Travels: Learning French

I’ve just finished my 4 month stay in Quebec. I was there to learn French for my job. I wasn’t in a major city. I was in a region where it was almost 100% Francophone. Here is what a typical day looked like:

6:00am-6:30am – Run

7:30am-8:00am – Breakfast with my French host family

8:30am-2:30pm – Private French lessons: with 1 20 minute break to think in English (Lol), lunch is with your French teacher also.

2:30pm-5:30pm – Homework or an activity with my French monitor (usually trips to local attractions)

6:00pm – 7:00pm – Dinner with my French host family

7:00pm – 9:00pm – Homework or an activity with my French monitor

Every day. For 4 months. Needless to say, I learned a few things to make the experience a bit more pleasant. Here are my top 3 tips when learning a new language:

1. Laugh at yourself. You are going to sound ridiculous.

2. Embrace the culture. Yes, I was still in Canada, but there are regional differences (traditions, food, music, and language – duh!) to be appreciated.

3. Talk. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it really was the first barrier. When I first started, I wanted to know how to say everything perfectly before I opened my mouth. And one day, I just said to myself… “Forget it!”  and I just started talking even though half the words that were coming out of my mouth were conjugated incorrectly.

Happy Language Learning! :)

New Years Resolutions 2014: Check in #10

Still on the road…but will be home in a few days. Can’t wait.

1. Chai Latte obsession.

One in Calgary. And I only have 2 more months to learn how to make them at home.

2. 2 blog entries per month.

Pass.  Barely.

3. Food garden.

Not sure how my basil plant is doing. Haven’t talked to my cousin.

4. Run a marathon.
Done.

5. Learn to cook.

No cooking. But I’m eager to get home and start eating healthier.

Travels: Whale watching in Tadoussac

If you ever find yourself in the Saguenay area of Quebec and you want to see some whales, you MUST go to Tadoussac.

Tadoussac is a gorgeous village and just a two hour drive from Quebec City. If you don’t speak French, no worries. It’s touristy enough that most people in town are bilingual.

Whale tours average around $70-80 for 2 hours on the St. Lawrence river. It’s freezing on the water so dress warmly :)

I don’t have any pictures of the whales I saw (I was two busy having a good time). But I’ll leave you with a couple other pictures I took.

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Travels: Packing List for 1 month in Quebec

I’m returning to Quebec for another month. I’ve revised my original packing list to match the change of season and am leaving somethings behind that I didn’t use a lot the first time, i.e. hair straightener (it’s so humid there that my curls looked actually decent) and my thick bathrobe (I loved it as a comfort item from home, but it just takes up too much room).

On the plane:
TOMS boots, hoodie, tank top, sweats, scarf

In my purse:
Wallet, keys, phone, portable charger, earbud headphones, passport, travel documents, snacks, kleenex, wipes, retainers, prescriptions.

Checkin luggage:
Small packing cube
Underwear x 8, Bra x 8, Multipurpose head gear, gloves, tuque

Large compression bag: Bath robe (a thinner one), face cloth, hoodie, sweater dress, cardigan, sweater, tank top

Medium compression bag 1: Rain jacket, running jacket, soft shell jacket

Medium compression bag 2
Jeans, leggings x 2, running capris x 2, running tights x 2, running shorts
Medium compression bag 3
Socks x 9; PJs, Running tank top x 2, Running tshirts x 2, Running long sleeve shirt
Toiletry bag
Retainer cleaner, makeup brushes, tweezers, nail cutter, eyelash curler, eyeliner, qtips, make up sponges, soap, foundation, scissors, razors, blush/bronzer, feminine hygiene products
Other Items
Runners, microfibre towel

Backpack:
Laptop (+ charger), school material, pencil case (with pencils, pens, etc), notebooks, snacks, usb key, agenda, water bottle, sunglasses, glasses

Carry on:

School Material
Toiletry bag for liquids: Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, setting spray, body spray, body lotion, mascara, concealer, almond oil, curl creme, lip balm
Xs toiletry bag: Tothbrush, floss, tea tree oil stick, hair ties, deodorant, bandaids
Other Items
Tablet (+ charger)
Camera (+ charger, usb adapter)
Running watch (+ charger)
Umbrella
Extra ziploc and plastic bags

New Years Resolutions 2014: Check in #9

I’m HOME (for a few weeks)! I escaped Quebec to change up my wardrobe. Lol. Needed more pants and sweaters :P I’m enjoying this time in English Canada, but am eager to get back to Quebec as well.

1. Chai Latte obsession.

I had one at a Starbucks in Quebec City. I loved every sip of it.

2. 2 blog entries per month.

Pass.  Barely.

3. Food garden.

I went over to my cousin’s house to see my basil plant that she had been watching over the summer. There were barely any leaves on it, but that’s because my aunt said she just pulled them off. She showed me the bag and there were tons! Yippee!

4. Run a marathon.

Done. See post here.

5. Learn to cook.

No cooking. Not even while I’m home. I’m not in town long enough to do a decent grocery shop.