I’ve just gotten back from a week long visit to Montreal. I absolutely had to visit all my old haunts, see my old friends and drive past my old house, you know, just to make sure that everything was functioning well without me. However the real purpose of my trip was to go see my son Steve in concert at la salle Claude Champagne, universite de montreal. His piece? Rachmaninov’s 2nd concerto for piano. Never having been a lover of Rach, I tried to familiarize myself with the piece by listening to it’s three movements on YouTube (whatever would us peons do without YouTube?). The concert was amazing! After months of practice, Steve, accompanied by l’orchestre de l’universite de montreal, gave a performance second to none, in front of about a thousand people. I was one proud Momma, and I think I like Rachmaninov now. Who knew?
Serendipitously, the warehouse sale of Gourmet du Village in Morin Heights was on during my visit. Ever the lover of bargains and sales, I made sure I got there. Dip mixes, salts, peppers, chocolate things, spicy things and sweet things assaulted me at the door. And there were samples of everything; products were all at wholesale prices. It was such a momentous event that there were even TV crews there filming one and all. I may have ended up on TV; who knows? (Nothing like going incognito). Laden with all kinds of gifts and things that will become stocking stuffers, we stumbled out of the warehouse into a fairy tale scene:light snow falling and mountains all around. Ah, Laurentians, how I have missed you!
Another day was spent going to Adonis, the biggest and best Lebanese grocery store this side of the Middle East. (I kid you not.) Once again, I picked up some delights that I cannot name because they may end up under the Christmas tree or in someone’s stocking. Aisle after aisle assaulted me with the sights and smells of my childhood: olives, spices, fresh pita breads, nougat,Turkish delight, labneh, and the meats; oh the meats! There was kafta, kibbe, flattened and spiced grilled chicken, and lamb mishwi.
Then on to a Chinese grocery for more of those things you would never find in New Minas: rice paper wraps, spices, seaweed, pockys, shrimp chips and chili paste.I had a hard time to restrain myself. Where was I going to put all this stuff? My suitcase would weigh a ton.
It was a good thing I hardly brought any clothes. On the way to Montreal my suitcases were filled with gifts and food. Coming back they were filled with other gifts and other food; a little exchange of cultures, so to speak. It was also a good thing that Air Canada had a free baggage allowance because I was well over the usual limit in weight. It took both my sis and I to get one suitcase into the car.
And as December travel would dictate, the day of my departure from Montreal dawned to a blinding snowstorm with 15 cms of snow and more coming. But I did get out, albeit 15 minutes late. Kudos to Air Canada!
Landing in Halifax, I traded my winter boots for shoes, very happy to be home. Yes, home. I think Montreal will get along just fine without me. My home is in the peaceful Annapolis Valley.