nous sommes arrivés...

Nous sommes arrives!  We are starting to settle into our new digs for a few weeks in Montreal when Di will complete a practicum in her English as a second language certificate program. My assignment - one that I wholly celebrate - is to be her support person. Not that I haven't shared support for her ministries in the past, but this is radically different. She is the lead in this endeavor - and my goal is to make certain she gets what she needs to get the job done.
The trip North was uneventful and the border crossing was smooth, too. We actually arrived in Montreal a mere 5 hours after leaving Pittsfield! Meeting our Air BnB host, Roxanna, was a treat as we discovered:  she is a visual artist (and musician), her significant other is a professional jazz guitarist performing Dianne's favorite style of jazz (Jazz Manouche - French gypsy jazz) and her flat is open, artsy and without a TV (parfait pour nous!) What's more, this flat comes with a parking place - and in the Plateau just off Mont Royal that's a huge gift.

Before taking a long afternoon nap, we wandered into the neighbor bibliothèque before wandering up and down our old hood along Rue Mt. Royal. It was a hoot to take in the old sights. It feels like home. We ate Lebanese goodies before heading back to Rue St. Joseph and crashing for 90 minutes. We lugged our gear up three flights of winding steps, set up shop and then headed out into the night. As often happen, we wander for a few hours before finding the right place to settle and eat and last night was no exception. It felt grand to walk and walk and walk. As Di said, "NO ONE eats at home in Montreal on a Saturday night" and she was not far from the truth as the streets where hopping!  As we passed through the Fairmount neighborhood, I came across these gems - prayer candles to various contemporary women "saints" - a certainty that I'll return to savor as this sojourn ripens - for God knows I need me St. Patti Smith!
In time we settled on a small pizzeria that wound up being a mere half a block from our flat! It's décor is an old fashioned diner and the shell was actually hauled to Montreal from dear old Massachusetts. We were tired, hungry and weary so it was hard to "hear" what our server asked. Oh, we heard the sounds but we're transitioning from Anglais to Francais - especially Quebecois - so I sadly said, "Mademoiselle, je ne parle pas plus Francias." And before I could add, "Un petit plus lentement?" she smiled and said, "Anglais?" She was kind. "Do you need English menus?" she continued. "Non, non ,ca va bien" we said trying to regain our equilibrium and ordered in French. It always takes a few days to get our heads and mouths in synch with the jouval groove. As Richard Rohr advises: it is wise to pray for one satisfying and edifying humiliation every day!"

During the week I'm going to have a ton of free time - Di will leave the flat at 8 am and get back about 6 pm - so besides shopping and preparing an evening meal, I'm in full flâneur mode. One of my hopes is to read and learn the Psalms in French. Starting today I am playing with Psalm 131 - a song of humble trust - that I cherish. (I am still searching for French accents so.. desolee!)

Yhwh non non Coeur n'est pas trop haut
Non mes yeux se levent pas
Je ne vais pas vers de grandes choses
Ni vers celles qui sont trop etonnantes pour moi
Non je suis plus bas
Entierement silencieus mon etre
come in tout-petit sur sa mere
Un tout petit enfant sure moi mon etre
Oh Israel espere en Yhwh
De maintenant a toujours.
The ever wise Robert Alter writes: in the quiet of this humble song there is a touching sense that the singer "is content with her/his lot... this soul does not aspire to grand things and is able to rest in the reassuring calm that a loving mother gives a weaned child whom she comforts... it evokes a sense of beautiful self-containment, an embracing of one's self like a child." (The Book of Psalms)  This picture of my precious Louie gets is so right!
And so we enter today's Sabbath.


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