Epic Journey: North America cross country drive, Sherbrooke/Montreal

I had been looking forward to bringing Ed to my home province for so long. I’m a Quebec city girl through and through and I couldn’t wait to show Ed my old stomping ground. As I look through my photo gallery, though, I realize that I was so much in my emotions that I totally forgot to take pictures. We spend almost a week in French Canada and I took a total of two pictures. One with a high school friend I was visiting (not a blog-type picture) and another for the next post.

So first stop was Sherbrooke. First stop should have probably been Montreal, but the map in my head was wrong so I made arrangements for Sherbrooke first, then Montreal. (By the way, the Quebec part of the trip was probably the most work to plan because there was so many people I wanted to see and I had to coordinate my schedule around them. Which is probably easy for all you socials out there, but I can barely send a Facebook message, much less coordinate visits with 5-10 different parties in a matter of 5 days.)

Oh! And I remembered you can do maps with Paint (I’m so spoiled with nice software that I forget Paint can do a lot of things, and is way easier to use too), so here’s a map:

That's sorta the road we took.

That’s sorta the road we took.

Anyway, to get to Sherbrooke from New Jersey I had to take a tunnel through NYC (a 13$ tunnel dammit. Another thing about East Coast driving, avoiding tolls is waaaaay harder than in the Midwest.) There were lots and lots of cars and it moved very slowly and I gave myself a pat on the shoulders for travelling on a weekend and not during weekday rush hour. From that day onward, I have been bragging about the time I “drove in NYC“.

We stayed with my friend MC in Sherbrooke, whom I was really excited to see again. We became friends in CEGEP in Quebec city and fell out of touch for awhile. She contacted me when she was travelling in the Rockies and her and one of her friends stayed a night or two at my appartment. I have a lot of admiration for MC, she’s extremely genuine, intelligent and thoughtful. Her friend is just like her, so we hit it off really well and I was very happy to have supper with both of them in Sherbrooke.

An interesting fact is that I actually lived in Sherbrooke for nearly 3 years. I did my undergrad at the university there. Another interesting fact is that I remember next to nothing about the city.

My friends took Ed and I for a walking tour around town and, with a few exceptions (funny how well I remembered the bus station) it was like the first time I was there. I mean, Sherbrooke HAS changed in the…8? (omg has it really been 8 years?) since I left, it’s always been a lovely place but I feel like it’s really growing and finding its identity now, but still, you’d think I’d remember more of it.

After a night in Sherbrooke, we got up early and set out to meet my high school friend and her young family in Longueuil (south shore of Montreal). I tried to show Ed my old school on the way out, but the roads were wierd (I accidently even ran a red light..oops!), we were running late and I couldn’t find the way into campus. So I pointed it out in the distance and we drove as fast as possible to Montreal.

The meetup with A and her family was sadly pretty short. I suspect I caught them at a bad time, so we just had brunch together and went our separate ways. A was the first out of our circle of friends to get married and have kids (actually, I think she is the only one married since our other friend with a family doesn’t believe in marriage) and I was so thrilled to meet her little one. It’s funny how I feel like none of us have really changed, yet our lives are so different than they were when we went out into the world at 16-17.

After brunch I painfully made my way onto the island (for the geographically challenged, Montreal proper is an island) to meet up with another friend, also named A. Again, I congratulated myself on the choice of day: Sunday is the perfect time to visit Montreal. The parking was both ample and cheap. And to my greatest relief, no one broke into my car (nor vandalized it for no reason, which seems to happen to a lot of people when they visit Montreal).

A2 had just moved into a trendy apartment near the old port so after showing us his cool new dwelling (and his fantastic workplace…I was seriously considering a career change after seeing where he works!), we brought Ed down to see old Montreal. “It’s like a crowded Quebec city” I explained to him, eager to show him the real thing.

And because I was anxious to get to my brother’s place in Quebec city before it got too late, after supper we hopped in the car, I got us onto the 40 (I know the 20 is faster, and my GPS was quite angry with me but I have so many happy childhood memories of the 40 that I was determined to stir up) and off we went. (Hmm, I made that sound so much simpler than it was… After been honked at dozens of times, caught in a handful of intersections, hyperventilating as I barely made it through a bagillion left hand turns, we made it onto the 40 without me dying of a heart attack. I brag about the NYC drive, but the Montreal one was so, oh so so so, much worse.)

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