Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Are you my wife?

First off - thank you to the Montrealers who gave me great suggestions for things to do/see/eat while in Montreal. While I did not make it to any of Thomas' various bars/clubs (next time!) I did get a great bagel my last morning (thanks F.G.!), walked the entire downtown including the Old Port and St. Catherine's, and have two bottles of Bellini at home (one for me, one for a friend). But for the love of all things good and Canadian - how did none of you tell me about Poutine? That's just gravy goodness right there:

O.k., now to the good stuff (be forewarned, this will not be brief!). I set out for Montreal with a sense of adventure. Making the choice to come was not a difficult one - I love to travel, am always looking for people that excite and inspire me, and wanted to take advantage of finally feeling "strings free" in life and love. When the plane touched down my heart leapt a little - here I was, off to find Allan and become a part of the Are You My Wife (AYMW) experience.

I found him quickly and we spent the first night getting to know each other. I met his parents, both of whom are absolutely delightful, and I had a great time with them throughout my stay. Allan's dad, Derek, is the quintessential British chap - the epitome of a sunny disposition. And spending time with them I could see why Allan would continually site them as an inspiration for this project - they compliment each other well and have built a life based on the things most important to them - family, friends, travel and enjoying the environment around them.

On Thursday, Allan and I explored downtown - and at each step along the way he took the opportunity to tell me stories about his history in Montreal, along with the city itself. It was great to get insight into a place that in superficial ways feels a lot like home, but once the surface is scratched is revealed as such a different and diverse place.

In the afternoon I had my first thoroughly Quebec experience as I watched Allan tape the Quebec version of "The View." It was the first of many experiences that led me to feel like I have joined this project as it's really started to take off. Later we met up with a long-time friend of Allan's at a pub downtown, and then were off to see Kyle and Dom at their Montreal digs, where they stay when they're not at the One Red Paperclip house in Saskatchewan. It was nice to meet the guy who was ultimately responsible for my trip - as it was through ORP that I found AYMW in the first place. Between meeting Kyle and seeing Allan do his T.V. interview and numerous radio interviews, I realized how truly up-ending (in the best sort of way) such projects can be. Kyle has been flying all over the world sharing the success of a 'bigger and better' trade, and Allan has put himself out there as a potential 'partner in crime,' to which women all over the world (myself included) have responded, en masse.

Which brings me to a simple question. Why is it that so many women who may or may not know what they're looking for in a man would email a stranger, send pictures, invite him over, fly to another country to meet him? For me (I can't speak for the others), the answer lies in an overall approach to life. Just as Allan shuns the conventional dinner and a movie approach to dating, I've yet to have any real success with it. I started this blog to chronicle an initial attempt at dating in a classical sense, since I'd been in relationships since I was 16, most of which started from friendships, not traditional dates. And because I knew after my last breakup (a 3 year relationship) that I wanted to wait a good long time before entering another, dating seemed like a nice way to fill the space and try something new. And here's someone challenging the face of dating all together - make it fun, make it memorable. That's dating on a whole other level - and it intrigued me immediately.

On Friday, Allan, his parents and I drove up to the Laurentian region where they have a chalet they spend many of their weekends at. My own family has a cabin that has been in the family for over 50 years in the Stanislaus National Forest - and I could tell immediately that the Wills' family chalet held the same richness of memories and life being lived as my own family's cabin does. Allan and I played with his childhood toys - an excalibur I would have killed for as a kid (it would have complimented the superman cape I refused to take off quite nicely) and walked through the woods where he used to wage his battles.

In anticipation of bad weather that would follow on Saturday, the day was glorious and we were indulged with sun as we visited the local town of St. Sauveur and attempted to blend in with the decorations, and also paid homage to Allan's childhood as we visited the hill where he learned to ski (which has recently been taken down and sold to a developer).

Spending time with Allan with his family was a treat - like he says, I got to see him at his most natural, and that's one of my favorite things about this date. In addition to spending time with his parents, I spent a good amount of time with his brother Simon - who I now realize I have no pictures of! Simon was great though - I think he knows more about American politics than I do (though I'm a bit of a junkie so it was fun to discuss) and between all the Wills men and their different perspectives I definitely left Montreal with a much greater understanding of Canada than I arrived with.

I'll tell you one thing I did not leave Canada with: any ability to understand Tetes-a-claques. Kyle and Dom introduced this to us, but having only two years of French 1 under my belt, I was at a loss to understand the humor. Still, just watching the faces and interactions had me laughing. Allan became completely enamored with the skits and for the rest of the weekend I would find him giggling under his breath, and he'd have to attempt a translation of the silliness.

I'm going to let you check out Allan's post regarding the Fest of Evil because he did a great job of summarizing the craziness of the event. I will tell you this - standing on the side of a hill, in near pitch blackness, wondering at every turn what we were going to confront was an incredible way to get into the Halloween spirit! And the snow - well that was a riot! And Harry, well, the videos say it all. I went to bed and woke up laughing hysterically, thanks to him.

On my last day, Allan and I went to get an authentic Montreal bagel, then headed downtown to do a radio interview. Kim posed some great questions - I think they made both me, as one of many dates, and Allan, think about the significance of AYMW.
Afterwards, we headed to the top of Mount Royal, where a clear day offered a breathtaking view of a city I have totally fallen in love with.

You can see my pictures on Flickr here. Also - make sure to check out Allan's recap of the date - he's got all the videos posted.

This weekend was wonderful first and foremost for the people involved. My host was incredible - from showing me the city, pieces of his childhood, sharing this project and the ways it's evolving with me, and perhaps most importantly, the people who helped him become who he is today - I was blown away. I truly felt at home.

But what I will take away regarding my own journey through life and love is that being with someone more or less non stop for 5 days has shown me that when it's time, I'll be ready for the commitment I've sometimes started to fear while taking this time for myself and having to contend with a love that couldn't be what I wanted it to be. I'm healthy, I'm open, I'm ready. Where AYMW falls in this - there's no way to know just yet. I will say that I think I walked away from the weekend with much more insight into who Allan is than he did of me. For that, there will have to be a second date :)


Blogger Mac said...

Great recap!!

11/02/2006 5:00 AM  
Blogger zura said...

What a great date! Kudos to you for taking the plunge to find out.

11/02/2006 7:09 AM  
Blogger Jaclyn said...

that sounds like a LOT of fun, and I echo zura - major kudos for having the cajones to embark on that kind of adventure! it's like the dating equivalent of ESPN X-treme sports!

he was pretty cute!

11/02/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger H said...

What a beautiful story! Congratulations.

11/02/2006 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is total fun! I don't know about the Poutine though, it looked a little scary. I think a second date is in order!

11/02/2006 1:59 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

I am 1/5th poutine...
Under such extraordinary circumstances, it looks like you alit on's Allan with both poise and grace. Well done! What a story to tell your, ahem, grandkids...

11/02/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

You do however make Montreal look a bit colder than I remember it being...

11/02/2006 2:57 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

merci all - I'm glad you enjoyed the recap! And yes, as scary as poutine looks, it is quite tasty. And yes, it was cold - don't you live in Montreal Thomas? Did you get snow on the 28th or was it just in Joliette (sp)? Or are you just implying that I'm a wimpy Californian with my huge jacket, hat, scarf and mittens ;)?

11/02/2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger With Love, Fat Girl said...

Hey, that's so awesome! Those are the most unbelievable bagels in the world, they are.

Glad you had a great time, and I slapped myself on the wrists, twice, for forgetting about the poo-teen. It's a sinful wonder.

11/02/2006 5:41 PM  
Blogger With Love, Fat Girl said...

Oh yes, I almost forgot:

Allan is such a hottie! and,

We Canadians always appreciate a great opinion of our country. Montreal is a fantastic place, no? Cheers :)

11/02/2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

ah. no snow then. but i remember now it being really windy (i was in shorts, so must've repressed all pain from that day.) it is snowing now, makes me wish i had a steaming poutine suit i could wear. hmmmm. poutine on my head. meanwhile, i'm quite certain you're the not-wimpist californian Joliette has ever seen. Now, do you say: 'Ah'll be baaaack?'

11/04/2006 2:44 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

oh yes, I'll definitely be back someday. I loved it!

11/05/2006 9:28 PM  

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