Winter in Montreal

It’s December. The streets are like skating rinks and on sunny days it hurts my face to go outside. Getting the girls dressed to leave the house is a twenty-minute ordeal. Sometimes I wonder how sane it is to live in this climate.

We’re not going back to South Africa this year. April is happily attending kindergarten at a French alternative school, Josh is overhauling a café, and I was just hired as the webmaster for the McGill School of Dentistry. I know, right? Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I would be a webmaster. When my mum went to see a clairvoyant in the mid-nineties, she was told that her kids would end up with jobs that people didn’t really know about yet. Looks like that prediction might have come true.

That said, this job really is a means to an end. It’s flexible, part time and quite well paid. The other half of my working life will be spent writing, as usual. I’m working toward a collection of short stories. I’m also doing some freelance copywriting, which is proving challenging, enjoyable, and financially fruitful. And I’m networking like it’s my job. Because there really is no better way to find work than through people you’ve actually met.

I’m surprisingly feeling pretty great about life at the moment. It’s been a seriously intense year, but rather than feeling knocked down by all of the challenges (i.e. not finding enough work, being broke, getting robbed, the wheel falling off our car, etc.) I’m feeling really positive about where things are going. We’ve had time to take stock and figure out what it is we have, and what we really want going forward. I don’t think many people really get the opportunity to do that.

I worked my very first full-time job and discovered that 9-5 just isn’t for me. I’d rather live without the security. Having the flexibility to go on field trips with April’s class, write on my own time, cook during the day and work from home just makes more sense to me. That’s not to say that I’m slacking: I’m just marching to the beat of my own drum. And some days I do still feel a little anxious, but I trust that we’re going to be fine. I guess we’re the embodiment of the new freelance economy that everyone’s talking about. Josh and I are both finding work through the grapevine, and it feels really good to be back in a town where we both know so many people, and where people respect the work that we’ve been doing and want to help us to find more.

The kids are great. (I suppose I should mention them.) Now accustomed to the cold weather, Charlie requests that we put her mittens on her before we go outside and loves eating snow as much as her older sister does. April complains daily about getting kitted up for the cold but loves sliding on the ice, picking up chunks of snow and doing all of those things that kids love to do that make getting to school on time really challenging.

There have been some really mild weekend days, so great outdoor playing weather. I’m going to do everything I can to stay upbeat this winter. Cavorting in the snow really is fun. Windchill: you’re not gonna get me down!

A few pics from the last six weeks to give you a glimpse (finally!) into what life is like back in Montreal.

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Today’s freezing cold and sunny and I’m at home sick.  I could get all mopey about it, but it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to stay in my pyjamas and curl up with a book. Plus, illness is inevitable when you have small germ-ridden creatures smooshing their faces against yours. I’m currently sitting in my favourite morning spot — on the couch with the warmth of the sun on my face. It might be -17’C outside, but in here, with my woolly sweater and sunny spot, it feels toasty warm.


2 Comment

  1. You said you’re not going back to South Africa this year, are you from there??? Expats? It’s easily my favourite place in the world, though Christmases with braais and beaches are a far cry from the sorts of Christmas that the rest of the world seems to resonate with, white Christmas, snowmen, and hot apple cider. Montreal looks a lot like where my family moved to in Alaska, where the Aurora Borealis makes it’s nightly trek across the sky, trailing rainbows in it’s wake across a black and starry night.

    1. I’m from Cape Town, and yeah, it’s a very different winter there. That said, I don’t really mind missing the cold for the braais and beaches, although this year it looks like any travelling we do will be in Canada. I would love to see the Aurora Borealis though! Always been a goal of mine!

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