I thought it was about time for an update on all that has happened since arriving here in Quebec on March 1st of this year. That makes it a full 8 months that Matteo and I have been here! It came to mind to do this in an FAQ style, so here goes:
How is your French?
Well, it does often take me by surprise that I did my bachelor’s degree in French Language & Literature at the University of British Columbia far before I ever met Matteo or entertained the idea of living in a French-speaking context. We see God’s hand preparing us for this adventure many years before we could have even started preparing – what a comfort!
Because I learned French in an anglophone setting, I rarely got the opportunity (or nerve) to practice with my English-speaking peers and there were no language labs, so I’m usually pretty embarrassed to use my French day-to-day (not to mention I have a pretty mild and hard-to-hear voice, which doesn’t help). However, being able to understand and read the language is so helpful. I think you could get along okay in Montréal but in Laval (Greater Montréal) everyone assumes you speak French first. I have had many interactions where I would not have been able to process a transaction or find what I was looking for without the French knowledge I have, and I’m thankful (not to mention I absolutely love a good Québécois accent – always have!).
What is Laval like?
In one word, a SUBURB. It doesn’t take us long to travel into Montréal (and completely by bus and metro I can get to the office I work at one day a week in about 1.5 hours), but when we’re here we definitely feel the signs of suburbia. There’s a lot of housing and strip malls and not a lot of history. However, in the fall I did discover a beautiful running trail near our place (I had been pining for one since we lived so close to the Langara golf course when we were in Vancouver), and there is water within running distance too.
What is your church like?
We made the move to Quebec in part to start work with a new church plant taking root in Laval called the180. We officially launched our gatherings on September 18 with 200+ people in attendance.
Currently, M serves in a pastoral role managing teams and supporting general structures and community life at the180. I have been serving in a communications role, managing our website and social media – this has been a fun learning curve, experimenting with how to communicate as a church. I love being able to try my hand at design. Together we host the youth group in our home every other week and we are also part of a Home Group. It is busy but such a joy!
As a church we have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do, and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is a huge part of what we have been teaching and learning.
Do you eat a lot of poutine?
Haha – to be honest, I have eaten one poutine since being here. It was in a remote area we were travelling through on our way to a vacation spot for a few days and it was INCREDIBLE – with smoked meat on top!
Montréal/Quebec are amazing for food though. They do eat a lot of chicken and fries – which was so new to me as a BC girl (our fast food runs more along the lines of burgers and fries) – but they also have fantastic Lebanese fast food called Amir and also just generally stronger ethnic food specialties. Because of the history of the area, there are greater populations of ethnic groups which makes for all kinds of amazing eats.
What do you miss about BC?
Well it goes without saying that having the ocean within driving distance and the mountains in view is definitely something I miss (and of course FAMILY goes without saying), but to be honest I think it’s moreso the size of the city that I miss. Vancouver is SMALL compared to Montréal! It was easy to zip back and forth between city and home (and perhaps I’m remembering the travel time fondly because now we only have one car). I love getting into Montréal when possible but sitting in traffic is definitely a bummer. Because M and I both work from home it is a blessing not to have to do it often.
And finally, here is a recent photo of us just in case you’ve forgotten what we look like!
All this to say that God has been good to us – providing everything we need from a home to a loving community and places to serve with our gifts. We are slowly learning why we’re here and what kind of mission we’re on, but we know confidently that we serve a loving and good God. If all of what has happened in the past 8 months is a sign of what is to come, we’re in for a crazy ride!