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March 12, 2013

Bonjour, merci: Adventures in Canada

Doesn’t Montreal look a little Worcester-esque?

Since coming to college, I’ve become quite the little traveler. I went to New Hampshire, Maine, New York City, and last week I finally left the country! I spent half of my spring break in Montreal, Canada. The first half was spent in my room, in bed, browsing the internet, eating Taco Bell, and occasionally doing yoga. Spending five days in the dark in a near-catatonic state was exactly what I needed to recover from the first half of a hectic semester. I departed for Canada feeling excited and refreshed.

I know Canada doesn’t really seem like the world’s most glamorous vacation spot, especially in the beginning of March, but it was incredibly delightful. Faith, Yuka, Tricia, Sasha, Colby and I all stayed in a hostel that was right in the middle of downtown Montreal, which put us in a prime location for incredible food and shopping. It may have been a little bit colder than other spring break hot spots, such as Florida or wherever people go on spring break, but the city was so beautiful. It was a combination of an old, Parisian city and a typical downtown American location. Think Main South meets Boston.

Our typical day in Montreal would usually consist of three parts: late morning, late afternoon to mid-evening, and finally, nighttime, all of which were separated by naps (that alone is enough to make it the best vacation ever). During the late morning and late afternoon to mid-evening portions of our days, we explored Montreal. Almost everything we needed to get to was within walking distance, and for everything else we took the subway. We spent most of our time walking around and seeing what there was to see around our hostel, including cute cafes, thrift shops, cathedrals, and miscellaneous funky stores. Eat, nap, repeat until about 9, when we would get ready to go out on the town, which was an extremely fun activity for everyone except for Colby; there’s only so much getting ready a man can do. In the late evenings, we would go out, usually to socialize with friends we met in the hostel or to go dancing, or explore the exciting night life of Montreal.

My favorite day trip was to the Olympic Village. It definitely wasn’t in walking distance, so we got to take the metro, which I thought was super exciting. The most interesting people flock to the subways, especially performers. We saw approximately a trillion bands, including one guy who could sing two tones at once! That’s talent, folks. The Olympic Village wasn’t particularly exciting on a surface level, since there was snow everywhere and all the buildings and arenas were closed, but it was interesting to imagine what it was like filled with world class athletes and millions of spectators from all corners of the globe. One of the buildings had been repurposed into a research center/animal observatory, where they created entire ecosystems inside of a building, and another had been turned into a world famous

My friends and me looking super cute on our last night in Montreal

skate park.

Embarrassing confession: I had no idea that people were going to be speaking¬†that much French. I had anticipated a little, but being the American that I am, I assumed that everyone would be mostly speaking English. Boy, was I wrong. There’s nothing more embarrassing than saying “bonjour” to someone in a coffeeshop to try to look native and have them reply in a stream of incomprehensible French words. I don’t speak a lick of French, and it definitely showed. It didn’t take long for me to stop trying to seem like a native and to just say “hey” or “hello”.

I love traveling. I always have and I always will. But no matter how much I love being away, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home. Even though it isn’t technically home, it’s still incredibly comforting to come back to Clark after being away.

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