I had Histoire de L’Art (Art history) this morning. All I can say is that it will be a challenge. The professeur was very nice and told me if I have trouble with anything to email him, and I might be able to write the exams in English too. He talks very very very fast, and with a thick accent and many idioms, so it was the most challenging experience I have had here so far. I think I need to keep my Thursdays open after this 2 hour class to avoid my brain decombusting. After all three of my classes this week i have learned quite a bit but have no idea what my homework is! (If there was any) I have started to meet some students but I don’t know how good my French is, or if Ishould try to speak English. I feel like a lobster that decided to try bowling. But that’s ok! I am here for the experience, and it is still only the first week!
I found an amazing place for lunch: “Juliette et Chocolat” -a chocolate bar-café! Everything on the menu is chocolate oriented, and then they have fantastic salads and buckwheat crepes, and Mighty Leaf tea. I found my new favorite hangout! I had a buckwheat crepe stuffed with ham, fromage, freshly made basil pesto and the mostly perfectly blanched baby potatoes I’ve ever had. The tea was really really good, and they somehow managed to find the Mighty Lead brand in looseleaf cannisters, not tea bags, which I highly approve of.
So much chocolat! And it is just one block from my new appartement -scandalous!
After lunch I paid my rent for the next twelve months and walked away from my “locateur/propriètaire” (landlord/rental company) with a copy of my lease papers. I discovered that I am responsable for shoveling snow off my balcony in the winter, so I guess I need to buy a small snow shovel!
I also embarked on the grand journey to acquire an OPUS metro pass. This includes traveling to Station Berri-UQAM and waiting in a line up the length of 7 city blocks for two hours with every other university student in Montreal. You have your picture taken and they print out a plastic chip card for you, that’s all. Then you wait in an equally long line up inside the Metro station to put $180 on the card to have four months of unlimited travel on Montreal Transit. I am very glad I had a book in my purse to read while waiting in that lineup. I also had to bring a copy of my lease, a signed, engraved, stamped piece of paper from the conservatory, and my student card and BC Drivers License. Such a lengthy process, I think they could improve this a little!! I also discovered in the process that this is the Metro station where the Greyhound bus service is located. My parents will be sending my parcels to me via Greyhound cargo bus, and that is where I will be picking them up in a week or so.
I am still trying to decide which Internet provider to go with. I think I will have to spend $40-50 per month, plus an activation cost and router rental. There are some cheaper companies but they have many bad reviews and complaints, which makes me quite hesistant to go with them. I have narrowed my choices down to ColbaNet and Videotron. I know the Conservatoire uses Videotron, and they are rated as the #1 Best Provider of Quebec. I am going to go into their store on Saint Dénis tomorrow and ask some questions. I am very surprised that nobody seems to offer student internet packages! The secretary at school told me that the internet companies here try to suck every last penny out of you; I have been forewarned!
I had dinner at Blanche-Neige (Snow White) Diner on Côte-des-Neiges. I noticed that while many restaurants are more expensive here, some are much cheaper. This is one of several restaurants I have found where for $8.99 you can have a soup, main course (salad, rice, fries, protein), thé ou café or jus (tea, coffee, or juice), and a déssert! The food is fairly good quality for such a good deal too! I think I like Restaurant Saint-Hubèrt more than Blanche-Neige, but I also have yet to try the mildly “fameuse” Blanch-Neige breakfast menu! Maybe on Saturday!