A warm welcome provides more than cold comfort

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Highway 20 was less than hospitable the day we drove the cube van to Québec City. We had just endured a difficult half-day of packing too many belongings into too small a space and were now headed toward our adopted city through a gauntlet of ice and snow. Visibility along the highway was about what you would expect at the end of February during a wintry year in which whiteouts and the words ‘exposed flesh' were common features of weather forecasts.

Still, we persevered, sure in our decision to relocate to one of the most unique and charming cities in all of North America. The instinct to turn back never really kicked in, knowing as we did that my beloved had a new and exciting job waiting for her and that I was now a free agent, able to work wherever I pleased.

A single thought haunted us: will we be welcomed?

Especially when moving from a larger city to a smaller one, it's easy to get the sense that you're imposing yourself on a community already long established and entrenched in its ways -- the quintessential and clichéd ‘You ain't from around here, are ya?' scenario. Québec City has been nothing like that for us. In fact, our experience has been quite the opposite.

Though we're both fluently bilingual, I really wanted to find and integrate into the local English-speaking community. The response, much to my delight, has been warm and welcoming.

Maybe it's because I've made a point of getting out there, introducing myself, sharing my ideas and experiences, offering to help where my skills might come in handy. Or maybe that's just the nature of this small yet tight and determined group of English-speaking Québecers: to recognize one of their own and to welcome him with open arms.

Whatever the reason, I feel as if I've quickly come out of the cold of Québec's harsh winter and into the fold of a warm, hospitable and welcoming community.

Welcome to Quebec City, Micheal. As a former board member of VEQ, it's nice to see people reaching out, or in your case into, the English community. Feel free to join VEQ if you have'nt already. There is also a group on facebook you may want to join,

 "films VOA movies in Quebec"

it's all free and it gets the english community noticed here in our beautiful city.

Job Patstone