Sunday, 6 October 2013


Before anything else, I need to get something important out of the way. These are my new pyjamas, which I got at Walmart last week... at a cracking $1 for the set! I even asked a member of staff to price check it, such was my astonishment. The top says "Canada Rocks!" in case you can't read it.

Now onto the title of this post: I've been in Quebec for a month, i.e. moisiversaire as opposed to an anniversaire. That feels like just about the right amount of time - I won't say anything cliché like "time is flying". This will be quite a chunky post, full of what I've been up to lately!
Generally, the weather is so good! There is a sudden drop in temperature in the evenings, though; even though I'm just wearing a T-shirt in the day, I have to remember to wrap up after the sun goes down. And I can't get over how lovely Rimouski's surrounding area is. The other day we took the "back road" home and it was so picturesque, with all the clapboard farmhouses and rolling golden fields. We even stopped and took a look at some domesticated reindeer!

Frustratingly, I still feel like I'm in the adjustment period at school, but I suppose I have to accept everything at its natural pace and not rush anything. I did have a day last week where things got too much and the tears flowed (fortunately it was only in front of a colleague), but I think that was going to happen at some point.

I'm really mostly alright, though, and I am trying every day to embrace the positive. For example, it's quite nice that I'm a little celebrity in school. Students say hi to me in the corridor and whisper amongst themselves 'c'est la stagiaire en anglais!'. Hopefully they're not, in fact, making fun of me. The other day, we even went outside for a lesson; the students were taking part in a cross country run, and the teacher and I went to cheer them on!
Something I'm finding a little peculiar is the fact that students and teachers alike are allowed to just take days off school to go hunting! The teacher will ask where someone is when taking attendance, and a classmate will say 'il est à la chasse' - met by a shrug.

Another nice thing that's been going on is the migration of the birds. Every evening, if my window is open, I can hear them. If I look up into the sky, they're flying in an arrow formation. I looked it up and it seems these are snow geese, making their way from the far north of Quebec to the east coast of the US for the winter.

It's been a really good weekend, the perfect antidote to my slightly rough week. Some of the ELAs, as well as our Finnish friend who's studying here for a semester, drove up to Pointe-au-Père. It holds arguably the main tourist attractions in the area: the Onondaga submarine (the only visitable submarine in all of Canada!), a lighthouse, and a museum about RMS Empress of Ireland, a ship that sank 10km off the coast of Rimouski in 1914. It was $22.75 to see all three of these, and it was well worth it, I think.

Here are some photos taken from the top of the lighthouse:

In the evening, another ELA and I went to a fundraising gig at Co-op Paradis, an independent arts venue in Rimouski. Afterwards, we hung around in the bar and shamelessly talked French to unsuspecting strangers. It was fun. More of that to come, I suspect!

On Saturday, my friend Grace, who lives about two hours away, picked me up in Rimouski as she was on her way to buy a snowboard. We spent the day driving around, listening to a cheesy dad-rock compilation CD, and it was really the best afternoon I've had in ages. We then had a potluck with my friends here, which was yummy. Evenings where you laugh so much that you're bent double are great.

And today we went to our first American football game (le football), Rimouski vs. Chicoutimi. We didn't really know the rules so it was hard to make sense of what was going on. It was certainly a novelty, but I had to leave after about an hour and a half anyway and wasn't too gutted, so I'm not sure it's something I would do again. But it was, yet again, one of those bizarre "whoa, I'm in North America" moments. Seeing their funny gear, and people sitting on bleachers, eating hotdogs... it kind of felt like we'd tapped into the psyche of an entire continent. Life sometimes really is like a film.

Don't mind my finger right in front of the lens

Next weekend is that festival of dubious morality, Thanksgiving, or Action de grâce. In Canada, it's on a different date to the US one, and in Quebec, they just don't seem to care much about it at all really. Nevertheless, I'll have a four-day weekend, and I've made some nice plans. This coming week will be all about getting into the swing of things, finally. I got this!

Vocab de la semaine
  • T'es pas game
    You're not game, you wouldn't dare
  • Pas mal
    Pretty (as an adverb), a lot. Doesn't mean "not bad"!