|Taken by Chris Hadfield from the space station|
-I know you hear stories about Quebec’s language “police” and wonder how we English can live in such an oppressive place but, quite frankly, I don’t feel very oppressed. I have lived here my whole life and enjoy the mix of English and French in my city. I admit, living in Montreal and especially in the suburbs to the west (aka the West Island) probably has a lot to do with that since there are a fair amount of English people here compared with other places in the province. I was on the bus the other day and listened to the couple in front of me having a conversation that flipped back and forth between the two languages with ease and thought how wonderful that is.
-I love the seasons here. After our cold, snowy winter, Quebecers embrace spring and summer with passion. We peel off the layers, get outside and breathe the air. After months of sweaters, pants, boots, scarves, etc. we revel in sitting out on the terrasse at our local restaurant or bar with a cold drink and good food. My favourite season though is autumn. The crisp, cool nights and the beautiful colours here make you feel good to be alive. I can’t imagine living somewhere that doesn’t have this.
-There is a certain joie de vivre here that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I'm not really sure how to describe it to somebody who doesn't live here. We tend to go to extremes here whether we're talking about weather, politics or partying and there is a passion in everything.
-Universal Medicare! Need I say more? I realize that this is actually a Canadian thing rather than strictly a Quebec thing but it is one of the things that makes me so very happy to live here so it belongs on this list.
-Politics. Yes, I know that there is so much that happens that makes us want to tear our hair out in frustration but it is definitely not dull here. Quebec politics are a complicated and, as I said, sometimes frustrating thing with language debates, separatists, fraud commissions, values charters, etc. which cause hearty debates and discussions. There is always something to talk about and plenty of people wanting to talk about it.
-There is also the fact that most of the people that I love and want to have in my life are here. There are, of course, some friends and family in other parts of Canada who I care very much about and would love to see more but I can’t imagine walking away from those who are here.
-The Food!! The mixture of English, French and the great ethnic diversity of this city make for a food scene that cannot be beat. People from all over covet Montreal bagels and smoked meat (obviously not together!). The passion for food here can be found in the menus of the multitude and variety of restaurants and in the diversity of our grocery store shelves.
That's seven and my brain is tired now so I'm done! Needless to say, I love my home province and can't imagine going anywhere else anytime soon