I am sitting at a crowded airport gateway in Montreal, in the same uncomfortable seat I have been in for the last five hours. It is quarter to eleven in the morning and with the aid of a couple of gruesome Tim Horton’s coffees; I’m finally beginning to really wake up.
In two months of living in the Eastern Townships I’ve only made it into the city twice, and all I’ve seen is the airport. The first time I was just arriving in Quebec, and now, a blink of the eye later, I’m almost gone. I can’t say I don’t regret not making it into the city for a bit of exploring, but sometimes the pace of life takes you by surprise, and all the best laid plans are cast aside in favour of more important and somewhat more mundane occupations. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
In the aforementioned two months, I haven’t managed to post a single blog post either. Time moves in remarkable ways when you’re not paying it much heed, and while it feels like I arrived in Quebec just yesterday, a lot has transpired in the meantime.
A life can be built in two months. I’ve worked in a new and completely unexpected career, become regularly involved in three different church communities, helped serve dinner to hundreds of students a week, seen many new faces and made many new friends. I’ve been prophesied over, catalogued an entire library (albeit a small one), learned to cope with negative thirty degree weather and discovered a new passion for Christian Yoga and a form of spontaneous worship called Harp and Bowl. Thanks to a fantastic used bookstore and an HMV less than a half hour away I’ve acquired seven new books and ten new CDs, not to mention the new wardrobe I’ve gained due to my job at a local vintage and used boutique. In an hour, I leave it all behind, though what I’ve learned will stay with me for a long, long time.
So Lennoxville, I leave with a love letter and a few photographs. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, despite a bit of homesickness and perpetually runny nose. It’s been wonderful to wade through drifts of snow and walk atop frozen rivers. I’m delighted to discover that I can, in fact, withstand the cold of the “True North Strong and Free,” and to learn that snowmobiling, while exciting and new, is definitely not for me. Lennoxville, though everyone told me you were ugly in the melting, slushy snow, and that I “should really come back to see you in the summer or the early fall,” you have a certain rustic charm. Your shopkeepers are friendly and your people even more so. Your House of Prayer is a wonderful place to meet with God, and I wish I’d had more time to spend within its walls. I love the old brick buildings and the unexpected street art plastered on them. I love the way you look after a fresh coat of snow, but I’m just as happy when it melts. Either way, you’re like a home away from home, and I was glad to have the chance to visit.
Goodbye, it was great, let’s do it again sometime, okay?
Below are just a few quick snapshots of my favourite Lennoxville spots.
The Quebec House of Prayer, previously home to the Rev. Lucius Doolittle, once a bar, and now a tremendous testimony to God and his goodness.
A statue outside QHOP.
Above and below are a couple shots of my favourite local used bookstore. It reminded me of some such shops which my father used to take me to as a child: slightly musky in scent, colourful, serene, great to while away an afternoon and some money in, and filled floor to ceiling with well-loved, often out-of-print and vintage volumes, each with their own unique story told in worn spines, faded covers, bent page corners and the occasional personal note scrawled just inside the front cover.
18A Connely may look unassuming_ from the outside, but come every Tuesday night there’s a very dedicated group of missionaries who feed anywhere from 100 to 400 some-odd students there.
And last but not least, above and below, my favourite local graffiti.