So, so much going on this month, where to start.
The school books are now closed, and we're starting a two month break from our regular learning routine (all that stuff I wrote about in this curriculum post). Celine will continue with her self-directed studies and Damien will continue to mentor her computer programming. But the rest of it is getting all packed up. Literally.
We move the end of this month!
This reality pretty much dominates life around here. So also does the fact that we've been in Quebec for six months now and we are starting to make this our permanent home in terms of all the paperwork that has to be done. This is happening in the midst of moving, address changes, and traveling for a month. It's been messy and complicated and taxed my mental and emotional capacities.
Quebec, and Canada in general, offer a lot of social services (yeah) - which you pay for with your taxes, due yesterday (ouch). But you have to fill out a lot of forms, prove your citizenship or status, have a permanent address, yada, yada to access to these services.
It's been a paperwork nightmare around our home these past few days, bureaucracy in English is hard enough. And I can't say I've handled it gracefully. Dixie Lee fed us supper last night. I'll just say, it wasn't vegan and it wasn't healthy. C'est la vie.
So, as I was saying, we're moving. Our new, and hopefully (for my sanity's sake) semi-permanent digs will be ready for us to move in the beginning of July. Our friends, who we're renting from, are doing serious renovations on the chalet we'll be living in. I can't wait to see it when it's done.
But we have to leave here the end of May so we needed somewhere to live for the month of June. Why not visit one of Quebec's major cities? Yes, why not.
Montreal, here we come.
Damien, always the researcher and fluent in French, found us a furnished two bedroom apartment (with enough beds for five!) - probably as much space as our current chalet - for the end of this month.
All we're taking is our stuffed backpacks and each kid gets their "kit" bag for their various handiwork.
We are counting down and making a list of all we want to do.
If you are familiar with Montreal please send me a contact or comment here with places we should see. Not saying we'll do all of that of course but I've only been to Montreal once for a very short visit and I need some recommendations.
We are renting a place in the Ahuntsic arrondisement of the City of Montreal. Here's a few things I'm looking for specifically:
- A good farmer's market, not too touristy (ie: expensive) if possible. I want to buy food from local growers at a decent price if possible.
- A largish grocery store, if it had a wonderful selection of natural foodie things and a good gluten free selection I'd be in heaven.
- A cool second hand clothing store. Celine and I desperately need some wardrobe updates.
- A good, not-too-expensive, Japanese restaurant. We'll be going out for sushi for Damien's 40th birthday supper. 40!
- Same goes for a Thai restaurant, we prefer cheap, hole-in-the-wall (but still meets safety code) type places.
- An English used bookstore. I'm getting serious about learning French but I need English books for the kids.
If you live in Montreal and would like to have us over for supper and Anglais/Francais conversation (we're easy going, we'll eat most anything and I bring potluck) please shoot me an e-mail.
We live near one of the best brûleries in Gaspésie. I can bring coffee.
You can use the FIMBY contact form, or reach me at renee at tougas dot net. By the way, that e-mail address has been the only constant address in my life for at least ten years now. Oh, I do love that e-mail address. My permanent home in the digital world.
But before we pull out of here for Montreal (our worldly possessions will be stored in our black trailer at our new home) we've got some local adventuring to do. Spring fever hits hard after a long winter.
This weekend is our first backpacking trip since last summer. Damien and the kids are starting to prepare food, as I type. We've got the route planned (I think) and we've got the gear, somewhere in that trailer.
Those preparations, along with all my paperwork, pretty much dominate this week.
Next week I'll get down to packing to move in earnest. I can't leave it all to the end of the month because something pretty big is happening this month. Oh yes, in addition to everything else.
Celine turns 13.
This is huge news in our home and definitely a rite of passage for both our daughter and our family. This calls for a big celebration.
So Celine and I are meeting my mom in Fredericton, NB for a women-only (including young women) two day birthday celebration. Two years ago I met my mom for a similar girls only retreat. I took the bus up from Maine, she drove from NS.
This time around, the "retreat" is all about Celine. A bed and breakfast and activities of her choosing. I divine there will be book stores, fabric stores and cafes. This is a time for my mom and I (the matriarchs of the family) to honor Celine. Yes, it makes me cry to think about it.
This is an exciting time of life for Celine and I so desperately wanted to celebrate that with her in a big way. To show her that, along with the extra scholar responsibilities comes privileges. Celine is already transitioning into that groove. There's the younger two, Celine in the middle (there's a reason we call it middle school), and the adults. She shifts between the two depending on the day and activity.
I have a little bit of my own big news to share. I'm getting a laptop, any day now. Our traveling/adventuring/small space living lifestyle has made having a fixed location computer cumbersome and difficult for me to work efficiently. You'd laugh at the antics I go through some days.
Heading to Montreal for the month was our call to action to get me a better tool. Now I'll be able to take all those beautiful, Apple-computer-at-a-wooden-table photos, the type Heather posts on her blog (pst. I'm contributing to Heather's next course, there is still time to sign up). Call me a materialist but Apple products, those sweet little laptops especially, make me swoon.
That about does it I think for the month.
May is our monumental month. For a second year in a row. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it's a good lot. You know?