So, what's Chris been up to?
Updated: Oct 14, 2018
For those of you who have been wondering what I'm up to, here's a quick post on what's been going on. As many of you know, I'm in this weird limbo period where I'm waiting on the Canadian government to approve my sponsorship paperwork. It's the first stage in (a) allowing me to stay in the country legally, and (b) getting me on the path to becoming a permanent resident and allowing me to legally work while I wait. Needless to say, I have a lot of time to fill while all this is processing. And no, we don't know how long it's going to take.
One of the first things I did after we got here was contact a local cat rescue shelter about volunteering. I volunteered quite a bit with an organization called Furkids in Atlanta, and I was hoping to find something similar in Montreal. Luckily, we found an shelter called Réseau Secours Animal that caters to cats only. Not that dogs don't deserve help too, but I don't have any experience with them, and I wanted to stick with something I knew and loved. After some email exchanging and a brief interview, RSA brought me on as a volunteer.
As anyone who has ever volunteered with animals knows, it's a lot of work. And it's not glamorous. But, there are some really sweet cats at this shelter, and I know they (and the humans) appreciate my help. And, the staff has fortunately been forgiving of the fact that I don't speak French. They've asked me a lot of questions about the USA (does everyone there have guns? Did you live in the "church belt?" What's the food like?), and everyone has been very friendly. It has definitely made me want to adopt another cat, but Natasha would not like that at all. Don't worry, Natasha - you'll remain queen of the household.
In addition to volunteering, I've been trying to get out and explore the city while the weather still allows (45 degrees today!). Marny and I both have unlimited Metro passes, so I've logged a lot of time on trains and buses since the beginning of the month. The Metro is unbelievably easy to use, but the bus system is a bit more complicated. Not difficult, but it takes some trial and error. In typical Canadian fashion, the Metro stations/trains are clean, and they make the NYC versions seem like an open sewer (sorry, NYC).
Much like Atlanta, Montreal is a city comprised of various neighborhoods, and each of them have their own personalities. I usually base my exploring on something I want to eat (shocker, I know), then check out the neighborhood while I'm at it. This week, I explored the Plateau Mont-Royal area based on a Portuguese chicken place I'd read about. After a tasty lunch, I walked around the area and saw a lot of places I wanted to go back to. It's fun even looking at the architecture here - it's so different from where we used to live. From the colorful street art to the plentiful public parks, there's always something new to look at.
One thing we were looking to get out of this move was a different experience from what we'd been used to in the States. There have definitely been a few moments where I've looked around at my surroundings, heard French being spoken around me, and thought "ok, I really am somewhere different." In that area, Montreal has delivered.