How do you stay in touch with your dreams?
When you’re bored with something, is it time to move on, or are you just lacking discipline?
If your work really is part of who you are, what do you do if it doesn’t make you happy any more?
Where is the line between being rigorous, and forcing yourself to do something you don’t like?
How much time should one spend in reflection?
What does an epiphany feel like?
Oh, my goodness, it’s amazing what a little get-a-way will do for the soul. Equally powerful is the difficulty in resuming daily ordinariness when one returns. Rosie and I spent the last four days “carrying our wine” to the fantastic little French restaurants at which we dined each night of our stay in Montreal (roll down to #4 in the article).
After a job interview on Wednesday, we drove north from NYC along the eastern edge of New York State, along route 87 through the Adirondacks. Gorgeous—it’s one of the most peaceful, billboard-lacking stretches of road I’ve ever seen. Of course, it’s not lacking in upstate NY strangeness, as Betty Beaver here attests.
Pictured here is the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral, located in the lovely, although somewhat vacant, neighborhood called the Old City, from which the city grew. Also of interest is the near-1000-foot high “mountain” situated right in the middle of the city, just north of downtown. It’s for this, Mont Royale, that the city was named. The city has a great energy, dozens of great neighborhoods, and the friendly tension between Francophones and Anglophones makes things even more interesting. To the west of Rue St. Laurent (“The Main”), most people speak French, and to the east English has more of a stronghold. Unlike Paris, where you are made to feel guilty for not having perfected the language, simply start speaking English here and most of the bilingual locals will happily switch tongues.
We stayed at a B&B on Rue St. Hubert called Le Traversin. It’s run by two wonderful guys, Sylvain and Jean, who seem to understand exactly what people are looking for when they’re on vacation. The house is beautiful—each room is a different color, and the amenities are fantastic. Everything is in balance. It’s in a great neighborhood, with spiral staircases reaching down from second-story flats to embrace the street, and little restaurants around every corner.
It seems like rural and suburban Quebec are much like the U.S., just in French. The built environment appears very similar, with similar patterns of growth and sprawl…and yes (unfortunately), all the old familiar faces. We found this PFK in a strip shopping center near the border between Quebec and Ontario. Like everything else, to the nasal American ear, sprawl is a bit more palatable in French. Yeesh.
Sigh…back to work. Send me an email if you want some restaurant suggestions when you visit.
—from Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, 1972.
Wish you could see the flyover animation...file's too big for the web.