Christmas in Montreal

December 30, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Posted in canada, food, life | 3 Comments

The most wonderful time of the year. Well, it was pretty darn good. We had family over for Thanksgiving (Part 1, Part 2), so this holiday was fairly low key, just the two of us. We got presents for each other, and we got presents from generous relatives. I’m a little upset since some of our presents for them haven’t gone out yet due to shipping delays. One package’s tracking information shows as having arrived at Syracuse on 12/20 on its way here, and it just stopped there. The company offered to send a new one, but I would think they’d rather find out where the old one went to?! Anyway, that’s a different story.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home hanging out and playing games. Jenny got me a model kit with three different Starship Enterprises! That will be fun.

The following two days were spent in Montreal! That was a nice trip. Highlights include a nice basic room at Auberge le jardin d’Antoine (complete with a nice last-minute-online-booking discount!), fantastic crepes across the street at Cafe Croissant De Lune, stupendous vegetarian Vietnamese food at Chu Chai (well, Chuch, actually), dessert at Juliette & Chocolat, visits to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Écomusée du fier monde, and last but not least, the discovery of Cafe Pi! They sell fair trade coffee and organic desserts, and they have a lot of chess sets available. Two people were playing when we went in. I’m rather rusty with my chess personally. But the idea is still great. I got a shirt and a mug! Oh, and Jenny got a fancy arty tea cup at a boutique named ARTHÉ. She adores it, and it’s so her.

It was a good trip. If you want to go to a foreign country where they speak a different language, it’s a pretty easy introduction. French is the first language spoken there, but in the big city of Montreal, just about everyone is bilingual except for the English-only speakers. Everyone starts speaking French, but after it’s evident you don’t speak French, they automatically switch to English. Having said that, I’m told it’s generally appreciated if you make some effort. I do the minimum of, when someone starts speaking to me in French, I look vaguely apologetic and say, “Je ne parle pas français,” (I don’t speak French) and if they can speak English, they do. I also say oui, s’il vous plaît, merci, … yeah, that’s about it. But I’m told a little effort smooths the wheels, and we had no problems. I was a little apprehensive at first, but I’m much more relaxed about going to Montreal. I do plan on learning a little more French. And I think it would be fun to understand a bit more French than I let on; maybe I can catch someone talking about me behind my back in front of me.



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  1. I was in France (not Paris, but in the town of Toulouse, near Spain) over the summer for business, so I know what it is like to be a fish out of English-speaking water. I started to do OK at a few senetences (you are right, they like it when you try, especially when you fail), but what killed me is when they heard my Pigeon French and then thought I could understand them. The avelanche of full speed French that followed always overwhelmed me. Now let me see…

    How do you say, “Please speak more slowly,” in French?

  2. I suspect that “Please speak more slowly,” is the second most important phrase when in the process of learning a new language!

  3. “Sprechen Sie langsamer, bitte.” (Deutsch: Please speak more slowly) I’ve learned to use that one over here. 🙂 Happy New Year to you! I’m glad you had a chance to pause and reset over the holiday. It sounds like it was good for the soul. Have a great trip to San Diego!

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