Choosing to move to Montreal was both a long-deliberated plan and a last minute decision. We'd been considering moving to Montreal since college 16 years ago, and then as part of a Plan B when the convent plans started to fizzle (or were basically snuffed out by a higher bidder!) Staying in Chicago with all the beautiful souls we'd connected with, and all the institutions that we were part of was so appealing. It felt like home. But if we were planning to be self-employed teachers for the long run, wouldn't it be better to teach in a land where our health-care wasn't in peril, and where our children could go to the local school without fear, and where they could learn a second language, and where they could go to university for $4,000/year? We'd been discussing these issues for so long, that in July we asked "Now or next year?" I'm the person who prefers to get the pain over with immediately, so here we are, 4 months later, with our new Quebec license plates.
The journey here was filled with minor miracles, not least the gallon jug of vinegar I found cap-less in a cardboard box while upacking that had remained upright for the entire move. Realizing the movers had packed our passports and important documents in the 36 foot moving van the night we were to drive across the border, and then finding them two hours later after minimal unpacking of the truck was another. Chasing down a UPS driver in Michigan to retrieve the deed to our car counts, I believe. (Nothing like realizing the day before you export your car that you never received the title! Thank goodness for a kind, if a bit grumpy, woman at the DMV who expedited it.) Having my CV land on a desk at McGill the day they posted an (unknown to me) request for a Suzuki teacher, and answering a call for an interview within five minutes of leaving Montreal on one of our trips in late August was another serendipitous event. And probably the biggest gift from the universe was the reinstatement of my permanent residence status this summer after 16 years away. Apparently most of the officers in the Canadian government don't even realize this is possible. Thankfully we found one person that did.
Montreal is strangely familiar and it doesn't often feel foreign to me. I could get by with never speaking a word of French because everyone here glides so effortlessly back and forth between languages. That will make sharpening my language skills so much harder, but there's my challenge. The rhythm of the city is similar to Chicago, the green space along the river feeds the same part of my soul that the Point did.
The two things that are, in my opinion, worse than childbirth are: a) moving and b)purchasing a house. I hope to never do either again. If someone tells me I have to move, I may cry for a very, very long time, and then I will disappear until it's all over. I do feel chastened for these thoughts, though, when I consider what refugees across the world are dealing with right now. I am thankful for what we have, and thankful to our parents who have helped us in ways we will never be able to repay. With that in mind, our home is always open to whomever wants to come and stay. I'd like to stay put for awhile, so please, come visit me in Montreal!