We don't speak French, we don't have jobs lined up, so what are we thinking?
We decided to do it. We're gonna move! It'll be an adventure! So, now we get to make some decisions. The first thing to think about is: how are we going to make a living? Well, this is where it gets scary. I've been a practicing attorney for 17 years. 17 years! I've literally never done anything else (except for a few retail jobs in high school and college). But, another quick Google search makes it clear that I'm not going to be able to be an attorney in Canada. At least, not without A LOT of learning and studying and testing. And frankly, I don't love being a lawyer anymore-- I did for the first few years, but not so much anymore. Not enough to want to go through a lot of learning and studying and testing. So, this is my chance to start over. And somehow, I've been feeling pretty zen about that part. Maybe this time around, I can find something I love now. My husband, Chris, on the other hand is in a more complicated situation. He isn't a Canadian citizen, so for him to work is going to mean sponsorship and visas and permanent residence applications and figuring out the immigration rules (if only I had been an immigration lawyer). Suffice is to say, it'll be a while before he can legally work.
So, then the question became where in Canada? It's a big country! So we started narrowing down. "Let's try to stay closer to the East so that we'll be closer to family." "Let's be somewhere that's a major city so that it'll get concert tours and theater." "Let's find somewhere affordable in case it takes a long time to find work.""I want to see moose, but not all the time." So, taking all that into consideration, we landed on Montreal.
“ And while everyone we met and spoke to could speak English perfectly, we didn't want to be those people who expect everyone to cater to us."
I'd been to Montreal before (it was road-trip-distance away from where I went to college), but Chris never had. We booked plane tickets, made a hotel reservation, and planned a trip to go check out Montreal to see if it made us have the "I Could Imagine Living Here" conversation. And it did.
We don't speak French
In case you didn't know, Montreal is a bilingual city: English and French. Our English is excellent-- no problems there. It's the French that poses some challenges. And while everyone we met and spoke to could speak English perfectly, we didn't want to be those people who expect everyone to cater to us. That brings us to our first challenge: learning passable French despite currently living in a non-immersive environment. We researched language schools, contacted Craigslist listings for French tutors, and found ourselves a teacher. We started downloading French instruction podcasts, promised we'd force ourselves to watch subtitled French movies, and bought French workbooks for school kids. To be honest... it isn't going so well.