Looking for Julie, I had earlier stumbled upon the information meeting of the residence that she was staying in. This time I found her, along with Jessica, and both were dressing up to the 9s. Jessica had also been hanging around – she went to her old residence and sat in on the meeting, providing advice and information to the new students as needed. She was like a kid in a candy store. (I wonder about her, though – after all, she took the Conversation for Beginners workshop when she didn’t have to and actually loved it. Kidding! Kidding! I enjoyed my time with that workshop, too.)
Across the way, Liam and his friend Luc were hosting a “balcony workshop” that featured beer and invited me to chill with them for a bit. Some time later, Tara (co-host of the theatre workshop and the Prefect during the last session) turned up, and we asked her in French if the contracts had been signed. They had, so it was back to good ol’ French.
The theatre for said contract signing was reportedly jam-packed – so much so that they asked returning students to sit on the stage! A big crowd turned up at the Château, too – impressive considering that most summer-session students aren’t drinking age (currently 19 in Nova Scotia). Or legal drinking age, anyway! ;-p During the spring session, they gave “dry” bracelets to those who couldn’t drink, as there were only a few. During the summer session, they give “wet” bracelets to those who can drink, as there are only a few! (The bracelets, which can be applied only once, are expensive.)
Incidentally, there’s another inversion between the sessions, that being the number of official warnings. The difference is approximately eightfold: ~25 for this spring versus ~200 for a typical summer session. The outgoing Prefect expressed her profound happiness that the job was going back to its usual holder. Not a moment too soon, eh? I’m sure she could have managed, though – she’d have found a way.
The wine and cheese was a splendid time. It was good to kick back and chat in French again – I now acknowledge that the dynamic really is quite different when we do. Julia even said to me (about ten minutes after the contract burning) “Wow, Will, you’re a lot meaner in English!” I wonder how much of it is the language itself (how much is attributable to French being French) and how much is our proficiency level in the language (how much is attributable to our being pre-Fluent™ learners at various stages).
In any case, though I am not yet Fluent™ in French, I am conversant with immersion and do not find it unduly stressful. It certainly has a long-lasting effect on me, though – even now, weeks after it’s over, I’m worrying about how I’m going to arrange for such-and-such a complex thing to be done, and I suddenly realize “Hey! I’m worrying about nothing! I can just do this in English!” Good ol’ English!
I am certainly misunderstood less in English, and I misunderstand less often. One of my Young Canada Works mates came away from a French conversation with the idea that I was a big Conservative. (Ino, rite?) Sheila, the woman whom I am staying with, had brought this up because she’d heard it from him when she was driving some of the YCW folks home from work, and she was prepared to ask me to sleep outside if the story had been true. ;-p Heh. I had said that I was prepared to give the devils their due – 0.9% more of the vote and 25 more seats? That’s an incredible, excruciating effort – but I also said that it belies the fact that Canada has most emphatically not fallen in love with conservatism or the Conservatives. It’s true that I’ve been a Progressive Conservative supporter in the (very distant) past, but that party doesn’t exist federally anymore (save a micro-caucus), and the provincial ones are filled with many of the same people, so they might as well go and drop the “Progressive” there, too. It’s just a name, right?
Getting back to the wine and cheese, it was also nice to get a chance to speak with several facilitators whom I knew of but whom I hadn’t really met and engaged in conversation. But all too soon, my charges (those urchins depending on me for a ride) were telling me over and over again that they were ready to leave, and so it became time to leave.
When we got to the apartment, it became apparent to me why they were in a hurry – the cracker boxes they were carrying were stuffed with all different sorts of fine cheese! Amanda was particularly pleased – the aroma and flavor drove her to writhe on the floor and feign copulatory vocalizations. Remind me to get the name of that cheese. We settled in to watch Seinfeld on Dale’s laptop, though I left after one episode as I still had miles to go before I slept.
Dale also told me that he’d found a windshield for his Civic (they searched at least two salvage yards) and gotten everything arranged including on-site installation for less than $300. I think he told me $270. Ouchywawa indeed, but it could have been a lot worse. His car yet lies in the parking lot on campus – I joked that it’s an effective warning to others. (I know that I for one will not be setting foot on any car roofs anytime soon.)
I got back to Meteghan safely (during the 15 kilometre drive on Highway 101 I didn’t see a single other car) and went to bed, but not to sleep – perhaps it was all the cheese and the smoking around me, but in any case I didn’t fall asleep until 5.
Still, I got a few good hours of sleep and got to work in time for a long, busy day. I really like this work placement and it’s a great sadness to me that it’s a mirage: if it were real and I were healthy, I’d take it in a heartbeat. As it is, I’m basically free labour for the CAP site and that ends when Heritage Canada and Université Sainte-Anne stop supporting my salary. It’s been good – by being tasked to do odd little things here and there I’ve been getting a free self-education in programs like The GIMP, Inkscape, Publisher… I guess to some extent a lot of it is stuff I should know already if I am in fact the Netizen that I aspire to be, but I’d never taken the trouble before to learn how certain things work because it just wasn’t necessary. Here it’s, “Well, you’re good with computers, do this!” And, somehow, I find a way.
By the way, I think free (in all senses of the word) programs like The GIMP and Inkscape should be part of any CAP site workstation image. I’m sick of having to re-download them again and again. If you’re not going to put on, say, Photoshop and Illustrator, (and I don’t blame you, as those programs cost a bundle) you need to have some sort of equivalent.
Today I had a somewhat shorter day, but I felt the hours just the same. I screwed myself up a bit yesterday because after I misprinted the time of a particular workshop on a bunch of leaflets I was obliged to correct them – for a person with healthy wrists, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but it threw me into pain for the rest of that day and even into today. And all I did was write “1:30 – 3:00” 40 or 50 times! Maybe I should have done several sets of 10 or many sets of 5. I could have, too. It’s not like this is a call centre.
Also, doncha hate it when you’re eating and you have to pick cat hair out of your food? There are at least two cats here, including one longhaired feline that I call “Public Enemy Number One”. It gets into everything, and it makes its presence felt by purposefully shedding over all my things. Gah! Few things grind my gears more than pet hair. My room also makes me sick – it was where the cats stayed prior to my arrival, there was even a bed for them there – but fortunately I only have three more nights in it. (Or two? Nobody’s stopping me from heading for Bedford on Friday at 4pm! Alert Mr. Keith!) I’m getting used to it, though. It’s not like I need the Benadryl every night.
Asked Nick, when we were pulling our stuff in late last Thursday night and I eyed the cat: “You don’t have allergies, do you?” Great time to ask. ;-p I don’t blame Nick, though – he’s running around like a headless chicken these days.
And with that I think I’ll wrap this up. I was tempted to change “heading for Bedford” to “limping home to Bedford”, but that would have ruined the reference to the old Keith’s TV commercial.