Montreal

The following post was written earlier in June 2012, but just now being posted.

Dear Son and dear Daughter,

So.

Still so much that I want to tell you. About my mom, your Momie. About the arrival of you, dear Daughter, who has added so much. About being a mom of two. So much I want to tell you. But right now, I want to tell you about Montreal.

Not just the city of Montreal, but what Montreal now means to me.

See, son and daughter, in 1999 your mama was a university student at the University of California at Los Angeles. As many female university students do, I went through somewhat of a political and feminist phase, and one day came across this small grassroots group who were championing for women’s rights. They focused on all sorts of women’s issues, but that part is not so interesting to me now, for what I want to tell you about.

I visited their website a lot, and wished I could visit their center, which was located in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal. They published a poetry zine, and had a gallery and shop, and readings, that sort of thing. It looked so interesting, and I longed to visit, but from all the way on the other side of North America, with no reason at all to go to Canada, it seemed pretty unlikely.

But I said to myself, I don’t know how or when, but one day I will get over there.

Fast forward twelve or thirteen years. I hadn’t thought about that center in a long while. You, your papa and I took a trip to visit Nana in Canada, in January of this year. And to visit Nana, we had to fly into Montreal.

Due to the fact that Nana lives two hours away, we didn’t really see a feasible way of visiting Montreal, so it wasn’t in our plans. But what happened was a funny twist of fate.

On our way back home to Paris, we drove from Nana’s to Montreal. We had a night flight, at 8pm. We went directly to the airport. We boarded our flight. We waited. And waited. Generator trouble. Four hours, we sat on the plane, before they cancelled the flight at midnight and sent us out into the snowy January Canadian night, to a hotel they prepaid for us.

The next day, we called the airline. We asked them to book us, not on the flight that night, but the following night, as travelling with a baby and toddler and going through all that had knocked us out. They agreed and footed the bill for another night.

So there we were, in Montreal. We decided to rent a car. Driving through a snowstorm was fun. We didn’t have much time that day to go into town, but the next day, we decided to pop into Montreal for a couple of hours before going to the airport. And the first place I thought of, was, now I have a chance to visit that center.

So, kids, that’s what we did. You napped through most of our drive in Montreal, but I google mapped the address on Bernard Ouest, and I went in.

Now, the thing is, son and daughter, that the center had been long gone. It was now a shop for vintage clothing and local designers, with some ties to the group. You might think that I would have been disappointed by this. But the thing is, standing in front of the shop, it didn’t matter what it was now. The point was, I had made it there. Life had brought me there, when I had once thought that there was no possible way I would ever get there.

I bought a vintage purse to remind me of this place and this lesson, and then we headed back to the airport and flew back home.

So what I want to say to you, kids, is that you never know where life is going to bring you. It was a long way to get to that address in the Mile End of Montreal. It took a husband with a Canadian mother and a sketchy airplane engine. But there I made it.

So if something seems impossible, you never know. You might just get there in a roundabout way, one you can’t imagine now, but which will unfold.

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