I am standing in front of my Montreal apartment door. It’s about minus 15 degrees Celsius, and snow compressed by feet and tyres, is surrounding me. I rashly drag my hand through the maze of my pocket, and finally feel the keys. In that moment, a dark silhouette converges towards the door.

“TOBI BOND!”, exclaims Sandra, “you are are back?! Now? Wohooo!”
I actually expected to come back, put my luggage in my room, tell my roommates some remarks, and then talk to Lorena.
I didn’t even get the chance to put away my luggage – Sandra is joined by Jenny, then Michka and finally Yukkunn and his girlfriend. Everybody is standing in the little hallway, my shoes are full of snow and making everything dirty but nobody seems to care – the family is complete again…


The youngest in our family: Yukkunn

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What follows, is a marathon photo session on our couch, taking endless group photographs which I now have to steal from Michkas computer to display them.
All of a sudden, there are two more people in the room who I don’t know, both coming from Columbia. We start talking about Columbia (“So … what do you know about Columbia, Toby?” – “Cocaine! Right?”), as two more people drop in. Before I can think of more things of Columbia – well, it’s in South America, and people there drive like crazy, and they dance salsa, and … did I mention Cocaine? – about twenty more people spill through the door, leaving a junkyard of old, rotten shoes in our hallway.
In Montreal, you need to know that, due to the extremely cold temperatures, the city administration puts so much salt on the street to clear it from snow that practically everything is eaten away by the acid. Shoes, car paint (especially on the wheel case), the bottom of everybody’s pants, even whole moose herds who regularly confuse parks with forests are completely consumed by the salt on Montreal’s tough streets.
That’s why shoes get rotten and ripped up here, and that’s why Sarah Palin doesn’t like Quebec – most of the moose melt together with the snow on the street here.

Back to the very French farewell party for Sandra and Jenny: There are two big pots full of boiling red wine and fruits soaked with alcohol on the stove, there is cheese, and I might have even seen some baguette. The only not-so-French things are Jelly Beans and beer. The party gets pretty outrageous, and the vibe seems to press our furniture out of the living room, making space for the dancing crowd.
Finally I can unglue myself from the shaking dancing heroes, stumble into my room and shut the door behind me before I as a renegade get trampled to death by the troops of electronic music.
“Hey Lorena!” – back to the good old relationship of ours, namely through Skype. Five minutes of storytelling what happened in New York, as … “TOBI BOND!”

Michka jumpos into my room, dressed in a tight bicycling suit, immediately joined by my former roommate Fabrice, styled in the same fashion. “Ola Lorena!”, rufen sie in den Bildschirm. “Come and dance, yay-yay-yay!”

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The next morning, Michka and me wanted to go nordic skiing at 10AM – but wake up at 12, with the slowly degrading red wine sitting on our shoulders. Time for a wunderbar French-Canadian brunch with a lot of bagels, maple syrup and hot milk!

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A last advice: If you ever happen to wish to immigrate into France, here are your requirements:

  1. Fresh baguette under your arm
  2. French newspaper wrapped around the baguette
  3. Glass of wine in your other hand
  4. Tight bicycling suit
  5. Tightly rolled moustache, exceeding the width of your face.

If you are a girl, replace number five with “light moustache, 120% red lipstick to distract from the ladybeard”

If you want to immigrate into Quebec, simply replace the glass of wine with a jar of maple syrup, half full (the other half must be munched with pancakes lying in your stomach) and instead of a baguette .

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