Guest Blogger: Sister #3-The Quebec Girls

July31

Each summer I am blessed to welcome into my home lovely young ladies from la belle province – Quebec.  They come to take the Explore program at the U of W in order to increase their English abilities.

This summer I welcomed the beautiful Franceska from Saint-Prime, a tiny community on Lac Saint-Jean.  Sister #1 and the Frenchman picked her up from the bus depot as she arrived on an evening when I was out of town for work.  After traveling for than two days she was fast asleep when I got home.  It was odd to not meet her till the next day, but I knew we would get along just great when I saw the gifts she had brought for me from her home town.  Known for their blueberries and cheese making the area produces delicious blueberry preserves and awesome cheese.

Franceska is learning to cook so she was eager to hear my recipes and learn technique. She made me a couple of yummy selections from her growing repertoire.  An especially tasty and easy to prepare treat was her chocolate covered blueberries.  She simply melted a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with two aero bars in the microwave.  Tossed in fresh blueberries, and then dropped them by the spoonful onto wax paper and put them into the fridge to chill.

Later this summer I went to visit two past students in Quebec.  I started my trip with five days at the family farm of my precious Gabrielle, in the town of St. Henri on the Levis side of the St. Lawrence just across from Quebec City.

It was lovely to stay in the country and there were tons of culinary treats that I’ll write more about in blog entries to come, but one highlight was my first ever taste of real poutine.  The Quebec girls always remind me that the version you can get in Manitoba is not the real McCoy. Gabrielle took me up to the family cottage and enroute we stopped at Chez Dany (casse-croûte) in Ste. Henedine for poutine. I now know the squeak that the curds should make and can tell all of my girls I have experienced real poutine.

My next stop was to Montreal to see my first ever Explore student Émilie. She stayed with me three summers ago. At 23, this nurse, who was working on her social work degree, took as much care of me as I took did of her.

Besides a visit with her I was also there to visit with my niece who was studying Explore at the University of Montreal as well as two of my other nieces and a friend who were all there visiting her.  By the time I arrived I was worn out and suffering with a sinus infection.  My nieces were exhausted from a week of staying in a small residence room with no AC and uncomfortable beds.  I had booked a suite that was big and air conditioned.  With Émilie’s help (and French abilities) we were able to get the girls into the cool air. (It was a challenge due to a lack of accessibility- long story). We had a great evening in the suite enjoying pizza and wine and each other’s wonderful company.  So not much has changed, Émilie is still taking care of me.

I love all of my Quebec girls and look forward to meeting the students to come!

Kath’s quotes:  “What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”  A.A. Milne

Love-that is all.


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