But one thing helped to make it through the long days (that is, other than the pack of cigarette I smoked and the cup of burning hot coffee sitting by me on the table) : when customers called, I had to ask them for their address. And I soon discovered Canadians had some kind of humor when it came to naming places.
Monthly Archives: August, 2007
Oh Canada ! Since coming from France a few years ago, I experienced Canada in many different ways, some good, some bad…
Another bites the dust. Another Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan, the 67th. Americans casualty ? 427 soldiers, if no one dies by tomorrow. Operation Enduring Freedom ? Yeah, right.
The big heat seems to be over and winter will be here soon enough… So on Saturday, I took my camera and went downtown for long walk. Despite its “boring” reputation, Ottawa is actually a really nice city.
I first went on Parliament Hill. Fun place to hang out, there’s always something happening: deposed politicians trying to network, busy Members of Parliament, demonstrators, tourists trying to take a perfect picture…
Summer usually brings the worse students, along with those to busy to take classes the rest of the year and whose only chance is to come to school when the Parliament isn’t in session. I don’t mind those ones. They’re usually focused on their studies because they’re desperate to pass their French test, which will entitle them to a promotion or a pay rise. But the weirdos…
Standing in front of a busy LCBO meant attracting all kind of weirdos. I was known as the “flower girl” and people would stop by and talk to me about their life, their kids, their problems. Without buying flowers, of course. People would first speak to me in all kind of foreign languages : Russian, Lebanese, Italian, Spanish, Greek… I guess I did look like an immigrant !
I got off the bus and walked towards the barracks. I showed a piece of ID to the orderly who was standing by the huge metal door and he let me in. Behind the doors were about a hundred people, all my age, anxiously smoking cigarettes and making small talk.
I knew Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism—and that was about it. I was—and I still am—clueless about Pentecostalism, Anglicanism, Baptists, Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal/Charismatic, Episcopalian/Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Born Again etc. And what the hell is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”? A bunch of people who believe they will eventually end up in Heaven because they have the longest religious group name ever???
I’m losing my French. Too bad I’m a French teacher.
It all started when I moved to Ottawa. The city is in Ontario but the French-speaking province of Quebec is only minutes away, across the Ottawa River. As a result, roughly 50% of the population speaks English and 30% of the population speaks French.