Yesterday, while skyping with my parents, they made me realize it has been a month since I took off to Canada. “Times flies when you’re studying”. Now, I know that might sound a bit boring, which it, I have to admit, sometimes is. There is so many places I would like to visit and things I would like to do here, that, from time to time, it feels like a waste of time to be studying ‘all the time’. So, I take my days off to discover Canada.
Last Friday I had a great day out with Mélissa, who I met during summerschool in Montreal. She is really Québécois and I am pretty Dutch: that results in all kinds of funny – and sometimes awkward – conversations and interesting discussions about language and culture. So when we drove into a little town where we were having lunch with her mom, she took on the role of tour guide explaining this was the historical centre of the village, and, according to her, “it was pretty old”. My facial expression gave me away – as it always does by the way – because to me it seemed fairly modern and new. This was not the first conversation we had about this subject: Europe and America have very different standards when it comes to the question what is old and not. Living in the oldest city in the Netherlands I struggle with the Canadian definition of ‘old’. At least, it makes for funny conversations and a good laugh.
At lunch, Mélissa and her mother made me try some Canadian foods. As entrée we had a potage de maïs, which basically is potato soup with mais, and as dessert, the famous Québécois tarte au sucre, a cake of sugar. Suprise, suprise, it was sweet. It took me a couple of bites to get used to the structure of the cake, but now I really like it – something that I cannot say (yet) about poutine.
After lunch, Mélissa and I went kayaking in Grandes-Piles: we had an amazing time! And a great exercise… It was pretty windy and on our way back, which was supposed to be easier because of downstream, we – mostly I, I have to admit – seemed to have no control over the kayak’s direction. The result: Mélissa had a great lesson in Dutch swearing. Even though I had some kayak struggles, it was amazing: I love the nature and the outdoor experience here!
My next trip will also involve kayaking and pretty nature: I am leaving for the US tomorrow! I am flying to Fargo where – after almost 2,5 years – I will be reunited with Amanda. We are going on a small road trip on the West coast of Lake Superior: from Duluth we will drive all the way to the Canadian border and visit several of the Minnesota state parks where we go hiking, camping and kayaking. After a week we drive down to Minneapolis where we will stay a couple of days with Amanda’s parents and do some city tripping. Miranda – who I haven’t seen in six months – will also join there. You can probably imagine how excited I am about visiting a new country – a small part of it at least – and being reunited with my American friends! Blogs will have to wait until I get back though…
For those of you who have been on the West Coast of Lake Superior and/or in the Twin Cities, what are the must-sees and your favorite places in the area?