New Years Resolutions 2014: Check in #11

Holy moly, it’s my second to last New Year’s check-in for 2014!

1. Chai Latte obsession.

I went a little crazy this month. With my re-introduction to Starbucks and Second Cup, I had several Chai Lattes this month. Oops. I did try to make one at home, that was a fail. I have one more month to learn how to make them at home.

2. 2 blog entries per month.

Fail. But it was my first fail this year on this resolution… so don’t be too hard on me.

3. Food garden.

I haven’t picked up my basil plant from my cousin yet. I hope it’s still alive. Lol.

4. Run a marathon.

Done. See post here.

5. Learn to cook.

I cooked a couple meals. I learned how to make corn chowder! I bought a bag of amaranth and the recipe was on the back. Lol.

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