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Trepid Archives

Exciteable descriptions of a new life living in "The Best Place on Earth". The new template is more basic, more classy, tidier... so totally not me! 

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

7:21 AM - Stereotypes

The Okanagan is filled with orchards growing cherries, applies, pears, peaches and plums. From the end of May through July it is also filled with little Glastonbury-esque tent communities of hippies - mostly from Quebec - coming to pick the fruit from the trees for the farmers. The pay is OK and the lifestyle is certainly excellent with all the sunshine, start time of 5:30 am and quittin' time of 2pm at the latest. The rest of the day is traditionally spent smoking pot at the beach and eating the days rejects.

With all the sunshine around here, people who have a good tan are not rare. Just because your skin is dark, it does not mean you are mexican, though they also make up a large contingent of the fruit-picking population. Your dark skin might mean you're a part of the large Singaporean(?) community or just someone who likes to spend a lot of time on their garden.

Last night as I picked up the empty recycling bin to take it to the house for refilling, a very bronzed couple came and asked me for directions to "zee store". English was obviously not their first language so I tried not to speak too quickly - especially since my not-totally-Canadian-yet accent is unfamilliar to most. My speach was accompanied by many hand gestures to point out the significance of left, right and small store. I think they'd been walking for a while in the wrong direction and relieved that they were happily heading the right way, they wished me an eager "Gra├žias", to which I was able to respond in my best Spanish accent, "De nada". Whoo hoo get me.

This morning, as I rode up the hill from the village I passed people loading food chillers into a car. They were all wearing colourful baggy pants, scruffy tees, dreds, multicoloured bandanas. I caught the girl's eye and said "Good morning", it not at all occurring to me that they might be French. She, almost grumpily, said, "Bonjour" back. Now think about it. Take yourself back to the grueling classroom exchanges. What's the next thing that logically follows Bonjour? Of all the years of studying and living in France, the only thing that would pop into my head at 5:30 am? "Ca va?"

How COOL am I?

Well, she was impressed anyway that I acknowledged the fact she was a Francophone and all her friends kind of started and turned around in the car as she called, "Bien, merci, Good morning" after me as I rode up the hill. After her exchange she probably got in the car and thought.

How COOL am I?

I realised how nice it is if you can make the slightest exchange with people in their own language on your own turf. Off to learn some chinese.


Anonymous franchini said...

Any language is impressive at 5.30am - that's very early to be up and about.  


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