24 March, 2012

Laurentians 2010

It was October in Montreal. On my way to school I saw the leaves changed their color to yellow, orange or red. It meant summer was finished. In the classroom, Yuki was holding a sheet which looked like a traveling synopsis. I asked her what it was, and she answered it was the information for going to see maple leaves in the Laurentians. She then politely asked me if I would join her, I unabashedly said yes.

We took a small bus from Montreal to Laurentians with a Chinese travel agency. After the bus arrived to a place which has a huge lake, we took a boat to see many maple trees around the lake. The place was supposed to be a very beautiful landscape, unfortunately it was raining and quite cold that day so the effect of the pictures I took was not very good.

After the sightseeing with the boat, the bus took us to a place called Tremblant which is a famous spot for skiing in winter, well known for sightseeing in the fall. I saw many colorful buildings which made me feel like I was in a fairy tale. I was shocked when the tour guide told us to take a cable car to the top of mountain. I didn't feel very comfortable to be kept into a small box and watch myself away from the ground. However, it seemed like I had no other choice but to climb the mountain. On the top of the mountain it was not only unbelievably cold but also there was nothing to see. Thus, we rushed to the cable car and back to the middle of mountain. I aimlessly walked around the place to take as many pictures as I could before the meeting time. There were some hotels, SPA places, restaurant, shops and so on. I wish I have a chance come back here for skiing one day.

14 March, 2012

Moving downtown

I moved downtown before the winter came. I heard many people say that the lowest temperature is -30C in Montreal. I didn't even want to think about how cold this could be, I just thought if I needed to wait for a bus in below zero temperature in the morning, I would rather die. Coincidentally, I heard a Japanese girl who was looking for an apartment so I asked her if she would be my roommate, and she agreed.

Finding a place was not easy. We looked on some websites, asked some friends if they knew if any place was available and we ended up finding a perfect apartment which our school helped us to find. The place was a 3 1/2 with two double beds in each room. By Asian standards, it seemed like a very big place for two girls to live in. The apartment was located downtown so it was quite convenient and I just needed to walk for 7 minutes to reach the metro station.

Not long after we moved in, my roommate and I organized a house warming party to celebrate our new life. Actually my roommate Yuki and her friend Maki did everything because I was not a good cooker at that time. I could only be a helper. Yuki jokingly complained the potatoes became very thin after I peeled them....    

12 March, 2012


One day, my boyfriend said he wanted to bring me to a place. We took the metro to the beginning of the hell long walk Square-Victoria station. After that, we walked through the old port where we could see the small shape of the weird building on the other side of the Saint Lawrence river. On our way, we didn't talk much but I was happy that he fulfilled his promise which was to show me around the city. I behaved like a three year old kid and kept asking questions. "What's this? What's that?" After we saw a huge flour factory, we crossed a bridge and arrived to the place called HABITAT 67, finally. This is an apartment which combines many cubic rooms and which looks like my childhood magic blocks or my fake Legos. The design of the building was amazing, every room could get natural light from each side. I asked my boyfriend what would the building be if an earthquake happened? Hoping it would not have the same ending as my knowledge tower.

On our way home, the Kidney smuggler...I meant my boyfriend took me to another way and I found out there was a station very close to HABITAT 67. So if you want to visit this atypical building, there are a few options:
1. Driving car.
2. Taking metro to Jean-Drapeau metro and walk around 50mins.
3. Taking metro to Square-Victoria and walk around more than an hour. I call it the healthiest way...

For more info please click HABITAT 67

06 March, 2012

Making out in public

Some countries are really open-minded but some are not. It is important to know the rules of a country before you go. It can save you the kind of problems Samantha got in Abu Dhabi (see Sex and the City II ;)).

In Montreal, I frequently saw couples making out in public. I didn't get a culture shock when I saw it for the first time. I understand that it is their culture, and so I respect it. However, I saw a couple dressed in uniforms who looked like high school students, and who were French kissing on the bus. I pretended that I hadn't seen anything and I stayed very calm, but I still felt a thousand horses were running in my head at that moment. Hoping my future kids are not gonna do this... though I expect myself to be a cool mother some day.

I've never seen my parents holding hands, let alone kiss. It's the same situation in every Taiwanese family (except the younger generation or the families who immigrated from other countries). Despite having been influenced by the western culture since I started watching Hollywood movies, it's not acceptable for Taiwanese society. If a couple is making out in public, the populace will probably give them a disdainful look, like if they were making love publicly.

My local boyfriend and I certainly kiss and touch one another on metro, bus, park, and everywhere. Now I think that is a cute way to show we're really into each other (by the way, I'm old enough to do it), even so, if I went back to my country, I still wouldn't do it because I ought to respect my culture as well.

01 March, 2012

Learning languages

I was studying in a language school. Aside from learning English and French, I could also learn some other languages from those foreign students (like me). A bunch of students were speaking Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean... and so on. I noticed Japanese and Korean students learned Spanish with Latin students, likewise, Latin students learned those two Asian languages. I learned a few words of Spanish and Korean as well. We often start with bad words which everybody learn faster than polite words in every language. And people always took pleasure in teaching their language to others. However, I gave up learning Spanish, I still can't pronounce the double R sound perfectly, after practicing for half a year. Wait a second! why nobody wanted to learn Mandarin?! 

To my surprise, many students I know in my school speak some other languages fluently. I knew a Brazilian girl who spoke Portuguese, English, French and understood Spanish, and a Korean girl who spoke Korean, Japanese, English and French. I heard my Korean friends said that apart from learning a first foreign language (usually English), they had to opt a second foreign language in high school, such as Japanese, Mandarin or French... and so forth. Indeed, many Korean students tend to take a gap year to study abroad to foster their global view when they are in university. What a highly competitive country.

Whereas, I was so ashamed of myself, and I wondered how I spent my teenage years. I told myself that I had to study hard but not for competing with those smart teenagers. I just simply wanted to get my English skills better and better, which was the reason I came here in the first place.