I am writing from deep in Quebec, at the Hotel des Seigneurs, in beautiful Saint Hyacinthe. I'm covering a conference of Quebec audiologists, if you can believe it.
Okay, the speakers are all English so it's not that hard.
But I must admit to feeling inadequate everytime I venture into Quebec as a unilingual anglophone. I feel guilty for not sticking with my French courses, even though everybody here nicely switches to English. I wonder what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot, if I had mastered the second language. Would I look down on pitiful people like me and mock them? Of course I would.
I'm thinking that I might invest in one of those French courses you do over the Internet so I don't have to practise in public and embarrass myself before hoards of French-speakers who would sit impatiently as I tried to make myself clear in thought and deed.
I entertain these flights of fancy now and then, but I admit that I'm too damned lazy to make the effort, which means I deserve everything I get -- terrible jobs and an unfulfilled life.
Sometimes I wish I could have a do over.
In any case, Saint Hyacinthe is one of the quaint little Quebec towns with a wonderful farmers' market in the middle. This morning, we bought our weekly fruits and vegetables including a half bushel of McIntosh apples, six huge leeks, a ten pound bag of beets, ciliriac and five pounds of onions, all for less than twenty bucks! That same haul at the Ottawa Farmer's Market would cost us twice that price. In fact, the last bunch of beets I bought had six tiny beetroots for five bucks.
This afternoon, we'll be listening to an American psychologist who treats people with hearing difficulties. When I think about my own self-esteem issues regarding my lack of French-speaking abilities, I can just imagine how people who can't hear must feel.
I'm always amazed at how people with enormous challenges rise above and manage to live extraordinary lives.
Food for thought. And food for my tummy.
Thanks, Saint Hyacinthe!
Must go and pack.
See you back in Ottawa.