Those are the three words that come to my mind when I think of my journey and my current stop. Montreal. Beautiful city in Quebec.
The first time I came here I thought how charming the city was, the Viex Port (Old Port), the Mont Royal and duplexes near McGill. I told myself it would be wonderful to live in one. And here I am, sitting in a spacious hall of my new home for the next two months, exactly like the ones I was secretly admiring. Life is magical. And I am extremely grateful that my wishes come true, one way or another.
So, this is a new chapter in my life and coming here was an adventure in its own. I was in my own element as usual, Aizhan style: last-minute decisions, spontaneous and unsure of what will happen next. After finishing my last final on Wednesday and celebrating with a friend on Thursday I was still unsure until Saturday. I posted an ad for a sublet and met a girl from UofT that day and hopeful that she will take an apartment I took a leap of faith. I made a decision that evening: I am going to Montreal. Not knowing where exactly, how exactly and if things will come in favour, I just made that step. Amidst feelings of uncertainty and fear, I found something deep inside which I lost. That curiousity, desire to explore and do something new, to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted it, I needed it in my life more than ever. I am 22. There is still years ahead of me, but I knew that if I doubted myself in that crucial moment, I will regret it.
So I seized an opportunity to come to Montreal, take summer courses in McGill and explore the city, meet new people and what-not. I was open. Everything was quick: finding a ride, negotiating with Gavin, negotiating with my roommates and a potential sublet, packing my entire room in boxes and suitcase I randomly found. It is all behind now, but it was part of the journey. These things that keep you on your feet, make you constantly analyze, plan, decide, execute. I missed that because despite heavy academic courses at UofT, they lacked this kind of urgent element. Real life decision-making.
I went to bed at 3AM and somehow fell asleep despite being very worried about the next day. Who is this Gavin, what if he a maniac, will I get safely there? Etc. But he arrived and I came down with my suitcase at 7AM on Sunday and met him and his cute dog named Mandie. The whole ride was fast and smooth, despite some inconvenience. I became friends with Mandie and thought that this was definitely something new!
It was raining hard when I arrived and I couldnt get to the girl named Megha who subletted her room to me. However, despite my worries, I got wi-fi from someone and was able to connect with her and came to my new apartment! Ah! It was just like in pictures, a fireplace, tall ceilings, natural light, big windows, brick walls! This was so me. I loved it at the first sight. Megha had some sense of urgency and business to her, she started quickly explaining some things, but I decided to leave my stuff and rushed straight to my class after a 6 hour ride!
Right away I decided to talk to someone and my first acquaintance was Sanjit. He was nice enough to share his notes and take me to the next building. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day at all, but my back was hurting so much from all the stress, sleepless nights and heavy luggage. In some moments of weakness and fear I thought to myself, where is my ex-boyfriend when I needed him. But then I reminded myself WHY I am here. Not for anyone, but myself. I can be strong, I can do things on my own and I can ask for help.
I couldnt fall asleep for a long time that crazy Monday I arrived to Montreal. I cant’t tell if it was the noise of my roomates, the light that was falling right onto me, or just me being so tired that I was too awake. It doesn’t matter anyway. Megha was nice to invite me to party on Tuesday and that’s when I met someone I know from Toronto all of a sudden. The least expected person in a least expected place. TWICE. Coincidence? Now that I am taking this Hinduism and Buddhism class, I doubt it. Like my Professor Arvind Sharma said, the people, objects, events that surround us are not coincidental. We all owe karmic debts to each other. Was this some kind of sign the universe wanted to send me? I will not know for we are ignorant human beings who can’t know the truth of universe, but I will just accept it as it is and move on.
Among other people, I also met a very cute and nice girl named Fairha who is also in my class. Again after a feat of dount, I told myself “Don’t limit yourself, take the chance” and signed up for French courses and immediately went there after my RELG class. There I met some new people and they were all so different. Different from Toronto. Names like Gigi, Estelina, Thaliya, Tue made me feel that this was a new experience. The Professor Genevieve quickly picked up my name Aika and helped me with pronunciation of French words.
All in all, it was a great day. Now I am listening to Tibetan healing sounds and reading my class book. I feel like I am part of something larger. I feel like I wanted to write this and share what was going on. To make sense of this experience and capture it. I feel as though this was not accidental. Even if I don’t make lasting friendships or do something huge, these little experiences will always stay with me. Just like Tarragona, like UofT, like my relationships. There is a lesson to everything. I hope that I can accomplish and take everything I can from Montreal and learn more.