1st signs of life

Ottawa. On August 7th I arrived with Air Canada at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (long name^^) & managed to get everything straight at the immigration office. At the exit I was welcomed by the first host family I would stay with during my social community service here in Canada. During the next two days a got to know Ottawa a least a little bit, before I had to take a Greyhound bus on Sunday August 10th to Montréal. So basically I visited downtown Ottawa, that is to say the Rideau Canal, Byward Market, Château Laurier (meanwhile a 5-star hotel), the Rideau Centre as well as Parliament Hill, that is to say the place where the Candian government is situated. Therefore lots of politicians and ambassadors live in this 800000-people city. In fact, Ottawa is Canada's capital and the only official bilingual town, with French & English spoken. Besides just mentioned sights I also went up to the top of the so called Peace Tower (part of the Canadian parliament), where one has a spectacular view over Ottawa and Gatineau.

 

For more information about Ottawa take a look here & here.

 

In the evening my host family invited quite a lot relatives & friends to have dinner and to play cards - in the end I got to know 2 new card games the Canadians love to play. 

The next day, we went to my host family's chalet directly situated at one of the many Canadian lakes. The car you see below, was the one I drove with - well, I got a ride from Jerry, the father within my host family. And the only thing I can say about this car, is, fantastic!!! It's just awesome how it speeds up with more than 200 horsepower. Anyway, at the chalet I did a bit of cayaking, had a photo shooting with some frogs, swam a little bit in the lake and later prepared "Spätzle" for my host family. 

 

On the next morning it was already time to say goodbye to one of the most lovely families I ever lived with!!! Thanks a lot to Margo, Jerry and Catherine for this wonderful time - cya soon...

 

P.S.: The son of my 1st host family is a musician and composed already quite a bit; when he was 18, he made his first demo CD with 5 quite melancholic but great songs - melancholic as his relationship with his girlfriend just broke up. Anybody who would like to listen to some of his songs, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment with your e-mail addy and I'll try to make it possible!!!

 

Here's a link to a competition which is called "Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge". The winning theme will be broadcast as a key part of CBC's program during the 2008-9 hockey season, and potentially beyond.

 

http://anthemchallenge.cbc.ca/home

 

Samuel Bisson, the son of my first host family takes part in this competition; to listen to his theme, click on the link below:

 

http://anthemchallenge.cbc.ca/mediadetail/299474?sort=upload+DESC&uid=101955&moderationstatus=1&offset=0

Montréal. I arrived at about noon on Sunday 10th at some odd bus station somewhere in this huge city and was picked up by my present host family. But instead of going home directly, we did some shopping and went for lunch at a Lebanese restaurant - it was the first time in my life I ate food from that country. While we were eating, we started a conversation and I was told that Nathalie, my new "mom", had lived for several years in Morocco; actually she started swarming about this wonderful country. Suddenly a woman on the table next to us started talking to us as she had listened to our conversation whose subject was indeed her home country. And that's a superb example of what's special about Montréal. Here, all cultures within the world build a giant melting pot - and that, however, is not a myth. On the streets you see people of each existing colour of skin, talking as many languages as you can imagine and eating food from all over the world - but mostly no cheese as that's something which is very very expensive here in Canada because he has to be imported.

Till now I'm very happy here. My host family is excellent as well as the people at school I have met till today - school hasn't started yet. By the way, it takes me about one hour by bus + subway to get to the school, quite a long way each morning. That's why I have to get up at about 06:40 am.

Meanwhile I registered myself at the Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard which is an impressive sport facility which was built for the Olympics in Montréal in 1976. There I started to do some workout at the gym room according to my training schedule I created together with one of the centre's kinesiologists. Besides the work at school (which starts at 8:30 and ends at 15:00/15:30 o'clock) I have to help in the household of my host family, that is to say doing the washing or going with their son Etienne to the park where he plays soccer with other kids. However there's enough free time for me - at least on weekends. Till today I managed to go to Jean-Talon market which is an awesome place to buy fruits and all kinds of vegetables. Besides I visited an art exhibition, went for a walk in the Chinese quarter, took an elevator to the top of the Olympic stadium's tower, listened to an organ concert at Saint Joseph's Oratory on top of the Mount Royal (that's where the city's name derives from), watched U2 3D at some IMAX cinema nearby the harbour and did a lot more... even some cooking. Well, I prepared an apple cake, mango mush as well as mango ice cream. Worked out very well ;-)

On one evening I went to some free concert at the rather new big Apple Store on Montréal's 5th Avenue, Rue St. Catherine where Simple Plan was playing - to make their store well-known, there's like a concert every three days and also DJs rock the turntables; it's pretty cool there and cheaper than in Germany!! Who wants some iPods??????????

Well, what else... oh yeah, there's like an underground city in Montréal so that in winter times the people don't have to shop outside; it's pretty easy to get lost.

Concerning the odd blue sign below... that's kind of funny because it exists in order to tell street musicians when and where they are allowed to play in the tunnels of the subway stations...

More crazy stuff: at Costco, a kind of giant supermarket chain, there's always a woman at the exit who has nothing to do but to check whether everything in your shopping cart is also written down on one's sales slip. Well, one way to create jobs^^... 

 

That's it for now, keep in touch, salut!!!

 

More information about Montréal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal

http://ville.montreal.qc.ca

 

If you want to know something in particular or you want to remind me to continue writing articles as promised for my blog, just leave a comment below or in the guestbook.

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