Sunday, November 20, 2005

Memories...

Because of the events of late, I've been thinking about my summer "abroad" a lot today. (To fill people in, the summer of 2004 I spent 4 months as a live-in nanny in the francophone town of St. Isidore in the north of Alberta) A few days ago, I got a package from Monique (the mum) and inside??? My Carnaval hoodie, some art work from the boys, and the POPCORN PEANUT CANDY MARSHMALLOW SQUARES!!!! (This delictable desert is the reason for my *weight gain* while I was there... I can't stop eating them!)

The very night before, I had a dream about Monique, so it was kind of a strange coincidence! (And it was her birthday, though I forgot...)

So I've been thinking lots about my summer there and the relationships I made... I can honestly say that I've never met anyone who I related to more in my life... Monique is such an amazing person... If I can be half the mum that she is when I'm older, I know I'm doing a great job. On the flip side, she's still such a fun person to be around... we could sit around, drink beers and talk all night. She isn't JUST an amazing mother to her sons, but a cool fun friend and I am just so lucky to have met her. Her sons are so great too... I learned so much about being a parent and I really learned to appreciate kids. Her husband, Marc, was a really cool guy too... I totally lucked out since I spent pretty much 24/7 with them, we all got along really well! I also met some great friends there. One of them was another person that I instantly "connected" with... (cheesy word, oh well). It's so weird to go somewhere totally unknown and make these "friends for life" and then have to be 8 hours away from them.

So last February, I decided to go to Carnaval, which is a winter festival that is held in St. Isidore with 2 of my friends. We drove up, and were met with this HUGE festival with everything from "claquette" (tap dancing) from all the "yummy mummies" (as their husbands call them) of the town (plus some yummy not-so-mummies) to sleigh rides to cow poop bingo... And the partying... oh the partying. One thing a small town can do is party!!! The first night, after 8 hours of driving, we went to the barn dance... with a live fiddling group playing, an ice bar (the bar was made of ice!) put on my the hockey team, which Marc is a part of so he hooked us up with free drinks, and a whole lot of dancing! I was bombarded with hugs and kisses and more hugs and kisses, and my friends were instantly treated as if they were family. The best part? My "boys" remembered me... even the little one who was not yet two when I left! I never thought I could care about kids that weren't my own so much, but my heart MELT when he ran up to me and grinned!

So the weekend festivities were great... I got to catch up with everyone and I got to get some goodies to take home!





(Katie, Me, and Mo in the picture)

We all ordered hoodies that said "Carnaval de St. Isidore". We had to wait cause they were getting ordered, but not to worry because Marc and Monique were coming to Calgary the next week to catch their flight to Cancun! So we ordered them, and eagerly awaited their arrival!

A week later, at 3 in the morning, a buzz at my appartment door, and there they are, hoodies and popcorn squares in hand! BUT, mine wasn't there because the colour was discontinued, so Mo would e-mail with the other lists of colours. No big deal!

So finally now I get my hoodie, which I'm excited about... I can finally show my St. Isidore pride around Calgary. I grew to really feel like I was a part of the town (which has 300 people, by the way, so not only was I going to a place where I knew no one and they spoke french, I was going to a place where there were only 300 people... fewer than my graduating class!) I have this strange loyalty to St. Isidore, and then my teachers tell me that francophones in Alberta and Manitoba don't care about keeping their french and that they are just assimilating to the anglophone norms, I get all up in their face and tell them "I think not!!!" because I know full well that keeping their french is pretty much their top priority! Imagine a born and raised farm boy voting liberal since they are the only ones who talk about keeping the "frenchness" in the small communities!

I guess I'm just thankful to not have gone to a horribly wretched family to be their slave for 4 months. Everyone I knew that had been a nanny told me horror stories about how they weren't allowed to shower everyday, how they had to stay in their room when the parents were home, and how they were completely miserable for the entire time. (Thanks by the way, for all of those comforting words the day before I left.) I had nannies when I was younger, and I don't THINK they hated it, but I suppose I've never asked them.

This morning I got to talk to Mo on MSN and it was so nice... She's so great to talk to, and she's so caring. She asked me all about how things are since I filled her in on my "life changes" in an e-mail yesterday. When we talk, it doesn't feel like we haven't talked in forever (even though we haven't), and she just knows what I'm talking about... It's great. I guess that's all, it's just great. She's just the best! So Mo, I miss you, and good luck since your baby is DUE TODAY!!!! I hope you don't go into labour in church!

And here's a picture of the hoodie... since I've been looking forward to it forever!

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