Photo credit: http://www.montrealciteetat.ca/
Coo-Mon is not only accessories, but also a story of discovery and acceptance of the other’s culture
I arrived in Montreal on an August 12th. My first observation: it's hot in here!
And you are surely wondering why this was my first thought ...
It's simply because when you tell someone you're coming to Canada, one of the first things you're told is: it's VERY cold there.
We are used to hearing that it takes 80% psychology and 20% action. On my end, regarding the cold, it was 99% psychology and 1% action. I was mentally so ready to face the winter. And even if Benin is not a country where it is very cold, I went to a second-hand clothes market - where you find clothes mainly from Europe - and bought a coat before coming. I was so ready that I thought the cold was going to pick me just when I got off the plane. But this was not the case.
I then told my sponsor (having come with a Canadian scholarship, I got the chance to have access to a sponsor i.e. a former fellow, to help me with my initial set-up), "it is hot here ". And he answered: "Yes, it is. During the winter, you will also see the sun, but it is at that moment that it will be the coldest.” I did not understand: how could it be cold when there is sun?
But as a proverb of an unknown author says: "There’s a little pig who asked his mother why she has such a long mouth and the mother told him to wait and see because he will understand while growing up.''
I figured it out a few months later that when there is sunshine in winter, it's very cold, because the sun causes the snow to melt and a cold vapor to emerge.
Now when I go to France and people complain about the cold, I tell them "you have not seen anything yet!” And when I go to Benin, during the harmattan, which is a dry and cold period, I wear a tank top. And yes, I can now play the one who fears the cold less than before.
Whether we love winter or not, we adjust to it and as one says: everything is temporary. Winter ends at some point and the long awaited (or hoped for) summer arrives; we all become amnesiacs of the harshness of the previous winter... until we face it again a few months later.
It's a bit like childbirth: we swear by all the gods that it's awfully painful (and sometimes go to the extent of saying that the experience will never be repeated); that does not prevent us from having a second child, or even more.
See you next week for one of my other discoveries in Montreal.
Ingrid, Founder of Coo-Mon Accessories and Cultures