Fall is here and nature is shedding its old coat in preparation for the winter. We started feeling the effect of the shorter days, the longer nights and the colder temperatures. We feel like being outdoors but can’t really get ourselves to stay out long due to the cold and lack of enough sunshine. Soon enough, our energy levels drop and we start feeling rather ‘down’, if I may use this term loosely. What can we do to alleviate the melancholy and get those feel-good hormones rushing?
The Japanese called it ”shinrin-yoku”, which translates to forest bathing: a simple walk in the forest (and breathing the air) when the forest takes on a whole new air, rich and wet, smelling of fallen leaves. The Japanese regard this as a very important form of aroma therapy: a simple walk in the woods lowers blood pressure and reduces levels of stress.
Next time you find yourself feeling rather ‘under the weather’, plan for a walk in the woods at the weekend. Surprisingly, it is more effective to walk in the woods in fall than it is in summer! Get moving and inhaling!
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge lover of coffee, not because I am addicted to it but because I really enjoy the taste of it. However, I cannot have it black. I can have it sugarless, but I have to add milk or cream to it. Before coming to Canada, I always added milk to my coffee (or simply had a cappuccino), but in Canada it is very popular and common to add 10% cream (half and half) to your coffee. Now I take my coffee with a little bit of 10% cream, and man the difference it makes!
(Entre Le Cafe et La Plume)
(Le Depanneur Cafe)
So, the first thing that I did when we first got to Montreal was try out all the cafes in the neighborhood, and every place I went to I made sure that I took their business card. Needless to say, I now have a box full of business cards for cafes, bistros and little restaurants in Plateau and Mile End. And anyone who lives in Montreal (or has been to Montreal) knows perfectly well how quaint and artsy these two neighborhoods are. So, here is my list of the top cafes that I’ve been to, in alphabetical order.
Doesn’t a giggling baby just make you unconsciously smile? How about when it stops raining the moment you step out of the house? What about that second when you put your hand into the pocket of an old jeans and you feel money under your fingers? Don’t you just smile? What are other little moments in your day that make you, forcibly, smile?
Here’s a list of a few little things that make me happy:
- When I am asked for directions on the street.
- When I manage to apply nail polish on my right-hand fingers (I’m right-handed) without any smudging.
- Being on my bicycle on a cold sunny day and feeling the chilly wind on my face.
- Receiving a smile from a stranger.
- R. telling me that I smell like flowers. (He does!)
- When I’m cooking and the radio plays music that I can sway to.
- That moment when coldness starts going away and I start feeling warm under the bed covers.
- When I crave a piece of anything sweet (that usually happens directly after lunch) and I find a forgotten half-cookie in my bag.
And many many more. Just like there are many little things that we should be grateful for, there are a million other things that make us smile. We just need to notice them.
If you are ever anywhere on Avenue du Parc in Montreal, you have to stop at Les Sandwichs Volants for one of their grilled sandwiches, I guarantee you that you’ll be fantasizing about returning to Les Sandwichs Volants after trying their cheesy, immensely-rich-in-flavor sandwiches. On top of that, they are not pricey at all! I, for one, am proudly guilty of overindulging on Les Sandwichs Volants’ sandwiches.
They also offer daily specials but I yet have to try those. They usually run out of them if you’re there for a late lunch. The lasagna with spinach and ricotta cheese sounds really good, but unfortunately there was none left last time I was there.
We were lucky to have had very pleasant weather on Labour Day, especially that it was my first Labour Day in Canada. Everybody was out in the parks or cycling all around the city; needless to say, it was a great day for the outdoors. Here are a few photos to showcase how I spent my day today. Hope you guys had a lazy Labour Day too!
1. The first thing we saw when we stepped out of the house, the community truck watering the community plants (see the blue sky?!):
2. More plants:
3. In Montreal you’re bound to run into some street art:
4. And then we passed Toi, Moi et Cafe and people were spilling out of the terrace:
5. And more street art (feel free to interpret freely):
6. Another landmark in Montreal:
7. Something you read everywhere you go:
8. A cement garden?
9. Cute co-pilots!
9. And what the ‘plate’ said:
10. An unexpected garden beauty:
11. And finally a glass of lemonade to pitch in to this kid’s piggy bank (notice her cute fan?!):
“Les passants passant, je passe mon temps à les regarder.” – Zaz
Can you guess what my friends are looking it?
I took this photograph of my friends while we were out walking and exploring Montreal.
What is everyone up to this weekend? R. and I joined a group of close friends in Westport for a long weekend of catching up, relaxation and fishing. The cottage we are staying in is super cozy and warm. When we were driving to it, we thought we were going driving to the end of the world. The roads were unpaved, thin and lined with trees so high that you can’t see the sky. We had to drive for 15 minutes outside of the town of Westport to get to it. But the moment we parked the car and went into the cottage, we were breath taken by the genuine feel of it and the amazing view of the lake. Take a look at these photos and let me know what you think.
Have a nice weekend.
Squirrels, after giraffes, are my favorite animals and to spot one in my neighborhood on my second day in the city? Now that is a nice welcome
Did you know? Squirrels have eyes that are adapted to night vision.
I don’t know what to expect from you 2012, but I sincerely hope that you are gentler than your sister 2011.
For my part, I am going to follow my dreams and live a little. I will not let insecurity haunt me or anxiety pin me down. I am going to live and chase my future like a beautiful free-flying kite.
Happy 2012 everyone. Take it easy and don’t forget to live life the way you want to.