Groundhog in Burrow -
Université Laval Campus
QUÉBEC, Canada
June 11, 2013

I've been cramming like crazy. This FLÉ program is a whole lot more intensive than Free French was. Hours spent in the classroom are roughly the same (approaching six every day) but now there's a lot more homework, a lot more tests, and a lot more focus on getting the rules of grammar exact.

Unexpectedly, I've found my level of spoken French is far more fluid than that of most of my classmates. Most of them hail from other provinces in Canada. I'd guess the majority of them have been learning French since elementary- or middle school. But, that's been time learning by the book: they'd never been in an enviroment that demanded speaking the language regularly.

It's strange to no longer be the sole student who is a native English speaker. While I realize that I must also have a thick accent myself, I find it highly amusing to be surrounded by other people who sound like, well, who sound like Americans trying to speak French.

Today, I gave a final presentation for my culture and history class. Despite practicing beforehand I didn't pull it off as well as I'd hoped. I suppose that given the fact I'm neither used to speaking in front of groups nor entirely in French it wasn't so bad. We'll see how the grade turns out...

On top of being so busy with studies, I have the added complication of having to move house at the end of term, just a few days from now. The landlords of my off-campus room have sold the place. The new owners aren't interested in keeping the basement as a converted apartment, which is a real shame. I have so enjoyed living in this spot and I only have the second, final 5-week session of FLÉ remaining this summer.

I chanced into this home of the past year when I desperately needed to a new place to settle. It's been perfect. Though small, it's a fully furnished apartment; I've often had no other roommate to share the premises. It's a 15-minute walk from bedroom to classroom. Though I chose the area solely based on price (cheap) and proximity (close to campus), it affords the odd distinction of living in the "chi-chi" part of town. It happens to be located in a quarter of Québec City called "Sillery," an area that might be akin to dropping that I live in "Bel-Air" or "Knightsbridge". Most homes here are old, expensive, and exclusive affairs. Every time a fellow student or local has asked which part of town I live in, there's been an automatic kowtowing to snob factor that I have to laugh at.

"Ooh... ? You live in Sillery!"

"Uh, yeah. Sort-of. I guess I do... "

Snail Slides up my
Bedroom Window
Though I can't stay on at this location for long. Immediately after my last exam on Friday I'll move my stuff out and across town. Though only three days out, that date seems so very far away, now. I have so much French to stick into my head. So many exams to take...

I had already booked a reservation to rent a car to move my things but an even better solution fell into my lap. When former classmate Siliu heard that I needed to move she insisted that her friend with car would happily let us borrow it for an afternoon to schlep my stuff. So, I've cancelled the rental reservation hoping that I'll have a car free to borrow. I guess there's no end to guanxi, is there?

Though my stuff will be moving across town, I myself won't be living anywhere else for another three weeks. I've decided that I am definitely hitting the road between terms. The weather in Québec City has been miserable over the past month, raining most days. Even if that lets up, I'm always excited to be out on the move. I've booked a string of trains, buses, and rideshares all the way to Chicago and back again. It's an overland route well-familiar to me now, though with variations this time. I made a point to add somewhere new to me so have thrown in three days visiting Detroit just because I've never been anywhere in Michigan and am curious to see what's out there.

Okay, I'd better get to bed. The oral comprehension exam for my grammar class will be early tomorrow morning. Then, I have both an exam in my culture class and a debate to present, Thursday. The last of my final exams will be a grammar test, Friday.

I'd better hit the sack.