International Endurance – Weather Wisdom

A huge part of the typical international student’s experiences consists in facing countless novelties and learning how to deal with them, whether they are good or bad. And given that we are in Montreal and just three days ago we survived one of the (to my mind) worst days ever from a weather point of view, here are a few suggestions for those of you who almost never feel ready.

Instagram @gradlifemcgill Photo by @lissa.joy

Instagram @gradlifemcgill Photo by @lissa.joy

– Don’t get discouraged.
It is easier than you think. I had no idea I could be affected so much by weather, and especially by the cold. When I lived in Milano, I had a very hard time getting through the extremely humid and hot summer, but winter was never very hard, even though the humidity could make a trivial 0°C feel like a -15°C. Then Montreal became my home and I realized that the length of the bad season here, and particularly the wind, have become my worst enemies. There is little I can do about them though, so I can just suggest you to spend time with friends when you feel blue, and hold on because summer in Montreal is pretty amazing. If it’s your first time, you’ll figure it out, otherwise you know what I am talking about.
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At McGill but not in Montreal

A spring sunset on Macdonald Campus. Credit: Mohsin Bin Latheef

I go to McGill, but I do not live in Montreal!

In fact, I never have lived in Montreal. That is because I go to the ‘other’ campus, the Macdonald Campus. Yes, I will get annoyed if you are from McGill and you spell it as MacDonald. 🙂 And no, it is not on a different planet, we are very happy at Macdonald Campus, thank you! Most people at McGill will tell you the wonderful things about Montreal, of which I only know a few.

I will use this post to tell you what I know: the favorite five things about Mac Campus and Sainte Anne de Bellevue, my lovely little village for the last three years:

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Winter wonderland

Parc Angrignon

Parc Angrignon

I felt the soft crunching beneath my soles. With every careful and calculated step, so as not to slip and fall flat on my face, little white pebble-like clumps flew in all directions and seemed to cleared the path before me. Behind me, was a visible trail of footprints. For a while, or at least until the next snowstorm, I can trace where I have been, and remind myself where I came from. Sometimes in the midst of the ups and downs of life, that knowledge somehow offers comfort and consolation. (more…)

Cold yet?

view of Montreal from Mont Royal

I remember going to bed one night, barely two months after moving to Montreal. It was chilly,  around 5C or so. In the gathering wind, shadows of bare trees danced on my window.

The next morning, I was woken by the excited voices of newcasters on my alarm-radio. At first I lay there, in that twilight zone between sleep and awakeness, and listened to the morning weather report.

“…looks like Winter has finally arrived. It’s going to be a cold, cold morning, currently -8C outside, -15C with the windchill…” (more…)

Falling leaves

View of Montreal

Leaves shook on the branches, causing hushed whispers to suddenly sound all at once overhead. A leaf, slightly curled up and crisp from age and the pendulum swings between the warmth of an Indian Summer and a foretaste of the frigid chill of  Winter, fell slowly.  It wandered in mid-air, almost hesitant and cautious of its fall. For a few moments, the breeze carried it. On invisible wings, the leaf blew sideways and almost brushed against me. Then it spiralled, turning and twirling like a ballerina, before it softly landed and became lost among its other fallen brothers and sisters. Falling leaves almost always return to their roots.

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When it rains, it pours.

With the impending downpour of today’s weather forecast and the commencement of a new school year, I thought it appropriate to offer what little advice I could to new McGillians.  (more…)

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