Here’s an interesting detail for you: it is actually a relatively small quirk of fate that I did not grow up in Montreal. My dad went to graduate school and even taught at McGill just before he married my mother and took another professorship at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh, and it’s always fun to think about what-might-have-beens. In a parallel universe there is undoubtedly an Yvette who looks just like me but is Canadian, trilingual, and was not fated to a lifetime of no one being able to pronounce her name correctly.
Anyway, these thoughts have come up because I’m in Quebec this weekend as a part starve off boredom/ see a bit of my American backyard while I’m still initiative. First was a thorough exploration of Old Montreal, and let’s just say my dad has a fair bit to answer for now leaving such a pretty place-
Only place in the world I know of where they do not write “STOP” on their stop signs, and I include France in that. I have one year of schoolgirl French from 6th grade under my belt so I have fun getting by with it (though I think extensive travel has really helped more than that year ever did), but I have a strange anti-snobbery instinct kick in whenever I do so. Like wait, it actually IS s’il vous plait and not me putting on airs!
A sign prevalent on many a peaked roof, funny when visiting in July during a heat wave but making me think there might be one or two things I wouldn’t appreciate about year-round living. For example, I seem to recall my father once parked my uncle’s car under the steep-roofed physics building at McGill, and he came out a few hours later to discover my uncle now owned a convertible as the falling snow had crushed his roof.
But hey, the winter is months off and now the streets are alive and beautiful. If an alien anthropologist ever comes up to me and asked me what is good and happy about our planet, I am sure Old Montreal will come to my mind with its brimming cafes and street performers and children chasing pigeons in the cobblestone streets, and then the lights coming on when dusk comes…Oh, and the mussels au frites complete with a good Quebecois microbrew that has a picture of the polar bear on the glass. Surely this should be brought to the alien anthropologist’s attention. And yes, these are the things I think about in my spare time.
There would be more to share with the alien about Montreal, but that will have to wait for another time. Au revoir!