Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I feel that titles are one of the most important aspects of my blog; they are also the most difficult.

Monday the 28th

Monday morning was a doozie. I woke up late, didn't shower, had Albert Einstein hair, and only had about 10 minutes to scarf down my breakfast. Normally when I am running late I seriously debate skipping breakfast, something I am not opposed to at all. However, whenever I think these things I then realize that the reason I slept in is out of exhaustion and therefore I need coffee, this is likely a good thing because it forces me to the caf to eat breakfast.

Unfortunately starting this week a new camp started. It is some sort of young children camp where they speak French. This wouldn't be bad news if they didn't monopolize the cafeteria in the morning creating long lines. These long lines give me even less time to eat in the morning.

Once I got to class my coffee may have spilled, and then a camera crew may have walked in requesting to take pictures to use for advertising for the program. Ha. Must be a Monday. Oh and it was supposed to rain. A lot.

After lunch our afternoon activity was optional - which means that no one when to it, well one girl did, bless her optimistic soul. The rest of us took advantage of the little free time alloted to us and as far as I can tell most people slept for most of it. I only slept for about an hour after a long walk in the pouring rain to and from Shoppers Drug Mart.

Dinner came and went and we were left with an evening activity of speed dating and Family Feud. It is funny because now it is the last week people are starting take advantage of their good behaviour at the start of the program. Those with few or no yellow sheets - or warnings against bad behaviour - are skipping activities, leaving part way through, etc. because no one wants to be there and what are they going to do, kick you out with a day left? And you have to get quite a few before they actually kick you out.

Well we went because why not. Family Feud was actually pretty good and speed dating consisted of us chatting in English so it was alright as well.

Afterwards we returned to res. I decided it would be a good idea to study for my upcoming day of tests (I have to write a final for the program as well as for the class I am taking, in addition to two separate oral exams all on Wednesday because I am leaving early). I guess I should say I decided it was a good idea to study but then didn't study out of sheer laziness and a lack of motivation. This malaise saw me moving around to visit with other people until it was finally time to call it quits and go to bed.

Tuesday the 29th

Today was a far more successful morning - I was up in time to shower, always a plus, and I made it to breakfast in time. I chuckled to myself this morning at breakfast. As it is getting to the end of the program and everyone is equally as exhausted - when I looked around at the faces of everyone in the program as they ate the same breakfast they had been eating for 30 days it was clear that this had become a chore, a chore most were tired of. Faces were long and exhausted. It was more funny than depressing though.

Class was like every other day in class. It has been fun being in the same class with the same people the whole time. Little jokes start to emerge and today I think the entire class went a little crazy. While trying to prepare us for our exam our prof was pretty sure we were all on crazy pills as we all laughed away at every little thing.

After class I was rushed to make it back to res then to lunch in time to catch the bus to Magic Mountain - the waterpark nearby. This was an optional extra activity, well if you didn't go to it you were required to go to the other activity, but this one cost $12 of your own money. We had picked today because it was supposed to be nicer weather. Sadly it was overcast and fairly chilly and tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous. I was very excited to go! I love the prospect of new scary things to try out and waterslides are very fun.

When we got to the waterpark I won't lie when I say I was a little disappointed that the park was not bigger but that being said they did have a few great slides. First thing I did after dropping my bag off with the monitor was head to the top of the biggest most bad ass ride there was, the Kamikaze! The website says it is "more than a hundred feet long and nearly a vertical drop. You'll reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour." As far as I can tell these things are all true. Sadly it wasn't much fun. Something felt like it was tearing up my shoulders and left them sore and it was over before it started, I much preferred jumping off the 10m tower at work when you actually get to enjoy it and feel the rush, this you couldn't really see what was going on. Either way I did it.

The rest of the rides were pretty swell too! I spent a few hours on and off the slides and in and out of the wavepool that was surprisingly shallow and only medium wavy. I like the waves to be almost too much for me. But that is a lot of wave.

After I spent some time in the hot tub before getting out, changing, and having a bite to eat. Lovely. It would have been nicer to have some sun and some heat but I won't complain because I had fun.

We headed back in time for dinner and I came home to study. Mid way through my studying I got a knock on my door and was elated to be invited for a walk to get some ice cream with some of the lovely ladies who live on my floor.

After getting home I actually got down to studying, or at least I'm trying. Studying is hard when you know that the grades don't matter for anything and you will likely never see them again. The main reason I feel compelled to study is for my prof, she is so great and she tries so hard that me giving up would be an insult to her. I've studied a bit but I don't think I've got much more drive because the thought of packing up and going home is toying with my mind. Also tomorrow night is Wednesday night - or cheap night downtown for drinks, and the night when most people from the program go out. I've decided to turn this into my going away party so until I am done my tests and done packing that will be distracting me. I am excited to get a chance to see everyone socially before I head out the door and back to Alberta.

Today I learned:
  • The fastest waterslide does not make it the most fun waterslide - life lessons in disguise?
  • Attitude is everything
  • I have a lot to pack up tomorrow
I am grateful for:
  • Having no "irrational" fears - this sounds pretentious of me but we all fear things I know, I'm just glad I don't get scared at the top of a waterslide, or scared of bugs, or birds, or whatever else it is. Although maybe being scared of waterslides etc would make them more fun?
  • My relationship with my family - don't know how good it is until you see what else is out there - love you all!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunshine and a bottle of wine

Funny, isn't it, how quickly time slips away when you are having fun and drags on when you are miserable? And when you are miserable you want time to pick up and when it does you are having fun and you'd rather it slow down? I guess enjoy what you can when you can. 3 days till home still sounds great to me!

Saturday the 26th

Friday night was late but I was determined to make it to the Farmer's Market in the morning before we had to go to our weekend activity. A group of us made our way down around 9am. I think the best part of any farmer's market is the food. I had crepe's again and I don't know if it is possible but I think it was even better this time around! An added bonus of going to is getting to avoid food at the caf.

I found some amazing button rings. Most of them were all old buttons this lady had threaded and turned into rings. I bought two, my favorite is a sailor inspired black and white button with little gold anchors on it - I like to imagine the blouse it came from, something flowy and satin and clearly from the 80s and hopefully with shoulder pads.

Before I left I bought a donair with grilled chicken so I would have something to eat a little later. On our walk home we stopped at a cute little cafe for coffees and continued on our way. On the walk home I decided I should eat some of my very delicious smelling donair and I was not disappointed, it was great! And it was so big that I couldn't even finish it all so I saved some for later.

By the time we got back to the school it was almost time for us to catch the bus to Pays de la Sagouine which is a mach historical Acadian village. Think Heritage Park but for Acadian's.

It had been hot and sunny all morning but when we arrived at Pays de la Sagouine the clouds had rolled in and the wind had picked up - it wasn't cold but it was kind of chilly. We walked across a long and windy boardwalk bridge to get to the village and sat down to listen to some live music. Afterwards we were released to tour at our leisure. The village was rather small and there were few guides around to actually tell you about much but there were a few live shows and by the sounds of it, it will pick up and get better in a few weeks when the summer tourists start arriving.

We spent about 3 hours there before we boarded the bus for the ride back. As we were stepping onto the bus it began to rain. Perfect timing.

The ride home was fine, we saw some pretty good rain.

When we got back it was around 5 (or dinner time according to the cafeteria hours) but I wasn't hungry. Instead I walked to the closest convenience store to scan my lottery ticket, and I didn't win anything, again. boo.

I walked back to res thinking I wasn't tired at all but by the time I got to my room and sat down I was exhausted. I spent the next 2 hours fast asleep. It was fabulous.

At 8pm I forced myself out of bed and down the hall to see what our plans for the night were. We made some loose plans to go to the New Brunswick Casino around 10pm because we'd heard about a great cover band playing.

I left to get ready and when 10pm arrived our plans naturally fell through. Some people had gone out to get liquor to pre-drink, others were off on their own adventures, or had bailed on going out at all. I should mention that I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Around 10:30 a few girls showed up at my door with their bottles and then a few more stopped by. We changed around some plans, sat around drinking for a while until we finally headed to Main, main street that is.
When we arrived on main we had no clear idea about where we were going but we decided to go to The Old Triangle - a pub on Main where we knew some people were. We collected them and headed to V. It is a nice lounge with great music! I was elated to be taken somewhere that I liked. After seeing the other club in Moncton - O2 or Oxygen what I will wager was a younger and sleazier crowd - V was refreshing and lots of fun. The dance floor was far too small and it became impossible to dance without being stepped on or shoved.

As the night went on we ran into more explore friends. We were out until the bar closed at which time we walked home - it was still quite nice out, a little chilly but hey it was 2:30am at least and I'm not in Mexico anymore so I can't very well expect it to be in the 20s that time of the night... morning?

Upon arriving home I wasn't ready to go to bed so I stayed up for a while with some of the other people who had been out for the night. It was late - around 4 - when I finally made myself go to bed. I would have preferred to hang out and watch a movie but there were no movies to watch and morning was going to come quickly.

Sunday the 27th

Naturally today started late. I woke up at 12:20 and found a text from my friend asking if I wanted to go to the beach, a plan that many explorers had had. Naturally I said yes, her response was that they were leaving in 15 minutes but truthfully they wanted to leave in 10. I did my best and by 12:36 I was sitting in the car on the way to a beach. A friend of a girl who is in the program and lives in the area was driving us to the beach for the afternoon.

I had hoped that we would go to the beach where all the other explorers were headed but we went to a beach a little further away. It was lovely. The sand was awesome, the water was cool, and the sun was shining for most of the time. We stayed for about one and a half hours before we packed up to head home. I guess the girls I was with had to get back to work on a project for class. I was a little bummed to leave so soon but I am glad I got to go.

On the way we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner - we sat on a patio - it was lovely.

I think if I had had time to ask questions and not 10 minutes to go from sleeping to a car I would have waited and paid the money to split a cab and go to the beach with the rest of the explorers. But hindsight is 20/20 and I did have a fun afternoon it was just the last free day and there are a lot of people I want to hang out with before I go home.

After we got back from the beach we headed up to dinner at the caf, it was only half bad. From dinner I worked on some homework with a girl from my class that we have to present tomorrow. Our project is about Alberta and its general awesomeness. Well mostly it is information about Alberta but I think it implies awesomeness.

Because I hadn't showered and didn't get a chance to go for a swim and it was hot I was due for a shower. I had a quick shower before heading to our last weekly Sunday evening meeting. It didn't last too long which was nice. It looks like there will be some activities for us during the last week before our exams and hopefully if the weather holds out we get to go to a great waterpark close by called Magic Mountain.

I got back to my room around 9pm and spent the rest of the evening, or about 2 hours, catching you up on what I've been doing. :)

Today I learned:
  • The sand is nice here, I would not have guessed that
  • The beaches her stink, no, smell like seafood
  • Everyone loves a yellow shoe
  • A good deal of my stuff was moved up to my new home this weekend for me, thanks family! Muchos muchos gracias!
I am grateful for:
  • Sunshiney days
  • Long walks
  • Music - sometimes the right song is all you need
  • The last song at the club being Hotel California - Ahh-mazeing
Pays de la Sagouine

The Beach

The Beach

Slowly but surely

My apologies for my tardiness but when your choices are blogging or beer the answer is pretty easy.

Thursday the 24th

I had decided the late in Wednesday night that sleep should take precedence over showering on the 24th. I had a test so I got up in time to get dressed, look over a few things, and grab a quick breakfast.

I think the test went well, she went over what we would have to do in detail before we actually wrote any test, this made for a rather simple go with the answers. Very much appreciated.

So I mentioned a week or so ago that one of the minors had turned 19 while here. The night that she was going out to celebrate I was bugging her that because she was going to pass out in class from exhaustion. In a wonderful turn of events she has made it her goal to get me to fall asleep in class before she does. I had seen her at the pub on Wednesday night and she was certain that Thursday would be the day. I insisted that I had stuck it out in class with less sleep and wouldn't fall asleep. In fact I have never fallen asleep in class, I have mad mental powers. Thursday was no different. I didn't even take a nap in the afternoon.

Our afternoon activity was mask painting. These were masquerade masks for the gala. It was fun but my mask didn't turn out nearly how I had imagined it in my mind. Either way it was an entertaining activity that included glitter so everything was good.

Later that evening our activity was Zumba. Zumba is the new yoga, well in trendiness that is, not in the activity. It is a combo of crazy dance and athletic moves. Some salsa steps with some squats, all put to music. It is kind of the new exercise and I can see why. It is lots of fun, to great music, it is fairly easy (steps wise), and was a great workout without the feeling of wanting to die. Always a plus.

I came home and showered as I was covered in sweat and went to bed.

Friday the 25th

The day started with class. Class was class like, all the normal things happened. We were told that our afternoon activity had been cancelled and only those who would be performing at the evening's gala needed to attend for rehearsals. This was fabulous news because the best days in Moncton are the days when we have less activity and more free time.

Because the cafeteria's food has become so repetitive and so bland I couldn't stand to eat lunch for any more meals than I have to. This led me to the mall for Subway and some shopping. It was a lovely walk, well the scenery isn't that nice as it is along a more major road, but it was a beautiful day out. I am so glad I went to the mall for lunch because it was so much better than the caf food.

After my meal I made my way around the mall with a number of items on my list. Because we were having the gala that night and I have a strange obsession with looking like a star I wanted to purchase some new shoes. Also I love any excuse to buy a new pair of shoes. I spent some time and made some very successful purchases like the most outstanding pair of shoes that I now own. Sadly after wearing them for an evening I discovered that they may be a little (a lot) tight, but I figure if Chinese women were able to walk on their bound feet I can walk in shoes one size too small. Seems logical right?

Although I didn't really want to walk back a free half hour walk in the sun seems more appropriate than a cab ride. After getting home I had a little rest because I was exhausted.

Because I was on the decorating committee I had to be at the gala an hour early to set up. This meant that I was getting ready about an hour before everyone. I got all dressed up, went to dinner, and headed over to the caf for dinner.

Decorating was easy, and it even looked really nice. It was fun to see everyone a little fancier than usual. The evening consisted of awards for all (such as: most likely to fall asleep in class, best smile etc.) and a talent show. There were some really great talents, musicians, skits, martial arts, singing. When the show part of the evening came to an end the supervisor came out and sang the Cruella de Vil song which was wonderfully entertaining. The monitors also all came out and sang various Disney songs.

When that was over the dance floor was cleared and the music started. Don't get me wrong I love (LOVE) to dance, but this dance just didn't woo me. It was exceptionally hot, the music was mediocre, and most people had left. I spent most of the time being too cool for school in the hallway on a bench talking.

There had been a lot of talk of going out afterwards. We left and returned home in order to get organized for making the trek downtown. By the time we got home and had a drink it was almost 1am, we all went to bed shortly afterwards. It was a pretty successful high school *ahem* French camp dance.

Today I learned:
  • In less than a week I made a name for myself at the Pumphouse in Moncton, yup, it only takes one week for the waitresses to know you by name. nbd.
I am grateful for:
  • Sky high heels that make no logical sense but look fabulous
My Award for the night:

Some of the fab shoes from the evening

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today I told a 19yr old that she was young

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tuesday June 22

I wish I could tell you more about this day. But because I can remember little about the day I assume it wasn't very interesting because it was not memorable. I will say that it was your average day, eat, class, eat, rest, activity, etc.

I believe our afternoon activity was an outdoor "olympic" games most were ridiculous. It was alright though.

So as this is a weird "French Summer Camp" experience where we are treated like we are in high school, or younger yet, we are having a gala. It is an end of program thing, except that it is happening this Friday and not at the end - due to finals etc. So in good high school form we were required to divide into committees to plan and make happen the gala evening. I signed up for decorations, I figured I could use a little more arts and crafts in my life and I figured it would require little discussion on my behalf.

Tuesday night was our first planning time / creating decorations. I think it went alright. We were doing a masquerade - as required - and they had decorations available from last years group - who did the Phantom of the Opera. As such we wanted to use as many decorations of theirs as we could. We chose A Midsummer Nights Dream, nothing like a prolific English writer theming a French party - loved it.

We spent the next hour or so brainstorming and cutting things out of construction paper.

After the activity I spent most of my night watching the final episodes of the last season of Criminal Minds - they were awesome! And the season finale was crazy. Fabulous. Oh, I also spent some time doing homework.

Wednesday June 23

Some days start slow and end with a bang. The morning, or even most of our regular day was fairly average. We had class, then lunch, our break, our afternoon activity was finishing up our respective committees duties. For me this meant two hours of cutting out silver stars, making large flower decorations, and painting signs while watching 'Hairspray' in French. It was pretty good but the whole time I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of 4pm.

At 4 a group of about 25 of us were meeting at residence, calling cabs, and going to TreeGo!

TreeGo is a zip-lining / high climbing adventure in the tree tops. It involves harnesses, zip-lines, swinging logs, tarzan swings, wobbly bridges, and so much more. It took a bit of organizing but we had a great group of people together to climb trees.

Most went according to plan except for one car that got lost along the way. We arrived, paid, got harnessed up, went through the intro/info, made our way though the training course and we were off. I had planned to take my camera but I had no safe place to stow it so it stayed back out of fear.

It was sooo much fun. There are four courses that get progressively more difficult. The third course is by far the best. It is the longest and I would even say the highest. At some points during the zip-lines on the third course you could not see the landing platform from the start of the line. I would wager that throughout the course the highest you are is 15m? But as mentioned in various different posts here my estimation skills with hights and distances is weak.

It was great. I don't find things that that scary, not even a little. It is more fun than scary. It doesn't even really get me nervous. I'd run through that course if I could. It was just so fun that I wish I could go again. Only problem was the numerous mosquitoes that were served a buffet of fresh blood.

*However it does take a lot of work - and I can definitely feel my sore muscles today, especially my back and abs.

When we finished the course it was around 8pm and none of us had eaten. Some of the people who were at the begining of our group had already headed out but I was the last in the group so I had no such luxury. We came back to res, discussed plans to go out to eat within the hour.

A quick shower and a change of clothes made me feel a little less like a scrubby wood creature. It wasn't long before we were downtown and once again sitting at The Pumphouse for dinner and beers. Most of us ordered 32oz beers that were literally the size of my head. We also had a birthday boy with us for most of the day. It was a very fun night, one I hope to repeat soon.

As it happened I had a test the next morning but because my strict rule to not care (in addition to the fact that it was supposed to be easy) I decided to skip my studying for the night. Although this was great it felt so strange to be an unprepared student.

I didn't get home until around 1am, at which time I felt it was appropriate to look over some things for my test the next day. This didn't last long as I knew I would surely regret it in the morning. I was in bed around 2am. Yikes. Oddly enough it reminded me a great deal of Mexico, late nights, early mornings, neglecting school working and feeling good about it. ha.

Today I learned:
  • Heights are not an issue
  • I am a disruptive student, always have been, likely always will be
  • I might be a little sad to leave this place, but I think it is mostly the people I will be sad to be leaving
I am grateful for:
  • Finding people who like to hang out in pubs and not in clubs - yay!
  • Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - I've been obsessively listening to his albums as of late
Our TreeGo Group

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Piglet: Pooh, how do you spell love? Pooh: You don't spell it, you feel it.

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." - Winnie the Pooh

Sunday June 20

Sunday's are great. Well technically Sundays are great. It is really our only free day here. We had made some plans, go to TreeGo in the morning and possibly head to the beach at Shediac (which requires renting a car). There was also talk of some shopping or touring of the area. However weather reports started to look grim and sleeping in after our night out seemed like a great option. I didn't get out of bed until 11am, this is such a luxury here when my alarm usually rings between 6 an 6:30am. A late, and disappointing, brunch was the next order of the day.

I had a test on Monday and many other people were working on tests or assignments for the upcoming week. All plans essentially got moved when it started to cloud over. The rest of the day was some variation of raining, pouring, thunderstorming, mild sun, etc. For a while there was a thunderstorm watch on for the area. We had a decent storm come though for about half an hour.

Per the usual we had a Sunday night meeting that proved to be more useful than usual. Not too much happened for the rest of the evening, just a lot of studying, and avoiding studying. All in all it was fairly successful. I went to bed early, which I haven't done in a long time.

Monday June 21

Monday morning was an early one. I had given up on studying earlier the evening before so I got up to review before breakfast. The test went alright, I think. Class seems to be picking up pace and it seems like we are covering more at a faster rate now. Clearly this is not optimal. However because I feel like the program is almost over and winding down I've lost interest in trying. Also because I don't really have a solid grasp on what we finished in the last course I find this next course overwhelming. Luckily for me this disinterest in trying also makes it very easy to not stress about it.

Our activity involved us painting a vertical version of the Acadian flag with "Explore 2010" written across it. It was a great project because it was easy, it looks great, and was generally fun. Level 1 and 2 went first so we were done at 2:30 and had plenty of time between then and dinner. This was great. It would have been advisable to do some studying but outside of the little homework I had I tried to catch up on the end of the season of Criminal minds and I painted my nails. What can I say?

After dinner our evening activity was a walk downtown to attend a free music festival near the river. I love stuff like that. The walk was nice, the music was great (a mix of French and English). At one point I left to go grab a beer but I made my way back to the music. Then the people I was hanging out with decided they would go home but I wasn't ready to sit in my room for the night (ha) so I found other Explorer friends to hang out with. It wasn't long before the mosquitos were too much for us to handle so we headed home. Before making it out of downtown a few people decided they were hungry and we should stop for a beer. We made our way back to The Pump House, had a beer or two, and 2 and a half hours later we were actually heading home.

On the walk we stumbled upon another pub with live music. Everyone except myself and one other guy decided it was time to head back, we did in fact have to be up and functioning by 7:30 the next morning.

I made it home just before midnight and went to bed.

It was a great evening though. Very chill and relaxing. Hopefully there are a few more of those kinds of night in my future before I leave the East coast.

I can't believe how excited I am to see the prairies. Which is odd because I don't usually miss home when I am away. I suppose that this is different than any other thing I've done because I've been gone for almost two months straight. Either way I get to Calgary on the morning of Canada and I am very excited to see my family for campout - something I've looked forward to every year since I was but a baby. I do wish that more of my family could come because it is most fun when we are all there.

Today I learned:
  • Maybe I do want to take an art class in school. It was lots of fun.
I am grateful for:
  • The Rocky Mountains & Alberta beef
  • My own kitchen - can't wait to eat non-caf food

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Every day should be like this day

Saturday June 19th, 2010

You know when you have a perfect day. Well it isn't really a "perfect" day but you let things slide, you relax and let things happen and then it ends up wonderfully. How come that can't happen all the time? The answer is likely because these days seem to happens on weekends when you get to leisurely do what you want to do and not during the week when there are schedules and deadlines.

This morning started bright and shiny. I had set my alarm for 7:30am (which is 1hr later than I usually get up in the morning). Sadly my internal clock decided to alarm at 6:30, 6:35, 6:45... you get the point. My room was awfully bright when I woke up. I ended actually getting up around 7:30 and heading out with a wonderful little lady around 9am to go to the Moncton Farmer's Market. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, and it was plenty warm by that time in the morning. The market was awesome. There was lots to see and take in. Especially the food!

The caf food has been on a steady decline and may have crashed and burned. I think they've stopped trying to make food and are just serving things that don't require preparation. Awful. This morning for breakfast I had a crape made before my eyes with nutella inside. It was then covered in a wide variety of fruits and berries and almond slices. It was so very very delicious! We browsed the vendors and even made a few purchases.

By 11 o'clock we had to head back to campus. Both of us had signed up for the earlier activity. We had been given two options, a bus leaving at 12:00 or 2:00. We went to Shediac, a local town on the coast to go on a lobster boat tour.

The bus ride was rather short - only about 20 minutes. Upon arriving we walked along the short port and looked at the few stores and restaurants open. We boarded our bus shortly after and headed out to sea. We didn't leave the inlet but we were got to pull in a lobster trap with three lobsters inside. The captain then demonstrated how you tell a girl from a boy, and showed us how to crack a lobster, where to eat, and what the best meat is. It was very instructional and he did a good job of mixing English into his French so it made perfect sense.

Shortly after his instructions each table of six people were given two lobsters to disassemble and eat. His explanation did help but I found that if I looked at the carnage while eating it put me off my appetite. I was lucky to have people at my table who were fully excited to break, tear, and dig for all available meat. I didn't try the liver because I figured I was doing pretty good eating the meat and enjoying it. I wish I had paid better attention because there was certain meat I liked a great deal more than other meat. Either way it was a good experience.

After we ate we were allowed to go to the upper deck of the boat. It was an absolutely beautiful day - just gorgeous. I think it sat around 30ish at this point and there were no clouds. It was a wonderful party. The monitors had been nice enough to keep their space so that we didn't really have to worry about getting caught talking in English.

We toured around until 3pm before we docked the boat and browsed a little longer while waiting for the bus. I got an ice cream cone and I think I've discovered that I don't like ice cream as much as I had thought I had. Either way it was ok but my cone broke and I got ice cream in my hair - go figure.

When the bus arrived with the second group we boarded for the ride home. It was a short jont and I spent some time with my itunes. I am glad I have my old ipod with more music on it. It has an amazing variety. We got back to the school around 4pm.

At this point I came back to my room after saying goodbye to some girls who were going to Halifax - a trip I was supposed to take but things got confusing about the car and I have a test on Monday so I bailed. Shortly after (around 4:30) I headed to the mall. Although my back was not feeling the walk (about 20-30mins) I wanted to go and I didn't want to figure out the buses. It was still wonderfully hot out so the walk was rather lovely. By the time I got to the mall I thought that my back was going to die. This didn't last long when I got shopping and an orange julius in my hand.

I didn't buy too much but it was nice to be doing something normal all by myself. Except for the outrageous sales tax I almost forgot where I was. I had a great time by myself not in my room. It is nice to have your own space but sometimes it becomes a weird place of isolation.

I knew I was going to miss dinner (which was actually a blessing) so I sat down for Subway. It was likely the best dinner I have had all week. Afterwards I considered calling a cab but decided to start the walk and see how I felt. I'm sure that the Advil helped because I thought I wouldn't make it.

On my way I checked my lotto ticket - I won nothing, again.

I made it home, visited with a few of the girls in the common room downstairs before coming up to have a visit with my next door neighbour and former roommate (different girl from last night). We had a great chat. It was nice to have time to talk to someone so like minded. We decided that we wanted to do something that did not involve the awful dance club here in Moncton. We decided that we would go to The Pump House - the pub connected to the brewery we visited earlier. They have all their beers on tap (naturally) and we were good for some appetizers.

Word spread and our group of two expanded to six, on the walk we ran into a few guys from our program that joined us. It was a really great atmosphere with great food and even better beer. We were there for quite a while when a few more people from the program showed up. It was exactly the kind of night I was looking for! I love pub nights where you can actually talk to the people at your table, drink some beers, and wear normal non-club clothes. I love it.

It was a great night. At 12:30 a few of us decided it was time to go home. We I could have stayed at the bar longer but most people were going to the very not-exciting dance club down the street. I also wanted to get some rest so I can study in the morning.

All in all I had a great day with many great people. Why can't it always be like this... oh yeah, we aren't given any free time normally.

*Today when we were pulling the lobsters traps out of the water the vegetarians and vegans on the boat seemed a little more than unimpressed. The vegan even cried. I had not expected that, but I suppose when you are that passionate about something it can be hard to watch.

Today I learned:
  • Lobster, maybe not that bad, although it is still hard to eat sometimes
  • I'm not the only one feeling the way I do about some people on this trip
  • Pubs really are my scene
  • Pump House Red = delicious
I am grateful for:
  • Sunshine
  • Long fingers to fit giant rings, love them
  • Advil
  • Hot sunny days

The guide was actually impressed with our 'girl table's ability to crack that bad boy open!

View from the top of the boat. This was the pier we started at.
There were tons of sailboats out today, and lots of people walking around the pier,
riding their big motorcycles, and jumping off the end of the pier.

Friday, June 18, 2010

☼ + T = ♥

I miss lifeguarding outside.
I miss my pool.
I miss it how it was 5 years ago.
Best job, by far.

Sorry for any confusion - I am leaving two days early because I wanted to go to my family campout and I figured why not - the last two days are just testing and I get to do it on the 30th now and get the best of both world, I am not leaving until then.

Thursday the 17th to Friday the 18th

Thursday was the first day of our second course here in Moncton. It proved to be very similar to the first, same class, same seat, same enthusiastic professor. All in all uneventful but still good.

I was surprised that I wasn't too tired because generally I am always tired here. That is until the afternoon activity. We were making posters about issues. My group did ours on slums. It was pretty sweet, and it stood out because everyone else's seemed colourful and happy, ours was black and brown. I thought I had done so well by avoiding a nap between lunch and 2pm activity but after poster making I was pooped - I returned to res and napped for at least an hour before dinner.

Our evening activity was showing a number of the pictures from our previous scavenger hunt and the announcement of the winners. My group had tons of our pictures in so I thought we stood a pretty good chance but in the end the box of giant freezies went to another group. It was ok because it was awfully funny. We were also told about a 'gala' that we will be having next friday to celebrate the end...? I don't really know why but we get dressed up and eat somewhere. I signed up for decorating because it seemed the least French/labour intensive.

We've been having some great weather lately so after we were let out I didn't really feel like sitting around my room and dinner had been less than appetizing leaving me slightly hungry. I was in the mood for a patio and a beer and a few others were headed to Calactus - the vegetarian restaurant I was at the night before - so I joined in. It is a short walk away. I got potato leek soup that was both delicious and reminded me of my brother, I also got a blueberry beer - they served it with a generous serving of blueberries at the bottom of my glass. The beer was from a local brewhouse - the brewhouse that we visited earlier in fact (Pumphouse). It was delicious!

Upon returning it was time to go to bed.

Friday the 18th

Getting up in the morning is an awful grueling experience that usually leaves me with little time to eat breakfast. Not that I don't have enough time but 6:30am just isn't getting any easier.

Class was fine, we learned about a hundred new words, a generous handful of verbs, and their conjugation in past tense - these will all be on our test on Monday.

It was a gorgeous day here, I believe it reached 30℃ and was sunny! Awesome. I spent some time creating que cards to study for.

Our afternoon activity was a huge campus wide game of capture the flag. This is the kind of thing I love. It was hot and beautiful and I think that Mexico prepared me for running around in 30ish weather because it was so hot there that this felt like nothing. It took about an hour before team rouge (aka my team) brought the other teams flag home! It was great. I played defense which is clearly my strong suit. I don't know what it is about shutting someone down that feels so fabulous but I would rather do that than bringing the flag home. No, no one was cheering my name but I like the feeling of defeating others more, ha.

After it was so nice out so I didn't really want to go inside. We just hung out in the sun for a while before we tried to organize something. Nothing really came to fruition though. I ended up showering and changing and hanging out until dinner time. (I was mighty sweaty).

Our evening activity was split into two groups so the level 3-5s were hearing a storyteller talk about Acadian myths, us 1s and 2s played games outside. It was ok. It was followed by an optional movie. Although I would have been up for a movie it was a horror. I can't watch scary movies. So I came home. Now I am just hanging out for a while until we head out to a local pub for the night. I hear there is karaoke and as much as I detest karaoke (save for drunken PartyTyme karaoke on Christmas Eve with the fam) it is hard to persuade a large group of people you don't really know to do something more to your style. I'm sure it'll be a great time. Well if nothing else there will be some people I can talk to.
Tomorrow we have the morning free and then we are headed to Shediac to go on a boat, something about lobsters. I'd tell you more if I knew more but what little information we are given is in French. We don't really ever know what we are doing.

So now that week 3 has come and gone you can tell that people's patience is wearing thin. The person who you thought was kind of crazy is becoming annoying. I can see why our prof in mexico thought that three weeks was long enough. It is because unless you get a really great group of people together they start to be too much. I think our group in Colima could have lasted for 5 weeks. I know I was sad to see them all go their separate ways when we landed in Calgary. Perhaps because the group is bigger here it is more difficult to connect with people, especially outside of residences (EN FRANCAIS!!). It is interesting because of the group of girls I mostly hang out with here there are a number I would rather distance myself from. I try to avoid people that bring you down or that will bring out the bad in me. Unfortunately that is not always the easiest task to accomplish. There are with the bad quite a few really great genuine people I've met here too. Those are the people I try and spend my time with.

Today I learned:
  • How much I really miss team sports - especially rugby
  • That as much fun physical activity is, I might be done, because muscle relaxants are only funny the first few times
I am grateful for:
  • My saaa-weet defense skills
  • My hair straightener
  • Funny, sincere new friends
  • Silence and a room to myself
  • My tan from Mexico! People keep telling me I look tanned.. that's right, me!
  • My itunes on my desktop - I wish I had more on my laptop, specifically, at this moment I wish I had my Coldplay albums

A shot of the entrance to campus, the building in the middle is my home,
the rest of the campus is up the hill

MMmmm! Blueberry Beer!
*And no, this has not been edited

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Once there was a way to get back home...

Today we had our final exam for our first course. It started at 8am and we didn't have to stay for class after. This meant that I was done by about 9am this morning. I stayed to talk to the supervisor with another girl in my class.

When we stopped in the supervisor was doing a very good job at speaking slowly so I could almost understand what was going on. It took a while to clear the room to actually speak to her one on one. When we did most of our concerns were heard but many got a stalk reply of 'we can't make everyone happy' and 'it is difficult to cater to all levels.' I also told her I was going home early which didn't seem to be a problem except that she switched to French and kept telling me that she knew I should understand what she was saying because it had been covered in my class. I was hoping that it would work out that I didn't need to write my final exams but I get to do both in the afternoon of my last day.

After I left I returned to res, went for a walk to check my lotto ticket and buy a new one (because I didn't win). It was gorgeous outside so it was nice to have some time to walk around. I didn't really want to come in but I decided it would be a great day to catch up on my mtv and painting my nails, something that makes me feel both guilty and wonderful. Trashy mtv is a disaster and wonderful.

We had lunch and our activity was going out to brewery for a tour - it would have been good except that it was so humid inside and the entire thing was in French so I didn't know what was going on at all. Something about lunch has been bugging my stomach lately so I wasn't feeling too great. As soon as the tour ended some people stayed to sample the ales while myself and a few others headed back to residence.

We got back and had a few hours before a group of us were meeting up to go out to a small vegetarian restaurant that was supposed to be great for dinner. The thing about the food here is as tolerable, and even at times delicious it was for the first two weeks it has become awful and repetitious and generally depressing. It is however, free; this means that we often rush back to get fed there as opposed to eating out.

On the walk back from the brewery my back was feeling absolutely awful. The kind of awful that gets me focusing on my breathing and telling myself to keep moving one foot in front of the other. I had debated robax but wanted to avoid it so I could have a drink with dinner. I decided after sitting for a while I was good to go to they gym. I went and my back hurt more, I ended up taking robax anyways. That stuff works like crack. It even throws your mind for loops and it is difficult to focus on anything. Which is not comforting.

We walked to the restaurant and my back was still in lots of pain. When I sat down the menue looked amazing. I ordered a fancy sounding pizza but quickly realized it would have fresh garlic on it - something that has been especially toxic to my system as of late. In an attempt to move fast I asked and yes there was garlic, I got to change my order because it was an allergy. I ended up getting a veggie burger that although good was not as satisfying as the pizza looked. Either way it was a great little restaurant that I hope to return to (with a bottle of Pepto in my bag).

We walked home and stopped at a ice cream shop along the way. I got 'death by chocolate' and although I did not die, it was very chocolatey.

Not too much else happened. I sat in the common area for a while this evening while people milled about. People seem to be feeling festive because we wrote a final exam today and because there is a girl turning 19 years old - or legal age out here in NB. So birthday adventures are sure to ensue.

I don't want to the party poop-er and it is kind of nice because there are enough other people in love with the idea of going out that my presence won't be missed. I do have to get up around 6:30am to make it to class and they still haven't left at twenty to 11. If I knew I wouldn't be exhausted for the rest of the week I would consider it but hey I've had five years of that, I would rather be rested then get cheap martinis.

Today I learned:
  • I think that sometimes I might be obnoxiously independent
  • I am the only person here who knows what yukaflux is
  • Days with lots of time to myself are my favorite
I am grateful for:
  • Insoles
  • Comfortable seats on the bikes in the gym
  • Restaurants to escape to from caf food

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Monday 14 - Tuesday 15

I s'pose I'll jump right in. I was all ready Monday morning to go and talk to the supervisor about what I should do. Well at least I liked to think I was. Because quitting seems like such a cardinal sin I knew it would be easier said than done. By the time I go to class I wasn't sure if I could actually go through with the whole, I can't stand it here thing. I mean, it is true that I, at times (most times) cannot stand it here, there are also times that make me want to stay. Or perhaps I don't want to be the girl that gave up. Thinking that there are others in my very same position likely feeling the same desire to throw their hands in the air and call it quits but sticking it out made me feel a little sheepish. I had told a girl in my class that I would go with her to talk about our concerns after our final on Wednesday so I felt the need to stick it out until then. I also looked at the prices of flights and I don't want to say that was a main determinant but it kind of was. Flights during this week were very expensive and it would be unreasonable for me to fly out until at least the weekend. This got me thinking that if I was stuck here until Saturday or Sunday I had made it past the thresh hold and because I am already leaving early on the 1st I would only have a week and a half to get through. If I can't do that then I am not the girl I thought I was. So for now here I wait. It also seemed impossible to march into the supervisors office and say this program isn't working when I am in fact learning some French and I did well on my exam. This however does not make my feelings towards the rest of the program better, it just makes me look more like a quitter. I couldn't have that. And the only reason I am doing well is because I have an amazing teacher.

So Monday morning came and went, I chickened out of quitting, had lunch, registered for my final year of university (potentially) and went to our afternoon activity.

This activity involved preparing for a sketch night (our evening activity). Although this was a great idea it took my group forever to finalize and idea and put it on paper, this was followed quickly by dinner and the evening activity of all the skits. Most were funny, and a great deal of them just happened to depict the monitors speaking too quickly, being confusing, and handing out the dreaded yellow papers to people who spoke English. It was nice to see that it wasn't just us level ones who found this program to be overwhelming, it was in fact, everyone.

The unfortunate thing about this was that the evening activity didn't end until around 9pm leaving me no time to study for my oral exam the next day. No worries though because I have decided that I refuse to be stressed and I can only do what they give me time for. I walked with my old roommate and fellow level one-er to grab some ice cream and we quizzed each other on the walk. It was good.

Tuesday morning I woke up absolutely exhausted. It took me nearly half an hour to finally put my feet on the ground, open my eyes and get going. Class was a slow process of oral exams in the hall. She went alphabetically so I was stuck waiting for what seemed like forever. I think it went well. Or at least I'm considering it well because let's be honest two weeks ago I wouldn't have even been able to understand what she was asking.

Today was free of activities because tomorrow everyone has final exams for this first course.

After lunch I decided it would be a good idea to nap (which is usually impossible with our time frame). I ended up in a near coma sleep for 3 and a half hours! I could not get out of bed to save my life. Luckily my next door neighbour came over for a visit which forced me into coherence. By the time I woke up it was time for dinner.

I didn't accomplish much except I spent some time looking for tickets in places that Paul McCartney is touring this summer. Mostly everything is sold out and flights are expensive. Perhaps that is a dream that will have to be put back on the shelf until next time.

I spent the evening studying, I went for a swim, and now it is time for bed. Hopefully the test goes well tomorrow!

Today I learned:
  • Giving up and calling it quits might make it easier to start fresh and continue?
  • 19th birthdays don't seem to be as big of a deal in the provinces where 19 is legal in comparison to 18 at home - which is always a to-do
I am grateful for:
  • My amazing prof who made us cupcakes with icing on the top and bottom today!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Très dificile!

Saturday June 12 - Sunday June 13

Saturday started early because we had to catch a bus at 8am. We were off and headed to Hopewell Rocks also known as the best place to see the tides of the Bay of Fundy. It was a fairly quick drive away, just under an hour to get there. It was interesting to drive across another province mostly because I'm used to seeing nothing and then small clusters of homes. Here it seems like there is never a clear stopping or starting of small towns but instead just continuous little plots of land with houses on it. And I'm used to big farm yards taking over lots of space but this might have been an acre or two per home. Kind of cool.

Upon arriving we looked around the information centre to learn about how the tides work, when things happen, how much the water raises/falls. Luckily the information was all bilingual because our tour guide was touring us in French - understandably so. We walked down to the point where the rocks are - these are the rocks that you think of when the Bay of Fundy was mentioned. It was very cool to see. We arrived shortly after 10am and the warning sign instructed us that tide was coming back in and we needed to be up the stairs by 10:20 so that we did not get trapped by the water. We all headed down to venture around. It was great. These rocks are a sight to see. So very tall and beautiful. Fortunately for us the warning time was a overestimation of the progression of the tides (which I'm sure they do on purpose). We actually got to hang out for about an hour. Upon reaching the top of the stairs the water was almost covering the entire sea floor we had just been walking on. It would have been nice to hang out and see how high the water gets but we had to head back to the bus.

We stopped for a snack at the restaurant there before heading back to the bus. It was about half past 12 when we started our drive back to the school. When we arrived at the university it was the end of lunch time so we wall went in to eat. After I came back to get some laundry done. It was gorgeous outside but sadly my cleanliness had to take precedence over laying in the sun. This wasn't bad except I wanted to nap and I had to be up at least every 20 minutes. The washer/dryers here require you pay $1.25 to use them. I had made sure to save up my loonies and quarters enough to get all my laundry done. Sadly the machine was not accepting loonies so I ended up having to hang all my clothes up in my room when I ran out of quarters. This was quite a site to see because I have limited space to hang things. Regardless of my quarter situation my afternoon was spent napping and doing laundry.

After dinner a few of us decided that we should go out for the evening because we got to sleep in on Sunday. When we finally managed to organize ourselves we headed downtown just after 10pm. This might have been a little bit early but the bar we were going to was serving $2 drinks until midnight. I guess most people here don't go out until later. This makes sense now considering the fact that their bars don't fill up - while in Calgary if you aren't in a bar by 10 or 11pm you will likely just be waiting outside in line until you decide to find somewhere else or go home. We ended up being the first people in the bar, or maybe I should call it a club. It was weird because it was technically three places as one. Each bar had a separate entrance, separate atmosphere, and different drink specials, you could however walk freely from one to the next. The sad part was they were all playing the same UFC flights on all tvs in all the bars.

The first (and smallest) bar was a weird techno-y vibe, the second (and largest) was a dance club feel, but the music wasn't that great, and finally there was more of a sports bar meets the decor of east side mario's pub. The last bar had most of the people early on - it had tables, waitresses, and the fight. We hung out there for most of the night. Oh and I should also mention that I drank rum all night long, this isn't really that interesting but I stayed away from vodka and I liked it. And I drank it with cranberry and orange juice (I'll thank Grandma S for that one!).

There were a ton of other 'explore' students there as well. The group I was with left fairly early (in comparison to the bar sceen here) at around 1:30. I was asleep shortly there after.

Sunday June 13

I actually slept in this morning, which I didn't think I'd be able to do. I spent the first little bit of my time looking up classes (because I register tomorrow) and looking for jobs. I thought I would have a great deal more time to do both of these things but this program has proved to be busier than I had expected.

I made it to the pool to go for a swim around 12:30 which I thought would be great because the swim went until about 2 but switched to family as opposed to lanes at 1. I didn't think this would be a problem. As it turns out they put a rope across the 25m pool and it is impossible to keep swimming lengths. boo. My swim was cut short. I also thought that I would be able to get lunch after I swam at 2pm but it turns out on Sunday's the schedule is changed and brunch ends at 1pm. I ate a bowl of cherrios and a bag of popcorn for brunch instead.

At 2:30 my prof was coming to campus to help anyone interested with our conversational French. I won't deny that I didn't want to go. I almost didn't but it was one of those, you can't say you suck if you really don't try things. ha. And I often feel like when you are the struggling student it is good to show up to the extra curricular things so the teacher thinks you are really trying - its worked for me in the past. I went, and yes it was good, but I still feel totally lost when people are talking. We have an oral exam on Tuesday before our final exam on Wednesday for the first course. On Thursday we are set to start the second level. This will be interesting. The study group was smaller than I expected, but again I'm the kind of student that doesn't see those sorts of things as optional. It lasted until almost 5:30.

After we went for dinner, this was followed by me putting away all my laundry that had been drying around my room for the past day and a half. At 8pm we had our weekly meeting that lasted all of 15 minutes - pointless. I came back to res and attempted to create a schedule for a semester I hopefully won't be in school for. It is hard because at this point I am only allowed to take one or two more soci classes (one of which is a required course not offered fall semester 2010) and I've taken almost all available coms classes. This leaves me sorting through other courses, something I don't like to do. It always seems like when one attempts to find "easy options" it turns bad. I think this is mostly because for the past 4-5 years we spend all our time figuring out how to perfect our grade in a certain subject area - how to write great coms papers is entirely different than how to write a great English, Political Science, or History paper. So you enter into the easy classes thinking I've got this and then realize that you only really know how to do what you have been doing. Well it is also hard because I have to consider work, sleep, and attempt to have Friday's off, because school on Friday sucks.

Downstairs in the common room a group of explore students were going to be watching "Paris, je t'aime" an French/English film with tid-bits for a story line. I spent most of my time looking at classes and only some of the time actually watching the film. It was... different, and I didn't finish it. Mostly I didn't finish it because as far as I could tell there wasn't one central story line other than the fact that all the pieces occurred in Paris, this made leaving to go to bed easy.

In regards to my decision to stay or go. I keep wavering back and forth. Had you asked me Saturday night I was dead set on leaving, it seemed like the right thing to do. Some times you have to admit defeat, come to the conclusion that some things just weren't meant for you, besides you can't be great at everything. It just takes me a lot longer to process and hold on to knowledge I guess. But then I went out with some great people and had fun. It would sadden me to think that I left too early or that I didn't try hard enough. But then people talk to me, I stare blankly at them, and they say in response "that was a simple sentence." I can tell I should know what they are asking me but it just doesn't seem to translate in my head. To me I just keep saying "I've heard this before, I should know what it means" and then I draw a blank.

I guess I feel that neither options are easy. It is not easy to admit defeat and it is not easy to keep trying at something and failing. But the real question is why am I here? and what am I getting out of this. I enjoy myself most when I am hanging out with the people from the program and we are speaking English, of course this is easy but it feels like myself. I enjoy the program the least when I am taking part in the activities unable to speak and I have to respond to questions with blank stares and be confused about the preceding activities. Class is still good but it is picking up pace and the things that we learned in the first week is beginning to be taken for granted as 'known' - which for me, it surely is not known.

The sad thing is, I don't want to leave this place. I love the possibility of visiting new places, meeting new people, and discovering the East coast but I just don't think this is the right way for me to do it. I'm not sure what will happen next, I am going to go and talk to the main coordinator tomorrow at some point and see what happens if I do decide to leave or what can be done. At this time I plan to finish the first course on Wednesday, suck up my pride and head home. I'll have to see if I'm allowed or if there is a penalty fee - in which case I might be staying. I guess I'll update you then.

I like to look at this as me jumping in with two feet to a new and scary adventure and learning that I wasn't cut out for it. I don't think that makes me a failure as much as it makes me brave for trying.
"The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed." - Lloyd Jones

"To bear failure with courage is the best proof of character that anyone can give." - W. Somerset Maugham
Today I learned:
  • I really really don't like swimming caps. Or maybe I just don't like mine, but damn they are too tight.
  • French is très dificile!
  • About TreeGo - this great zip-lining/high tree adventure place here in Moncton - I want to go!
  • If I was on the outside looking in I'd tell myself to suck it up for two weeks out of your life and finish the program. Weird how it works that way.
  • I really want an slr camera. I knew this in Mexico when I was drooling over some of the other students' cameras but it makes such a difference in what you can do.
I am grateful for:
  • A clean room
  • Clean laundry
  • Being able to regulate my own eating patterns in my normal life - I despise eating when I'm not hungry at all
Our view upon arriving looking down at the "flowerpot" rocks

After spending almost an hour on the sea floor it was time for us to make our exit, and the kayakers came out

Our view when we were leaving, the tide was still coming in and still had a lot of rising to do, but the difference is substantial

Friday, June 11, 2010

Je ne comprends pas

I had a dream that when people spoke I understood them. It was a great dream.

Thursday June 10 - Friday June 11

In lieu of a test on Friday most of my Thursday was spent studying or in activities. Class happened as usual, I came home to study in our 1hr break but fell asleep. Our afternoon activity was quite great. They organized a scavenger hunt in the downtown area for us. We were split into groups of five with someone from each level. This was nice. We walked downtown and spent 2 hours looking for the numerous things on our list to take pictures with.

It was a great activity because it was the first opportunity I had in almost 2 weeks to get downtown during the day to get a feel for this city. It was nice and surprisingly somewhat busy. It is a cute little downtown area. I even ran into a friend of a friend - accidentally. If I can get my hands on some of the great pictures I'll post them, but they were not taken on my camera.

The only problem I had with this activity is that we weren't told we would be out for over two hours walking around. I had left my wallet so couldn't get water and I was thirsty and tired by the time I got home. Upon arriving home I attempted to study again but fell asleep, again. This place is exhausting. The weather was great though, warm and sunny :)

We then had dinner and headed to our evening activity - a choice between soccer-baseball or tea. Although I love soccer-murder-baseball I needed to study more so I went to tea with my que cards in hand and studied for an hour until we were allowed to leave. On a different note seemingly I'm the only one out here who has ever heard of soccer-murder-baseball (or murderball if you like). When I mentioned it I got many strange looks. This seems to happen from variations in coast to coast. I guess they played with a real soccer ball so there was no dodgeball component making it appropriate to leave out the murder part.

I came home and studied until my brain gave up on me, then I went to bed. The days here are so packed that I've had little time to study and I'm beginning to be discouraged. They allot about 4 hours free time during the day which usually ends up closer to 2 hours when eating and walking are accounted for. After our evening activities there is usually little time because getting up between 6-6:30am is exhausting. This means I don't really have time to study and although I am learning words and terms I am finding it impossible to actually speak or string together broken sentences.

Friday June 11

Woke up early and studied before my test. I think it went ok. Not great but not awful. After that we went for lunch and because it was so nice out this afternoon (25+) a few of us played some frisbee, others just laid in the sun. It was quite nice. Our afternoon activity was spread out depending on what level you were in. The level ones and twos got to go to the Acadian Museum first, which was good because it gave me a bigger block of time between it ending and dinner starting. The museum looked great but I couldn't tell you anything about it because the entire tour was in French.

After the activity I walked towards downtown to find a convenience store in order to buy a lotto ticket. I'm not huge on the lotto, ya, I play it sometimes but usually it seems like more of a waste. Well this time the pot is $50mil with 20 $1mil extra prizes. Who knows, maybe magic will happen. When I got back to res my initial plan was to sleep for an hour, go for a swim, and eat dinner in time to attend our 6:30 activity in the evening. What actually happened was quite different. I slept for almost 3 hours and missed dinner. I woke up in time to go to our evening activity of reading the poems we wrote earlier in the week. My group member and I decided it would be best to keep ours to ourselves and although some of them seemed quite funny I don't know what they were about. I was half asleep anyways.

Upon returning to res we played a little ping-pong, I ordered a pizza because there is nothing close to walk to, and we watched The Last King of Scotland (in English with French subtitles). It was great. Based on true events in Uganda looking at the corruption of the government from the perspective of a young doctor from Scotland. It was shocking and powerful. I recommend it, although it was quite graphic.

Lately the monitors have been really intense with the French only rule and have been handing out warnings. As I understand it you get about 3 warnings before you are asked to leave.

At this point I'm not sure if I might not just ask to leave. I've been fighting this battle of "I'm not a quitter, and this is a really great thing to learn" against the "this isn't what I expected, not what I wanted, and more stressful than I need." I'm starting to think that being a quitter can be a good thing. Of course you don't want to quit for no reason, or because something was hard and you weren't willing to put the work in, but if you've balanced your pros and cons and what you are putting in is more than you are getting out, perhaps it is time to pack your bags and move into a hostel for the rest of the month. I don't want to leave but I also don't want to stay. I really enjoy the people I'm here with, and I even really enjoy the class even though I feel like I am way behind everyone else. I just simply have no personal time to do anything like explore this atlantic side of Canada. At the same time I've already been here for two weeks so what is 2 and a half more? Well sometimes it feels like nothing and other times it feels like an eternity. Sometimes I wonder why I wanted to learn French in the first place, besides that I think it would be cool. Well, I'm not saying that I'm going to leave early, I'll just say that I dream about it at night. ha. I'd like to think that being a quitter doesn't necessarily make you weak, sometimes it might make you smart? You know, not wasting your time doing something you hate... Well that's how I like to look at it right now.

Today I learned:
  • Even though you were in Mexico for a month and didn't burn does not mean you can walk around outside without sunscreen in Canada and not burn. My shoulders are rosy.
  • Lotto Max has Twist and Tag - which as far as I can tell is like the Extra - who knew?
  • Out here they call a 2-6 of hard alcohol a quart, in Ontario they call it a 2-6er
I am grateful for:
  • Naps
  • Birkenstocks - why did I never purchase them before?
  • Movies that elicit a physical reaction, you know it is good then

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

très occupé

Tuesday June 8 - Wednesday June 9
(mardi 8 juin - mercredi 9 juin)

Another day in this strange super busy summer camp-esque world passes. Well two days pass but my days are just so packed full that I have little to no time to myself.

I think I've said this before but my days from start to finish are almost entirely scheduled for me. This might be a great thing (example, for a tour group) but sometimes it just gets tiring. Tuesday was regular, class, lunch break, activity (learning about the service industry), study break, dinner, evening activity.

I feel the need to stop here for a moment. These activities, as far as I can tell serve the purpose of ensuring control over us. Well not so much control as much as ensuring we stay as francophone as possible. I shouldn't complain about something like this but when you are only alloted 1 hour increments of time to yourself two times a day it gets to be a bit much. This is especially trying when the activities are things that you did as a kid at summer camp. I will say that this week the activities have been looking up and actually teaching and putting to use the French language. Tuesday night involved teams setting up a fashion show that was described en francais. I guess I just tire of these kiddie activities. It is also bothersome because as much as this is doing me good in terms of being exposed to French I feel like I have no time to actually sit and study the things I am being tested on.

Either way, I ended the night with a wonderful swim.

Wednesday was more of the same but seeing as that is of little interest I should mention my breakfast. Ok, how interesting can my breakfast really be. I usually avoid the 'hot' breakfast at the cafeteria, I do this mostly because I am not a 'breakfast person' and I usually stick to cereal, toast, or some fruit and yogurt. The sad thing is I do like the stuff it is just too much for me all the time (they serve bacon, eggs, hash browns, etc.) now I would love to have these things on the weekend but sadly that is when they don't serve it. Well yesterday I missed out on french toast so this morning I stopped by to see what they were serving, it looked like pancakes and tasted like crepes. This might not be of much interest to you but it threw me.

I headed to class with my (now) mandatory mug of coffee. Class is still great. I wish my prof ran the entire program. Class was followed by lunch, lunch was followed by a nap.

We had our afternoon activity which involved writing a poem. This can only be described as a disaster, a hilarious disaster. After I ventured to the gym, something I haven't done in a really long time out of fear of pain, that fear only lasts as long as I remember it. When I've sufficiently forgotten what it does to me I work-out. There I was on the bike and the stair-master. It felt great. Hopefully I can say the same later on in the week.

I walked over to dinner an had a vegetarian pasta with huge chunks of tofu, it was fabulous. Because this program is a 'better yourself through French' kinda thing it attracts what can only be described as genuine, idealistic, enthusiastic youth. I'm talking the back to the earth vegetarians, girls who don't shave, who are enviro conscious, in grad school, going places with their lives kinda people. People who have brains and use them. These people are great. These are the people that say the hell with being pessimistic I'm going to make a difference with what I can. These are the people that say the hell with social conventions, I'm going to be me. Well a lot of those people are vegetarians. The great thing about having strong vegetarians around is the demand for quality food, real fruits and veggies, with healthy options is strong. I have no desire to stop eating red, juicy, delicious steak but I love vegetarian options. I have even been eating mostly vegetarian here simply because the other options are greasier and generally sketchier.

Well after my great tofu spaghetti with a side of chicken soup I came home to study. I decided that seeing as I had already gone to the gym and needed to study I would forego my nightly swim and although this might have been the better option in terms of my knowledge of French I definitely was missing the pool. Funny how much my childhood love will never go away. It makes me feel amazing and that is something I had forgotten about. Seems when you work at a pool staying any longer than your shift to swim seems impossible. Maybe I can get back into in the summer at home.

Today I learned:
  • Crepes can be made as thick as poorly made pancakes, who knew
  • I'm still missing Colima, MX and all the lovely people I met. I want to go back immediately.
I am grateful for:
  • My athletic past, I like that I know what and how to do things in a gym, some people just don't know what they are doing and that stops them from going. Which is too bad.
  • My new running shoes, thanks Asics.
  • My over-thinking, sarcastic upbringing. People seem to think I'm hilarious.
  • Glee
  • My DVD selection at home. Although I cannot watch any right now I can't wait to go home and watch a few. I've got some picked out already.
AND CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE CONVOCATING THIS WEEK FROM THE UofC!!! Can't believe you guys are all done and I'm still hanging out for a 6th year in a row.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Time is Crucial

Saturday June 5 - Monday June 7

There is no time to do anything in this program. No time for anything.

Our days are so full that I find studying French to even be difficult to fit in. But I'll talk about that later.

As mentioned previously on Saturday morning a group of seven girls, myself included, packed a minivan (rented by yours truly), and headed to PEI. It was pretty awesome. I'd never drove a minivan before and I honestly thought I would hate the day I had to drive one to make room for all my babies but after my wonderful experience with the silver dodge caravan I can't wait. ha.

We headed out as early as Hertz allowed (around 8am) and drove. It took about an hour to get to Confederation Bridge - which was an pretty cool in its own rights. What a very long bridge. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Upon arriving on the island we took a right turn to Charlottetown to do some exploring and see if we wanted to stay the night. I have to say that PEI is one of the prettiest places I've seen and I can't wait to go back. It is gorgeous and quaint. The entire province is picturesque. We took a few roadside stops along the way to check out little towns and coastlines. Upon arriving we parked and the sun came out. How lovely because we came from non-stop rain for a week.

We walked around the downtown a little bit and eventually made our way to the pier area. There were many nice little stores to browse and as Mexico taught me to do I made some purchases and didn't look back. I bought (surprise surprise) a few big rings which I love and are made out of some crazy nut from Africa. It started to spit so we asked for some advice on where to go for lunch. We were told about this wonderful restaurant that was also a brewery that brewed all the beer that it served and best of all you could order a sample tray of all their beers in 3oz glasses, with a total of 8 glasses. It was great, almost everyone at the table ordered the samplers so we had tons of beer on the table, plus a complimentary glass of some beers mixed, and a few shots. It was a great meal and the brewers even took us downstairs to show us around the tanks.

I guess because PEI is such a tourist location their stores aren't always open and it just so happened that we showed up on the first weekend that most stores were opening. Unfortunately this meant that there were many still closed and the plays and other entertainment weren't running yet because they had to wait for the summer crowds to pick up.

After lunch we walked into a few shops but it was pouring rain and the streets were turning into rivers. We stopped into the Anne of Green Gables gift shop to try and sort out somewhere to stay for the night. After a few phone calls we decided our most economical choice was a hostel a few blocks out of downtown. Although a few of the girls were more than hesitant about hosteling we walked over to the hostel to see what they could do for us.

It turns out that it was not only adorable, it was affordable, and lovely. The beds were more comfortable than the res beds. Amazing. They had a crazy games room, wonderful kitchen, and equally friendly workers. After seeing that the hostel was an adorable house and not some warehouse that people get killed (Hostel, 2005) the girls were pretty excited. Because it was raining so much we just hung out for a while.

We decided that the best thing to do was try some lobster because we were on the coast and lobster is in season. We were given suggestions for the best place to buy it and how to save some money (get them to cook it for take-out costs about $17 less, amazing). We headed down to a little shop that we would have never guessed makes the best lobster in town - I fully expected a fancy, swanky, big restaurant, beautifully decorated and instead it was a cute little kitchen diner with about 10 tables inside. We each picked out a lobster, bought some potato salad, paid our money and headed back to the hostel. Before we left the lady helping us showed us a massive lobster, it was huge and somewhere in the 7 or 9 pound range, I can't remember but it could take your arm off I'm sure.

So back to the hostel we went with our cooked lobsters in plastic bags. I was excited but slightly apprehensive, I've tried lobster before and never really liked it, and I had never cracked it out of its shell. It was quite a long process, and one I wasn't all that fond of. Next time I'll surely get them to get the meat out, so much work and it was kind of gross. I say that reluctantly because I don't like things to gross me out but it was gross. By the time I was done cracking and poking the meat out I was not all that interested in eating it. Sad I know. I had a few bites and it was tasty but I ended up giving it away. Maybe lobster just isn't my thing.

Exhausted we decided that we had to go out because we wouldn't have another opportunity. We changed and headed out on the town. We had intended to go to "Fishbones" a bar with some live music for the night but when we got there there was another dance club next door that we decided to go to. It wasn't that great, in fact the music was really bad and it wasn't that full. It got a little busy later on but I wasn't feeling it. A few of us thought we might go back to Fishbones but they were still charging cover. It was a nice night, somewhat warm and not raining so we went for a walk back to the pier area. There was another bar that was still charging cover too - I should mention it was after 1am and the bars closed at 2am. We talked to some locals about where the place to go is and most said not to go where we had gone and to go to fishbones. Lesson learned. We met some nice cops, got a slice of pizza, and went back to bed.

The next morning I couldn't stay awake once I was up at 8:30 so I got out of bed, showered, and went for a walk. It was actually really nice. By the time I got back everyone was up and eating breakfast. We left around 10:30 to continue our adventure.

On our way out of town we stopped at a flea market that the owner of the hostel had told us about, it was just outside of Charlottetown. It was about as flea market as it gets, the majority of the stuff was more of community garage sale. We didn't stay long although I found some Hunter Wellies for sale for $35 brand new, sadly they were two sizes too big or four sizes too small. I did buy a ring that reminds me of a jolly rancher. What can I say big rings are in.

Along the way we made a stop at Timmies, something that we did a lot. We drove north to Cavendish - where one can find the Anne of Green Gables national park as well as the PEI provincial park. We decided to take a more scenic route and drive along the coast as much as possible. This was great because it was beautiful even though it was quite foggy. We saw a fox with a fox pup, we pulled a "Waterton tourist" and stopped in the middle of the road for pictures, some said it was the first time they had seen a fox. Lots of success.

We stopped at the Green Gables home - or a remake of the home/land that inspired the books. This was good, but was enjoyed by some of the others more than I because I don't know if I ever read the books and I surely disliked "Road to Avonlea" (sorry Becs). Looking back it is weird that I wasn't more excited about a precocious red head on tv - I seemed to love that - but I just didn't like it. Regardless, it was cool to see.

Upon leaving it started to rain and get windy, regardless we headed towards Cavendish beach. It was a lovely sight to see. A cold sight, but lovely. The beaches rolled out of green grass with red-ish sand. I definitely would like to go back. Not everyone was willing to brave the weather for a beach picture but some even went so far as to put their feet in. I'm glad I made my way over.

We left and made our slow exit from the province. This involved a stop at Cows creamery (and ice cream shop that originated in PEI). Unfortunately most of the stores and food places in the area were still closed because of the down season.

The thing about driving around PEI is the roads are mostly awful, patchy, and narrow, to add to this the road signs are almost non-existent. This made getting off the island a little longer than initially intended. It didn't end up being a problem, but it was a little confusing. Before we crossed the bridge back to New Brunswick I stopped for a coffee and sandwich because we hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was nearing 4pm. The toll to get off the island is just over $40.

Along the way home we stopped at Shediac, a coast town about 25 minutes outside of Moncton, it was a quick break. We drove back in time to get our dinners from the cafeteria at UdeM. After dinner I was tired and wanted to get the van off my hands asap. It was a great van that drove more like a car and was equipped with a reverse camera.

The rest of the night was rather inconsequential but involved a mandatory meeting at 8pm, me trying to recover a few pictures I accidentally deleted (didn't work), and doing my homework for Monday morning.

Monday I had been so tired from the trip (Sunday was a lot of driving) that I ended up sleeping through my alarm and didn't wake up until 7:20 (class is at 8). I rushed and made it - phew - in our meeting the night before they had just told us the importance of being on time. It was a long and sleepy class. After class I had lunch - as usual - and came back to res to have a sleep. It was great but I woke up exhausted. Instead of our regular activities a group filming some promotional videos for UdeM needed us as extras so we went over to the campus arena to do some staged cheering, it took about 2 hours.

They were also filming at a pub downtown and we were invited to go for free pizza. A few of us took them up on the offer and headed down around 7pm. It was interesting, they wanted it to look like summer so we were in light clothes and we weren't allowed to eat the snacks in front of us, we were mixed up into random assortments of tables - three of us were put with a friendly local. It was fun. At 8 they told us they were going to kill time until the sun went down then do some more so we went for Subway because seemingly this pub didn't serve food, we showed up back at the restaurant, speedily ate, and then were told they were actually going to call it quits for the night. Silly.

Myself and one other girl came back to res, the rest stayed. I think Mexico ended my need to drink for a really long time. I was an alcoholic for a month and now I have more of an interest in sleeping and eating vegetables.

Upon returning we quickly changed and made our way to the swimming pool for the last 20minutes of a swim. It was a great swim. Hopefully this time it won't kill my neck like it did last time.

So as I was saying earlier (and sorry for this LONG post) there is hardly any time for me to actually sit down and study words so I can actually do some talking. Hopefully things settle down and I'm not so tired so I can find the time to do homework as opposed to nap all the time. At this point my res room has exploded and I feel like I'm falling behind in learning stuff for class. Hopefully I can get caught up and start getting to bed earlier.

Today I learned:
  • PEI is really really pretty
  • I think I'd love to live there for a summer
  • How much I missed driving, although I got tired of it by the end I really had fun being the driver, and having a great seat to watch the scenery
  • Swimming will always be my fave
  • Accidentally deleting a picture really really sucks
  • ATP I don't really know how much I like this program
I am grateful for:
  • A swimming buddy
  • Having my own room
  • Prince Edward Island, everyone should go
Leaving New Brunswick crossing Confederation Bridge to PEI

My lunch at the brewer. Fish&Chips and lots of beers. Delicious!

Our adorable hostel for the night

Northern coast in PEI Park

Anne of Green Gables Home

Cavendish Beach

Enjoying the beach