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Friday, 11 May 2012

I love Montreal in the springtime...

We've really had a mixed bag this spring. Not so long ago we were in shorts and flip-flops; but then we had to dig out the winter coats again. We've been coasting in balmy, breezy spring temperatures for a while, but most days, the rain just won't let up. I check the weather app on my phone and it seems to change hourly...

The kids do get to play outside almost every day. And with everyone getting bikes and sidewalk chalk out, as befits the suburbs, we're also renewing friendships with the neighbours. Our kids, who previously couldn't even see each other through the scarves and winter hats, now can't stay off of each other's lawns. Toys are easily lent and borrowed, and if you can't find your favourite truck, just take one out of the neighbour kid's lawn—he'll be back to borrow your jump rope in an hour.

Our family inhabits that middle-land of Franglais. I call out to my kids to come get drinks and snacks in English; then, as my son shoots a grubby hand into the fruit bowl, I remind him, "doucement". My husband is a bit more conscious of fitting in. Inside, he speaks a lot of English. Outside, he turns into French Daddy. My daughter doesn't bat an eye, but my son sometimes stares up at his father in bewilderment.

Our kids talk to the neighbour boy in French, but they talk to the boy's parents in English. Sometimes the adults understand, sometimes they just laugh. They always respond to the kids in French. They have a thick Québécois country drawl that I sometimes struggle to understand; and there have been pauses as they take in my Anglophone accent.

There are times when I try too hard. A Mr. Freeze popsicle is not a "friandise glacée"—it's a Mr. Freeze. I wonder if, for them, it takes on a certain foreign flair instead of just being frozen sugar water.

Spring is here, but summer is just around the corner; and we Québécois like to get a jumpstart on it. Time to plant the seedlings, buy dirt (which my daughter finds quite funny) and stain remover (ah, yes, the woes of having a crawler outside) and pump up the bike trailer tires. Ready for adventure!

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