Saturday, July 30, 2016

Exams and distractions

We just completed our 4th week - one left! Midterms came and went - leaving us a week to learn new things and get ready for the finals. I think back to the schedule at UPeace - and the three week turnover and wonder how that was ever possible.

Last weekend I went whitewater rafting with the school on the Jacques-Cartier river. It was fun, a nice sunny day to compliment the VERY cold water. I was certainly thankful for the wetsuit. The area is beautiful, giant trees and what seem like small mountains... The river is one of the multitudes that feeds the St. Lawrence River. We were told that there has been a lot more precipitation this year than usual - so we were in luck that the water levels were really high. It was a nice adventure - but unfortunately no pictures (as my camera doesn't seem like the type to swim).

Carly and I also got bikes when we got to town. Carly, of course, is super hearty and rides to and from school every day. Alas - the perpetual prairie kid - I struggle with the hills so have been riding the bus to school - and riding the bike home where the route is a bit more forgiving. We went for a ride a bit ago now - just for fun. We followed a path filled with interpretation centres that took us from down by the river up to the Plains of Abraham. I will admit that I pushed my bike up a lot of the hill, but it was a pretty journey. I love the 'shadow' sculptures that crawl up the cliffs to illustrate the text of how the British, against all odds, made it to the plains engage in battle.

Our steeds and the metal ones that are on the route.  
The trip up the hill - and the view from the top. 
I've participated in a few of the school's weekday activities. I went to Wendake, which is a Huron community near to Quebec City. The school had organized the event... so I am not sure where the actual community is - this seemed to be a tourist centre that made me somewhat uncomfortable as it seemed more a costumed representation of vagueness and stereotypes. Perhaps I just didn't understand enough of the content of the tour but ...

I also went on the tour of the Château Louis - which was the original building that is below what is now the Château Frontenac. There isn't much of the building left, as it burned down. When the Château Frontenac was built, they placed the promenade over the remains. It wasn't until recently that it was turned into a museum-ish place that could be toured.

Some of the artifacts from the Chateau Louis
It's been a lot of fun just wandering around the city. I love all the things that make the area near our house interactive and fun outside space. There are fountains and art installations all over the place. I wonder what this city is like in the winter when it isn't inundated with tourists. It seems like everywhere I end up there are interesting things to see and wander through.

These fountains are near our house. I love that there are little people shrieking with joy as they run through every time I go by. There are benches and picnic tables all around which are also filled with happy people. 
I continue to love our patio - aren't the views great? 
A Salvador Dali, a "fountain" and street performer
I LOVE these canoes! 
Construction has to be hard in hilly places. 
One of my favourite bakeries. I had a chicken potpie from here that was AMAZING. 

Tonight we went to Crépuscule - a free outdoor circus-arts show. It was great. A little scary at times, just in that make your tummy flip into knots with worry for other people's well being, kind of way. It was pretty incredible.

From the beginning of the show.
 I hope that wherever you are - summer is treating you to lovely sunny days and tasty treats.
Peace to you~

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Two-Fifths... wowza!

It feels as though time is flying in some regards - and barely crawling along in others. Perhaps it is reflective of where or what we're doing. Classes definitely feel like the 'slow' periods. I do not seem to have the ability to sit for so many consecutive hours listening. Apparently these teachers haven't got the memo about multiple styles of learning and needing to integrate movement and participation. Sigh.

Last week Carly and I went to the Club de Maitres wine and cheese tasting. We had a fun group of people that we were seated with, which made the evening even more enjoyable. Hard to go wrong with events centred on eating and conversation, even when the conversation is a bit stunted by limited vocabulary. Much of the evening was the same as last time even most of same beverages. Still tasty!

This was the first course and my favourite. 
A close second
Unfortunately this was the last course... and the cheeses I liked least. Should have stopped
while I was ahead... Seems sad to eat that many calories for things that aren't so good. 
Carly and I have also been exploring the city and the Festival d'Été which has been great fun. There are so many interesting installations of art around the city. Some that are beautiful, some that tell bits of history, and some that are just weird.

We've been goofballing around. 

An example of the 'odd' art

This is one of the few moments I have seen this sculpture without people in the fountain part
We've been a bunch of really awesome concerts. It's amazing how many people are at everything we go to. I had read that a lot of people plan their vacations around coming and I understand why. The music is great and the atmosphere is really fun. I really love how there are whole families rocking out to all types of music.
The venue closest to our home - which is also a free venue.
When the venue seems full people just start lining the wall or streets. 

Yesterday we went on an adventure to the Île d'Orléans with a stop at the Chute Montmorecy with a new friend, Anne-Marie. It was a lovely sunny day, great for adventuring. The Chute (waterfall) can be viewed from the top or bottom - and also has options for cable car rides or zip lining (neither of which we did).  

The view from the top

There is a bridge that goes over the falls - and the view is impressive. I love the roar that water can make. It's pretty amazing.

The view from the bottom
We stopped and had a picnic at the bottom, which was lovely. Afterwards we continued to the island. The Île d'Orléans seems like visiting a totally different world. It's not very far from Quebec City, but is an area of farming and small independent industry. There are places that make cheese, wine, ciders, vinegars... the fields are filled with berries. It's beautiful. The houses and buildings are also super cute (although for some reason, I didn't take any pictures) old stone or brick buildings. It feels a bit like a storybook land.

We stopped at the Chocolaterie for an ice cream that turned out to be a bit ridiculous. We all ordered smalls - and they were huge!

Unfortunately the timer operated photo decided that the trees were the focal point of the photo...
but you get the idea. 1/2 eaten 'small' icream cones. Craziness. 
This week is week 3 - which means the mid-point tests. I can't say I feel particularly ready for those... but maybe I will be by the time they arrive.

peace to you~

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A return to la belle province (and blogging)

It's been quite some time where the prairie tales were on a digital pause. Life has had a lot of ups and downs since I last 'blogged'. I have finished school and put in two years as a teacher (like a real teacher!) This spring I was granted my continuous contract (!!!), which feels like an awesome accomplishment - although I am aware that I have a tonne more to learn in order to become the teacher I want to be. At the same time as I was getting excited about the end of a school year - and a trip to keep working on French (this time with my love) my father passed away quite suddenly. After a bit of debate we decided to still head to Quebec. So - here we are. I'm hiding from the news - and the world a bit - as my heart just doesn't seem to have the fortitude for the brokenness that seems to be spreading. But many people have been sending notes, checking in, sending love, wanting to hear what we're up to... so I decided I'd try and restart the blog. We'll see how it goes.

So - and update with photos: Ready?

We're staying in a great little AirBnB that Carly found. The landlord seems great, let me know if you need a recommendation. He has a tonne of properties and if they're anything like this one - it'd be a great place to be while adventuring Quebec City.

The view from our petit patio
The festival d'été has just begun. Over the 11 days, there are concerts all over the city. It is crazy how many people are at the things we've been to. One article I said the largest venue can host up to 80,000 people - and I'd guess it was close to that for the opening concert with Sting and Peter Gabriel.

Early evening waiting for City and Colour

Closing act last night with the Lumineers who were awesome! 

Something I love about this city is the amount of art installations that seem to be everywhere. Today, on our way to the market, we encountered this covered bridge (made with pieces of painted thick plastic).

I'm also loving that we're a few blocks from a farmers market that is open every day and filled with delicious things. Carly's in berry heaven - and the blueberries aren't even out yet.

Berries berries everywhere! 

Quail eggs! 
School itself is going well. In many ways there are similarities to the first time I was here. I have lost (misplaced, filed too safely...) much of the French I learned last time, so I am struggling a bit, but that was expected. We've completed the first week - which seems incredible, 4 left!

I hope wherever you are out in the world, that you are well.
peace to you~