Joyeuses fetes, and all that. I'm almost on my way home to TO from Montreal, where we spent our holidays with my parents.
For the first time, we rented a house here - on the Plateau. After countless visits to Mtl over many years, I've never actually stepped into any of the homes I've discretely ogled from the street. The place is fantastic and I only hope we can stay here again.
The fascinating fact about this home is that the people who rented it to us (whom we do not know - although I feel I understand them quite well at this point!) actually live here on a regular basis. They've simply gone on vacation too. I never thought I'd say this, but I LOVE living in someone else's house. I love to discover how they organize the kitchen in ways I'd never have considered. I love how they use their own kinds of face soap and shampoo, kinds that I've never tried - drug store brands. I love how they leave dried chili peppers in a little bowl on the wooden counter top. (Um, I love that they are crazy enough to install butcher block counters.)
I love that they trust people to come into their space and to be respectful, that their hearts are open enough to take a chance on others being in their space.
In a zillion years, I would never reciprocate in this fashion. I am 8000 times too controlling. But my mind is expanded by traveling like this and I am done with hotels, whenever possible.
Now, we've had a great time here but, let me say, if this was the first time I'd ever come to Montreal, I suspect it might have been the last. Apparently my perfect-weather-in-this-city luck ran out and Lord, what a disaster. It rained for 3 days straight, the kind of rain that trashes your 600 dollar, water-proof boots. The kind that will not remit. The kind that soaks through your umbrellas. The kind that turns a toasty winter-wonderland into a grey, dull, flat, dirty mess. Honestly, it made Toronto look good.
I'll let that statement soak in. I'm actually suggesting that Toronto - one of the Unesco sites of Utter Winter Hideousness - is actually more attractive than Montreal under similar circumstances. My mother, who will truly go anywhere, has indicated that she'll not be returning. I suspect it was the beige, tattered futon sitting on someone's unleveled balcony, dripping, that threw her over the edge, but we'll never know for sure.
Furthermore, we stayed east - in the French part of town. My parents are decidedly west-central sorts. "Real" isn't so much their scene. They prefer the muted lines of affluence.
What can you do? I'm imagining this adorable house with its wall of windows facing an utter gem of a backyard, ensconced by tatty walk-up rentals, on a warm summer night. Oh, I'm looking forward to that. Almost as much as I'm looking forward to getting the hell out of this pollution-coloured landscape.
Really, there's no pollution like the kind you understand.
Today's questions: Do you rent homes/apartments when you travel? If no, why not?? (People, you can dine at home in the evenings when you can't stand the elements...) Have you ever made a festive meal in a totally foreign kitchen? Do you love the idea of experiencing someone else's reality as a way of expanding your own? Let's talk!
Next up, I'll tell you about my fantastic winter gifts - my husband really pulled out the stops this year...