July 30, 2012

Keeping our Country Strong - Meeting its People - Karen Toews

For the last eight months our daughter (Renee) and family have lived in Quebec. How they ended up on the Gaspe Peninsula is a long story that has to do with: a move from Maine, U. S. to Canada, needing to live close to mountains (not wanting, it's a definite requirement), must be within a day's drive of our home (ditto - a definite must), home-based jobs with flexibility to live "wherever," within the parameters of the aforementioned.

Now we have the ideal chance to get to know this province and its people (my husband and I previously spent a week in La belle province on a rendezvous with our children and families, and in 2007 we drove through the province on our cross-country move). Our daughter lives on the west end of the Bay de Chaleur, a tourist destination, with several large pockets of both French and English speaking people - making their transition and ours much easier. Even in other regions, so far in my experience, the notion that I might be snubbed by not speaking French has been unfounded. (I've been amazed that my high school "book" French resurrects occasionally in my valiant efforts of communicating.)

On our Christmas visit there, one evening we bundled up (they do have lots of snow and cold temperatures) and went carolling. Joyeaux Noel expressing the language of the season, we all met new-to-us neighbours - who stopped by the next day and invited us along on their cross-country ski outing.

For the month of June, our QC family lived in Montreal -  "free" accommodation with a guide semi-familiar with the Metro so we were there! Culture, fashion, historic architecture, foods (I confess this nutritional nut tried poutine) - and more welcoming people.

On our trip home we drove along the Saguenay River - which included an overnight stay on July 1st in Chicoutami. Chatting with our B&B hosts, watching fireworks from their window, I felt a kindred spirit with those who share this diverse, wonderful country we are blessed to live in.

Granted, all of us don't have the same opportunity to personally meet people across the country. But we can connect through online friendships; the neighbours down the street, at our schools or in church.

We can keep our country strong by building friendships with its people. It's a good thing - we all win, and I believe it's God's way and will.


  1. What an excellent opportunity for you and your family to mingle with the other part of our bilingual country. Thanks for sharing your positive experiences.

  2. It looks like a beautiful province rich in history. I would love to viist. I taught English to French students over the past year and found most of them, like you say, to be very friendly and open.
    Pam M.


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