I'm now back in Ann Arbor after a wonderful trip to Montreal. I'm really very glad to have gone and I look forward to returning someday soon...perhaps this summer? They tell me it's even better in the summer.
Thursday, Kyle picked me up around noon and we drove to Brighton where we joined Annie and she drove us all ten hours to Montreal. She really is amazing. Around 11:45pm we pulled up in front of the Dahans' house to see four eager faces looking out at us from a living room window. And then, three of them were running through the tempoh (tent-thing to keep the snow off the cars). It was Michel (our host), Ben, and Alex. After hugging us, they hurried us inside where we met Michel's dad. After a bit, Michel took Annie and I over to the Tabets' house where we would be sleeping and Ben and Alex showed (the very sick) Kyle to his bed.
Friday morning, Annie and I along with Berna (the Tabets' daughter who is our age) went to the Dahans' house to meet Michel and Alex and head off to Mass. We went to Holy Name of Jesus, which is one of the few English speaking parishes around.
After Mass, we came back to the Dahans' house, prayed, and then set to work planning the retreat. Around 2pm, the boys decided to make lunch for us girls. Such gentlemen...
Somewhere in here, we met Michel's youngest siblings, Patricia and Philippe. Phil is a great guy. Patricia speaks movies. She never stops quoting them. She is twelve; Phil is 15.
After lunch, we (me, Annie, Michel, Mr. Dahan, Patricia, and Philippe and Alex) took stuff over to the church where we'd be holding the retreat the next day. Then we came home and hung around before going over to dinner at the Tabets. After dinner, we hung out talking and listening to people singing the French version of the song "Cecilia." It's worse in Francais.
Saturday was the retreat. It was so good. There were only 15 or 20 people, including us leading it. But it was just so good, so holy.
From the left, we are Ben, me, Annie, Alex, and Kyle with Patricia in front of Annie and Alex.
After the retreat, we went back to the Dahans' house with Berna, Tony, and Carla to sing, dance, and laugh the night away.
During the course of the night, Alex locked Patricia in the closet. She thought it was Kyle; she was wrong. (Kyle and Alex are twins, just to clear that up.)
Sunday, we said good-bye to Ben and Alex who had to head home to go back to school. And then we went to Mass. After Mass, we had lunch at the home of the Gros family and then went off to see a bit of the city of Montreal. We went to Mont-Royal and saw the city.
Here you see me, Annie, and Kyle with Montreal behind us.
We also saw Tim Horton's on Sunday. Then we went home and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Singin' in the Rain.
Monday, we began the day by waking up at 11am. Okay, Annie woke up before then and just rested for a long time. Kyle woke up around 10:30. But I got up at 11am. Then we had lunch together and then went off with Marianne and Elise to see the Oratory of St. Joseph on Mount Royal. The Oratory is amazing.
After that, we met Michel and did a bit of tourism with him. At some point at the Oratory, my bad knee started acting up and Kyle started letting me lean on him. This leaning would last for two more days. Michel's idea of helping out was to throw me over his shoulder and carry me down stairs in the Metro stations and other places. Kyle and I agreed that this was awkward. We both preferred Kyle's method of carrying me which is "Okay, wrap your arms around your neck. Now I'm going to put one arm behind your back and then use the other to left your legs. Are you okay? Now hang on."
We saw McGill University, where Michel is studying, and some of downtown Montreal that afternoon including the Underground-an underground network of shops, restaurants, and connections between the train stations and buildings. It's insanely impressive. We also visited (and attended Mass in) the Cathedral of Mary Queen of the World, which is an imitation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It is lovely. But we didn't take any pictures because the camera was in my purse and I was having trouble getting around.
Then we went home and hung around.
Tuesday, we went to morning Mass at Holy Name of Jesus again and then went to see more of the city. We went to Chinatown and had lunch there. Then we saw more of downtown including St. Patrick's Basilica and Notre Dame, which is (inside) an imitation of the Notre Dame in Paris.
In the evening, Michel, Marianne (his younger sister), Kyle, Annie, and I went to dinner at the home of a family in the community. It was wonderful, lots of fun. And it provides you with a photo of us with our hosts-Michel and Marianne.
And then, yesterday, we went home. It is good to be home. But I'll miss Montreal. At times, the prevelence of French was a bit confusing but we made it work. And I hope that we will return there again soon.