À bientôt, Montréal!

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Taking a winter stroll on Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal. Photo: Patricia Maunder

It’s been quite a few months since the previous post, because life hit top gear once I began packing up in Montreal. I’m now back in Melbourne, still a way off from life on cruise control but, busy as I am, never a day goes by without thinking about my second hometown. Photos from Montreal friends showing off the autumn colour and now the first snow makes me really miss my old life: the quotidian pleasures, the rhythms of the seasons, time with mes amis. Of course it’s great to be back among everything that’s deeply familiar, including many dear friends, and rediscovering how wonderful Melbourne is, but I wish I could clone myself and live here and in Montreal simultaneously.

Forming such a strong bond was not what I expected when I arrived in Montreal. I departed Melbourne in love with the city of my birth, so it never occurred to me that I could also feel at home in and indeed truly love another town. Sure, as a tourist I had fallen for places, from Venice to New York, but I didn’t anticipate how a city can snuggle into your soul when you live there for years. Continue reading

Merry Christmas! / Joyeux Noël!

Christmas cheer in Old Quebec. Photo: Patricia Maunder

Christmas cheer in Old Quebec. Photo: Patricia Maunder

I have always loved Christmas: the pretty lights, shimmering decorations and jolly songs, the happy gatherings, gift giving and receiving, and carte blanche to eat and drink all my favourite things. For me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Growing up in Australia, this northern hemisphere tradition was a little out of kilter, however, as we sweated over hot roasts on summertime Christmas days, listening to songs about dashing through the snow (in recent years Aussie Christmases have – sensibly – headed more toward barbecues, seafood and salads, but I remain a Yuletide traditionalist!). Now I’m living in Montreal, where the snow has been piling up in recent days, the season is even more delightful because the traditions are in the right context; and because there’s no better way to brighten these short, cold days than colourful lights, warm mulled wine and good company. Continue reading