"Merci" and "Bonne journee" are all you really need.
So, I know I haven't posted in a while. Mostly because I've been tired after long days at work, and partly because I'm not sure what people are interested in hearing about. So, if you have questions about stuff, lay it on me.
Anyway, I'm still working at the cafe selling beaucoup pastries and getting really good at faking my way through transactions in French. It's amazing what a "merci" and a "bonne journée" do to convince people you actually speak French. I've even gotten to say "Bon appetit!" unironically. The actual job itself would normally be more taxing physically than mentally, but the language challenges keep my brain pretty interested. And it's really helped my ability to smoothly handle my own transactions when I go to stores or restaurants. The one downside is that pastries are not holding quite the allure that they used to. When you have unlimited pan au chocolat and canelés at your disposal, they don't seem quite so great anymore.
What's been super-interesting in the many chats I've had with customers (we get a lot of the same people every day) is how knowledgeable they are about the goings on in the U.S. They knew the details about the Kavanaugh hearings, they know about midterm elections next week, they know about every Trump gaffe, from his having toilet paper stuck to his foot to not knowing how to close an umbrella. I had no idea other countries, even ones as geographically close as Canada, were that engaged in U.S. politics. I know I certainly didn't pay much attention to their politicians (except to drool over Trudeau), so I assumed everyone else was as self-involved as we Americans. They aren't. The one thing they've had difficulty understanding is why everyone voted for him if we all hate him so much. I've realized the Electoral College is hard to explain. And when I complain about the foolishness of Canadian stuff to coworkers, they are quick to remind me, "At least our elections are won by the people with the most votes." Touché.
Hmm, what else have we learned about the differences here? Well, I think I've mentioned before that everything here requires appointments, but I'm learning it goes deeper than that. I called the Montreal version of the DMV to make an appointment to exchange my driver's license for a Quebec one (literally, I'm handing them a few pieces of paper so that they'll hand me a license-- that's all it is, but you can't just walk in and do that), and the appointment time I was given was 2 months from now and in the middle of the day. TO EXCHANGE A DRIVER'S LICENSE. Insane. And no one seems to acknowledge that if you have a job, this appointment process makes life a huge hassle. Additionally, the registration process on my car has officially been going on for almost 3 months. In order to register your imported car, you have to have it inspected by 2 different types of places, that (of course) are only open Monday through Friday between 9 and 3. Oh you have a job? Oh well. My biggest victory has been finding a dentist who actually has appointments on Saturdays.
Also, I tried ketchup chips. They aren't so bad.
Outside of work and the strange bureacracies of Montreal, Chris and I have been trying to take advantage of the still survivable temperatures to go out and do things. Today's activity was checking out the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal. Earlier this year, the Quebec government pledged a financial investment into several of the province's museums so that admission could be free on the first Sunday of every month. So we took advantage. The museum is huge and beautiful, and full of some amazing works. And we got to feel all cultured.
What else is going on? We're still exploring all the new restaurants and neighborhoods, and figuring out what the right weight of jacket is for the day's weather forecast. Oh also, I dyed my hair a few weeks ago now that I don't have to worry about looking professional.
What else do you wanna know?