You have read many posts from places all over the world… now, here is my normal life at home, with my friends and my family! It feels good to be back home…
The trip back to Montreal was a breeze. Our two pairs of parents welcomed us at the airport, and then we went to François’ parents place for dinner (with the jetlag, it was like the 6th meal we ate that day!) It was cool to come back to Canada, but a bit unreal… seeing all those signs written both in French and English, and smelling the pure air (at least more pure than in Paris haha). It was still a shock though, to arrive in a corner store and have to pay taxes on top of the price! Over here, when you buy – let’s say, a 2$ beer in a store, it actually comes up to 2.30$ at the cash. In bars, the tax is included, but you have to tip the bar maid every time you order a beer! So, 4$ beer + 1$ tip. Anyway, I think I will be missing the cheapness (and freshness!) of beer in Germany.
The next morning, I ate a totally Quebec-style breakfast: Creton with bagels from Fairmount bagels. It sounds really weird, but I was extremely excited to eat those! Creton is a simple pork pâté, but these wood-oven baked round bread things are the best in the world. They are so addictive that they are even imported fresh to New York City!
We spent the following day at my friend Arnaud’s place, to see a GATES OF SLUMBER show. Arnaud is an amazing cook, and he made us one hell of a treat for dinner. We went to the Jean-Talon market (a famous food market here in town) to find the ingredients.
After this, we headed to the gig – which was located in a hipster kind of venue, Il Motore. Not my kind of place – weird vibe and 5$ beers, so I ended up drinking outside during the opening band. When GoS came, I was already feeling pretty happy (the blurry photos kind of reflect that) hehe! I missed some parts of the following band, HAMMERS OF MISFORTURE, for been a bit too drunk. I’m not used to the strong Canadian beers yet. Anyway, they played really well, and live they sound a million times heavier than on record (yes, it’s possible!!)
I was extremely hungover the next day. I don’t know if it’s because we drank sweet red beer or because they add chemicals in the beer here, but I felt like total crap! To feel a bit better, Arnaud and myself went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch (that’s the beauty of Montreal, it’s extremely international food-wise). It helped a great deal. Poor François had to get up early to go to work! He adapted pretty well to his job though, even though he’s not a big fan of routine.
After the Mexican food, we went to visit some apartments – and actually found one that suited us perfectly! It is incredibly full of light, 30 minutes walking distance from my favourite venue and pretty cheap! We got really lucky to find it so fast!!
On Friday night, I met François after his work, and we took the bus to Ottawa to go to my parent’s place. They live in Orléans, a francophone suburb of the city, where I grew up! My grandparents were there, as well as my pregnant sister, Marjolaine. It was a shock to see her, she was already at 8 months pregnant or something!! My grandmother made me my favourite cake, and we just talked traveling for the evening…
The packages I sent to myself while traveling were waiting for me at home. I was so excited to open them up… I had like 35 packages – some of them loaded with rare LP’s from exotic places, as well as cool souvenirs (and packaged food) from all over. Arghhh!
The next day for lunch, we had some ritual poutine. Remember during the whole trip, I was always trying to emulate poutine with local ingredients? Well, now we had the real thing. Our first one in a year and a half, with local quality ingredients. It was to die for!
When the weekend was over, François went back to Montreal to work, and I spent the whole week at my parent’s place. My sister had a baby shower, and I went shopping for some furniture that we needed for our apartment (we gave away half of our stuff before leaving on our trip). The following Friday, François came back to Ottawa and we both headed to my friend Alice’s place in Gatineau (a suburb of Ottawa, but on the Quebec side)… we were to have a welcome party with some friends we haven’t seen in a long time. It ended up to be really crazy…
People from out of town brought their tents, and so Alice’s backyard became some sort of party camping ground. It was a lot of fun… kind of like a festival, without bands hehe
The next day, Saturday, we were supposed to move from Ottawa to Montreal, but finally it didn’t happen because the moving truck company rented our van to somebody else… so we had to wait the next day. Lucky for us… I slept one hour and we were hungover as hell haha
We spent a few days doing renovation to our new apartment… it was pretty crusty; the people before us were there for 11 years. I don’t think they ever cleaned in those 11 years… we had to scrape layers of fat and goo from years of cooking around the stove! Nasty stuff. It looks great now though, and we really feel at home. It’s a good feeling for sure – especially after having traveled for so long, in different places!
I then hopped on the train and went back to my parent’s place in Orleans for a few more couple of weeks – in order to spent a little bit more time with them. Together, we went to a family reunion in Saint-André-Avellin (Quebec countryside)… my uncles and aunts made a pig roast, as well as some roasted beef and poutine! Yeah!!
A few days later, I returned in the countryside at my grandfather’s cottage, and made him some Czech goulash (he wanted to try something different and I was craving that meal!) The same day, I learnt that my uncle, the one that was roasting the pork a few photos earlier, was attacked by a mother bear. Apparently, the really warm summer we had in Canada caused a draught, that generated less food for bears… so they get quite dangerous these days. My uncle was just picking black berries and he saw three cubs coming out of the bush… and the mother followed right after – attacking him three times! She bit his leg, she tried biting his jugular vein – and he countered attacked her by putting his whole front arm into her jaw… and hitting her with his steel-toe caps. After a while, she stopped, looking to protect her cubs, and then he ran for his life – losing alot of blood on the way… crazy. He’s now feeling much better, but he’s incredibly lucky he’s still alive!!!
I came back to Montreal two weeks later, as my friend Johan and his wife were having a kind of south-american party at their place. Eduard made the national Colombian meal (bandeja paisa) and we had tons of beer and metal. So fun!
On Monday, I went to see my friend Aurélie’s new apartment – and meet my friend Guillaume. Aurélie is a French girl who lived in Finland for more than 10 years. She decided to move to Montreal, and arrived just a couple of weeks ago. Guillaume is a metal maniac, and I met him at my metal DJ nights in Montreal.
Her apartment is only something like 15 minutes walking from mine, so I came back home by foot. It was late in the night, and I passed in front of this Montreal institution…
I walked around a lot in Montreal with François, exploring the city which changed just a little bit since we left. We’re really happy to be back here, this city really suits our style of living! Nice green areas, mixed with international flavors and beautiful urbanscapes. I love Montreal!
On Friday, August 24th, we finally went to see DEAD CAN DANCE at the Bell Centre, a hockey stadium here in Montreal. It’s not the best place to host this kind of show, but luckily we were seated quite close to the stage, so we had a good seat. There were some drunken idiots right next to me though – which kind of soured the beginning of the show (the guy beside me would scream “Liiiiiisa!!! I love you!!!, fall off his chair, sing the melodies, etc…) but then he left. What a relief! I was quite a spiritual experience, and it really ended well our trip – as well as the start of our new life. DCD was a big part of the soundtrack of our trip… but we pretty much only listened to the 80’s and early 90’s albums – which they vastly ignored in their show. Ahh well…!
The next day was the first CAUCHEMAR gig in Canada since 2010! It was organized by my friend Carolina, and featured 4 more incredible bands; METALIAN (local NWOBHM-worship from Montreal), DEMONTAGE (Weird Heavy/Black/Thrash from Toronto), BORROWED TIME (US Heavy Metal, Detroit) and OCCULTATION (Doomy black metal from NYC). It was one hell of a perfect evening, with a large turnout, killer metal, good friends, and no fuck-ups whatsoever! All the bands played flawlessly, and gave all they had. We also played a good set – one of our bests! OCCULTATION really put me in the mood, and I was feeling the magic on stage…
I spent the next two weeks doing some job searching, house work, as well as cooking (of course). No news from jobs yet, but hopefully the change of season and the return of students to class should open up a few jobs soon. A few days ago, I got an e-mail from my sister, that told me she broke her waters… and about 12 hours later, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was 20 days too soon, but she is perfectly healthy!! So we jumped on the bus and went back to Ottawa to see her, and celebrate a little bit. Congrats to the parents, and the grand-parents!!!
We took advantage of being in Ottawa again to go visit a part of the downtown area as tourists. Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital, is a beautiful town rich with natural parks and beautiful old British-style buildings. We took a little walk around the capital, and went to the Bytowne market (a food market located right in the middle of town):
We also did a bit of shopping at Ottawa’s best independant record shop… Vertigo Records! I found so many good records there, since it opened up, around 9 years ago. I really missed this place!
We have done tons of things since… but it’s starting to become a bit repetitive. So, I won’t bore you with that, hehe. The trip is over… now, our new life is starting!
Thanks to all of you for the support throughout those intense months of traveling! Feel free to e-mail us anytime (see contact) if you have any questions or need any tips regarding diy traveling.
Goodbye! Return from the void!