I've been visiting Montreal about five times a year for the past four years, by virtue of the long-distance relationship with my boyfriend who is a student here. As my relationship progressed, so did my love affair with Montreal. Each time the city skyline came into view from the bus window, I felt excited not only to see my boyfriend after time apart, but also to spend a weekend in this dynamic, cool, modern city that never seemed to be short on good times.

I swear, in the countless weekends I spent here, I did something different each time; whether it was New City Gas, Igloofest, visiting the Biodome, running up Mount Royal, or eating at countless amazing restaurants. I came to think of Montreal as the city that simply couldn't disappoint when it came to entertaining. I raved about my obsession with Montreal to anyone and everyone. "It's the best city in Canada,"  I would tell my friends, "There's always something going on."

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So when the opportunity arose for me to move here this summer, I jumped at the chance. My boyfriend had to take a semester of classes, and I was looking forward to a fun, stress free summer, having just graduated from my four year program. Without question, I was ready to spend my summer in Montreal, the city I'd fallen totally in love with (and in).

But of course, I had some worries. Since every visit was underscored by the joy of finally getting to spend time with my boyfriend, I inevitably had rose-coloured glasses on when experiencing the city. Rarely was I ever in a bad mood here. That has to tip your bias in unfair favour, doesn't it? Simply put, I was worried that actually living here would dim the magic of Montreal I had always been captivated by.

Oh Montreal, we will be great friends this summer. ??

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Aside from this worry, there was the anxieties that come with moving to a new city in general. I don't know it as well, I'm not as comfortable navigating the streets. And although I know English wouldn't generally be a problem, I felt bad that my French wasn't up to par. Like many Anglos, I know enough from school to understand it, but my verbal skills are less than stellar. All of this totalled up to me worrying about feeling like an outsider - I wanted to blend in seamlessly, be effortlessly cool the way Montrealers are.

What I found was that my boyfriend helped ease my worries completely. He is more motivated than ever to enjoy and discover more of Montreal, since he's graduating in the fall and will likely be moving away. We've made lists of restaurants to try, events to go to, bars to party at. It has turned out to be the perfect contrast; I'm enticed to do things because I've just moved here, and he has the drive to embrace the city because it's his last few months here.

We love basic mason jar cocktails and we don't care who knows #thursdays

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So, with my relationship intact, how has my long-time love affair with Montreal itself held up? Well, I can honestly say that I adore it more than ever, because I've been able to truly experience it in new and authentic ways. From an outsider's perspective, Montreal is so beautifully unique - I've travelled a decent amount, and I really believe there is nowhere quite like this city. It's diverse, it's artistic, it's so much fun.

Walking home from work and seeing couples have wine with their park picnic, or seeing the terrasses crowd with people on a Friday afternoon, I can feel the city's vibe emanating so strongly - which is, as I see it, to just live well.

Montreal, I love you.


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