I finally came to my sense before embarrassing myself by asking the stupid question. Of course I wouldn’t find wine in a supermarket. I was in Ontario !
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.
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.
— Dare to go explore the world ? — Sure ! It started with a…
Oh crap. It’s 8:50 and my brain is still sleeping. I ought to wake up.
I extricate myself from the car, a task harder than usual considering I’m holding a can of Diet Coke and my handbag, slung across my shoulder, is bursting with colored folders, papers, photocopies and pens.
I step on the sidewalk and slam the car’s passenger door. I stand there and root around my handbag and pull out a lighter. Woohoo, first victory of the day, not a small one considering the mess in my bag.
Canadian politics. Two main parties : the Liberals and the Conservative. So, the Liberals must be right-wing – cause in France, being called a Liberal is a bad word, much like being called a Socialist in Texas. Oh, they’re fairly left-wing ? Alright. But what about the Conservative ? What a stupid nickname !
See, I grew up in France in what North Americans call an heritage building. I mean, you would probably take a picture of it. Six storey, white façade, balconies, big wooden door leading to an inside courtyard, wooden stairs.
I left many places, many people, many times. I packed my bag following the same…
I’m a white female, 5’7, 20-30 years old. Sounds fairly common, doesn’t it ? I mean, really, I don’t have anything special. So why don’t I fit in these bloody boxes ?
–I swear to god, you’re not speaking French. We’re all American here, we don’t understand…
Woo hoo ! What’s best to start the week after a long weekend ? A blog award ! Friendly Danielle from SEO is for girls presented me with this schmooze award – apparently I’m good at interacting with other bloggers.
I like Michael Moore. Sure, his movies are biased but since I’m left-wing, it doesn’t really hurt my feelings. On top of that, being an optimistic person, I do believe his investigations can make waves. But this time, I left the movie theater with mixed feelings. Since I’m familiar with both the Canadian and the French health care system, I knew Moore wasn’t telling us all the truth. And thus I started wondering about the US health system .
I had landed in Toronto quite a few time since it’s Ontario’s big hub. The city was my first stop in Canada when we came from Brazil in 2002 and I went numerous time since then. However, I never really had the chance to explore it since I mostly went there during winter time. Oh, and I was broke, too. So I was looking forward to exploring the big city.
Welcome to Winnipeg, Manitoba ! This week, I’ve been sent halfway across the country for…
See, back in France, it was quite simple. I had a small black & white TV with a broken antenna I had to trap between a pile of books and the edge of the couch in order to get a clear reception. I only watched TV when : 1) I was copying Chinese lessons 2) I was drawing 3) I was plucking my eyebrows.Well, yeah. What was I supposed to do ? Watch it ??
How many interviews have I been to ? I’d say about thirty in Canada so far, ¾ of them in my first year in Ottawa. I was desperate for a job but the odds seemed to be against me. At 20 years old, my resume was pretty short. I had no previous work experience in Canada. I had no references but abroad. My English wasn’t that great and I wasn’t a Permanent Resident yet.
This summer 2001 is hot and humid. The typhoon season is in full swing and some days, I can’t even leave the 32nd floor of the building where I live. The whole island is regularly swept by strong winds and pouring rain. I live in Hum Hong, about twenty minutes from my office in Tsim Shat Shui. When the rain isn’t too strong, I still make my way to the office, knowing that my co-worker will otherwise make fun of me.