I moved to Montreal two weeks ago. It happened quickly and to be honest I had never envisioned a future in Montreal.
It was not on my radar, but an exciting career opportunity from Montreal presented itself earlier this year. A chance to step out of my comfort zone and I couldn’t ignore the professional and personal growth potential. One thing led to another, and here I am.
It’s funny how life works. I didn’t move away for my undergrad experience, so I’ve always felt like I missed out on the opportunity to ‘explore’ and ‘broaden my horizons.’ I cried a lot of tears over this decision. My undergrad experience didn’t turn out the way I had hoped for. For a long time, I was fully committed to playing the victim role to a T. Life had wronged me! That is until some massive blinders fell off and a series of life strengthening experiences gave me some much-needed self-awareness years later. I learned to became accountable. If you don’t fully “show up,” expect a dull and unfulfilling experience.
Since then, I don’t play small anymore. Life has become both more challenging and rewarding.
So I shouldn’t be surprised. You really ought to be more careful, in what you wish for. The universe is always listening, and when she thinks you’re ready, she will give you exactly what you asked for. I wanted this experience “away” then, and now I’m living it.
New Montreal discoveries made in last two weeks:
- The fashion! Oh la la! I appreciate the heightened sense of style I see among my fellow ladies and gents. Love it. How you dress, in my humble opinion is an extension of your personality. Variety is the spice of life. I’m definitely tapping more into my feminine side these days.
- It’s called the metro here in Montreal, not the subway for the rest of us.
- Driving the streets of Montreal is like playing Mario Kart in the flesh, and the roads are in terrible condition. Beware of Olympic size potholes (slight exaggeration on my part), winding streets and pushy drivers.
- You can not make a right turn on a red light! Don’t do it as much as it feels hard-wired in you to do so.
- Street parking is the way of life. Lucky for me, I cannot street park for the life of me.
- The SAQ is Quebec’s LCBO. Looking to buy a bottle of wine or a bottle of your favourite gin (Bombay or Hendrick’s for me), then look no further to the SAQ or the local depanneur (corner store/ convenience store). How fantastic and easily accessible!! Cheers to that.
- The Montreal food scene is insane. Apparently, after New York City, Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per capita. I’m a certified piglet, so I’m in comfortable territory.
- BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) restaurants are fantastic and plentiful. Brunch is serious business here, and there are SO MANY independent cafes. The coffee culture is charming.
- Taxes. Expect a double whammy on your pay. Quebec has the highest taxes in all of The True North, Strong and Free. Not fun.
- Language Politics. Although you don’t technically need to know French to get by in Montreal, life is much more comfortable if you are bilingual. Unfortunately, I’m not. Definitely in for a questionable experience. I have been warned, I will likely experience some uncomfortable situations with native French speakers who won’t take too kindly to my inability to speak in their mother tongue. It will be uncomfortable, but this will be the exception. I know I will be ok and come out of it with a ‘good’ story to tell my Toronto friends. Joy.
- Poutine is omnipresent. Can be consumed at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
Montreal is an exquisite city, with its own quirks and challenges. I’m not going to lie, it’s been overwhelming. Some (actually a lot) of tears have been shed in the past two weeks, waves of loneliness engulfing me, and my nerves going haywire. Damn, I sound like the biggest baby! It’s da truth. Part of the experience, when you wilfully remove yourself from your bubble-wrapped life.
I’ve always been close to home, never an arm’s length away from what’s familiar. For someone else, a move from Toronto to Montreal doesn’t sound drastic. It’s all relative, and this is my experience. For me it’s huge.
I’m lucky to call the GTA my home, but now I’ve started the Montreal chapter of my life. Although I’m a whole lot of scared and uncomfortable, the prospects that await my discovery, are exciting and keeping me focused.