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Chapter 11: Je Manges Comme un Cochon

Commuting to work for me takes about an hour and 15 minutes on public transit and Duolingo has become a daily occurrence on the way to work. I've been trying to be more diligent at learning French and have been learning all the helpful phrases such as, "a bear, bears" and "I eat like a pig." I'll be fluent in no time ;) According to Duolingo, I'm 8% fluent at French which seems inaccurate but who am I to argue with my teacher. img_7397If there's one thing that's been consistent since arriving in Montreal it's that Heather and I have just been taking turns being sick. It seems as though one of us will get sick and by the time they're better it's been passed on to the other person and then by the time they're better the virus has mutated into something different enough to get the other person sick again! Heather got hit by a bug last week which symptoms included headaches and nausea. It lasted a couple of days and by the time Monday came around I had picked it up so the first two days of the week I was trying to make it through work with a massive headache all day. Not the nicest. Hopefully, Heather won't get sick now that I'm over it.

But this week has been really fun. Donald Trump was elected the president of the United States and we cried, I went to the gym for a circuit training session and nearly vomited, and I made jambalaya in our slow cooker and accidentally burned it cause I left it on over night. It actually tasted amazing before it got burned so I'll be repeating that recipe. With the imminent onslaught of winter weather we went in search of winter boots earlier this week. We found a warehouse sale which said they had winter boots so Heather and I made the long trek out to the west island area to take advantage of the great sale. What we discovered was some discount used furniture which looked like it had been used for the past 2 decades in some real estate office and a ton of really cheap "cheap" clothes and boots that didn't fit. Heather and I just looked at each other, laughed and hauled out of there. Life lesson learned, don't go to a warehouse sale that doesn't state the brand names in the ads. After finding nothing we went back to researching and found another warehouse sale up towards the northern part of the island and found a great couple pairs of Timberland and Sorel boots that will do a great job at keeping our little footies warm.img_7851topost

Speaking of the winter, today Heather and I were invited to prepare a musical number for the stake Christmas presentation in December. So we spent most of today listening to Christmas music and brainstorming ideas. Some might think it's too early for Christmas music but it was so nice. We decided to revisit a rendition of The First Noel which we did last year but this time we're giving ourselves more than 3 days to learn. Our friend Amber plays violin and sings so we're going to do 3-part harmony with guitar and violin.

But one of the highlights of the week was our blind taste test of Sprite and 7-Up. Amber and Devin were having a debate as to which is better so we decided to put it to the test. We bought a bunch of junk food to set the stage and a pallet cleanser and we were ready for action. After each of us tested both we came to a majority consensus that 7-Up is the better of the two but if you go back and forth between the two than after about 3 tastes they literally taste the same. People can disagree but honestly, Sprite tastes like 7-Up watered down with Club Soda. All in all, it was a successful experiment. Till next week!

- Steven

PS. sorry about these unrelated photos, we neglected taking pictures of any of the things which were interesting to write about haha...

Chapter 7: A Purple Wizard Day

Another week has passed in MTL and it was not void adventures. Thanksgiving Monday we finally got a couch for our little apartment and for the first time it started to feel like home. We love it! It's getting to the point where we've got a place for nearly everything and we're no longer living out of boxes. Well, almost. We still don't have dressers or a bed yet so anything without a home ends up in the bedroom. The couch is from a store here called Wazo, they have been incredible, and we are so happy to have been able to get something that will always be a part of montreal in our home (rather than ikea haha) After cleaning and getting the couch set up, we had our friends Amber and Devin Mendenhall over for thanksgiving dinner with Costco chicken pot pie and pumpkin pie (not Costco); it was a pie day. purple-wizardWith Heather's new bike I've been working to learn more about bicycle maintenance so I can take care of them. But through the process I've realized that I didn't have nearly any of the tools I need. On the way out to pay for our couch, which happened to be a half hour bike ride off the main island of Montreal, I got a flat tire. At this point I was more than halfway there and it just made sense to go the rest of the way. So I walked, with my bike. By the time I made it to the store it was 8:45pm. I bought the couch and walked over an hour home. I hadn't eaten dinner yet and got home around 10pm grumpy and tired and then I remembered that just earlier that day I had bought ice cream. The evening's events definitely warranted some ice cream so I pulled it out of the freezer, cracked open the lid and Heather instantly said, "What is that chemical grape smell?" The name of the ice cream? Purple Wizard. It tasted nearly as good as it sounds. So, tired, hungry and ashamed about my terrible ice cream purchase, I sat there and ate my Purple Wizard. That ice cream has now become the branded as a synonym for a bad day; a Purple Wizard day. But it was all worth it when we finally got the couch. One of the members of the ward let us use his truck to pick it up and we love it! On Tuesday, I went and picked up all the bike tools we needed to change my flat tire and to do minor repairs to our bikes so we're on our way to being bonafide bike owners.

This Saturday we rode our bikes out to the local Six Flags amusement park La Ronde for their Fright Fest. We bought season passes for 2017 and with that we got free passes for the rest of 2016 and upgraded to Gold memberships! We really don't know what that means but we get free parking :D which is also useless cause we have no car but whatever! It cost us less to buy season passes that a one day admission so we're stoked! We rode all the best rollercoasters in the park and Heather got creeped out by one of the local zombies. I snuck my GoPro the Ednör rollercoaster; it's really dark so you can't see much at all but you can hear us screaming in blissful delight. You can also hear the exact point Heather starts feeling sick cause she stops screaming.

All in all, this week has really been a week of gratitude. We've had some struggles but we're reminded of how many things worked so perfect for us to be here; from Heather's work paying for our flights out here, to our friends Gizelle, Joanna and Gaetan giving us a place to stay when we first arrived here, finding a beautiful apartment in an incredible area of the city so quickly and all of our things being safely delivered by the moving company and all the support of our loved ones in this new adventure of our lives. We may not know what the future holds but we're confident we are where we need to be at this point in our lives.

Until next week, Steven


Chapter 4: Je suis une baleine

People keep asking if I'm nervous to start work tomorrow, and the answer is: Nope! I am so ready to be working again. It will be really weird not to be with Steven 24/7 (...but also nice. Love you sweetie!)

Our boxes all came this week and there is no way to say how relieved we are. Everything got here in once piece, nothing was lost or damaged and it even arrived a week earlier than the estimate! Such a tender blessing to have our stuff arrive before I started work. We got all unpacked (as much as possible) on Friday, but with no dressers, table, bookshelf or couch there are a few things that will have to wait.

img_7471-webWe went to so many furniture stores this week! We decided that rather than find random stuff off craigslist, to spring for things we actually love. Since we have no car here, the options are basically walk, transit, or bike! We have mostly been fine walking everywhere, but we did SO MUCH biking Monday. Like 5 hours of Bixi bike rentals all over the city in half hour increments. Don't worry, it's super safe. Cars can hear us coming from a mile off - "I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!!!" - me.

img_7369-webWe've been becoming familiar with the bike culture and the city, trying to remember not to turn on reds and obey rules as if we are cars. (we heard rumours that cyclist get ticketed just like cars?) Biking was not in vain though! We bought a table and chairs and picked out a couch! Woo!! We're stoked :) Also google maps took us the weirdest way - down the parking lot to a path that goes up this bank and you walk along a raised gravel road, before going back down the bank again to a new parking lot. We could have just stayed on the main road!!! So weird google maps.

We have been trying to get me a bike, but as it turns out, there aren't a lot of options now. It's the end of the season for bike shops, and I am tall.. so no one has a bike to fit someone my height :( img_7501-webOne bike shop we went to, Steven went up to talk to the sales guy and said    "Parler vous Englais?" "Non." "uhhhh... Heather!!"   Haha! That was the first guy who we met who didn't speak English (or was pretending not to. that's my suspicion...) They didn't have anything for me anyways, so the bike hunt continues elsewhere! 

It has been a very full week, and so many times we have had to stop and say thank you for the crazy amount of blessings we are receiving. So much love! We also got to cuddle with some cats too. #blessings

img_7581-web PS Sometimes Steven gets taught hilarious sentences on DuoLingo - This week I overheard him say "Je suis une baleine." (I am a whale) Needless to say I loved that.