Brooklyn Bridge Subway Station
This is the briefest of pauses in Montréal: I'm not here for even the entire afternoon. Siliu and I rolled out from Brooklyn at 4:30 this morning to arrive into town just before noon. We'll be driving the final leg on back to Québec City at 4:00 P.M..
It's funny how my time in this city turned into just one piece of a much bigger trip. My initial plan for being away from Québec City this weekend had been only to come here to meet my future academic advisor at McGill, Professor P. He and I had been corresponding over e-mail and it just seemed more natural to me that we meet informally in-person rather than continue sending messages back and forth on through summer and wind up never having interacted face-to-face when school starts up in September. I proposed that we get together this afternoon. That was the original plan.
But then some days ago Siliu asked my advice about making a trip to New York this very weekend. My great travel weakness, destination creep, kicked in. I reckoned that with someone to split the cost of gas and a rental car it wouldn't cost me much more to go all the way down to New York. And what with four days free, I could still keep my appointment with my future advisor--just slotting that in on the way back up.
So, this has become the final stop to Easter weekend. Just before noon, I dropped Siliu off in Montréal's Chinatown to do some major grocery shopping. (My requests: salted duck eggs, preserved "century" eggs, and White Rabbit brand candy.) Meanwhile, I drove to teahouse/restaurant/traditional Persian sweet house, Nocochi not far from the McGill campus. There, I spent the next two hours getting to know Professor P. I liked him immediately. He's really smart. Really organized. Yet he was also really easy to talk with and he laughs easily and genuinely. He seems like the perfect person to guide me as I start graduate study this autumn.
As we talked in generalities and specifics about things relating to school or life in-general, one point he made genuinely stunned me:
Staten Island Ferry
Really! If I had had the least inkling then all the conversations I had before receiving my acceptance notification sure would have been different. I'd spoken about my future plans in tenuous, hypothetical terms with friends and family. I remember describing how up-in-the-air I was to more than one person back over January and February:
"McGill is my 'Plan A'. But whether that happens isn't up to me, so I might have to fall back on 'Plan B' or 'Plan C'."
Wow. I am definitely encouraged, now.
Professor P. had to go, which worked perfectly for my timing. My parking meter was about to expire; I picked Siliu up in Chinatown. She hefted five huge plastic bags of shopping into the trunk. Somewhere inside were all my requested items. I told her now it was my turn to shop at the ethnic grocery. We drove west to Akhavan where I picked up, dogh, Bam dates, and a 5-lb. sack of couscous.
We would have driven on out of town an hour ago, but are idling at a nearby cafe on Monkland Avenue. We've got time to kill before picking up a couple of passengers for the last leg back to Québec City. It's another rideshare connection like with the couple we drove down to New York. Having more people along to pay for the ride means that the entire cost of the car rental is paid for with a little bit of expense thrown in toward gas, too. With two of us to split the remainder... this is working out to be a surprisingly inexpensive spur-of-the-moment Easter getaway, indeed.
Then, there's tomorrow. Am I going to make it into my writing course in the morning? Yeah, I think I can. Though it's questionable whether I'll get the homework done. I'm supposed to compose a review--of a restaurant, of a film, of whatever I please. I guess I have no excuse not to. Tired as I know I'll be at the end of the day, I certainly won't be wanting for choice of topic after all the running around I've been doing this holiday weekend.
Next stop: Québec City
Disclaimer: I know the photos for this entry are from the city I just left. I just haven't shot any around Montréal over the brief time here.