A Moment in Montreal

The requisite maple sugar candy.

After five days in New York, my mom, dad, sister, and I took a road trip to Montreal. It was wonderful to be in a new city, and this one reminded me of Europe. I was able to practice my minimal French and was pleasantly surprised by how many of the billboards I could actually read. My visit to a used bookstore in this city, however, did not yield purchases as my comprehension is far from novel level.

Tomatoes at the open market.

Puppy post at the open market.

My mother and sister are both professional chefs, among other creative talents, so we sampled some of the best foods and restaurants. After shopping at the open market, they exercised their culinary mastery in our hotel (Dad made sure to select a place where the rooms had kitchens). We went to La Banquise to experience poutine, the city’s famous dish: French fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Even if you’re not a foodie, Olive et Gourmando is worth visiting, in Old Montreal (only tourists call it “Old Town,” a cashier at the open market told us).

Famous for poutine, the menu listed several variations. We had classic and one with sausage, onions, and mushrooms.

This orange-flavored hot chocolate was so thick I had to spoon it bite by bite.

At Suite 88 Chocolatier, I had one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had – and I am somewhat of a connoisseur, having had them all around the world. The best, no surprise, was from Belgium. I have also been to botanic gardens all over the world. My love for them began at the age of 12, in Japan’s Garden of Denbouin. At the Jardin Botanique in Montreal, I saw more variations of leaf than I ever knew existed.

During my NY/Montreal vacation, I received my first set of notes on draft 3 of my novel from a trusted reader. The experience of this draft and the ensuing comments is much like that of draft 2 – elation at completing, pride, and then feeling crushed by comments – you mean there are this many things that need work? You mean I am this far from really being done? Will I ever be done? The notes, however, are streamlining. This is a very good sign, because it means my drafts are streamlining. I may be this far from being done, but I am simultaneously this much closer. I have a vague case of nerves regarding my impending Online Critique next month. I also have burbling excitement. The notes I receive will spur me to the next draft, which is again this much closer to completing this work.

My sister (who was an agro-ecology major in college) leading the way through the Botanic Garden.

A few fancy insects on display at the Botanic Garden’s Insectarium.

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