01.01.2013 - 02.01.2013
On my last full day in Montreal, which was New Years Day (mere hours after my exhausting big adventure on New Years Eve), I decided to do something daring: ice skating.
For people who live in very cold places, ice skating is probably a fairly common activity. Not in Texas where I grew up. The last time (and probably only time) I remember ice skating was when I was 10 years old at the indoor rink at the Galleria in North Dallas. Otherwise, ice has a very different connotation when it comes to weather in Texas: horrendous driving conditions during the 1-2 times a year when the temperature drops below freezing and the rain turns the roads into...well, an ice skating rink for cars (or bumper cars, really).
I actually felt a little bit afraid and intimidated when I laced up the ice skates that I rented at the outdoor rink in Old Montreal. But it was New Years Day, and feeling inspired by the fresh start of a new year, I wanted to push myself to try something that scared me a little bit. I definitely felt wobbly as I first stepped onto the ice, but I did my best to stay close to the edges of the rink in case I needed to fall down. I kept my arms in an upside down "V" position to help my balance, and I took small steps as I moved across the ice.
It was very obvious that many other people skating on the rink were very good skaters. Some people could gracefully do long, fast strides. I also saw young kids who would zig-zag rapidly between people. Even one or two people skated backwards. My main goal was simple: keep on my feet and don't fall down. I stayed on the ice for at least half an hour, and by that time, it was so cold outside that I felt ready to move on to another activity...like finding a nice cafe where I could eat and have a nice warm coffee.
I am glad that I took the plunge and decided to face my apprehension of the frozen water head on. The next day, I flew home to Dallas, and in spite of a couple bumps in the road (like the long walk home on New Years Eve), all in all, I really enjoyed my trip to Montreal. I will never forget the fireworks during the first few minutes of 2013; I loved the Archeology museum and walking around Rue St. Paul in Old Montreal; it was nice to experience the snow and ice skating in a way I never did before in my life; I ate amazing quiche and got to take my time sipping delicious hot coffee in cozy cafes; and I got to speak a little bit of French while learning more about the unique culture in Montreal.
So, where will I travel (or skate) to next in 2013? I'm still weighing my options, but I have a feeling I know which direction I will head to next. Here's to an exciting year to come. Bonne annee!