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My New Home in Paradise

Well… that’s a little extreme for a title. Paradise for me, anyway. Here’s my new bedroom. For 2 weeks, anyway.

The Scoop

Um… I didn’t say anything about this here, before? Whoops! This shouldn’t have been a surprise to you. I dropped the ball.

However, I’ve been super busy working on a computer-consulting project out of the blue. (Yippee for work in August!) That was my “day job” at the same time I was preparing to go to Montreal for 2 weeks. Yes, Montreal!


I’ve long wished to live in another country. Not necessarily forever, but long enough to get a feel for the life there. Not be a tourist, but find my own grocery stores and poke around to see what it’s like.

Cities are heaven to me. If a city has tall buildings, a subway, art museums and ethnic food, I can’t be happier! I “collect” cities. So far, Montreal is my favorite. This is my 3rd visit.

Why now? Well, there’s relatively little work for freelance folks in August, no matter what business one might be in. When customers go on vacation, it’s quieter than quiet. I scheduled 8 private knitting sessions during one 2-week period in late July/early August, and 6 got canceled.

This time of year I can feel lonely like the “Maytag Man.” December is similar but holiday gatherings fill in the schedule then.

Parallel to that, I’ve got a lot of knitting designs that I’ve knit up but which need to be transcribed into “real” patterns. So August is the perfect month for writing. Yes?

Add this all together, and I’m on a pattern-writing retreat. Not just any patterns, but the socks I knit while on my 5 week trip to Africa in 2004-05. And a travelogue to go with them all. (Photo below was taken in northern Ethiopia, December 2004.)

An Opportunity Out of the Blue

I accidentally found out that a friend of a friend had a room to rent here for a reasonable price, in August. So here I am. It’s surreal, but it’s also true.

With a Little Help from My Friends

My friend Jane, born and raised in Ontario but a longtime resident of Michigan, took me from Lansing across the border to Sarnia, Ontario.  (Sarnia is across the water from Port Huron, Michigan… east of Flint and north of Detroit).

I stayed the night with Hedda, a music friend who lives in Sarnia. (Photos later.) She took me to the VIA rail station at 6am (ouch) and I got on a train. For about 11 hours I was on a series of passenger trains and metro/subway trains. I was dizzy all night, as though I’d been on a boat!

Getting Situated

Two photos above show my “student apartment,” my home away from home in Montreal. And a “Self-Portrait with Shadows” I took on my first walk from the subway to this house.

I’ll stay here for 2 weeks. I’m calling it a “writing retreat” but it is a bit bigger than that to my heart.

First Steps

I’ll have more details later. I’m off to find a grocery store or market by foot.

I also will take a little excursion back to the Central train station. It seems I left a shawl and small pillow on the train? And someone found it and turned it in? And a woman named Ana says she’s holding them until I come to get them?

She’s happy I got these items back. So am I. There are good people everywhere. Some are anonymous. They don’t make the news.

I will stay in touch. My job is to write, that’s my focus. You will benefit from some of that writing right here. Stay tuned?

2 Responses to “My New Home in Paradise”

  1. Alicia Says:

    Montreal is one of the best cities. Have a wonderful time!

  2. Lisa in Toronto Says:

    Enjoy your time in Montreal. I think it is a very good time of year to be there – no snow and the back-to-school feeling.