My first week in Trois-Rivières

Bonjour! Well I’ll start off by saying how much I already miss each and every one of you. Life is different without having a mom nagging me to pick up after myself, or friends walking into my house without warning 🙂 Tomorrow, it’s already been a week since I’ve left, and the time has definitely flown by. As much as I miss you all, I am still having an awesome time in Trois-Rivières!

As you all know, I left last Saturday morning at 6 o clock, without any sleep for the past two nights. The plane arrived in Winnipeg and I waited for about an hour and a half before boarding the plane to Montréal. From the airport, I took a bus to the downtown bus station, and I waited for about 2 hours before getting on a bus that took me to Trois-Rivières (approximately 2 hours long). I then took a taxi to the Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivières and found out where my apartment and room was located. Lucky for me, I was placed in the new residences, but unfortunately I’m in apartment 8 (the top floor). You can honestly feel it getting hotter and hotter as you climb up the stairs, and trust me, humidity and a girl from the prairies don’t mix well together. I have three other girls living with me – Shereen, Mariam, and Carla – all of whom are from Ontario. The apartment is absolutely gorgeous and gigantic, and each of us get our own room. I was supertired and after I found out that we have to get breakfast at 7:30 (meaning we wake up at 6:30, which is 4:30 SK time), I almost died. The next day, I woke up and walked straight to the grocery store to buy my own cereal so I could save myself from getting up so early. Still, classes start at 8:30 every morning but it’s nice to have the extra hour.

On Monday, everything began. We took a pre-test, which determined what level of French we were at. I got into Intermediate so you might think, “oh yay, out of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, Janelle did pretty good” but get this: all of the people in my class got between 26% and 28% on the pre-test. Worst I’ve ever done on a test? Most likely. But apparently, that’s a good mark so I’m not complaining. At 9 o clock that night, everyone had to take an oath stating they would always speak in French unless there’s an emergency. Basically if I get caught speaking in English at any time in any place, I will get a red card and I will have to do janitorial work the next day. I will also get a point taken away. At the beginning, we start with five points, and once we get to zero, we’ll be sent home. So if I do speak English, I have to be very careful where I speak it, and who I speak it to. It’s so weird because since I’m around so much French, I’ve actually been starting to think in French, and mix my English and French words together, and this is only the fifth day!

On Tuesday, we got the day off since it was Canada Day. At nine pm, Mariam and I took a taxi to centre-ville (downtown). It was absolutely amazing there, like being in a completely different country. The main street was closed off and filled with people, and everywhere you looked, people seemed to be having a great time. We met up with all of our friends, but quickly separated. Mariam, Kristin, and I went to a little coffee shop until eleven and then we all met up yet again to watch the fireworks together by the river. After the fireworks, we called for a taxi to take us back to l’université but after waiting for a half hour, we decided we should walk home. Keep in mind our first class was the next day. I stupidly wore heels because I wasn’t expecting to walk anywhere, and I definitely felt the blisters forming on my feet as we walked home. After an hour of walking, we finally arrived at one and enjoyed our short sleep.

Wednesday we had our first day of class. I still haven’t heard my teacher speak a word of English, and I doubt I will because she doesn’t know any. Our class starts at 8:30 and goes until 12:06 (official board rules), and I have the same class from Monday to Friday. I’m probably one of the youngest people in my class, as well as in the program. In my class, the oldest person there is 62! There are many parents in the program who have brought their kids as well. In the afternoons, we have ateliers (workshops). On Wednesday afternoon, we had to sign up for the ateliers we wanted, and I signed up for Conversation intermédiaire (conversations in French) and Laboratoire français (learning French with the help of a computer). The rest of the day was filled with information about the coming weekend.

Thursday (yesterday), everyone was extremely tired. We started off with our class, had lunch, and went to the workshop. Mariam and I could hardly keep ourselves awake during the workshop, but it was still pretty fun. We had the Conversation intermédiaire and it was pretty much like speed-dating, so we talked to a different person every three minutes. After the workshop, we had supper and then went back to the apartment. My roommates and I stayed up talking until one, which sucked in a way cause I was planning to catch up on sleep. It’s great to have roommates that are so easy to talk to, and I’ve already gotten to know them really well.

Today, I had class as usual, and was given a lot of homework for the weekend. I forgot to mention that my teacher’s nickname is Madame Devoirs (Mrs. Homework), because she assigns homework every single night. We don’t have ateliers on Fridays so I basically have the whole afternoon off until supper. After supper, we have the Bal costumé. I still haven’t figured out what kind of costume I’m going to wear to it but I will eventually. I hope everyone is having a great time wherever they happen to be, and I hope to hear from you all during my time here, in Trois-Rivières. Thanks for reading! Love always, Janelle

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