It's been a long, strange, and fascinating six months, but I'm back in Montreal. This is where I started the trip that has been the focus of this blog, back at the end of June. In some ways, it's hard to believe that it's been six months, yet in others, it feels like much more.
The steady flow of weird adventures and generally strange times have made the past few months go by very quickly. Still, I had just finished school when I left here, and it feels like a lifetime has passed since I was a student. Although this was my fourth major trip [The previous three, in order, were a summer in California, eight months divided between Jasper, the Yukon, and Vancouver Island, and half a year in and around France], somehow I feel that this was the zanniest, and as such, that I learned the most from it. Perhaps it's because I've become more and more comfortable approaching people that I meet in various places, which becomes a necessity if you're traveling alone. Almost all of the stories that I've written about happened because of the people that I met.
Although the last few weeks haven't been as strange as other parts of my trip, it's been by no means boring. After Halifax, my first stop was a small town in Nova Scotia, where I spent some time with my aunt Doreen. It was restful, and I passed most of the time there by drawing. Afterwards, I stopped in to see my cousin Sue and her family in Fredericton. Of all the family that I visit, theirs is the place where I can be guaranteed lots of surprises. This time there were two new cats, four new dogs [in addition to the cat and two dogs from the last visit], and a new house to boot! Plus, her mother and aunt, whom I'm also close to, had moved down from Ontario. And all of this in just six months! I can't wait to see how things will be the next time that I see them.
To finish off my tour through the Maritimes, I stayed with my uncle Pat in Saint John. After resting up there for a few days, it was time to catch a bus back to Montreal. Their schedules, however, were nothing short of retarded. Only two trips into Montreal a day, one arriving at 1 a.m., and the other at 5 a.m. And being as neurotic as I am, I didn't feel comfortable asking friends if I could stay at their places through emails. As such, I planned on staying in a hostel for the first night or two. The problem was that hostels don't usually check people in until the afternoon, so I could look forward to about 36 hours of no sleep. In the end, the answer came in the form of many, many espressos. As long as I didn't look in a mirror, I was fine. Looking like someone had just socked me in both eyes was a little weird.
That all happened about a week and a half ago. Since then, I've been mostly couch surfing, bouncing around between friend's places, all the while trying not to wear out my welcome. My first stop was with a good friend from my math days, Eugene. He and his girlfriend Roxanna were both wonderful, and extremely hospitable, offering to let me stay for as long as I'd like despite having very little space. My second stop was with my good buddy Xin [pronounced 'Shin'], also from math. He lives out in the suburbs, which offered a very nice break from the busy hustle of the city.
Xin is one of my only friends that seems to have in many ways grown up. What I mean by that is that he's got a full time job, a wife, and recently, he even bought his own house. Being there, and seeing how he lived, I felt more and more confused about life in general. His has the obvious advantages of comfort and stability, where mine is a hell of lot wackier, not to mention unstable and dangerous. Still, I don't think that I could sit still even if I was sure that I wanted to, so in the end there wasn't really much to decide.
Still, maybe one day I'll be ready/able to lead a slightly more traditional life.