I went out with a friend yesterday. Instead of a sit down restaurant, she suggested that we pick up something to go and then find somewhere to sit down outside. It was a beautiful day, which Montrealers cannot afford to waste, so I thought the idea was perfect.
We walked down to an outdoor art installation and sat down for our “urban picnic.” As we were talking about our lives and what we’ve been up to, she suddenly said “You know, I’m so spoiled. I don’t know how I got so lucky to live in a city where I can sit anywhere, see beautiful art, walk another few blocks and do something completely different.”
My thoughts paused for a moment. I had been having trouble talking to her because all I wanted to do was complain. I have been feeling stuck in an in-between phase of leaving and arriving. I’m moving on Saturday, but a lot of my friends have already left Montreal for the summer. When she exclaimed about how spoiled she was, it really shifted my perspective.
I am incredibly spoiled, just like her. I’m fortunate to live anywhere I want, receive a fantastic education, work at with amazing people, spend time with my loving partner, and see my family whenever I want. I truly am spoiled. Montreal has been the most wonderful city, even during the peak of it’s harsh winter.
More importantly, I’m spoiled by my friends. Having people like her around remind me that positivity and love exist in every form, even in simple things. Walking around in the Montreal spring, looking at the street art and stopping in every little shop that caught our attention was such a treat. Her contagious love and passion for her city was a reminder that I am happy. It reminded me that the person I was a year ago would be so proud of who I am now. In that moment, I couldn’t believe I had ever uttered a negative thing about my life.
It’s good to have friends that you can complain with, but mutual grumbling can’t be the only form of friendship in your life. Find people that always have good things to say and spend as much time with them as possible. You never know what simple thing they may say that pulls your mind out of a rut.
This week is the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal or the Montreal International Festival of Jazz. This seven-day extravaganza has made my beautiful city infested with tourists, but I get to listen to some sweet jazz for free, so I really can’t complain. This week was tough, Montreal experienced a record-breaking heatwave, but it didn’t stop the Quebecois from getting black-out drunk on wine and cheese while listening to obscure jazz bands.
The festival has brought back some fond memories. The smell of Canadian cigarettes, expensive weed, and Queues de Castor remind me of Carnival in Quebec City and summer nights in Ontario. My cousin used to come up to our cabin stoned, and I remember thinking of how much I hated the stench of pot. Now, however, it makes me miss him and his fearless attitude. He has not had it easy in life, but he has thrown himself into everything he has done with apprehension or worry. I admire that about him.
My grandmother and I used to sit out on her dock, watching the sun sink into the river after a long day of fishing and swimming and trespassing on islands. It was almost as though the star was just as exhausted as we are, falling slowly into the water where it would wait for us to be ready for another day. I would listen to the crickets and watch the dragonflies chase each other. It was peaceful, it became a moment frozen in time.
The Winter Carnival in Quebec City practically trapped me. I fell in love with the province when I was eleven, promising myself that I would live there when I was older. It was true magic to see a carnival made out of ice and snow. Vendors would heat up maple syrup, make little divots in the snow, and pour the molten sugar into them, making little maple lollipops right in front of the kids. Those bitter, cold days in QC hold some of my fondest memories.
Sitting here, in a chain coffee shop at 9pm, with a shitty iced latte and a protein bar, I wonder how I made it all happen. How I truly let my memories of what made me happy shape my future. There is a musician outside, singing on a massive stage, with a crowd of thousands of people watching her. I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing.