Category Archives: Marriage

Yours is Mine in Montreal

My husband and I just got back to Houston from a family visit in Montreal, Canada. I love that city. From the bilingual element and temperamental weather, to the decidedly young population living among beautiful old buildings. Montreal has a whole lot to offer.

Winter in Montreal

We generally go twice a year to visit my in-laws, staying on average about one to two weeks at a time. In between the good ol’ family bonding, we usually squeeze in an awesome activity here and there. From learning how to snow board at the nearby resort of Mont Tremblant, train rides to Quebec City, and of course plenty of Cirque du Soleil performances: all barely scratching the surface!

This time around, our visit happened to coincide with one of the coldest winter weeks Montreal has seen in a very long time. With temperatures ranging from -30C to -10C (-22F to 14F) we were perfectly happy to spend most nights bundled up at home introducing my in-laws to the power and wonder of instant streaming on Netflix.

With my father-in-law approaching his mid-70s and my mother-in-law suffering from high cholesterol and diabetes, it wasn’t just the cold that kept us inside this time around. We went to stay with them expecting this trip to be a bit more low-key than usual. This time around, it was a vacation for the soul, of rest, and home cooked meals. And sometimes that’s just perfectly fine.

You see, my husband is really one of the good ones, the kind that doesn’t come around too often. He is the kind of son that grew up realizing his parents were his best friends. The kind who finds joy and content in helping them program different gadgets around the house and taking them to doctor appointments. The kind whose heart literally breaks when he has to leave his parents alone in a frosty city.

So if I can play a small part in making our week together more enjoyable, that’s what I’ll do. Because that’s love.

So to my husband: what’s yours is mine. Your joy is mine, your heartbreak is mine.

Some Alone Time

At least from 9 to 5 that is.  Actually it’s more like 6am to 6pm, but who’s counting. My husband has finally gone back to work. After 18 days off straight and chock full of exciting things like moving back to the country, good bye dinner parties and hello Houston parties, and most of all, having the time to veg and surf through Netflix, we are finally back to our ‘normal.’  i.e. living together once again since normal of course being that there really is no normalcy at all!

While I’m totally enamored and in love with my bodacious husband, I have to admit I’m a bit relieved that he’s finally back at work. Leaving me with a few hours of alone time to finally get going with the real house work and catching up on different appointments. And, ahem, some badly needed eyebrow maintenance. Sounds mean, right? Hear me out.

Since we’re a couple that doesn’t usually get much alone time, either due to his crazy work schedule (or mine in the past), frequent travels, family visiting from out of town, or us visiting family, when we do have time alone we spend it cuddled up talking or watching documentaries for hours. It’s wonderfully romantic and it’s absolutely our most favorite thing to do.

Things just get a tad impractical when you’ve got 18 days worth of phone calls to return and a mountain of chores that just keeps growing. But who needs to be productive when you’re emotionally sated with hearts that glow? Things just got real mushy.

Now that I think about it, I think I’m going through withdrawal.



Vancouver Harbour

Vancouver Harbour

Last week, we learned it takes remarkable skill and cohesive precision for two adults to share one umbrella.  Especially if one adult is 6 feet tall while the other is 5feet 2inches.  Why didn’t we just ask for two umbrellas from the hotel, you ask?  Well because of course it’s more romantic to huddle together and hold each other close as you walk, and maybe even steal a couple kisses in the rain.  But at one point, all thoughts of romantic gestures were lost on me, as I kept trying to nudge my husband’s elbow, conveniently attached to the umbrella at the time, just a little bit more to the right and back to provide me with more protection against the elements.

You better believe that anytime we came across a street awning, we eagerly went our separate ways. I walked under the awning, happy as a little clam. And he courageously battled the rain with his single umbrella.

In a city dully dubbed Raincouver, we tried to get a handle on umbrella etiquette over the 3 nights and 4 days we spent in Vancouver.  For novice umbrella users, seemingly run of the mill protocol proved to be a bit questionable for us.  Where are you supposed to put your sopping umbrella at a restaurant if there is no box at the door? Or at a store? And if you place your umbrella in the designated box, what’s to keep someone else from taking yours? Not to mention the rigorous game of chicken that pedestrians seem to play, swerving at the last minute to avoid an eye-gougingly unfortunate umbrella mishap.

Pretty yachts, Stanley Park, Vancouver Harbour

Swanky yachts, Stanley Park, Vancouver Harbour.. Now that’s the life.

All umbrella thoughts aside, we had a blast in Vancouver. This vivacious city has continuously ranked at the top of the “world’s most livable cities”, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This year it was ranked third, but nonetheless, I can definitely see why the city is so attractive. Interestingly enough, I just found out that Calgary is also among the top five cities!

Not very large by any means, that cool factor I mentioned in an earlier post about Calgary is readily pungent in the air in this west coast city as well. Fantastic restaurants, hipster art showrooms, and immense cultural diversity pretty much give you the lay of the land. Not to mention, coffee, coffee, and more coffee, with big chains and local coffee shops on every corner. Could it be the proximity to Seattle?

Latte in Vancouver

I really want to learn how to do this.

My husband and I are notoriously bad tourists, despite the fact that we travel so much. When we go on vacation, it’s usually to spend some quality alone time together.  So we’d much rather have a relaxing good time than worry about trying to visit all the crowded “must-sees.”  When visiting a new city, we generally follow a few guidelines to make the most of our trip.

1 – Stay in a nice place, as close to the most desirable part of town as you can get. In Vancouver, we stayed at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia on W. Georgia St. just a few minutes walk from the best restaurants, shopping, Gastown, the harbor, and Stanley Park to boot.

Historic Gastown district.

Historic Gastown district.

2 – Drive as little as possible within the city. There’s something so authentically organic by absorbing a new city on foot or using the metro/train/subway. In Vancouver we were lucky enough to be able to walk everywhere, even in the rain.

3 – Don’t plan every detail ahead of time. Granted, this motto caused us to miss out on the Colosseum in Rome, as it was closed off the day we tried to see it. But generally this spur of the moment attitude has served us well on trips in the past, and worked out great in Vancouver too.

The only real touristy activity we ended up doing was a tour of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. We have actually received word that by this time next year, there’s a real possibility we might be moving to an East Asian country for a new project. Of course, if anyone knows the oil and gas industry, these things tend to change quite frequently, so this plan is definitely not set in stone. But for now, I find myself more and more engrossed with all different aspects of Asian culture. And the garden did not disappoint!

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver

The entrance to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver

Inside the tranquil gardens.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver

All of the plants and materials were imported from China.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver

The skies cleared up during our tour.

All in all, if my husband ever got assigned to work in Vancouver for a while, I would definitely be excited. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of Asia.

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