Parallel Paths

Jenn's First Poutine at
Pub Quiz Night
June 30, 2015

It has been so enjoyable to re-connect with somebody who I see as having outlook and experience so similar to my own. In so many ways the two of us have charted parallel paths without trying.

Jenn and I first came to know each other as co-workers back in Seattle during the original dot-com boom days. She quit that job to explore areas that interested her more deeply on a personal level than did working a day-to-day office job. She ran off to Europe where she lived, worked, taught, and studied practically ever since. I myself quit work at the same company within a year or two of when Jenn left. I ran off to Asia to live, study, and travel in areas that interested me over a number of years, eventually returning to North America.

Now, Jenn has just made the same move that I chose to make some years ago by coming full circle back around to this side of the planet. It was the right point in time for her to move along from the life she'd built up abroad. Since coming home she's landed squarely on her feet in the Pacific Northwest. She stepped immediately into a temporary job back in the tech sector where she's managing the transition of a website for a state agency. Then, when that job ends come autumn, she'll begin a full-time teaching job in the small city of Bellingham that lies midway between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C..

At the moment she's here in Montréal and we're renewing our friendship. Though she's out here visiting for only one week it's felt like a good, full re-connection over what few days we've spent so far together. We have managed to see each other so regularly over the years (usually in Berlin or Washington, D.C.) that in some ways it doesn't feel like any time has passed since we last met face-to-face (which was when we both happened to be in New York at the same time one year ago.)

Jenn and David in<
Front of Montmorency Falls
Though we have managed to connect regularly, plenty has happened in both of our lives since we last saw each other that year ago. In catching each other up we've passed some enjoyable moments sharing details with each other of things like our travels, of relationships pursued and lost, and of our common complaint of the toll that living abroad takes on our ability in English. Sometimes we'll make a point to take advantage of what the city has to offer to get out to different settings around Montréal. On Monday, that meant going to the local pub on Monkland Avenue that has a weekly trivia night--an activity I always enjoy. The two of us didn't do badly--our score was far from last place--but, as whenever I go to a quiz night, it's more about having something fun to do together with friends than really being in the thick of the competition.

Other nights we'll just hang out at home petting the cats and sharing a meal cooked up at home. Sometimes after dinner I strum my guitar; she tries to sing along to the songs for which she knows some of the lyrics. We made the requisite drive I insist anybody who sees me in Montréal ought to make to visit Québec City as a daytrip on Saturday. That destination seemed all the more appropriate with Jenn having moved back from Europe just a few months ago. Though she's not wowed by 17th-century French architecture the way my guests who have never left North America often are, the settings of both Québec City and Montréal seem to offer subtly soothing elements from her recent life in Europe, such as church bells frequently tolling, that brought a certain comfort and familarity unexpected enough that Jenn saw fit to remark on it.

Jenn Atop City
Walls - Québec City
As our past paths have so consistently moved in parallel without coordination it seems only logical that our future paths continue to do so as well. There is at least one more upcoming point of intersection already laid out ahead. I'm hoping to finish up my M.A. program at McGill this autumn. After I do so I plan to take an overland trip back to Seattle to be there in time for Christmas. But, given how Jenn will be living a quick 90-minute drive north of Seattle--and free from work over Christmas break--perhaps I should plan the last stop along my overland autumn trip out of Montréal to be the next time she and I re-connect.

We still have three days left together in Montréal before she flies back to the west coast. See you there at the end of the year, Jenn!