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My floral journey

'On est une famille de fonçeurs.'

My father's parting advice on his return home to Paris was essentially 'Just do it.'

Two children, one fat business loan, and three weeks pregnant with my third child, and yes, I was about to open my own flower shop.

Not that outlandish when you consider that I'd spent several years running a holiday-time-only, pop-up flower shop from our guest bedroom. Or that I did my work in one-third of our shared duplex garage!

Maybe fathers do know best? 


I mean I'd also returned to school and completed a one year certificate at the École des Métiers de L'Horticulture de Montréal, the first day after my daughter turned one. 


As far as complementary activities go, breastfeeding while honing flower-arranging skills are not exactly bosom buddies.

But an actual store? Weekly inventory, sales, and accounting logs? Lifting heavy boxes with another child on the way?

'On est une famille de fonçeurs.'

A career in flowers wasn't really THAT odd. It's funny the things we miss as an expat living far from home. Where many Parisian expats miss the unbeatable bread, the creamy cheeses, and the inexpensive wine, for me it's the relationship people had to their bouquets of flowers.

Sure, there was no shortage of stereotypical scenes of young men and women rushing home with their bouquet to surprise their special sweety. There's a certain Parisian joie-de-vivre to which not much compares.

Yet, what really sticks in my mind, are the weekly dramas related to flower bouquets. 


These scenes uniquely unfolded in the Jewish neighborhood where I lived. Similar neighborhoods exist in Montreal. But not the bouquets.

Certainly as child, but even as young adult, I'd delight watching grown men hurrying home on Friday nights, carrying gorgeous bouquets to honor the weekly arrival of their Friday-night Sabbath Queen.

And perhaps counting on flowers as a weekly marriage investment too.

Either way, flowers in service of higher ends.

It's that same emotional boost that I now try to share here in Montreal. The shop's neighborhood is more diverse, and it's fascinating to have people share their motivations for buying flowers. Yet whether in joy or in grief, or many things in between, it's ultimately about sharing emotions.

Using the power of petals, stems, and leaves to sanctify the mundane.

One and a half years later, with expanded product lines, and regular customers, I can't help but feel that my father was right.

'On est une famille de fonçeurs.'



Ayala 'Miya' Ohana

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