I can almost remember this time one year ago. Exactly one year ago, this was my first night in Montreal.
I had a plan but not much of one. I booked the last room, in the last hostel with space in Downtown Montreal. In addition to that, I was booked for only one night. After this night, the 1st of September, 16, there was no more room. With not enough money to pay for a lease, I’d have to wait until my scholarship funds got released to me. Only, I needed to have a lease for the funds to be released.
Around this time, I was making my way up Saint Laurent Avenue trying to find number 3655. The street bustled with bars, restaurants, more hipsters than I’d ever seen before and half drunk freshmen enjoying the ‘frosh’ activities of whichever of the four major universities they now belonged to.
Why was I heading here? A friend that I made a year before in Trinidad, while he was on a student exchange had just moved in. I carried two, half dead doubles for him. Of course, my phone had died and I was a wee bit lost. In those first few days, I was more lost than ‘found’. I had walked 40 minutes West or East in the direction opposite to the one I should have been walking in when trying to find Boulevard Saint Laurent. Now, on the street, I was just as lost.
When I eventually figured out how the numbers ran and which side of the street I should be on, I found the address. Out in front, as with most other buildings, there was a mountain of debris left behind by August 31st movers. Looking up at the old brick building, there was a window open with twentysomethings moving, smoking, chatting and drinking. I wondered whether to call out my friend’s name. I decided against.
Being lost humbles you in so many ways. Being in a large, loud, bright, city, makes me shy. I hung around the door that I couldn’t enter. I had no fob and the apartment number rang with no answer. I hung around because things work themselves out. Doors eventually open for you.
The person to open the door was a tall, lanky guy with a not very Canadian accent. I entered and tried to find the apartment. I got directions after knocking at the wrong door, then entered a place that unbeknownst to me at the time would become my home. Its inhabitants, my people. Its floor, my floor.
But on first days you don’t yet know these things. With my stale doubles and a gift of grapes, I sat there and chatted on chairs that I would sit on for many more times. On first days you don’t know. The people, the culture, the streets, the administration. You don’t know but you soon will. On first days you don’t know if you’ve entered a space that a piece of your spirit, being, vibe, heart, soul, whatever you wish to call it, will never leave.
On first days, you don’t know.
Very soon I’ll be having another first day. If you check back or follow this blog, you can be a part of that journey as well.
Stay in, stay adventurous, stay wild,