Bonjour Montréal: Our First Day

The last moments that we spent with my family were the hardest. I cried, and smiled, laughed, and cried again. It was quite the emotional roller coaster. Instead of keeping strong and pushing myself through this change, I’ve been letting myself feel everything. When I’m sad, I cry. When I’m happy, I smile. Better to just get it all out than force it back, if you ask me.

Letting myself feel my emotions resulted in a lot of family squinches, as my Mom calls them – where the four of us hug each other at the same time, as tight as can be. We did a lot of squinches as a kid. It feels different when you’re taller than your parents, but still feels just as comforting.

I’m going to miss them, but I’m still happy that we’re doing this. This move will be good for my soul.

We gave Lexy a dose of pills that would make her travels a bit easier and dropped her off at Air Canada Cargo. It was hard to leave her, but we knew she was in capable hands. Pebbles came along with us on the flight and was as well behaved as we could have ever hoped for. It’s as if she’d grown up flying. She slept, didn’t whine, or fuss, it was fabulous!

If you look hard, you can see her little beady eyes in there…

The take off felt final – no turning back, this is it, you’re actually doing this, type of final. I shook, cried hysterically, and said goodbye to the prairies.

The 4 hour flight went by rather fast. I kept my mind distracted by watching What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Lucky One, and reviewing all of the changes we are making to our new house this week.

Oh yes, and of course I snacked!

For lunch – leftover rosemary yam fries, cooked chickpeas and roasted vegetables.

For snack – roasted seaweed. Don’t knock it till you try it, this stuff is the BOMB! Even Kevin likes it… which is saying a lot because he hates most all ‘hippy loving green things’, as he calls them.

Because our flight was massively delayed, we arrived in Montreal about 2 hours later than expected, at 8pm.

We waited for our bags, picked up our rental mini van, and raced off to grab Lexy at the cargo hold. I’ve never been so excited to see the little stink. She was scratching at the door of her crate and so excited to see us.

We had planned to hit up Walmart on our way to our new place to grab pillows, food and water, but to our surprise… Walmart and many other stores close at 5pm on Sundays. Weird.

We managed to find a little corner store that was still open and stocked up on:

  • pickles
  • canned mushrooms
  • canned green beans
  • apples
  • bananas
  • tuna
  • water

Thank goodness I brought some food with us. When we got to our new place, I made an apple bowl for me with apples, cinnamon, raisins and coconut butter, and a tuna bowl for Kevin with tuna, pickles, and mushrooms. I chose not to crack open the green beans until the morning. There’s nothing quite like canned green beans at 5am in the morning, I’ll tell ya that.

We got back to the house really late, ate, blew up our awesome ThermaRest mattresses, and passed out.

In Alberta, it doesn’t matter what holiday it is; save for Christmas, all stores are open, all the time. Quebec is a different story all together. We quickly learned that yesterday’s holiday Monday was celebrated by there being absolutely no large stores open. Our IKEA and Home Depot visit had to get pushed by a day. Instead, I managed to find a drugstore that sold cleaning supplies (thanks to everyone on Facebook), and Kevin and I spent the day cleaning our new place, walls, blinds, ceilings and all. It felt good.

Once the Videotron man was finished setting up our phone, internet and TV, we went for a walk around our neighborhood, Montreal-West, to get a feel for the new digs.

Of course I found myself popping in and out of the markets scoping for all of the gluten-free goodies. I managed to find a good amount – lots of quinoa, buckwheat, gluten-free pasta, and crackers. All within walking distance from our house. Aside from not being able to find flax oil just yet, I think I’ll have an easy enough time finding ingredients for my recipes.

On our way home, I noticed a bin just outside our house that I’d not seen when we came to visit a couple of weeks prior. Upon inspection, I learned that it’s a community compost. How AWESOME is that? They recycle here, have community gardens and compost… what more could a girl ask for? You better believe I’ll be filling up this bin every week. Woo hoo!

Here are a couple of extra pictures of our adventures, including some of the new place. It’s a beautiful, characteristic home, that I fell in love with instantly when we saw it online. We’re planning to do a bunch of little changes to it this week, including a bunch of painting to liven up the rooms… all before our things arrive on the weekend. Time to get to it!

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  1. Welcome to your new home Leanne!! Looks like you guys made the voyage in one piece and are settling in quite nicely (well, minus the whole shops being closed thing but I’m sure you’ll have it sorted out soon!) It looks like you guys are having fun getting all set up and exploring the city. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Thanks Averie. Getting this post up was a challenge but forced me to sift through all the images we’ve collected. Nothing worse than taking LOADS of pictures for weeks and then having to go through them all, ick!

  2. Welcome to Montreal! A grocery store you’ll want to check out is called Avril – kind of a Canadian “Whole Foods” – but affordable.

    • Thank you, Vicki… I was looking for flax oil today and that tidbit of info would have saved my life, I’m sure. Will definitely, most certainly be checking it out. Especially love that you mentioned it’s not overly expensive. Thanks again :)

  3. I think when the time comes for me to move away from my family I’ll be a wreck for a few days. I’m not even ridiculously close to them but knowing they are an hours drive away is very comforting.

  4. “What to expect when you are expecting”??? Did I miss a post somewhere? Are you pregnant?
    Btw, love your blog and look forward to seeing what you post everyday.

      • Just a movie, just a movie! I can only handle so much change in a year. Career, house, travel… no babies ;)

  5. Yay!! Congrats guys. Looks like the travels went nice and smoothly. Your new place looks great and it looks like you are having fun exploring already! I am so excited to soon be in your shoes, too (I hope). Enjoy every moment and every emotion! xoxo

    • Lots of emotions up in here, that’s for sure. Thanks Beth!!

  6. Congrats on the long journey! It’s good to know that the dogs did okay on a flight! We’ve yet to travel via air with our cats, but the thought has always made me nervous. Hope you guys are able to find some down time in between the cleaning and exploring the new city! :)

    • It was pretty easy to travel with them. I was a bit nervous with the whole Air Canada Cargo thing, but they were great with her. It’s unfortunate that they can’t take the dogs out for a quick bathroom break during the waiting period – 2 hours at the front end and at least 1.5 hours before you pick them up after your flight. Makes for a long day, you know? If you were traveling with your cats, you could take them both as carry on. Easy peasy!

    • You’re so right on that, Irina! I can feel how beneficial this is for my heart even now. It was a good move for the two of us and we’re really looking forward to getting all of our things into the new place and really settling in.

  7. As everyone already wrote you… Welcome ! What a great adventure you are living. I wish you all the best with Kevin and Sweet Doggies ! Great pic of Pebbles in her bag ! I’m looking forward to reading about the daily Montreal life.

    • Thank you Valerie. Pebbles was so hard to see in her bag because it was so dark. Some people didn’t even believe I had a dog in there!

  8. Welcome home, Leanne! I am absolutely positive that you will love it here, despite the stores closing at 5 on week-ends (yes, they close at 5 on Saturday too!) and not being open on most Holidays… I’m pretty sure that you will manage to find a few around you that have much more accommodating business hours (there is such a thing as 24 hour grocery stores around here, especially in the greater Montreal area) and I am most certain that you will eventually get your hands on that flaxseed oil!

    Love the new house, thanks a bunch for sharing your adventure with us. You almost brought tears to my eyes. So emotional. Must be so hard, taking a one way flight…

    • Thanks Sonia! Yes, I have no doubt I will love it here… just takes some getting used to! Everything is done so differently here. It’s a learning experience, that’s for sure!

  9. Congratulations, I can’t believe you are managing to blog during this time (but I totally love that you are sharing your journey, its so inspiring)!! If I had my blog when we moved a few years ago, there is no way I would have been able to juggle it all!! I am sure that the new city and surroundings are going to inspire you in amazing and unexpected ways. I can’t wait to see it all happen!! :)

  10. Welcome to the East Coast!! Congrats on the big move – I’m sure it must feel nice to finally just get to your new place and start to settle in. Montreal will be perfect for you guys and remember, if you ever venture down to Burlington, let me know :) Would love to meet you (since I’ve been following your blog for so long!).

    • Thanks, Alyssa! Yes, each day makes this place feel more and more like home. I have no doubt I’ll be as happy as a clam in a couple of week’s time. For sure, I’ll let you know when I make my way down there :)

  11. Congrats on getting there safe and sound! That is absolutely awesome about the compost bin!

  12. Welcome to Montreal!!!
    I’ve been living her my whole life and it is a beautiful and fantastic city :) If you ever need help finding specific products, let me know and I’ll be glad to help (if i can)! :)

    • Thank you, Gabrielle! I’ve been having a hard time finding a Loblaws/Superstore that has an organics/natural foods section. Do you know if they have those here? Also, Amande (almond yogurt) have you seen it anywhere? Last but not least… Enjoy Life products? Thank you SO much!

      • I dont know in which area you live exactly but the Loblaws in Lasalle has a good health section (metro Angrignon)! Also, IGA has the almond yogourt in their health section and the Enjoy life products! The thing is, they don’t all have it, you kinda have to go more in the “suburbs” to find bigger grocery stores (no idea if you have a car or not).

        Also, someone else also suggested checking out Avril Supermarché, it would be HEAVEN for you. The only problem is, there are only 3 in Québec and are all in the suburbs (Brossard and Boucherville would be the closest to Montreal). Obviously, they have the Amande products and the Enjoy Life products and many many many more!

        Hope that helps :)

        • Hi Gabrielle, thank you so much! I live on Westminister just off Sherbrooke in Montreal-West. There’s an IGA just down the street on Cote St Luc, I’ll check it tomorrow. I haven’t checked out the Loblaws in Lasalle, will go on the hunt tomorrow. Yes, Avril is on my list but you’re right, it’s super far! We have a car, but like to take transit to avoid the craziness. Thanks again, you’ve been such an awesome help :)

  13. Congratulations, Leanne! It looks like a beautiful home. You should definitely check out the PA on Fort – they’re cheaper than most grocery stores (not that food isn’t already cheaper in Montreal!) and they do carry some neat products sometimes!

    Anyway, the stores being closed at 5 PM on a Sunday isn’t “weird”, it’s Quebec weekend labour laws! ;)

  14. Hey Leanne,
    I just subscribed to your blog without realizing you’re in Montreal too! Welcome. I just tried living in Michigan for two years but I missed it here too much. I’ve been back a month and I’m so in love with this city, it’s the best! Now that I’m vegan I’m finding there are some good gems here. I’m reading these comments and I’ll have to check out Avril supermarket. Yes in Michigan they had Whole Foods and you could order online from anywhere… but it’s not Montreal. Just wait until the spring, you will love it.

    • Hi Michele – awesome that you’re also in Montreal, and that you have a blog. Just subscribed. I’m really looking forward to the Spring and Summer. We got here so late in the year that we didn’t get to experience the amazing festivals and such. So happy that you found me :)

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