Why I Did French in High School

I’d like to say I was forward thinking and interested in bilingualism, but to be honest my main love was sciences, and the option we had back in those days was to take French or Geology.  I really wanted to take Geology, I did and still find it interesting.  But I took French, and learned to past participle, and god knows what other language constructs.

But I had an ulterior motive….Off the coast of Newfoundland, is a French territory called Ste. Pierre et Miquelon. They used Francs for currency, (Euros now), use the French style telephone numbers, and have their own time zone, a half hour ahead of Newfoundland time and a full hour ahead of Atlantic (Two hour ahead of Eastern).

Its a foreign country in your back yard, and a lot of high school students studying french raised money to go there.  Hence, my ulterior motive, I wanted to go there badly.

So in 1982 we did so, one weekend in May, we boarded the ferry in Fortune, NL, and proceeded to cross in the heavy lop to Ste. Pierre.  I think everyone but Peggy Butt and I got seasick, the boat ride was pretty rough.  Ste. Pierre itself was full of mopeds, renaults, citroens  and was totally cool to a 16 year old kid.  Roads were narrow, there were no malls, just traditional European style shops.  We exchanged our Canadian dollars for Francs at the bank, shopped for souvenirs, stayed at a hotel, did a ton of things that were foreign to me.

I remember we stayed at a place named something like L’Auberge Robert (I probably am off by a mile).  The biggest memory of that for me were the fresh warm croissants for breakfast with apricot jam.  To this day all I can say is oh my god!

1982 was a long time ago, and memories fade, hopefully I can get back there someday.  And if you are looking for a foreign vacation without going overseas, check it out!