Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Quick Trip to Montreal

So I went to Montreal on Monday-Tuesday for work. I’ve obviously been to Canada many times; growing up in Buffalo, Canada is like four cartwheels away. (Though, of course, growing up in Buffalo I was taught to not like Canada/Canadians). It was sort of strange handing over my passport, which is incredibly flimsy from sweating on it in the DRC, to go to Canada. I used to use my school ID to drive across the border, so apparently they run a tighter ship these days.

I ended up getting to the airport a full two hours early – a combination of overestimating the drive time to Dulles and nervousness traveling for work alone. So I was incredibly bored in the airport. I walked through the C gate where I waited and decided to pick the airplane that I’d rather get on. NOT that I wasn’t excited to go to Montreal, but I was just really really bored. I decided Kuwait was the best option, followed by Los Angeles, since I have never been there (only the airport for 2 hours waiting to board my flight to Sydney). Think that little story was boring? Good, now you fully understand my mental state during this wait. I also saw the biggest cowboy hat I’ve ever seen. You heard me: cowboy hat.

The second I got off the toy plane that took me over the border, I wished I spoke more French. Not that people don’t speak English here, but it’s not like in Africa where I scream “lost foreigner” when going about my day. I blend in more. I was actually once mistaken for a French girl by a German guy in Uganda. I say my French is “basic”. Well. That is perhaps a stretch. Actually, I think I speak more Kinyarwanda than French. I probably speak more Swahili than French too.

Anyway, Montreal was cool. I only had the night to walk around downtown, but I found a really good sushi place for a lonesome dinner. I like the fact that everyone speaks at least two languages, and it cements in my mind how I will force my children to be multi- (yes, I said multi-) lingual. I like walking through the streets hearing different languages, even though I can’t understand one of them. So, in sum, tip of the hat to you Montreal – you seem like a fun, smart city with a lot of young people and a potentially rowdy nightlife. Given the chance, I’d return, even though you are in…Canada.

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