcolholic beer we wanted to try) and so we went in. "Salut!" - right into the french. I stumbled through some french to get to the beer we saw and to buy some eggs. The person was very nice and I was able to at least say thank you for their patience with my french. Someone in line also tranlsated to english for us when I was slow to understand what the owner was saying. This whole experience made my heart race, which makes me laugh, 24 hours later, writing about it.
It feels good to try! And also, it is humbling to be in this position; it makes me think about folks who have english as a second language as well. I am pretty determined to speak french whenever I can, as scary as it might be. While walking I will often be trying to think of how to start a conversation when I go into a shop, which might go somethign like this:
Me: (voice quavering) Salut! Je suis desolé, mais mon français n'est pas tres bon. Mais, je veut essayer l'utiliser pendant que je suis ici - merci pour votre patience.
Person: …euhh d'accord.
Anyway - I've only had a few interactions so far, and people, as usual, are nicer than they are in my head. Soon enough, one or two experiences will become four or five, then twenty or thirty.