This past weekend – Thanksgiving, in Canada – I sat around a large table of family and friends feasting on traditional Thanksgiving foods like stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted root vegetables, and pumpkin pie.
It was the perfect culmination of a month that’s been filled with Canadian family and friends.
Bruno and I have been so social this past month that I’ve found it harder than ever to keep myself to a regular blog schedule. Even now, I’m scrambling to pack my bag and do a hundred last-minute things before I board an airplane tomorrow to New York City and then on to France.
But I couldn’t help myself from offering a quick shout-out (and a huge thank you!) to all those that made time to visit with Bruno and I and to host us in their homes and at their tables.
Shout-Out to Cousin Jenn and Nico: You opened up your home to us for as long as we wanted. You introduced us to friends and contacts who may be able to help us down the line with our long-term vehicle and travel plans, and you offered your own help in whatever way we needed. You gave us your parking spot next to your home and set us immediately at ease that we weren’t imposing, despite your incredibly hectic lives.
We were spoiled by Nico’s amazing cooking. We loved getting to babysit little Zoëlle. We enjoyed feeling like locals for a few days in your village along the St-Laurent at the edge of Montreal Island. We are thankful for the time we all spent together, for your incredible generosity and rare community-minded spirits. We love you and hope to be able to repay you in kind somewhere down the line.
Shout-Out to Family Friends Jennifer, Nicole, and their Families: You let us partake in your Sunday tradition of family time and food. You cooked an incredible healthy vegan feast for all eleven of us (yes, I count the five kids as adults here because they eat just as much as adults!). I’m really glad I got to finally introduce Bruno to you all, to get to catch up with Nicole and family after a few years, and to get a glimpse into the tight-knit family life you all have in Montreal. So happy for you all!
Shout-Out to School Friend Annie: We hadn’t seen one another in years and had more or less lost touch, but it was so good to spend a day in Montreal with you, doing what we do best – eating loads and talking non-stop. Thank you for giving me such undivided attention, for showing me some of your favourite Montreal haunts – like the Korean restaurant, bubble tea place in China town, and waterfront – and for making me feel like no time had passed at all since we last saw one another. Girl time was awesome, and I’m already looking forward to our next catch-up session – let’s not wait as long, though!
Shout-Out to the Sharples Family: I don’t even know how to begin with you folks, really. Bruno and I have rarely felt so welcome in a home. What was supposed to be a five day visit has turned into a three week stay, and throughout our time you’ve been nothing short of amazing. You helped us get through challenges, given great advice, and gave invaluable help on several occasions. You left us your home for a week even after you’d moved, and you welcomed us into your new home even though – again – you’d just moved!
In between the work, we have had a blast with you all! This was true in so many small moments throughout the day but especially around the table with a good glass of wine and a yummy meal. We’ve loved sharing Stephanie and Amanda’s birthday party with you, Thanksgiving weekend, and so many wonderful moments in between.
We’ll forever be grateful for the comfortable home you created for us here. It’s been so comfortable that it’s been hard to leave… We’re going to miss you guys oh-so much!
Shout-Out to Brother Nathan, Ara, and the Dogs: You four are in the midst of a huge life upheaval and are starting busy and exciting academic projects in a new city. Despite your demanding schedules, you’ve made time to hang out with Bruno and me and to host us on several occasions in your amazing Bed and Breakfast (!). You’ve made us feel incredibly welcome and at home, even giving us spare keys and access to the kitchen to cook as we please.
We’ve really enjoyed sharing meals – and recipe ideas – with you and getting a glimpse into your new life together. I’m so grateful Bruno and I got to spend so much time with my brother and his life partner – you are the cutest couple and I love my sister “in law”. Equally thankful we got to spend Thanksgiving together as our new, bigger, family unit for the first time. Hope to see you again really soon, but in the meantime, good luck with your new adventure!
Shout-Out to Old Friend Gwen and Aaron: I was really excited to get to introduce Bruno to you both, and to get to reconnect with you after these past two years. We would have loved to take you up on your offer to stay for dinner, the night, or to cat-sit for the week, but were grateful that we at least got to spend a few hours together. We enjoyed getting to wander around your little town and hear your update face-to-face. Can’t wait to catch up again somewhere in North America again!
Shout-Out to School Friend Erin and Family: It was great to finally meet your new son, Leo, and to introduce our Frenchmen to one another. It was a quick visit, indeed, but it was great to touch base with you again after all these years. I hope you will adjust to your new home and that your family will continue to flourish. You are an adorable family and I’m so happy for you!
Shout-Out to Old Family Friends Dorothy and Jenn: Thank you for inviting Bruno and I to have Canadian-themed appies and drinks on the rooftop of your lovely home. It had been an incredibly long time since we’d caught up, so it was great to see you both and to introduce Bruno to you. Your view is priceless, so thank you for sharing it with us! I’m so happy to hear things are going well for you and the whole family.
Shout-Out to School Friend Ashley: I’m so glad we happened to be in Toronto at the same time and were able to coordinate a brunch together. I had a great girls’-time with you, getting to talk about “real stuff.” You’re a great, thoughtful, and giving friend and I hope we’ll be able to meet up more often in more random places around the world.
The night before last – Thanksgiving Sunday – I sat at a table with my husband, my parents, my brother and sister “in law”, and my wonderful family friends, the Sharples. The following day I would see the fall colours of the changing leaves outside of Toronto, picnic, and walk along the lakeshore with my “new,” bigger, family – my parents and brother, but also my husband, sister “in law,” and my two niece and nephew dogs. It was the first time this new family would be together. Later that night – Thanksgiving Day itself – I’d sit at another long table with family and friends for another feast of food and friendship.
My heart is so full right now. It’s full of laughter, of fun, of kinship and community. I have so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day – and it’s all because of my Canadian peeps. Shout-out to you all!