Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Leaf-Peeping Tips

Maine leaves, leaf peeping, travel blog

New tagline for Maine: Our state looks like a water-color painting.

I lived in Quebec City last fall and during a magical two weeks, it was like living inside a flame: a swirl of reds, golds, and oranges.

I went back recently to work on a few articles and to knock four more states off my list: Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. My follow-up post will be a leaf-peeping log of the things we did, ate and argued about. Continue reading


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Quebec Language War Caught on Tape


This video makes me laugh. I like that the francophone is wearing a duster and a fedora. Total villan garb.

I don’t think people should ever get in someone’s face and scream at them for not speaking their language. If that happened here to an immigrant, I would punch someone. Learning a language takes years so be patient with those who are learning.

If you’re traveling to the Belle Province, don’t worry about running into a gang of fedora-duster-clad francophones. Unless you’re hanging out in bars at 3:00 am. The most that has ever happened to me was a dismissive wave in a bar.

My husband, however, was yelled at in the street by a tough-as-nails 8-year-old girl who demanded “Pourquoi Anglais?” He laughed it off. Quebec City isn’t like Montreal in that it’s very francophone, by very I mean 98%.

Yes, language is an issue. Most Quebeckers welcomed me when they realized I was American, not Western Canadian. I had an excuse for my horrible French.

And by the way, I immediately enrolled in a language school upon my arrival. I tried and am still trying. They like it when you try, so don’t go there thinking you’re the SH$T and demanding they speak English to you. Learn a few phrases if you’re visiting, learn the language if you’re living there.

I think this could have been solved if the guy spoke a little French. Bonjour?! C’est facile. I think he tried further infuriating the francophone once he realized he was being recorded. Duster guy is kind of an asshole, but by no means represents the rest of the province.

He also has a point, however agressive it’s portrayed. You live in Montreal, you should probably learn a little bit of French.

 


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Travel Writing on the Road

travel writing tips

This is me on vacation (smiling)

 This is me on work (smoking)

(The 1960’s version of me smokes. Judge away!)

I am here. In Quebec, four months after I moved. What am I doing at this exact moment? Sitting in a plush, King-sized bed, surrounded by pillows and chocolates like a Sultan.

Jealous? Don’t be.

This is the part of travel writing everyone knows: The food. The comps. The attractive, overly-attentive staff who hang on your every bite.

The power is exhilerating. I must tell you.

But before you quit your office job, remember this is actual work and takes a lot of patience, attention to detail, and very strong calves. And that the perks make up for a very significant lack in pay. Continue reading


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Advice to the Abroad and Unemployed

job search abroad summer festival quebec

You rock. Job or no job. (Last year’s summer fest)

I am determined to say yes to most things. “YES” to moving to Seattle from Chicago, my hometown. Then YES to moving to Quebec. Then YES out of shear necessity to one-day becoming fluent in French.

Or shall I say Oui.

I find the unbeaten path, covered in brambles and I march down it – unafraid – until I look around and I am completely lost. And I can’t even try that old explorer’s trick because the sun beats down from directly above my head.

That’s kind of where I am right now.

Lost. Without a compass.

Approximately 1 year and a half ago, I gave up my copywriting job. It came with a team I adored and all these hidden benefits: happy hour and that glorious time when you can loudly declare “I SO need a drink. I’ve been BUSTING my ass.” A treasure chest of work gossip “Did you HEAR what SO-AND-SO said to SO-AND SO.” UNBELIEVABLE.

It made me feel like a big shot.

Then came my last day, approximately two weeks before The Big Move. How bad could unemployment be?

Just look a the success of theEverywhereist, a fellow Seattle blogger who travels the world with her husband. She makes a living with her blog. She travels. She writes.

Could I be that kind of awesome?

After a few months of culture shock, I hit my stride and things got good. Very good. I started every meal with a baguette and a spoonful of confiture. I went on field trips with my French class in the middle of the afternoon. Being the only experience and child-free writer in this French-speaking land, I got all the rare writing jobs. I did things like interview Larry Clark and hang out back stage with Couer de Pirate. By hang-out, I mean stare at her and get really nervous and watch a journalist with a faux hawk whip out a notebook and start asking her questions in French (bien sur!). Continue reading


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Reverse Culture Shock? 5 Things to Remember

quebec city, new france, place royale

From New France

To

central park

The Good Old’ USA

I should mention that I don’t live in New York or on a Central Park bench the way this picture would have you believe. A month ago, I moved back to Seattle where I write in my pjs and dream of more travel.

The repat experience goes like this: You have a favorite pair concert tee-shirt that you haven’t worn since high school (for me – the band Rancid is a perfect example). You pull it over your head only to find out that your body has changed. And you’re now questioning the band’s logo: are they still cool? Am I still way into them?

The answer is both Yes and No. Because you have changed. You no longer live for punk, identify yourself as a punk, you just like it. You’ve found new bands and even though you can still recite all the words to Timebomb, your mohawk has turned into a faux-hawk and you’ve traded in those combat boots for chuck taylors.

Quebec might be cold, but the people are warm. There’s no pressure to buy, less pressure to work, and everyone is really polite and soft-spoken. It contrasts sharply with the U.S. even though it’s on the same continent.

I love America, I love being an American, but when I went back, I felt a wave of reverse culture shock. Everyone seemed so loud and in a hurry. No more quaint epicuries. No more watching street circus acts in the middle of the afternoon. No more charming outdoor terraces.

Repatriot Tips:

1. Don’t talk about your experience abroad unless people ask. It’s boring. No one really wants to know what kind of cookies they have in your host country and how you can’t find them here. They really don’t understand and you come across as that pretentious-live-abroad asshole. Trust me. I’ve been on the other side of this many times.

2. Don’t bring a lot of stuff back. I moved back to Seattle and I am still sorting through the boxes, plus all that junk I put in storage. Purchase one or two cool souvenirs – a rug, a painting, something you can look at everyday, and bring it back. Don’t go crazy trying to make your contemporary apartment look like a London flat.  Continue reading


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An expat look back on September 11

Imagine there’s no countries ~ John Lennon

Then

I don’t have a special story, a personal connection, or even a crazy conspiracy theory. Frankly, I am unsure of what to write or if I should be writing about it at all. I don’t want to wallow in the moment or capitalize off of it. But it is a moment that seems significant to me, as a then-20-year-American-college student living on a University campus. 

My 9/11 non-experience goes something like this:

I woke up in my dorm room bed, on top of a plastic mattress cover that squeaked every time I moved. I looked at the alarm: I was late for Linguistics. So I didn’t watch the news that morning. I didn’t realize what had happened until after it happened but I distinctly remember knowing something was different. The halls were unusually quiet; the TVs were unusually loud. Continue reading