Leaving Montreal – 3 years, 4 months and 1 week

September 12, 2020 0 Comments

Covid spring turned into a meandering covid summer, but now there’s a bite in the air. Green leaves are starting to fade into their autumn colours. The post-dinner evening stroll along the canal path where the kids frolic in dried out bits of cut grass and howl at the moon, now requires hoodies under reflective vests. It’s easier to picture the covid winter that is nipping at our heels. One I would not want to spend here in these circumstances.

Luckily, our time in Montreal is all but over. It’s like we’ve reset the clock and are back to where we started almost 3.5 years ago, with the overwhelming run up to a big life change. In the end, our adventure here lasted a total of 3 years, 4 months and 1 week. It’s been eventful. It’s been tough. It’s been an amazing ride.

Right now we’re in a strange limbo period. We’re seeing out our notice period in one place before starting a new life in another. The time goes so slowly, and yet too fast. We’re anxious to leave, but also noticing all the things we’re doing every day that won’t be a part of our lives anymore.

There are so many major and minor things to keep track of at both the source and destination of the move. There’s little time and energy left to question anything. I just keep trundling through the lengthy lists of things to get done before the timer runs out. I got back into the habit of doing some form of journalling this year, and it gives me some peace of mind that I am keeping on top of the most vital things.

This move is less daunting because we’ve done it before. We have some experience of the pitfalls in the moving process with this particular company. It’s more daunting because last time we were leaving Ireland, which was a well-known quantity when it came to ending parts of our lives there. This time we’ve to deal with the difficulties of doing anything in a foreign country with a language barrier AND a bunch of covid restrictions.

The most stressful part has been selling our condo and ending services in Quebec. The property market is run like a giant ponzi scheme constantly driving up prices of homes. As a seller, you’re paying broker fees twice – your broker and the buyer’s broker. You have to deal with the buyer’s notary (solicitor) who also wants a cut but doesn’t really care whether you think they did a good job recording the sale and ending your mortgage for you. The fees are so high overall that even if you sell at a significant profit on paper, you’ll actually be making a loss after all the deductions. How much of a loss we will only know when the antagonistic notary pays everyone else off and eventually hands us a much smaller sale cheque.

For services everything is supposed to be done over the phone now. That means being on hold for even longer than usual. The Quebec healthcare website was adamant that we must notify them by phone of our departure or we would not have interim coverage. Their phone service was switched off for days. Then I finally got through to someone who seemed irritated that I was bothering them. They did not update our files. They insisted that I should write to them with same information instead. I did. Are we covered? Probably not.

Finishing things up in Quebec has proven more stressful and time-consuming than even I anticipated, which impacts preparations for making a good start in Vancouver. Next month the top priority will be to find a new home to rent. Now that we will finally be able to exchange our drivers licences, our next task is to get a car.

There’s still too much left to get done before the movers arrive. It’s also hard to motivate myself to keep working through it all. I’m trying to keep some balance so there are regular excursions to get some fresh air and exercise. I belatedly checked my short ‘covid summer bucket list’. The youngest child is now proficient on his balance bike after several days of consistent practise. Small victories in an abnormal year that feels like we’re spending a lot of time just waiting for it to be over.

Some things are already lined up on the other side in BC. We have temporary housing for a month. We’re already registered for homeschooling there (another thing that will be infinitely easier after we move). I have a family lined up to be our first stab at making new friends for the kids. The rest will fall into place eventually once we find a permanent address. Probably!

Once more, here we go…