The first month back

May 10th, 2013

It’s been about five and a half weeks since I landed back in Montreal as a resident once again, though it feels like about a year. Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been up to.

The most fun project I’ve worked on so far this year was an article I did for French Living magazine. French Living is an Australia-based publication aimed at francophiles, so obviously a piece on Montreal is something they would be interested in. How did I get this gig? The editor, the wonderful Claire Chaffey, was both a housemate and work colleague of mine in Accra, Ghana from June to August, 2009. We both interned at the National Trust and Ghanaian Times newspapers. I haven’t seen Claire since then, but I’ve kept in touch with her and her husband, Sam, for the past four years.

The first time I met Claire was on a rain-soaked June morning down by the equator. I had overslept on my first morning before our orientation around Accra, so her first impression of me was of a bleary-eyed pale kid wearing only a pair of boxers, hand outstretched for the introductory formalities, having been roused a minute before scheduled departure time. Fortunately by that afternoon I had redeemed myself somewhat and we struck up a solid friendship. We even had a joint byline on the front page of the Ghanaian Times. I was delighted when she asked me to do some work for French Living and made sure to find interviewees that would interest her and the readership. I managed to source an outgoing, ambitious couple from Perth who were glad to talk about their experience in Montreal.

The bulk of my professional work these past few weeks, however, has been with Moving2Canada, an online resource that helps immigrants move to Canada. Moving2Canada is also a registered recruitment agency and has thousands of people in its international network. I did some work on spec for the founder of this company last November, and in March he asked me to become editor of the website. It’s been a great, if at times challenging, experience, but I’m learning a lot and feel confident that I’m providing top quality work to the organisation. The initial project has been a proofreading and optimization job on the existing content, but we’re now getting to a stage where I’ll be involved in creating new content and expanding the site in new directions. It’s an exciting project that I’m delighted to be a part of.

On top of all this I’ve been bartending at McKibbin’s on Bishop St. It’s a casual place with wonderful, amazing staff and happy, unpretentious regulars. I work anywhere between 30 and 45 hours a week there, so with professional work on top it’s fair to say I’ve been a busy man.

Outside of work, I’ve been reminded of the fickle, extreme nature of Montreal weather. Between the 19th and 20th of April, for example, the temperature ranged from -1°C to 22°C. Look, here’s the evidence.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 2.45.13 AM

This means that within 24 hours I experienced a range of temperatures that would be expected in Dublin across an entire year. In the past month I’ve sat sweltering in a park, while at other times wished my gloves were thicker. It’s very odd, but I like it.

But summer is coming, which means balconies, football, the mountain and long evenings spent on patios. Oh, and work – that too. I’ll end this post with a photo of the mountain I took yesterday morning while eating breakfast on my balcony.

mount royal