And so the great voyage begins, see you in Vegas


Exchange to Montreal 2007/2008

So I can now practically count the hours I have left in this fantastic city I'm getting stupidly emotional. Jenna nearly cried on the Metro the other day and Bianca doesn't want to talk about it because its too sad. Scarlett leaves for England tomorrow and before she goes we're having one last immigrant party at Jenna's, a BBQ in ode to the beautiful weather we're currently having.

I've kinda forgotten about the exams I'm supposed to be doing this week (oooopppps!!) and am spending my time packing my life away and sunbathing in my garden. I'm excited about the big trip however it is almost getting shrouded in a big black cloud of Montreal sadness. I massively love this city and can really see me spending a lot more time here. Also I think we have become fairly well adapted to life here over the past 9 months, I found a stupid list of things "You know you're a Montrealer when...." but it is seriously spot on:

  • You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction.
  • You say "I have to stop at the guichet before we get to the dep."
  • You pronounce it "Muntreal", not "Mahntreal"
  • Your only concern about jaywalking is getting a ticket.
  • You understand and frequently use terms like"'unilingual," "anglophone" and ''francophone."
  • You have to bring smoked meat from Schwartz's and bagels from St-Viateur.
  • You refer to Tremblant as "up North."
  • You know how to pronounce Pie IX.
  • You believe to the depth of your very being that Toronto has no soul you.
  • PFK is finger lickin' good.
  • You've seen Brother Andre's heart.
  • The margarine in your fridge is the same colour as lard.
  • You've been to the Tam Tams, and know they have nothing to do with wee Scottish hats.
  • You encounter bilingual homeless people.
  • You have yet to understand a single announcement made on the Metro PA system, no matter what the language.
  • You don't find it weird that there's a strip club on every corner Downtown.
  • You like your pizza all-dressed and it costs 99 cent.
  • You know the spoon man in front of Ogilvy's
  • Pictures speak a thousand words and this video (if I haven't communicated it already) illustrates how FREAKING AMAZING our Montreal exchange was. I pity the Bath student who chose to spend his year in France ;-) ENJOY and don't get too jealous:

    "Go Habs Go"

    Hockey fever has hit Montreal hard these past few weeks as we have reached the playoffs of the Stanley Cup (hockey equivalent of the FA Cup). England might be famous for its soccer/football hooligans but those bruits have nothing on the Habs fans who proceeded to burn 5 police cars Downtown last night. The interesting thing is that these were riots of celebration as Montreal beat Boston and has gone through to the next round. I'd hate to be in the city if (and when) we win the playoffs.....!!!


    The dictionary states...


    fam·i·ly [ fámməlee ]

    noun (plural fam·i·lies)

    group of relatives: a group of people who are closely related by birth, marriage, or adoption (let me also add by exchange, by alcohol and by embarrassment)


    Spring time

    I take everything back I ever said about how horrible or cold Canada is; this place rules. The past week has been a mental weather mash with temperatures reaching over 25 degrees however with most of the landscape still covered in snow you can imagine how wrong it feels to be wearing shorts when stood next to a snow drift. As the snow melts I begin to recognise the Montreal I first fell in love with however I was very scared that under all the snow we were going to find numerous dead tramps...luckily not.

    After a wicked night out on Friday at Le Diable Vert with the exchange organisers (followed by the compulsory midnight poutine) the weekend flew by in a sunny haze. Genevieve has been staying all weekend and we managed to tick of a few of the tourist things I still wanted to do with a visit to Parc Jean Drapeau (an island in the St Laurence River) to see the famous Bioshpere and the Grand Prix track.
    The countdown is now on and I'm scared that my heart is going to break into a million pieces when I have to leave this amazing city in exactly 10 days 4 hours.


    Introducing Part 2...

    After being stolen by Pirate Lorna from HEChange at the Gala, the spermophile (aka Spermo) has been going wild all over Montreal.

    For those of you "not in the know" a spermophile is a kind of mouse that comes from the Canadian Rockies and we like the name because it makes you think about something else. (Quote Monsieur le President Alexandre Gendron 13th April 2008)

    To be continued......

    HEChange, on se melange

    So Saturday night was the long awaited end of semester Gala for the exchange students and baby WHAT A NIGHT IT WAS. Having arrived all dignified in dresses and suits the night soon went rapidly downhill; each table had three bottles of wine, however as Bianca and I won competition after competition we kept amassing wine and then Scarlett went on the most amazing wine stealing mission EVER talking wine from unsuspecting tables (I am sorry unsuspecting tables if you are reading this but it seemed like a good idea at the time). So we ended up with 14 bottles of wine for our wee table of 9 and needless to say the product of those 14 bottles along with the vodka, cocktails and beer was not attractive as the photos on facebook will explain (thanks Alex). Bianca and I proceeded to dance like complete sluts whilst Jenna did Tyra Banks runway walks in the background. Its amazing how undignified you can behave when you are wearing a ball dress!

    Apart from alcohol (which obviously played a massive part in the night, we're exchange students after all) it was a seriously emotional evening. The exchange students who had been here for the full 2 semesters (us) prepared a surprise video for the HEChange organisers to say thank you for all their efforts and amazing memories they have given us. (You can watch it here). I gave a rather drunken speech (oh no) and I think there were quite a lot of tears ;-) HEChange: Alex, Catherine, Jean-Francois, Joelle, Madani, Mourad, Priscilla, Stephane, Justin, Stephanie and Valerie you are amazing, thanks a million.

    There was an after party at one of the exchange student houses where the alcohol abuse and dancing continued and I finally crawled back into bed at about 5.30am. However imagine my shock when I woke up with a giant hamster, a full 2 litre bottle of rum and a pirate hat. Needless to say I don't have a clue how or why they got there but I suppose there are worse things you could wake up with

    Montreal....JE ME SOUVIENS!!!


    La Presse

    It's been a pretty quiet week due to the onset of work. I gave a presentation to the board of directors of La Presse (the Canadian equivilent of The Times) on Thursday which was probably the scariest experience of my life. All semester we have been working on a consultancy project for them developping a high class male fashion supplement and then yesterday we had to present all our ideas and hope that they liked our pitch. Its been great fun but serious hard work and I never want to read a fashion supplement or a newspaper ever again!

    I only have 19 days left in Montreal before I leave.....very very very sad!!!



    My exchange to Montreal has been, without a doubt, one of the most amazing, funny, drunken and memorable experiences of my life however there were 3 very important ingredients behind all of this; Scarlett with her "foot in mouth" disease that never fails to make me wet myself with laughter, Jenna and her inability to not go out without being smashed and the way we have the same opinion on everything, and lastly Bianca (the last addition to our Bath posy over the pond), she is foul mouthed, a raving drunk and very "special." If I don't tell you enough ladies; love you lots like jelly tots!!!

    Here is to the best last three weeks in Montreal any exchange student has ever had.


    Clam clam clam

    If you put me on the spot and asked me to name the thing I like most in the world it would be quite easy; FOOD! Since Boston Jenna and I have talked non-stop about clam chowder (massive exaggeration about the non-stopness cos that would make us rather weird but you get the picture). Anyway this weekend we finally got around to making (or trying to make) our own clam chowder. I got really freaked out by the clams, they look like baby brains and clam juice is possibly the most disgusting thing in the world (it's bright green/blue and smelly). The result....no food poisoning (yes I know what you were thinking), it was massively filling and delicious despite the strange ingredients!!!

    One thing ticked off the "must do before we leave Montreal" list, lots to go!


    So this one time my mum was beaten by a one armed lady in a tennis match. Yesterday I was overtaken on a ski slope by a man with two fake legs! Yes we are a family of extremely high over achievers ;-)

    Yesterday's ski Saturday took us back to heaven (aka Mont Tremblant). This being the place I learnt to ski, I subsequently can't get enough of it. It was always going to be a strange day due to the weather forecast but I never imagined it quite like this! IT WAS 14 DEGREES ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN!!!!! The first time I skied there it was -34 and now it decides to go bleeding tropical on us! I skied in a t-shirt which for me was a totally foreign concept as normally I live in THE coldest country on earth. However it appears (for now) that summer has arrived. I find this rather ironic as at weekend the UK was covered in snow after freak April snow storms - maybe the snow is trying to follow me home?

    Skiing was great although the conditions were really weird - it was sooooooooo slushy and wet because of the sunshine. However then came my kamikaze mission of skiing down a piste with only one ski! I don't really know what happened...maybe my boot wasn't correctly clicked in but anyway the next thing I know I'm flying down this mountain on one ski and then I'm in a heap at the bottom surrounded by first aiders. On the way down I'd managed to lose my other ski and ski paraphanelia like my gloves, goggles and glasses. Needless to say it hurt, A LOT, and I am now sitting here writing this as the official medial description of a cripple! My leg is black and bruised and I have to turn my whole body round if I want to look at something behind or next to me as I cannot turn my head ohh and I'm sporting a seriously sexy limp.

    After such an amazing day it's hard to imagine not being able to go back however the season is basically over and conditions will only get worse with the sunshine. We did attempt some apres ski afterwards, however it appeared that our defition of partying was lying on Jenna's sofa watching cage fighting drinking coke. Nice times nice times!!!


    La vie

    I really start to wonder about my life when an average week entails going to a drag queen club, singing a solo in a gay karaoke bar, drinking the March supply of Montreal's Molson beer, wearing sun glasses at night and not making it into bed every night before 4am. Then I remember that I live in the most amazing city on planet earth and why would an average week be any different ;-)

    Tuesday was probably the last Cafe Campus I'll EVER go to (sobsobsob). Work is increasing dramatically and exams are looming so the reality of Tuesday nights spent in a retro 80's night club are diminishing. However I hope it's not really the last Cafe Campus in my whole life because obviously Jenna and I will be making a yearly trip to mecca (Montreal) when we return home in June.

    Then Bianca joined the old folks (ie Lorna) in turning 22 on Thursday. She has exactly 3 days left before she finds her first grey hair and life as she knows it ends. However we celebrated in style with a night of fried chicken at St Hubert, drag queens at Cafe Cleopatra and karaoke in the Village. The drag queens were wicked (as usual) and as the guys struggled to know where to look, Bianca speculated on where exactly "she" had placed her you know what. They did all the usual Celine classics and vamped it up to the max ohhhh and there was also an emotional rendition of Bleeding Love (just for Jenna). Then at karaoke, Bianca did her usual amazing rendition of All By Myself (eat your heart out Bridget Jones) fully complemented with squats and an emotional eyes closed moment, and I had my solo karaoke debut singing a bit of ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme. We ended up home at 4am and understandably that didn't agree terrible well with my 8am CSR class.

    This weekend is probably going to be the last Ski Saturday this winter because (are you ready for it...............) MONTREAL IS WARMING UP!!! This past week has almost been pleasurable, I've warn something other than my ski jacket for the first time since November and yes it's not exactly hot (maybe around 3 degrees) but it's still a dam sight warmer than January's -20 temperatures. Here is to bikini's next weekend :-D xxx
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