Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is a story about second chances

There were a lot of people taking the course in Chicoutimi. I heard estimates of 250 students at least. We were all students so we had a lot in common and it was easy to talk to everyone (even in French). I met a LOT of people. Obviously I got closer to some than others but in general everyone was really nice. However, there was one guy who just rubbed me wrong from the start. The school was split into classes from 1-6 with one being the highest. Each level then had two or three classes (A, B, C) I placed in 4A and while I admit I did feel out of my depth some days, it wasn’t totally horrible. So one Sunday night Ashley and I met up with a bunch of people at a local billiards place. There was the first time I met “Richard” (pronounced with a really bad French accent. Think Rocket Richard but not, cause he wasn’t that cool.) Another quick aside, at school and during school functions we HAD to speak French. Signed a contract and stuff. On our own time, some people did speak French but a lot just reverted to English. Well the night I met “Richard” he insisted on speaking only in French and then when I stumbled to keep up (this was only the second week) he asked “what class are you in? 6?” Meaning – “you suck, you must be a beginner”. Now maybe I was being sensitive but I found him rude and arrogant. I confirmed with one of my friends later and she had gotten the same vibe. For the rest of our time in Chicoutimi I generally avoided him. I just didn’t feel like dealing with the attitude.

Fast forward to nine days after the program ends. I’ve been on a grand road trip of the Maritimes (hence the lack of blogging. The only times I’ve been online I’ve been uploading photos to Facebook and I’m behind on those). So I pull into Fredericton, New Brunswick around 4:30. I locate my hostel but I can’t check in until after 6 so I drive downtown to get my bearings. Downtown is...well...gridlock would be an exaggeration. It is Fredericton afterall, but it was really busy and traffic was moving very slowly. We’re crawling past the Legislature (which I hope to visit tomorrow before I leave town) and I see what appears to be a tour group. (five or six people but one is obviously doing all the talking). So I decide to take a chance. Instead of sitting in traffic I pull off and parallel park. I put an hour’s worth of coins into the meter and approach the group. They are doing a walking tour of downtown Fredericton. It’s nearing the end and the guy delivering it is just in training but I’m allowed to join.

45 minutes later the tour ends. I chat with the guy who was delivering it and his supervisor for a few minutes and then cross the street to try and go back and locate my car. As I am waiting to cross the street again I hear a tentative “Heidi?” Keep in mind I’ve only been in this province once before and that was last week on my way through to PEI. I’ve never ever been in this city. I turn around and who’s standing there? Richard! Of all the people in the world he is who I meet on a street corner in a random town. He is here visiting his parents, who actually live about 30 minutes out of the city. So we chat a bit (in English and French – the first French I’ve really spoken since leaving Quebec but it is Richard after all) and he ends up walking with me back to my car. At my car I show him a map of where I’ve travelled and then say that I need to head back to the hostel soon. (I had dinner in the car as well so I was planning on eating that) He mentions that he had a ticket to a show by a group that he saw once at his school in Newfoundland and invites me to come. I figured, why not. I don’t really like this guy but at least I “know” him and I have nothing better to do this evening. I did go back to the hostel, had a quick nap and a shower and then met him at this pub in downtown Frederiction. We had a great chat (in English, I think he’s nicer in English) for awhile before the show and then watched the show together. It was really good. Not something I would have ever done on my own but I really enjoyed it. I headed out shortly after it was done because I have another long day tomorrow but now I have a memorable evening to leave with. A random evening what with the tour and running into Richard but memorable. And I’m glad I gave him a second chance.

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