Bilingue IV

Some of the things I love about la ville de Quebéc:

The bins towering with Quebéc apples in front of Provisioners. You have to go apple picking, said John, handing me a bag with some of the Macintosh's that he and Marie-Josée had picked. Later, Russ delivered some biologique Cortlands.

Les oies neige sur grève du fleuve St. Laurent.

Avenue Cartier around five, when the light slants in from the west and yellow leaves flutter through the busy steps of people stopping for groceries, to chat, or bustle past to Grand Allèe, to the south, or Blvd. René-Levesque, in the opposite direction.

La passion pour la langue française.

Toute l'histoire. Toutes les boulangeries. Beurre d'erable avec gâteau aux bluets.

St. Patrick's Cemetery with all the Irish names, so many Mary's, or Irish men having married Marie's, Marie-André, Marie-Christine.

Après mes reunions avec Marie et Mireille, avec mes étudiantes. Lanuguage is a gift we give to one another. I think of people who cannot communicate their simplest wants and needs, and beyond them, people who have acquired that basic skill, but cannot converse, enjoy the simple exchanges that allow us to know one another. Lanugage is the field we explore. Still nervous in shops, that I will say the wrong thing, or misunderstand and give the wrong reply. I said the right thing in le magasin d'écriture, avez-vous un photocopieur, and when the man directed me to another place, I heard and understood him, and then, as the remainder of his words fell like an isolated shower, I drifted in my mind. I know the same thing happens with Mireille, at least, on my part and on hers. Perhaps with the students, too. We approximate and misunderstand. Now I know that Mireille is going to Gatineau after Halloween. But I was not sure before.

Après la visite de ma soeur et ma nièce. It was easier, because I spoke English with them and did not try as hard in the shops. When shopkeepers noticed us speaking English, they just assumed we would prefer it. That led to some slight misunderstanding at la musée de civilization, where we went to see the opening of Aqua. Yet, au resto l'échaudé, un homme a pensé que j'ai été francophone. Il m'a écouté parler français avec la serveuse. Ah, ça marche quelquefois. Hier, quand je suis retourneé à la musée, j'ai parlé français toute la journée. Tres approprié parce que j'ai visité l'exposition de Québec. Et aussi aujourd'hui, d'achat du fromage et du vin.

35,000 words in the average French dictionary. And all the ways they can be used? So much to learn. Samedi matin -2, with réfroid éolian driving it lower. Hmm. Do I really want to be here in winter?

Yet, perfect hot chocolate at the chocolate musée with John and Marie-Josée, who had just finished the edits to her new book. Later, a fine dinner chez Ron, with Carlene's leek soup, salmon on a base of greens, red peppers and oranges; wine, cheese and brandy courtesy of Russ, and another apple cake from me. I may even have found a suitable hat!

The month ends with children on the street in costume, Jeane D'arc Garden and its wonderful ghouls, City Hall, aka the witch's lavoir. Snow is predicted and has already fallen in Montreal and the eastern townships.