I’ll say it, Montreal, I am madly in love with you. When my grandmother (from Brittany) asked me why, I didn’t know what to tell her. Like all the others that speak of you with twinkles and/or tears in their eyes, I quickly understood that I would do anything to spend my life by your side. Me, little frenchie, in you, big franco, the temptation was too strong not to succumb to the songs of your sirens.
For you, I dumped my Parisian life, I explained to my loved ones that the “real” life was elsewhere, I continued my studies in literature, I won some scholarships, I found a student job that fits me with people that respect me, I rebuilt a circle of beautiful friends more precious than ever, I dived into the permanent residency race, I expatriated myself to become your immigrant. “Montreal. because I’m worth it.” That’s what I should have told my grandmother.
I did it all because you’re so great Montreal. You keep us feeling alive, you inspire us. You’re like that big bite of warm bagel straight out of the oven after a morning full of class.
What luck that you exist, Montreal. Among all the chaos, you are the shimmering jewel to which we hold onto when everything falls away. The treasures and individuals you harbour are unparalleled across the world. Sometimes, it’s true, you seem like a Big Apple, but you never have a big head about it. You’re admirably delicate and full of inspired thinkers that try to bring you the glory that you amply deserve.
These same thinkers form the community of humans that you shelter and who make miracles happen daily. Do you realize? They themselves don’t really know it. We should tell them, your protégés, that they are remarkable: their empathy, their amiability, their way of playing with words and of dotting the i’s with finesse, it’s admirable.
Until now, I had told myself that I kept that secret between you and I, Montreal. But it’s worse to remain quiet than to come to the aid of a person in peril. Do you know many cities that help people to emerge again, to find themselves, to push themselves further, to renew their trust in themselves, to feel good as they are, to have the choice to make their family as they see fit? Believe me, I’ve frequented others before you. Your legendary modesty could have been deceiving. But that was before your recent award as best student city in the world. It’s about time. You can blush, it’s the QS Best Student Cities that said it, you should be proud my beloved.
With my perspective as an international student, I can only confirm this decision and proclaim it high and low: you have everything for me, my Montreal. I can even find your frozen sidewalks charming when I get up at 6:30 am to get to class on time (me who dreamed of palm trees and coconuts). With you, I forget to talk about the rain and the sunny weather. You bring me back to basics, you recentre me. I’m one of those maudits Frenchies with nothing but love for you, and I hope that we show it well. You’ve gone viral, Montreal.
Before I had even put my bags down, I’d been told : « You’ll see, it’s a bit like New York but smaller ! ». Others worried that I would not be able to decipher the cryptic nuances of your diverse accents, franglais included. They hadn’t foreseen our falling in love without needing to share a same language.
It’s true that at first, I thought that you were a city of linguistic super heroes (who hid their capes well): I had never seen people switch so quickly from one language to the other with an ease as disconcerting as my own level of English.
With time, the more I think about it the more I agree with Alex, a French student in communications at UdeM who said this about you : « or me, Montreal is a cyberpunk city located somewhere between the 1980s and 2030 ! ». As fascinated as me with your power of attraction, he also added that : « There truly is magic in this city. It evokes something inexplicable, like other striking cities such as Mexico, for example. You have to be there to understand. »
Me, I mostly think that you’re totally cool, Montreal, that’s your creed. You’re not cold to the touch, you make possible that which we thought impossible elsewhere. Your magnetism is contagious.
Thanks for having pulled me in and for allowing me to call you my city when I talk about you to those who don’t yet know you.
With all my love.
PS : If I weren’t already taken, I’d marry you.
For more informations about Montréal
Crédit illustration : Gabrielle C. Poirier
Daisy is a journalist and project manager with Admissions and Recruitment Services (SAR). Lover of words and of people’s lives, her head is always full of ideas! Full disclosure: she worships Catulle Mendès, the author that inspired her to study androgyny in 19th century decadence literature. Which is also why she is pursuing research in literature at UdeM…