It’s Tuesday. And It’s October. And I am in Quebec. Quoi?
Yeah a lot to take in right there and then, huh? Believe me, I am still processing it all. So I came to Canada on August 7th to practise french. Now I have to admit it was probably slightly – well, unnecessary – to come to Canada to practise my french since I am from a country where we actually also speak french and are located next to France – so really I didn’t need to buy that more expensive flight ticket to fly all the way to the other side of the world. But I did it anyway. Why you ask? Besides the logical point that I thought to myself I could travel Europe once I studied there, I think it was also in a slight way me being a bit rebellious against my parents as my mother really wanted me to go to France and my dad to Geneva. I know it’s nothing major but still pretty cool.
I booked my flight just a few months before departing. I was pretty scared actually. Not when I booked it but as it got closer, the more it made me feel uncomfortable. It was a bit out of my comfort zone. Not the traveling part – no I’ve had plenty experience of that growing up. The thing that scared me most was doing it alone. The fact that I had no one by my side when something went wrong or someone to make a silenced room less awkward. No one. It was just me, myself and I. That is what scared me!
I had pictured this trip a certain way from the moment I had booked it. It was present in my mind but I didn’t quite realise what I got myself into there just yet. Then in the weeks following up to me leaving I was still pretty calm about it BUT than on the weekend before it just hit me! I was freaking out about every little thing! And oh my the morning of my flight – holy schnitzel – I don’t remember the last time I was so scared! It was a different kind of fear than anything I have ever felt before!
I passed security and immigration with no problem. From Zurich to Montreal I had an 8 hour flight, where I had to go through immigration before boarding my connecting flight to Quebec City. Although Montreals Airport is pretty well labelled it is still a massive scary airport if you’ve never been there before and they make you get your luggage and transfer it to another belt for its security check and and and. Long story short I was quite overwhelmed, slightly stressed that I would miss my connecting flight and would have defiantly not minded having someone by my side to calm me down.
I did almost in the end almost muss my flight but because somehow I missed the boarding call and not due to immigration – I wasn’t the only one btw. Anyway we made it past the flight, immigration and onto the second flight.
Quebec. My final destination. Quebecs Airport is pretty small for the fact that it’s the capital of the province. Like there’s a vending machine, a tourist information centre and a taxi stand – that’s it. It wasn’t the greatest start to my trip. Anyway, I got myself a way too expensive Uber and I even had my first “proper” french conversation.
I think some of you may be able to relate to this but if you learn a language at school, you learn its vocabulary and its grammar but you in most cases don’t learn to speak the language. A lot of the times you then think because you can read it and write it that you understand it and speak it too – Ehhh well not the case. I thought I was pretty decent in french – I mean one of my finals was in the french language. And I didn’t fail so you know I could not be thaaaaat bad, right? But no really, I sucked baaaad. I couldn’t even answer the most simple questions the guy asked me. To be fair though, Quebec french is a quite different from the french french I had learned.
My first destination on this 3 month journey was the only motel on Île d’Orléans right in front of Quebec City about 40 minutes from the airport away. Here I would end up staying for over a month and met some of the best people on this exchange! In the motel we mainly helped cleaning the 18 rooms they had. Peak season was coming to a slow end so almost all the rooms had to be changed each day. The 6 of us worked daily for several hours. Although it was hard work, it was fun.
Yeah changing dirty sheets and removing pubic hair from toilet bowls defiantly doesn’t sound like fun – which that part wasn’t really but We would always team up in smaller groups of two, blast music and have a little party while cleaning in each room. That made the work bearably fun 🙂
We didn’t get paid but food and accommodation was free so I can’t complain! After work we had the whole afternoon free to do whatever we wanted. Although mostly we didn’t do much besides taking the bikes out or walk the neighbors dog as we were always super exhausted after work. Besides that it was also hard getting around without a car from the island and well none of us had a car. Our hosts though kindly drove us to places here and there and also the neighbor was super friendly and offered us to show the area a few times. In the end we did still get to see a lot! There’s a beautiful waterfall and basilica close by, as well as some smaller artist towns that are defiantly worth visiting. And of course there’s Quebec City herself! Absolutely stunning!
My team was also absolutely incredible! Together we had lots of fun with late movie nights, forest exploration walks, bike rides to the best Chocolaterie ever, runs at the waterfall Montmomerency, cooking lunches and dinner together, salsa/karaoke night, the list goes on and on. I had a really good time in the motel and I wish I could have stayed longer! But all good things come to an end so even better things can come along.
The initial reason why I decided to leave was because I didn’t speak much french on the island. Our team consisted of people from everywhere, most of them not french speakers and therefore together we spoke English. All okay besides the fact that that is not what I was here for. I really did wanted to practice my french.
And so the time came for me to depart. On the 10th of September I left Quebec City for good. But that is for next week… 😉
See you soon!