After a busy two weeks on campus, our group gathered first thing this morning to board the LC van for our drive to Quebec! We drove in rainy weather for the first 2.5 hours and stopped off for a guided visit of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a 120-year-old institution that spans the border between Derby Line, Vermont, USA and Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. The library and opera house serve members of both communities. We learned about the history of the building and how it meets the linguistic and cultural needs of both populations.
The library's resident moose head looked on as we stood on the line marking the border:
We saw the beautiful and ornate opera house, where the original seats still include hat holders so men could keep their bowlers or top hats safe and clean while they enjoyed the show. In this photo, Owain tries it out: see his hat held by the wire rack under his seat.
We saw the Children's Library where books in French and English mingle on the shelves:
From there we had an easy border crossing and headed north. We began noticing some differences in landscape, traffic (traffic lights sometimes hang horizontally rather than vertically) and roadside features - many RV dealerships, and farms featurings models of the animals they raise standing on their roofs!)
We made a couple brief stops on the way, including what's sure to be just the first of many stops at Tim Horton's for coffee and/or donuts. We made it to Quebec City a bit after 4 PM. We're staying in the dorms at Universite Laval, the oldest French-language university in North America. There are lots of other students here, mostly learning French, and the large hall where we're staying has some lively common areas filled with activity. Our students will have lots of opportunity to practice their "Bonjour"s as we wander the halls. We're adjusting to smaller rooms than we're used to, and figuring out how to find what we need here! We're looking forward to breakfast in the campus dining hall, and investigating some of the other campus offerings, like its coffee shop and student center.
We marked our first night in Quebec with a delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant called Le Cochon Dingue (the crazy pig). For most, the dinner included the opportunity to try poutine for the first time (classic Quebecois dish: french fries with gravy and cheese, and in this pig-themed case, sausage and bacon.)
Stay tuned to the blog - the students are responsible for reporting on our daily activities, and we'll post their content and photos here.