In an attempt to get a break from the hard Syracusian winter- Carp and I took a weekend trip even further up North- to Quebec province in Canada.
Overall, Quebec province was a humbling experience in that we did not speak French, and a lot of people there did not speak English. We relied on the mercy of the bilingual Quebecians, and were constantly surprised at how similar the people of Quebec were to us, and also how different.
It was only a four hour drive for us up to Montreal, and then another three hour drive up to Quebec City, so we decided to do them both in the weekend. Quebec City was surprisingly quaint, and reminded me of European streets.
It was bitter cold, even with the sunshine. The sunshine however was a welcome relief, is it has been something that we have been missing in Syracuse for the past five months or so.
After a few hours, we stumbled upon exactly what we were looking for: a local bar complete with plates of nachos. Our waitress greeted us in French, and, responding to our blank stares, switched over to slightly broken English with a smile.
Probably the best part of the trip was the Monreal HI hostel. We met so many people from around the world, and it just felt like a big collective house similar to our current living situation in Syracuse. They served us breakfast every morning complete with milk out of bags European style, local maple syrup pancakes and delicious orange juice which they cut with apple juice. And also, they had a pub.
The first night, we played drinking games in the bar with the other world travelers and then went on part of a pub crawl with the group. The second night we went out into the 18 F degree night to get a hard sought out vegetarian dinner, and then decided to retire to the hostel bar for the evening.
We drank Canadian-made PBR, and even got some classic Quebec poutine (french fries and cheese curds covered in duck gravy).
The next day, we had breakfast and coffee at the hostel, and then hit the road back across the border.
The day we got back to Syracuse was the first day of spring. I realized what a success this winter has been, even though it’s been a struggle. I had launched myself into a new environment in upstate New York, survived through the coldest and snowiest winter I’ve ever experienced in my life, and struggled through a string of job rejections as I try to find my place in the world. I emerge from winter with battle wounds, but an application turned in for graduate school and a little more direction than I started the winter out with.
Something I’m constantly surprised about up North is the weird beauty you’ve never seen before in your life taking place at the end of March- as the neighborhoods are still covered in snow.
And right next to that untraditional beauty of snow that won’t leave, you also find patches where the snow has been removed, and life has been allowed to begin growing again.
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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz