Mon Sept 21
I tried to aim for 2 hours arrival on airport since there’s a baby involved and security takes much longer since we have liquids. She wasn’t as good on the flights as the boston trip but I think partly it’s because it’s a day trip, so she wasn’t as sleepy. Andy as usual, was instrumental in getting her to sleep. He babywore her, standing in the aisle while jiggling.
We ended up in Steven Yager’s house, Andy’s longtime friend from middle school. They used to play AD&D together and he used to do sleepovers at their house. Now Steven has two kids and is a professor of medieval studies.
Tues Sept 22
Our touristy day.
Started at Marche Jean Talon, which didn’t have the fried seafood stall open on a weekday. Boo. We did have crepes, head cheese, poutine with foie gras (eh).
Then we went to Mont Royal using Uber, and then walked to the lookout point. There was a lot of whining on my part walking it. The top was lovely though and worth it, there is a Chalet at the top and an outdoor piano that anyone can play on. At one point, someone played a song from Amelie, and I enjoyed the view, looking down into Montreal. It felt magical. And then a German guy walked towards the bench I was sitting, while talking loudly to his phone. He was holding it up, video conferencing. And then he loudly talked in German and sat next to me. And I thought… Magical moments don’t last very long.
Dinner was stuffed architokes with Steven Yager’s family. Delish.
Wed Sept 23
We took a chill day because yesterday was so busy. We then went to Parc Fontaine, that was my choice since it was close to the dinner place… and it ended up being the AIN (applied improv network) conference base while in Montreal. So Andy met some improvisors. I ended up in an improv game. Then we walked around the plateau area, I bought some French board books for baby and also a jacket since I forgot one. Montreal didn’t really a need a jacket so far, but the conference is in the heart of the Laurentian mountains, and is supposed to be much colder.
Dinner was Au Pied du Cochon. Which is high dining French. The whole meal cost $190 and I had buyers remorse over it.
cod fritters appetizer: weird texture. not that great.
blood sausage and foie gras tart: the foie was great, the blood sausage kinda weird.
foie gras hamburger: we couldn’t figure out what the patty meat was. There was a giant foie gras over it.
stuffed pig feet with foie gras: this was really delicious. the best dish of all.
for the first time ever, I couldn’t finish the foie gras. Apparently you can be foie grassed out.
Baby also was tired, which wasn’t surprising since we were there at 6:30 and didn’t get to leave till 9:30. Slowest service ever.
On the walk back to the subway, Andy and I commiserated that we don’t really like high dining French food. It is wasted on us. We just don’t find it as flavorful as saucy Asian food. And I would prefer to spend $190 on sushi. We could’ve had a really nice night at Uchiko. But… we did make new memories, and it was an adventure.
Thursday Sept 24
Today we went on a “learning journey” through the Applied improv conference. It was the Cirque du Soleil one. We visited the city of circus arts. We got a rare tour to the Cirque du Soleil HQ. I got to see some of the acrobats work on a swinging pendulum, two on the pendulum and then one jumps off, does multiple turns or a flip in the air and then lands on their hands or feet… on two people. CRAZY.
We then went to the L’Ecole National de Cirque and got to take class. It was first contact improv and then I asked one of the to help me do a land turn, and then he taught me to do a reverse cartwheel. I did a cartwheel, and Andy said he was surprised at how good a form I did.
On the way to blueberry lake, the location of the improv conference, baby slept on my arms. So sweet.
The organizational stuff isn’t so good so far, we had to drag our luggage down to the chalet, and managed to get lost then hitchhike with a bus and then a car. It’s so far, everything is so far here. No wifi that I’ve found yet.
Dinner was a long line. 175 people and a buffet table with a line on only one side.
We’re on data roaming. I have to ration my email and Facebook. So sad.
Friday Sept 25
Day 2 of the applied improv conference. Took a family improv workshop, and it was like couples therapy. Main takeaways:
reframing words to “I feel” and acknowledging that each other’s reality and story is different
rules like: always maintaining a point of contact
“I request listening!”
realizing that the other person has committed their life to you
Did a workshop by Ted something about Second Circles. Which was a bit hippie but involved body language and status work.
Then we went into Mont Tremblant and there were improv shows. Andy and Asaf directed Maestro which was a bit shaky in the beginning but became marvelous. I was holding a wriggling baby in the meantime.
On the way back she fell asleep in my arms, which is the sweetest thing in the world.
The chalet we are staying in is a log cabin and wonderful. There are wildlife, and it’s just gorgeous.
Saturday Sept 26
Woke up before Andy and baby, and I snuck out to get breakfast, played some Hearthstone, and then went to the session which was: Realm of possibilities. Learned new improv games like: God gifting. And it was kinda hippie and spiritual and something I needed.
After lunch we hiked around the lake (with a stroller) to get to the Barn for open session. Not as well organized as last years and I walked from session to session until I found some people drawing and I started drawing as well. Apparently there is such a thing as Graphic Facilitator! That sounds awesome and something I would actually enjoy doing because it involves doodling during meetings.
Then I jumped into our chalet’s hot tub, I think the first of our chalet to so it. And it was glorious.
I had a magical moment of being in the hot tub, the jets pushing against my back and legs and feet (it was one of those body shaped ones) and watching the tall Canadian trees being lit by the sunset. Gorgeous.
Then we headed off to Mont Tremblant. It was a ski resort area, and we went on a Gondola. Beautiful view above the ski slopes and we could look down into the fiery pink sky and the mountain town. Gorgeous.
I had a great conversation with a lady named Virginie.
After dinner we left instead of staying for the music so baby can go to sleep. And now we’re back at the chalet while Andy is hot-tubbing.
We watched the blood moon lunar eclipse. Definitely one of the magical moments of my life. When the shadow of the earth covered the moon, we looked up and could see the Milky Way Galaxy. So many stars. What a beautiful night.
Back to Montreal, we went to Chinatown to grab lunch which is a down and dirty chinese place that specializes in pork chops. Then we walked to the Notre Dame Basilica, which was gorgeous.
I walked around the Plateau neighborhood. Bought more French books for baby.