Sunday, May 22, 2016

Montreal in May Day 1

We recently went to Montreal for Mike's work conference, and I tagged along to make it more of a birthday trip for Mike. The best thing to come out of this trip was my relative ease in speaking French compared to my struggles while living in Paris back in 2006 - 2007. It's not like I've advanced my grasp of the language since living in Paris. If anything, my vocabulary and grammar have become quite rusty. However, the locals in Montreal made me feel at ease communicating with them in what likely sounded like broken French. When they felt compelled to make it easy for me and switch to English, I told them to please let me practice speaking in French and they obliged. While in France, I was afraid to speak because I felt that every time I said anything, I was being judged. I spent much of the time composing grammatically correct sentences in my head rather than just going for it. This time, I just blurted things out and occasionally fixed my sentences out loud. I had no shame and had a blast!

A warm welcome! Thanks, Marriott!

The trip started off fairly rough because I caught a stomach bug at the very last minute in Seattle. I took it easy on my first day in Montreal and kept close to the hotel. I didn't have much of a plan except that I needed to have easy access to a restroom. I heard about the underground city but didn't realize that it was integrated so thoroughly throughout the city that the entire downtown area seemed like a giant mall above and below ground! All I had to do to enter the réseau sous terrain (RESO) was to go to the bank next door to the hotel and follow my way to the endless string of shops. At one of the malls there was a free Barbie exhibit with donations going to Make a Wish Foundation.

The collection was impressive! My favorites were the old Hollywood Barbies.

Barbie Exhibit

"I Love Lucy" dolls

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady"

My two favorite outfits from "Gone with the Wind"

Later in the week, I made Mike come with me so he can take the following silly photo.

Broken French Speaking Barbie!

Afterwards, I had a bland sandwich on purpose and headed back to the hotel to work remotely and rest.

A dull lunch at Au Pain Doré

I was disappointed that my first dinner in Montreal was a $2.59 can of chicken noodle soup from a beer shop, but I was able to recover quickly to enjoy the rest of our trip!

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