William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

Ste-Anne, part 16 (parts of two e-mails to the outside world)

(Vendredi, Mai 25, 2007)

Paresseux William, ici encore avec extraits des courriers-électroniques :

… Thanks for the info about the bomb threats. As you might guess, we’re not exactly keeping up to date. (It’s still news to many Anglophones here that Ottawa is in the Stanley Cup Final.) This is easily the most isolated I’ve ever been since… Hmm, I’d have to pick out the orientation week of my CWY-Netcorps exchange, which we spent at a Christian summer camp about an hour’s drive NW of Edmonton in Busby, Alberta. Near the end of our stay, Nic got a hold of a newspaper and filled us in on the things we were missing (how we were faring at the Olympics in Athens, and how one of our submarines had a serious fire, killing several mariners). [If there’s anything going on in the news or in sports that you think I should know about, send me an e-mail (me@willmatheson.com).]

… I love watching sports; and since the whole idea of sports is that it’s live, I will go out of my way to catch an important game. Of course, I can’t even watch sports here, because the one French sports channel – RDS – isn’t available on analogue cable in Nova Scotia; the only place to watch it on campus is at the bar, where they have a satellite dish.

Ah! Luc, the chief animateur (and during the school year, Ste-Anne’s director of social and cultural affairs), just came by with my order of liquor. =) There’s no NSLC in Church Point – actually, the funny thing is that I have to either close the lid on my laptop or minimize all the Word windows (all English at the moment) whenever somebody knocks on my door. C’est un petite absurdité, n’est pas? I wonder if the English-language Explore programs are like this. I’d like to work with one of them – among other places, it’s offered at Dalhousie and UPEI. Right now, though, my French is only good enough to get a rough idea of what people are talking about, make simple jokes, and hold really simple conversations in which I mispronounce most of the words. It’s probably not enough to be in a position of responsibility like the animateurs here are, even though only 1% of the job would be in French.

I’m actually a little bit sick now (so the beer will have to wait until next week), but it’s no biggie; it’s just an annoying cold. I’m going to be sitting out the Halloween festivities tonight because of that, except maybe to take some photos of the partygoers (that is, everybody except me) here in Bretonne. Saturday night will be an 80’s night – since we’re in the middle of nowhere, we have activities planned 24/7. It’s a bit exhausting sometimes, and it’s practically impossible to simultaneously participate in everything, keep up your studies, and retain your sanity.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be translating my C.V. along with some other folks who are interested in staying here for three more weeks after the program is over. We’ll be allowed to speak in English, though French will be encouraged at our workplaces. It sounds pretty good to me, and it would take me to July, and I could then pop over to PEI without guilt and work with my father at the hay if it comes to that. =)

* * *

… Well, it’s really different here. The stores are tiny, you can’t go anywhere without a car, and I’ve never lived in residence before. It’s a perfect storm of things being different. It’s also freezing cold one moment and hot the next (and the wind cuts like a knife), and the cafeteria will be the death of me because I eat more and more every time I visit it. =)

Fortunately, they keep us pretty busy – as you probably know, it’s imperative that they do all they can to keep us from ever getting bored (and consequently wondering why the heck we ever decided to come here!). The people here are great, too – I feel like I have a million friends here and that the outside world doesn’t really exist.

Ah, these are the second trick-or-treaters in a row singing Agadou! (Agadou! Agadou pushes pineapples and grinds coffee! Crunches the apple, taps the pear, pushes pineapples and grinds coffee!) Tonight is a Halloween-themed night (next Wednesday (or Monday?) is Christmas, I think), and perhaps all these activities have taken their toll on me because I’m sick and (ah-choo!) in normal street clothes now. I’m in good spirits (it’s almost impossible not to be, except perhaps in the latest night and earliest morning (ah-CHOO!), but I’m in no condition to be going out. When the next bunch of trick-or-treaters comes around, I’m going to take some photos.

Gah, I’m making so many mistakes as I type this; it’s because I’m really only half-awake in English now. Fully half my brain is devoted to French – I am careful here to say “devoted to” and not “filled with!” Not yet, anyway. I think I’m starting to get a grasp of the time that I will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, =) but it’s a long, long road ahead. I’m not sure what I’ll do next to build on the French I learn here. Maybe I’ll try working in continental Europe? It’s probably not as easy now as it used to be, though. I’m also interested in working for the English version of the Explore program, but my French might not be good enough for that kind of responsibility: “Hi, how are these? My name was Will! Please to be putting your things in your rooms, and you’re here me to talk to any year!”

… One good thing about being here is that I’ve *completely* forgotten about the SMUDS drama. I mean the drama, not the play. =) And here, we’re all adults, and all the people in my residence are 24-25, and my workshop and class have a good mix from all ages. So there aren’t really many problems. It’s really liberating, even considering that we have to speak in a foreign language all the time!
Tags: sainte-anne 2007

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