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Reveries and Soliloquies: August 2011

Reveries and Soliloquies

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Honey, I'm Home!

My bags were packed and I was giddy with excitement. I was going home for 10 days! The only person who knew I was coming was my best friend Melissa. My family has a twisted hobby of seeing who can surprise another person the most with surprise visits. So far Rebekah, my sister, had first place when she flew to Montreal in the dead of night and showed up on my doorstep in spite of a recent snow storm. I was ready to claim my prize by surprising both sets of grandparents, who just happen to live across the street from one another. 

Flying with dad has its perks. He travels so often for work that we all got upgraded to business class which was going to make this 5.5 hour flight much more comfortable. Well, it was supposed to.

4.5 hours, one scalding wet towelette (why do they do that?!), and a 3 course meal later, I was starting to get antsy. Suddenly the seat belt light flashed not once, not twice, but FOUR times. Then the plane jerked a little to the right. And then a lot to the left. And then it dropped a couple hundred feet that left my brain plastered to the back of my skull.

Flight Attendant: Ladies and gentleman, the captain has turned on the seat belt light. Please return to your seats and immediately and stow all personal belongings. We will be experiencing some turbulence due to extreme weather in the area.

Extreme weather. Not storms or wind. Extreme weather. Seriously, how bad could it be? The French business man seated beside me apparently was thinking the same thing because he decided to lift the shade on our window. And then let loose a string of French expletives all related to the Church.
We were surrounded by strobe lights of fork lightening in a pinkish-green tinged sky. You know God, I am all for senses of humour. But when I said I wanted to go back to Montreal, I didn't mean be blown to smithereens 30,000 feet above it. I meant actually foot-still attached to body-step on the ground back in Montreal. After a couple more altitude drops that killed a few thousand brain cells, circling the airport a half dozen times and being shaken like a Polaroid picture, we finally landed.

We raced down to baggage claim to stake a prime spot along the snake-like baggage carousel and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited.

Crackling Voice: Ladies and gentlemen, due to a red alert outside, we are unable to unload baggage from all incoming flights. We appreciate your patients.

Almost two hours later we had our bags, rental car and were on the road. It was 11:30pm and I feared my surprise arrival would have lost some of its zing, but I just wanted to get home. Which turned me into a backseat driver.

Me: Dad, don't take l'Acadie-it floods and there is going to be traffic because of construction. Take the service roads. There, that exit. Okay, now take rue Jarry. You have to turn left.

Dad: Who has been alive longer? Me. Who has driven in this city longer? Me.

Me: I love turn left. 

At exactly 11:50 our car came peeling around the corner of my street, my seatbelt undone and door half open. I didn't even wait for the car to come to a complete stop before I sprinted down the sidewalk, up the stairs and into the arms of my shocked Nonno.

Nonno: Teresa! Teresa! Subito! È Lydia.
Nonna: Ahhh!!! Che bella sorpresa!   (Tranlation: What a beautiful surprise)

After a few more rounds of hugs and kisses, my Nonna takes my face in her hands and says...

Nonna: I thought for sure he was going to surprise us by bringing Matthew.

Yea, love you too Nonna.

Nonno: O! È mezzanotte! Buono Compleanno!  (Translation: Zip it! It's midnight! Happy Birthday!)

With promises to return in the morning, we ran across the street to surprise the second set of Nonna and Nonno, dumped our bags and fell like bricks into bed.

Montréal, je t'aime

This past year has been a difficult adjustment for me since moving back to Vancouver. I was born in Montreal, moved to Vancouver at a young age, then moved back to Montreal the summer of my 18th birthday for university with the intention of never leaving. Fast forward 5 years and me making an impromptu decision to move back to Vancouver to be with my parents and my siblings. A year later and I am still in awe of the work that God did in my heart to get me back on the West Coast. 

Montreal has always felt like home. It will always be home...just not where I live. Yes, that was the sound of my heart breaking, but God and I have had this conversation multiple times over the past year, and I know that Vancouver is where I need to be. For better, for worse.
I have been driving my parents and siblings crazy with my homesickness for the city of my heart. Every day I bemoaned "I wish Vancouver had [insert Montreal landmark/restaurant/activity here]." The one year anniversary of the big move came and went, as did the opportunity to back to visit. My teaching contract ended June 30th so I couldn't afford the flight across the country. Which broke my heart because I didn't know when I would have the chance to go back. Until....

Picture It: July 19, 2011. I am in the kitchen washing the sink talking to mom who has just returned home from work. Dad comes thundering down the stairs.

Dad: I have to go to Montreal on Thursday. Mom is coming with me. Do you want to come for your birthday?
Me: That's a cruel joke. Not funny dad. (scrubbing a little harder than needed)
Dad: I'm serious! I'm trying to book the tickets but there aren't many seats left. Do you want to come?
Me: DAD! That is NOT FUNNY! 
Dad: (smirking) I'M NOT JOKING!
Mom: Isaia! That is not how you tell her her birthday surprise!
Me: (now crying) You're serious?! YES!!!!! YES! YES! YES! YES! Can I stay for 10 days?
Dad: Great! We leave the day after tomorrow. Start packing.