Thursday, August 26, 2010

land of les quebecois.

2,388 miles. 3843 kilometers.
37:17 total time in the car.
one italian restaurant in laramie, wyoming.  stumbled upon while searching for some mexican food.  
a couple bags of beef jerky, pretzels, fig netwons and nutter butters.
4 books on tape, two thrown out before the 3rd chapters.
one dinner in granger, indiana with old friends.  ice cream shared on a summer evening.
one impromptu family reunion off of highway 44 outside of cleveland.
a zig zag track through ten states (one of them new on my list).
a 2 hour wait at the canadian border.
a rainy drive through ontario and quebec.
and here i am, nearly a week into my stay in montreal.  

i'm still getting my bearings here. 
sometimes it feels so much like home- english drifting from store fronts or metro conversations.
others, i wonder where i could possibly be.  these people around me, 
they're speaking a language i usually understand quite well.  
the only way i can find to describe the way it sounds to my ears here...
is to say it's like hearing a duck trying to speak french.   
how do you concentrate when a duck is speaking to you in french?

what i feel about the city so far, is such a mix. 
sometimes i stroll across french-named streets. 
boulevard st. laurent, chemin de côte des neiges.  
others are clearly anglophone.  
sherbrooke, ontario, westmount. 
but no one seems shocked. 
i feel like i'm in the french version of the film, spanglish.  
i order at cafes in french, which turns to english.  
i spoke to my banker in french, before she switched to an unaccented english somewhere in the middle.

listening to peoples conversations on the streets are just as amusing and mysterious.
i heard this on the walk to the metro tonight:
"ca va bien?  hi how are you, this is my friend valerie.  oh, tu étais là?  c'est super, wasn't it?"
it's fascinating at moments.  
to be fair,
i can't tell you the number of times 
i've been in the middle of an english conversation 
and wanted to use a french word or phrase to convey something.  
it just seemed more the better way to express myself.  
it's also happened in french- there are no french equivalents of 
nasty, creepy, or awkward 
that satisfy me, so sometimes i just throw those in for fun.  

imagine life in a culture where you really don't have to choose between languages, 
just throw in some of each.  
this could be fun. 
 if i can just concentrate long enough to get past the duck. 

move in to the new apartment is sunday, 
orientation is on tuesday, 
and i have my first class on thursday.  
stéphane is making fun of me because i've already been to the library, 
and can't wait for it all to start.  
not too long afterwards i'm sure i'm be eating my words.



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food for thought.

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