Author Topic: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City  (Read 34879 times)

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Offline Chimo265

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My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« on: December 14, 2010, 19:13:29 »
Hello, as a former soldier(sapper) I went through a relatively unique experience with the military. I joined the engineers and by my own choice was posted to CFB Valcartier knowing no french at all. I'm currently blogging my story and those interested can follow my story below. Naturally, no names are mentioned, OPSEC obeyed, and completely based on my own experience. I encourage anyone english person interested in a posting to Quebec City read my own experience (or talk to others) prior to making their decision. I weigh both the positives and negatives of my time spent there.   

Stranger in a Strange Land
« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 20:10:55 by Chimo265 »

Offline CallOfDuty

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 20:08:12 »
  Nice job so far. :)  Looking forward to more.  I can't believe they posted you there with no french! 
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Offline Chimo265

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 20:47:11 »
  Nice job so far. :)  Looking forward to more.  I can't believe they posted you there with no french!
It's actually quite common as I came to find out. My posting message specifically stated I was a COMM/DRVR and that French was essential. But I'll write more on that later.

Part 2 Updated

Apologies to those just reading I don't know how to format it to read sequentially yet. It's also kinda turning into my whole military story so apologies to those looking for a quick read.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 20:57:23 »
My posting message specifically stated I was a COMM/DRVR and that French was essential.

My MPRR has me posted to several positions that i never actualy occupied. Once you arrive at a unit, the position number you are posted into has little actual meaning. I was posted to CFSME in the Ops NCO line number but was never employed as such, for example.

Offline Combat_ENG

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 17:07:50 »
Interesting read, I am in almost the exact same point in my career where I will have to make that decision soon.

Offline Dan M

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2010, 10:49:50 »

Enjoying it, but when does it get to the Valcartier part?  A general time frame would be useful too.

Interesting so far, but not necessarily unique.

Cheers,
Dan.
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Offline Chimo265

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2010, 23:34:16 »
I joined up around the mid-2000's. I don't want to give too specific info because I'm going to be honest and describe some of the more unpleasant experiences I've had with people who are still at 5 RGC and in the military as well as my own mess ups and misdeeds while there.

Short answer: Don't go unless you know french already.

However, that very short answer requires a lot of explanation, hence the blog which will show why I had a rough go at it. I can't sum up the reasons in a power point slide, and in the end it's my personal opinion and not inherent fact. I had both a lot of good and a lot of bad times there. It's a chapter of my life I won't soon forget but wouldn't repeat.

I'm trying to write everyday so the story will take on a good shape eventually. I see generally who reads it and half of the visitors aren't Canadian.   

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2010, 00:26:09 »
I joined up around the mid-2000's. I don't want to give too specific info because I'm going to be honest and describe some of the more unpleasant experiences I've had with people who are still at 5 RGC and in the military as well as my own mess ups and misdeeds while there.

Short answer: Don't go unless you know french already.

However, that very short answer requires a lot of explanation, hence the blog which will show why I had a rough go at it. I can't sum up the reasons in a power point slide, and in the end it's my personal opinion and not inherent fact. I had both a lot of good and a lot of bad times there. It's a chapter of my life I won't soon forget but wouldn't repeat.

I'm trying to write everyday so the story will take on a good shape eventually. I see generally who reads it and half of the visitors aren't Canadian.

This reads like you're typing in a whisper so someone nearby won't hear you. Pop a red smoke and make for the embassy roof... the last chopper is inbound!
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Offline Jungle

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 01:35:11 »
A lot of Francos are posted to Anglo units/bases and don't make such a fuss; are we all supposed to start a blog and whine like we are victims ?

BTW, I am never a stranger in any part of Canada; the fact that you felt like that tells a lot about you.
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Offline 57Chevy

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 07:53:44 »
I aggree with Jungle 100%

BTW is your short answer, (quote) "don't go unless you know french already" supposed to be some sort of advice ?  or perhaps some sort of hidden message that you feel the need to express ?

Soldiers are encouraged to learn both official languages.
Consider that conversational language training is the best way to learn a second language.
Accepting a posting to ValCartier or anywhere else in Quebec for that matter is a big plus
for career and promotion.

Furthermore, coming here to describe your bad or unpleasent experiences that you may have had with other soldiers (no matter where you may have been posted) will not be tolerated.
     

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 08:04:37 »
Another poor victim..... ::)
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2010, 08:13:30 »
Anglais vs. Francais

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Les Etats Unis ont noir vs. blanc. Canada, c'est Quebec vs. tous les autres. Des conneries comme ceci n'aide pas. Desole pour erreurs, je n'utilise pas le Francais assez. Quel domage :(
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8th Blunder of the World, Arun Ghandi:
-Rights without responsibilities

aesop081

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 08:17:54 »
You are also full of shyte :

Quote
"Getting Charged" means being punished via the military administratively, legally, or corporally.

If you dont know what something means, you shouldnt post BS.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2010, 08:28:32 »
Aviator, if I ever have to spend time in Quebec city, will you come hold my hand and coddle me the whole time, and beat up anyone who's mean to me for being english?
7 Blunders of the World, Mohandas Ghandi:
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-Commerce without morality
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-Worship without sacrifice
-Politics without principle

8th Blunder of the World, Arun Ghandi:
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2010, 08:51:37 »
Aviator, if I ever have to spend time in Quebec city, will you come hold my hand and coddle me the whole time, and beat up anyone who's mean to me for being english?

Quit trolling, here and everywhere else. No more warnings.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2010, 08:54:52 »
I spent five years in Bagotville, good stuff.. best healthcare for my family of all my postings, good shopping, great QLB = wine, new culture great music, learned some French, interesting politics  >:D
Bad stuff ... hard on English speaking only family,

Oh and I didn't get promoted as someone here promised  ;D

Offline cdnleaf

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2010, 10:00:01 »
Short answer: Don't go unless you know french already.

First post was a little pointed / I ack the below from recceguy.

Good luck with the blog /  :cdn:
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 16:18:33 by cdnleaf »

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2010, 10:42:56 »
This won't get turned into a slagfest. We won't try second guess the OP's original motives other than what's been stated by him.

Most of all, we'll remember, it's his personal opinion and he's entitled to it. Reasoned discussion may change his mind. Attacks will only make him dig in.

If you don't like his site or reasoning, don't visit it.

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Offline phillip

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2010, 12:44:46 »
Hi Chimo265. I'm an anglo who's been living in Montreal for the past 16 years and my French is still only comme ci comme ca ;)

I liked reading the blog and took it with a grain of salt and kept in mind it's only one person's perspective. Not so much interested in the language barriers, I specifically enjoyed reading for the 'a day in the life of' stuff. I'll be following the blog, looking forward to more stories, thanks for sharing!
 

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2010, 13:23:40 »
I'm glad to see some people arguing the positives of the posting. It creates a well formed and balanced debate for curious soldiers.
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Offline ace1125

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2014, 14:54:30 »
 If you get posted to Quebec and do not speak French are there courses offered to you on base to get you started speaking the language?

Offline George Wallace

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2014, 15:52:58 »
If you get posted to Quebec and do not speak French are there courses offered to you on base to get you started speaking the language?

I suppose you could have read the answer in the previous posts, but seeing as you didn't:    YES!
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Offline ace1125

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2014, 16:50:31 »
I suppose you could have read the answer in the previous posts, but seeing as you didn't:    YES!

Which previous post would that be?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2014, 20:47:27 »
When I saw the title of this thread I thought of this interesting, and historical, account of an English soldier in Quebec  ;D:

http://www.militaryheritage.com/quebec1.htm
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Offline Jungle

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2014, 22:40:15 »
When I saw the title of this thread I thought of this interesting, and historical, account of an English soldier in Quebec  ;D:

http://www.militaryheritage.com/quebec1.htm

Thanks for the link; the church in the last picture in the link, the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire, is still standing today, in what is called Le Petit Champlain, next to the King's Battery.
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Offline xo31@711ret

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2014, 09:30:19 »
 niner-dom, a snr nco clerk  got a CC RSS position in her primary language (her last after 22+regs) posting to NCSM JOLLIET (she's an Acadienne from the north shore of NB). Being a snr nco medic, I Couldn't get a position myself with the regs there, so after 24+ years I released out of gag town & followed niner dom. Got to Sept-Iles, applied as  a class A medic for the unit (did some class B instructing BOTC for the naval regs & res at Work Point in Esquimalt). Spent 4 years there & enjoyed my experience. Learned a little, but not much french (well drill being the top priority LOL!) , but the folks from the CO to the newly enrolled OS were awesome - it's been 4 years since we both retired out of the regs & res, and still in touch with a lot of the troops via fb; from the (retired|)CO on down. Besides the taxes there, I had a pretty good time as an 'square head' newfie anglo LOL! (I hate the term being referred as 'english' - but that's just me ;)  )

Offline George Wallace

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2014, 09:33:15 »
niner-dom, a snr nco clerk  got a CC RSS position in her primary language (her last after 22+regs) posting to NCSM JOLLIET (she's an Acadienne from the north shore of NB). ....................................... I had a pretty good time as an 'square head' newfie anglo LOL! (I hate the term being referred as 'english' - but that's just me ;)  )

So neither of you speak one of Canada's Official Languages?    >:D 
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2014, 11:38:17 »
From what I've seen, Anglos have three possible reactions to being posted to Valcartier:

1.  Those who spend their entire posting saying "Woe is me, why won't people speak English?";

2.  Those who meet a French Canadian girl, teach each other the other language, and end up with a house full of bilingual children; and

3.  Those who get taken to L'Entre Nous and decide that it's really not so bad in Valcartier after all.
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2014, 11:49:38 »
From what I've seen, Anglos have three possible reactions to being posted to Valcartier:

1.  Those who spend their entire posting saying "Woe is me, why won't people speak English?";

2.  Those who meet a French Canadian girl, teach each other the other language, and end up with a house full of bilingual children; and

3.  Those who get taken to L'Entre Nous and decide that it's really not so bad in Valcartier after all.

Did number 3 years and years before I took door number 2..........and I mock mercilessly those who pick #1. :nod:
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2014, 12:02:08 »
Did number 3 years and years before I took door number 2..........and I mock mercilessly those who pick #1. :nod:

There's always the option of doing #3 and while there doing #2... though the "How did you meet" stories for the kids need to be sanitised a bit.  "Well, it was magic under the blacklight as I saw her..."
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2014, 12:54:05 »
except L'entre-nous doesn't exist anymore.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2014, 14:31:38 »
From what I've seen, Anglos have three possible reactions to being posted to Valcartier:

1.  Those who spend their entire posting saying "Woe is me, why won't people speak English?";

2.  Those who meet a French Canadian girl, teach each other the other language, and end up with a house full of bilingual children; and

3.  Those who get taken to L'Entre Nous and decide that it's really not so bad in Valcartier after all.

4.  Those who say "Cool, I'll learn French by immersion because the CF won't give me a course."

FTFY.   ;)   :nod:
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2014, 18:36:27 »
except L'entre-nous doesn't exist anymore.
RIP

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2014, 19:32:16 »
except L'entre-nous doesn't exist anymore.

Yes, it was shut down years ago; there are condos now in that location.
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2014, 19:46:19 »
From what I've seen, Anglos have three possible reactions to being posted to Valcartier:

1.  Those who spend their entire posting saying "Woe is me, why won't people speak English?";

2.  Those who meet a French Canadian girl, teach each other the other language, and end up with a house full of bilingual children; and

3.  Those who get taken to L'Entre Nous and decide that it's really not so bad in Valcartier after all.

Serious question:  Would this apply to Bagotville as well?  (Obviously not the L'Entre-Nous...but I'm sure there are similar establishments.)
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2014, 20:23:41 »
Based on my four year posting to CFB Bagotville , bang on the money for items 1, 2, and 3.
And that is a serious answer.
And Bagotville, or the new amalgamated city of Saguenay, also has a abundance of item 3.  :)

Offline Jungle

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2014, 11:29:15 »
Come to think of it: from the title, you'd think the guy was serving in the British Army. It's like when US personnel tell me "Ah, you're French" !
I tell them I am no more French then they are English.

The original poster has a perception problem: we are all Canadians, and he was a Canadian Soldier serving on a Canadian Military base in Canada. It is no different from a person originating from Saguenay serving in Cold Lake, or someone from Gaspésie serving in Esquimalt.
"I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind."
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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2014, 15:39:50 »
Based on my four year posting to CFB Bagotville , bang on the money for items 1, 2, and 3.
And that is a serious answer.
And Bagotville, or the new amalgamated city of Saguenay, also has a abundance of item 3.  :)


Then again I understand this outfit has openings:

http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/airforce/

 >:D :D

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2014, 16:12:58 »
*sniff* Pas plus «d'Entre-nous»...alors, nous continuons de profiter de la présence d'autres musées de la nature aux environs... :nod:

Offline Towards_the_gap

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2014, 18:02:55 »
Je suis un tete carre stupide....


...that is how you say 'One Joe Louis and a Pepsi please', right?

Offline NinerSix

    is getting the itch to deploy.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2014, 18:16:48 »
Repeat after me:

Voo-Lay voo muh don-ay un koo duh pee-ay dun le khuu, sil-voo-play.
The process is not the mission.

Offline Dimsum

    West coast best coast.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2014, 21:33:55 »

Then again I understand this outfit has openings:

http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/airforce/

 >:D :D

Since I get asked this by others on a seemingly-weekly basis, Lateral Transfers are pretty much over unless you have x-thousand hours fast jet and QFI/FCI time.   :P

Then again, on the "grass is greener on the other side" bit, I've had a few RAAF (and one ex-USN) folks ask about Lateral transfer to the RCAF. 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 21:39:16 by Dimsum »
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline runormal

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2015, 07:17:04 »
I'm wondering If the CF provides some sort of quickstart guide for anglophones going to Valcartier/Bagottville. In September I'm going to Quebec City and studying French as a second language at ulaval. I've also got an attach posting at the local sigs unit. I've been advised by them, that I will have someone who will buddy up with me in order to ease the transistion.

So far I've looked into ALLIES (which I haven't had too much time to play with), and duolingo on my phone.

I'm just wondering if there any other resources that the CF provides to ease the transition. I speak minimal French at the moment and I am a class A reservist.

Cheers

Offline Dimsum

    West coast best coast.

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2015, 22:16:40 »
I'm wondering If the CF provides some sort of quickstart guide for anglophones going to Valcartier/Bagottville. In September I'm going to Quebec City and studying French as a second language at ulaval. I've also got an attach posting at the local sigs unit. I've been advised by them, that I will have someone who will buddy up with me in order to ease the transistion.

So far I've looked into ALLIES (which I haven't had too much time to play with), and duolingo on my phone.

I'm just wondering if there any other resources that the CF provides to ease the transition. I speak minimal French at the moment and I am a class A reservist.

Cheers

Maybe look at what's available at Naval Reserve HQ or NCSM MONTCALM in Pointe-a-Carcy?  There are definitely Anglos posted to NAVRESHQ.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Happy Guy

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2015, 06:05:37 »
Interesting thread.

BLUF: Life is what you make of it.

As an unilingual Anglophone I was posted to the FMC HQ St Hubert (outside of Montreal) in the early 1990s from Petawawa.  I worried because of the perceived hatred by the French towards the English, but this was offset by the possibility of meeting gorgeous Quebecoise women.  When I got there I had the guys start teaching me simple phrases like ordering a pizza and so forth.  They eventually put me on a half day French course three times a week.  I was introduced to a beautiful Quebecoise, married her and started a life long intensive French course with her.  Over twenty years of marriage, three children, eight moves I can't be happier.

In general I've not a had a problem with the French vs the English thing.  You can think that a lot of negative kinds thrown at you but perhaps this your defensive screens being thrown up and you're being too sensitive.

Enjoy life, enjoy the adventure.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2015, 10:23:27 »
So that's where all the beautiful Quebecoises are disappearing to.

But I got my revenge: I'm a Quebecois who married an (English) Ontarian girl and brought her to the Dark Side.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Don't forget: Just for Laughs Festival - Montreal, July 8 to 28, 2015)

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: My time as an English soldier in Quebec City
« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2015, 13:58:41 »
So that's where all the beautiful Quebecoises are disappearing to.

But I got my revenge: I'm a Quebecois who married an (English) Ontarian girl and brought her to the Dark Side.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Don't forget: Just for Laughs Festival - Montreal, July 8 to 28, 2015)

I spent New Years' in Old Montreal this year with my family. It was fantastic. And English only wasn't an issue.

If you have a lousy time there you can look in the mirror for the reason!
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon