Second half of our East Coast tour

Rinnah fishing on our last morning in Vermont

One of the amazing topiaries - it really was taller than the trees

The service at Rosemount Bible Church in Montreal

With Nick and Tania in Vieux Montreal or the old city

Notre-Dame Cathedral

I just liked the signs - where St. Paul meets John the Baptist

Part of the Olympic complex

Crossing the border at Niagara Falls

We were required to wear these lovely matching shoes for Cave of the Winds

My family getting very wet next to Bridal Veil Falls - this was the closest I could get without wrecking my camera

Sunday morning at Community Church of Columbus, Indiana

It’s the first day of school for my kids, and I might be able to breathe. What a crazy couple of weeks!

We finished up our loop out to the East Coast and back through Canada. After our time in Vermont, we headed straight up to Montreal. I haven’t been to Montreal for years, and the last time I was there, we had torrential rains the entire time. The only part of the city we really saw was underground! And while Montreal’s underground city is really cool, it’s not nearly as interesting as what they have above ground.

We got in on Saturday and realized that the church we were with had put us in a hotel next door to the old Olympic complex – how cool! We were also only two blocks from the Jardin Botanique or Botanical Garden and the Biodome, both of which the kids wanted to see. Rachel is a budding botanist, and she was so excited to see the gardens. We had read rave reviews, so we spent the afternoon there. It was absolutely amazing! And huge! We did a very quick tour and didn’t even see the more wild half of the park. What we did see was a stunning show of topiaries – some of them were more than 40 feet high! They were so cool, and it was really fun to look up close and see how they had “painted” them with all different colors of plants.

Because of my opera days, my French was pretty good at one point, but it’s very rusty now. While I could read all the signs, etc., I really couldn’t understand anything people were saying. The accent is very different than continental French. Toward the end of the day, though, I overhead a woman who was watching a duck walking toward a couple say in French, “Oh, he’s coming to see if you have anything for him to eat!” and I thought, “Yes! It’s not all gone.” 🙂

The next morning we went and met our host church, Rosemount Bible Church. It was a relief to know that they normally do their services in English because I was pretty sure that I’d need more vocabulary than just discussing a duck! Our host and one of the elders there, Nick, told us his first language was actually Italian and he’d learned English when his parents came to Canada as a kid because he was enrolled in an English language school. He’d also learned French because he needs it in Montreal. I’m impressed. And I didn’t worry about my French accent with him as much!

We did two services at Rosemount, first a quiet service of worship and communion, and then another service after coffee hour. I did a few worship songs on the first service and then most of the second service. I was so impressed by the heart of people here for the Gospel and for ministry. As we were talking with people from the church, it became clear that Montreal especially and Canada in general is heading more toward what we had seen in the UK – only 3% of the population of Montreal would consider themselves evangelical Christians. It’s a hard place to do ministry and as a result, the church was very close.

After services, Nick and his wife, Tania, took us out to lunch and to see Old Montreal. What fun! We started by seeing a bagel factory because apparently Montreal is known for bagels – who knew? And as a former NYC resident, I have to say that while they are not the same as NY bagels, they are outstanding! We loved them. Now we’re trying to figure out how to get them in OH! Then we went for smoked meat sandwiches and poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy) since those are apparently the other things you must eat in Montreal. Needless to say, it was not our healthiest lunch, but we had a great time.

We went to see Notre-Dame and walked all around the old city and had an enormous crepe (do you see a food theme here?) and really enjoyed getting to know Nick and Tania – they were so kind to us!

The next morning we spent at the Biodome before heading back west. Now we are officially on the way home. We spent the night at a bed and breakfast in Oshawa, about an hour from Toronto and then got up the next morning and drove to Niagara Falls. Originally, we were supposed to do a few things in Toronto, but the kid’s school schedule changed, and we had to get home to the back to school madness. It’s okay – Toronto is only 6 hours from us, so it’s easy to get back to.

The kids went mad for Niagara Falls. They’d never seen it so we stopped to look at it from the Canadian side (much better looking) and then did Maid of the Mist and also the Cave of the Winds walk on the American side. Everyone loved it even if it was weirdly cold from August and we got very wet!

After the falls, we drove the 6 hours home to get up and do hours of meetings and waiting in lines for schedules and pictures and everything that goes into getting the kids back in school. Rinnah’s starting high school this year and I am a wreck. She’s handling it much better than I am!

And to make things a little more frantic, I went to Columbus, IN on the weekend to do Community Church’s services too. I love this church – we were with them last year and had such a great time with the music director, Jill, and her husband! My mom and I headed out there on Saturday night and did their two services in the morning. It’s a big church, but somehow they still seem to feel small and friendly, like family. Love that!

Got home in time to spend a little time with the kids before bed and make sure everyone was ready for the first day of school! I can’t believe how fast the summer has flown. But I also feel so blessed to have gotten to be all the places we were and especially to have met all the amazing people we got to spend time with. The family of God is everywhere, and seeing that is one of my favorite things about what I do.

Leave a Reply