October 5, 2010

Two years

It's hard to believe it was exactly two years ago today when we boarded a plane to move to Montreal. At the last minute, Paul had to stay behind since we found on the day we were leaving that Duke could not fit on the small Air Canada plane. So Paul followed up the next day, without the dog, who arrived ten days later. Long Story.

We left on a Sunday afternoon and the kids started their schools the next day. They didn't have much time to think about the transition. It was good that we were sort of naive and not knowing what we were getting into when it came to education. Overall, we are happy with it...there are a few things we wish we didn't have to deal with, but that's expected just about anywhere.
Danielle was not too thrilled about her new uniform on her first day of the new school. Today, she's loving it. "I can get out of bed and ten minutes later I'm out the door." Louis does not have to wear a uniform. For him, it's probably a good thing. He has enough Bears, Bulls, Sox, Blackhawks, etc. shirts to last a lifetime. 
Within days of moving to Montreal, Paul and Louis were at their first CFL game.
Here's a list of some observations/comments about where we are today....and how our lives are different from two years ago and life in suburban Chicago.
  • We couldn't make it with the two ice trays. Paul received a cool ice maker for Father's Day which sits on the floor in our kitchen.  Ice trays, or lack of ice in the trays, became more of a hot issue than politics, homework or taxes in the Pisani home.
  • We're so pleased to have gotten involved in Special Olympics Quebec. Danielle and Paul plan on taking courses to become Level 1 ski instructors this winter.
  • We won't ever complain about taxes in the U.S. Ever. 
  • The northeast is beautiful. We're enjoying being able to take road trips to a part of the country we had not experienced.
  • Our kids will enjoy looking back at their passports some day.
  • We're getting accustomed to customs. We know the drill now.
  • Danielle knows the Montreal public transportation system so well -- and she doesn't need an app for that, although there is one.
  • We've watched a rugby game a the Plains of Abraham. Danielle has traveled to New Brunswick twice for rugby. 
  • We love Canadian beer. And wine. And cheese. And bread. 
  • Duke responds to bon chien. Only when he's being good though.
  • Danielle and Paul enjoy talking in French assuming the rest of the family does not know what they are saying. Sometimes we surprise them with our limited knowledge.
  • Canadian politics -- entertaining!
  • The price of gas can easily fluctuate 10 cents/LITRE from one day to the next. No biggie.
  • Maple syrup is more expensive here than in the US. 
  • Offering vaccines in schools is a good thing. Remember the 1970s? 
  • We continue to be pleased with the health care in Canada. Are there issues? Of course. But, so far, so good for us.
  • It's easier (and less expensive) to see the Chicago Bears on the road rather than in Soldier's Field.
  • We still want to go to Cuba.
  • Danielle has met friends from all over the world. Literally. We love her school. 
  • If we travel out of town these days, when we fly/drive back to Montreal we feel like we are coming home.
  • We did have to switch banks from the one that was only open from 10-4 to one that is open later and on Saturdays. We tried, but we couldn't fit in with those banker's hours. I supposed we truly are impatient Americans. Still no drive through windows though. As a result, we know the people in the bank. That's a good thing. 
  • Quebecers have a lot of holidays. When in Quebec...
  • Duke remains happy. He is a Canadian Field Labrador after all.
  • We're happy about the Saints winning the Super Bowl. Funny how the fleur-de-lis remains a part of our lives.
  • We've met some really, really nice people in Montreal and throughout Canada.
  • US labor strikes are nothing compared to Canadian, and in particular Quebec, labor strikes.
  • We'll never take freedom of education lightly again. 
  • On that note...we know all about the Parti Quebecois...something we had no idea about two years ago.
As a perfect example of how different or life is these days...Paul left this morning for a meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. What the?

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