Holy moly was China ever cold. So, so cold. My first day there, my tour guide looked at what I was wearing and said she didn’t think I’d be warm enough. I was wearing all the usual winter clothes: knit hat, scarf, gloves, boots, and heavy wool coat. I laughed it off. I was born in Buffalo and I live in Colorado. I walk my dog twice a day, year round on zero degree days and in ice storms. I snowshoe. I went camping on a night that got down into the 20s this year. I can handle the cold. Continue reading →
As we lower onto the December-cold pleather seats of the minivan, we knock hands: both of us reaching to turn on the other’s seat warmer first.
I love Quebec. Well, Montreal that is. Quebec City is lovely and I’m sure the rest of Quebec is too, but Montreal has my heart. It is almost the perfect city. First, it’s bilingual, and as I’ve written about before, I have a passion for languages. I love the idea that you can be walking down the street and no one knows if you are a French or an English speaker until you say something. Then, there’s so much culture, so many festivals, so much delicious food, Lake Ontario, good public transportation, affordable places to live, and a passion for the outdoors. Which brings me to that big almost. Montreal winters, thanks but no thanks. I spent 23ish years in Buffalo, NY. I spent several winters in Russia. I’ve done my time. But in the summer in Montreal, everyone is in the parks, bicycling everywhere, sitting on patios. It’s delightful. If I’m ever lucky enough to own a summer home, it will be in Montreal. In the French-speaking half of town.
I lived in Montreal for what was, in my memory, an entire summer, but in reality was only 3 weeks, give or take a few days. I went to UQAM’s summer French immersion program and got to town right in the middle of the International Jazz Festival, which was amazing! I literally just threw my bags in my dorm room, grabbed my new roommate by the hand and out we went into the streets to hear performers from all over the world. And so began three fantastic weeks. My classmates were a fun bunch, my teacher was professional and patient and kind, the coursework was just the right level and intensity, the excursions were entertaining and educational. Great memories all around. Continue reading →
After receiving just .05 inches of rain in September, our compound is now enclosed in a dense fog the likes of which I have never seen in Colorado. If it weren’t for the song birds and the chattering, clucking, and tisking of the black squirrels, I would feel a bit weirded out being up here alone. I don’t have a lot of confidence that Trotsky or Hector would come to my defenses if zombies were to suddenly emerge from the mist swirling through the trees, though at least Trotsky is on the lookout. Continue reading →