It’s been nearly two years since moving to Quebec. (Already! Okay, like a year and a half…) As most of you know, we moved here with a plan to stay here for roughly four years. Due to Jordan’s research interests, we thought (okay, and did a little hoping) there might be some short-term opportunities for study/travel in Latin America during this time. We also wanted to fully take advantage of the things Quebec had to offer, specifically the Gaspé Peninsula and Charlevoix regions, the Eastern Townships, and Quebec City. The two of us also hoped to capitalize on its proximity to Vermont (Burlington), the Adirondacks in upstate New York, the Maritime provinces, and maybe hit up NYC one more time before leaving. After being in both Tennessee and the D.C. area for only two years each, these four years (pretty optimistic for a PhD) seemed like more than enough time.
Because I knew that we were going to be here a while, I pushed myself even harder in French and dug deeper to learn even more about the culture in Quebec. I mean, who wants to spend four years in a place without ever feeling like you can blend/fit in? Admittedly, this was as much from a I-need-a-job perspective as it was a I-am-a-culture-maven perspective. On the other hand, I didn’t find it necessary to push myself, or Jordan for that matter, into any crazy must-get-it-all-done sort of travel schedule like we had in Tennessee (In two years we managed to see Charleston, Asheville, Atlanta, Savannah, New Orleans, oodles of nearby hikes, while still sneaking in a decent amount of travel outside the region). When we moved to Tennessee, we knew that Jordan already had the PhD itch (is that diagnosable?) and that it was likely that we’d be there three years max. Knowing that our time frame for using Knoxville as a springboard for exploring the southern United States was limited and having two full-time incomes meant that we kept a pretty steady exploration schedule.
Fast forward to December 2013. Remember that Holiday Party we threw after Jordan had spent a month
in hibernation writing his comprehensive exam answers? We’d been a little out of the loop, so were taken a bit off-guard when people started questioning us out of the chilly December blue about whether or not we were going to move to Vancouver. (Full confession: there was a hint given to Jordan a few months before, but we’d all but forgotten it and put the rumor to rest when it had seemed less likely).
Making a long story a little bit shorter, Jordan’s advisor accepted a position in Vancouver, British Columbia. And because it keeps us on our two-year moving schedule, we’re going to go. Also, the winter here, like elsewhere this year, was a bit long. Okay, the real reason I agreed was because it’s also hard for me to say no to having the opportunity to explore a new city and region while we’re still young/able to move around. For Jordan, it’s that, coupled with wanting to keep a close working relationship with his advisor. The transition should really be taking place over the summer, but our transition won’t really be completed until November. Why? We’ve got a few things in the works…
First, there are still a few things we want to do here. No, we’re not going to go crazy and take two months of sightseeing through Eastern Canada and the U.S. (Sorry, Lion King on Broadway and Anne of Green Gables dreams. You’ll have to wait for another day!). But there are a few things we’re putting a rush on and making a point to do. First, in true Cassie list-making style, I do have a Montreal Musts list. I’ve checked a couple off since making the list, but still have quite a few to get to. Here’s a snapshot of the list.
In June, we’re going to take a little time for one last Quebec road trip. This time we’ll be going to La Gaspésie! This is a trip we knew we wanted to do before leaving Québec, but we didn’t necessarily plan on making it this year. Instead, we’d thought about taking five days or so to Nova Scotia. We didn’t want to cram too much into a one week trip, though, so decided to choose one or the other. We went with Gaspésie because we thought flying into Halifax seemed a bit easier in the future than flying into Gaspé. Also, a road trip through Québec seems like the perfect way to cap off our year-and-nine-month stint in Québec. We’ll be camping the whole time, doing some campfire eating, hiking, sightseeing, and if things go right, some seafood eating, too. Our trip is going to look roughly like this, but we’re still in the planning stages. (Ignore the actual destination markers, those are just so Google showed you the right route. We’re not necessarily stopping in those places.)
By the time Canada Day comes around (that’s moving day to folks in Montreal and just a regular July 1 to you in the U.S.), I’ll be hopping on a plane for home. I’m super excited to be spending the ENTIRE month of July in Wisconsin. It’s been over ten years since I’ve spent more than about a week and a half there. I’m hoping to spend some quality time with my sisters, parents, and Grandma, cook with the fresh produce from my parents’ garden, go on a sister road trip, and sneak in a serving of cheese curds. One of my good pals might even be flying in to hang out for a few days. It’ll be great. And hopefully relaxed. Sure, I want to see everyone, but I want to slow down and enjoy the nights where we don’t do anything special. As much as I tried to not make a list of things I wanted to do while in Wisconsin, my Google calendar is starting to look like one anyway :/
Jordan will be flying in at the end of July. He’ll spend a few days with my family before we head over to South Dakota to visit his family. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen those nephews of ours. (Not sure if we’ll be able to time it right to meet our newest family member, Cece). We’re planning to spend a few days at the family ranch and maybe a couple days in the Sioux Falls area.
Finally, by mid-August, we’ll be catching another plane, this time to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’ll be fun to travel back to Buenos Aires to see if my memories (Jordan and I went there on our honeymoon) and reality match up. We’ll only be spending a day or two in Buenos Aires, though, as our actual destination is near San Miguel de Tucumán in northern Argentina. Jordan will be working on his research and doing some field work in the region. We’ll hopefully get a few weekend trips into the surrounding areas.
We’re driving from Buenos Aires to Tucumán on the way in, stopping in a couple places so Jordan can meet some other researchers. On the way out, we’ll head a bit south to Mendoza, sip some wine (Malbec!!) and then cross over into Santiago, where we’ll be catching our last set of flights for 2014.
Again, we’re still doing a bit of planning on the actual details of the drives. The first drive of the trip is much more work-focused. (I’m Jordan’s photographer for the trip, I suppose :D) The second is still going to include some agricultural stops, but it’ll be more of the agrotourism ilk.
We’ll arrive in Vancouver (via a couple other airports) in November. We’ll probably be there for about two years, maybe longer depending upon our options. Jordan will still technically be a PhD candidate at McGill University in Montreal (which means if he chooses to attend his graduation ceremony, it’d be here), but will be a visiting scholar in BC. He’ll be working on arguably the most beautiful campus in North America As for me, I’ll be back on the job hunt. This time, Mandarin would probably come in more handy than French, but there should be a significant portion of jobs which require only mere ol’ English. (That said, I will be sure to find ways to keep practicing my French). I’m now equipped with over a year of teaching experience, an advanced level of French. Look out employers, my CV will be coming your way.
photo of campus found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UBC_aerial_view.jpg
What about you, friends and family? Have any special plans for the rest of 2014? Summer travel plans? Anything that caught you off guard?