Whoa MIGS!

This past weekend, a large number of students from Champlain came to Montreal for the Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS), a video game convention and expo that takes place every year here in Montreal. The majority of students currently in Montreal from Champlain are either Game Design majors or Game Art and Animation majors, so a huge chunk of the group was gone during the two days of MIGS. It was great having students come up from Vermont for MIGS too, since I was able to see friends from Burlington that I hadn’t seen for a while!

That Sunday evening when everyone arrived from Vermont though was a bit crazy! I was sitting in my apartment eating dinner, when I hear a knock at my door. I opened it to find Dan Merrill, who stayed at my place during his stay for MIGS. “Awesome!” I thought. A few moments later, about 15 people came walking into my apartment looking to meet everyone and check out the apartments. I recognized about 6 of them, so having these new faces in my place was a bit strange at first. But introductions were made and with new friends abound, we all watched a movie before they left to go wherever they ended up staying that weekend. On top of the new people, many of my friends that are already in Montreal were in my apartment, bringing the total number of guests I had at about 20. I had never had so many people in my apartment at one time. It was pretty great though!

Tonight, Wesnide is having a girl’s night at her place. There’s only 7 girls here, so we gotta stick together! But joking aside, it’ll be nice to hang out without having so many boys around. They’re all great guys, but all girls need a little girl time.

This is a short update, yes, but I’m a bit swamped with everything! Be sure to check back in a few days for a better, longer update. 😀

Ottawawawa!

Ottawa!

This past weekend, the Montreal group took our second group trip to Ottawa in the Ontario province. Like Quebec City, it did not fail to impress! Ottawa looks very similar to Montreal, as it’s a big urban city. However, Ontario is an English speaking province, so it was kind of refreshing to have everything be in English and be able to understand everyone!

 

Gavin heading into the jail themed hostel.

Our first night, we arrived in Ottawa, dropped off our things at the hostel (which used to be a jail!) and visited the Royal Canadian Mint Factory. Everyone originally thought “Mmm, chocolate!” However, this wasn’t a mint chocolate factory, but a coin producing mint that made specialty coins. We went on a tour of the factory which was really interesting. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside. Later, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe as a group.

SPIDER!!!

 

 

Saturday we woke up bright and early for breakfast downtown before heading to the National Gallery of Canada to check out the arts and architecture museum. In front of the building there’s an enormous spider with eggs visible in her stomach. After grabbing lunch at the Pita Pit, we went off to take a tour of Parliament. The tour itself was really interesting, but the best part was after the tour, when the group was allowed to visit the Peace Tower on our own free time. The Peace Tower is high above the city of Ottawa and lets you look out over the city. The view was amazing! Around this time, there was a Zombie Walk happening downtown that ended outside of Parliament, so while we were up there we saw a huge crowd of “zombies” playing and crowding right below our feet. So cool! Later that night, we went out to dinner at a mexican bar and grill before enjoying some local stand up comedy.

Zombies!

Our last day, after breakfast we went to the Museum of Civilization to view a presentation by Pixar on the animation of their short Day & Night. Our group has a lot of Game Art and Animation majors, so this was really helpful for them to see this. I loved seeing the concepts behind the film and the steps the artists took to getting the finished piece, especially since I really love that short.

As much as I enjoyed Ottawa, it does feel good to be back in Montreal. I’m really feeling at home here and I actually missed being in Montreal while I was away! I think going home after this semester may be a bit tough, but I do miss Burlington!

Check back next week for another update!

Mega Meatballs!

From l to r: Steph Hicks, Neil Torpey, Erica Lynch-Ferrier (yay, me!), Gavin Bigelow, Ryan Rubin, Peter Barry, and Kayleigh Blanchette

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, due to personal issues. But I’m back folks!

Since Quebec City, the group has had some adventures! A week ago, a few members of the Montreal group went apple picking outside of Montreal. We each paid for a small bag to fill up with whatever apples we could carry (though most of us left with pockets and backpacks full of even more!). During the same weekend, I had a few friends from Champlain drive up and visit, so they came along too! After we got home that night, I made apple crumb pie and Kayleigh kept her apples to make apple pie during one of our family dinner nights (this one had a Thanksgiving theme!).

Cara and myself outside the Old Port de Montreal

I love how different classes are here compared to Burlington. In Burlington, I spend 99.9% of my class time in the classroom. While I’m not complaining about the classes, it is nice to get out and be more interactive sometimes. I love that in Montreal, a good majority of my classes are field trips or independent assignments. This morning I went on a ride around Montreal with a police officer during his entire morning shift for my writing class to write up a piece about crime. Last week, my import/export class visited the Old Port. My science class visited the Insectarium a few days later. I love that I’m getting out and seeing more of the city than I normally would’ve otherwise!

Snoop Dogg!

A few days after my last blog post, I experienced my first Montreal concert. I go to a lot of concerts and music festivals when I’m back home in the states, but I was a little nervous about going to one in Montreal. I didn’t think many of the bands I usually see would play in Montreal, and if I’d even be able to afford them considering prices here are generally more expensive. However, earlier in the summer I bought tickets to see the Gorillaz for Gavin’s birthday (I’m the best roommate ever? Yeah, I think so too), so we went. I managed to get discounted tickets by a fluke on the website, which I was pretty happy about! And let me tell you, it was quite possibly the best large venue concert that I had ever been to. Montreal knows how to enjoy their music! As soon as some of our friends heard that we were going, they decided to join us! Chris, Matt, and Allyson managed to find cheap tickets online. Even though they weren’t in the same seating area as us, they still had a blast, just like us!

TV with surround sound setup

On tonight’s menu, we are serving up linguine with homemade meatballs and a four cheese sauce given to us by Wonderful Wesnide! Evan’s playing chef tonight and has spent the last half hour squishing up the meat for the meatballs. I’m on pasta duty, and Gavin gets to do clean up. Later tonight I’ll be working on a group presentation with Cara and Kayleigh for our Canadian Fine Arts class. Yesterday, after being here for a month and a half, we FINALLY got my surround sound to work, so we’ll be putting it to the test tonight with the film Event Horizon! Should be an interesting evening.

Keep checking back for more updates! Adios!

Want more info about Champlain Abroad? Visit http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad.html and for more information about Montreal specifically, check out http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad/Montreal-Campus.html

Quebec City!

This past weekend the Montreal group went to Quebec City. Oh man, so much fun!

Friday was mostly spent traveling. Once we arrived in Quebec City, we dropped off our stuff at the hostel and checked out some of the local shops. Quebec City is gorgeous! It reminded me of Paris or Austria, definitely had a very strong European feel.

After stopping at the hostel, we went out for dinner, and then on a ghost tour! Our tour guide took us around to various points in Quebec City with gruesome and horror stories from Quebec history.

Saturday we met for breakfast before heading to the Museum of Civilization. Some of the exhibits there were really interesting. Everyone seemed to love the music section, which was an audio walkthrough of the African roots of popular music. There was also a volcano area with a lot of interactive displays, including an earthquake room!

After the museum, we went to lunch, and then were taking on a historical tour by Jim Manson, the history professor for Champlain Montreal. It was really interesting! He took us through a video tour at the information center which was really fun.

Sunday was interesting, as the group split into two after breakfast. Some of the boys went to the Naval Museum, and the rest of us went on a tour of the Château Frontenac, a really famous hotel in Quebec City. It was so incredibly beautiful inside, and its history was really interesting to hear about.

But of course, we couldn’t leave without playing front desk air hockey with the hotel receptionist. The rec room had an air hockey table, a ping pong table, and a billiards table. There was also a cafe downstairs. The hostel was really nice, but very different from a hotel. We had bunk beds in the room, which could have fit 8 people. Definitely an interesting experience!

I’m really glad I went on this trip, and I’m looking forward to the next one to Ottawa in three weeks. Our Montreal group is so great, so family-like already, and it’s only been a month!

So much love.

Stay tuned next week for more updates from Marvelous Montreal!

Want more info about Champlain Abroad? Visit http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad.html and for more information about Montreal specifically, check out http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad/Montreal-Campus.html

Jasmine, Rhubarb, and the Science of Sleep

This past week, my friends and I have done a little more exploring of Montreal as we’ve had a bit more free time than usual.

This week, we spent a lot of time at a place called L’Absynthe, which is on Saint-Denis and offers live music almost every night. Actually, we have become close friends with a girl that frequently plays there named Jasmine. Every Wednesday night, her band plays for about an hour. Her performance includes singing, interpretive dance, and this really interesting piece that she does with an oriental mask and a shawl.

This photo was taken during this particular part of her performance. During this moment, a group of us were dancing and just enjoying the music. It was so much fun! Afterwards, we went to this small restaurant on Saint-Laurent called Just Noodles. Deeeelish!

I’ve noticed since being here that my wallet is looking slimmer than I thought it would. Most things in Montreal aren’t

terribly expensive – at first. I keep forgetting about the high tax! It’s not really an issue, but say something that would normally be about 10 dollars Canadian, suddenly jumps to 14. The reason for the high tax is because that money goes towards the health care service and a lot of other important services in Canada, so it makes sense to tax high. I’ve noticed

that clothing is expensive, but certain grocery items aren’t. At Provigo (a grocery store on Sherbrooke and Peel down the street), you can find grocery items under the Sans Nom label that are significantly cheaper than regular name brands. Sans Nom brand means “No Name,” meaning there is no brand, and money isn’t being spent on expensive marketing, making the products much much cheaper. So awesome!

Lastly, I want to point out what amazing people from Champlain has come to Montreal this semester. I’ve made quite a lot of new friends that normally, I never would have thought I’d have spoken to or even known. For example, last semester, I barely knew Matt Newton, a game design student here in Montreal. This semester, he is one of my best friends! He even went out of his way to buy me rhubarb after I complained about having a hard time finding it. That’s what I call an awesome friend!

Writing this from my living room, I’m currently watching the Science of Sleep, a French film about dreaming and imagination, and eating mini pizzas. My roommate, Evan, made himself some “German Ramen,” which just basically means hamburger meat mixed in with his noodles. So glad that I live with creative culinary people!

Well, I’m off to enjoy my movie, stay tuned next week as I write about Quebec City, which is where I’ll be heading this weekend! Ciao!

Want more info about Champlain Abroad? Visit http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad.html and for more information about Montreal specifically, check out http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad/Montreal-Campus.html

J’habite a Montreal! I live in Montreal!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a week! Things have been a little hectic (not in a bad way)!

Since the last time I posted, I have taken part in a whirlwind of good times! The apartment upstairs and my apartment constantly have what we call “Family Dinner Nights,” combining our food and culinary skills to create communal meals! And of course, anyone and everyone is invited.

Actually, recently the Montreal group had a potluck dinner which was a lot of fun. I brought rice, Kayleigh brought baked macaroni and cheese, Brandon brought goulash, Paige brought cookies, Chris brought soda, and everyone else brought empty bellies! (From left to right, Gavin Bigelow, Lindsey Lauble (a Champlain student visiting for the weekend), Lucas Anunziata, Michael Holm, and Sam Bowen).

Stepping away from food for a second, recently the Montreal group

went to the Junior M’s hockey game. Oh my oh my oh my! Personally, I am not a sports fan at all. However, the game was so much fun! People were screaming and shouting and just enjoying each others company. These little clapper fans were given out to everyone to make noise and cheer for the Juniors!

You can actually see the clappers in these photos. From top left to bottom left: Erica Lynch-Ferrier (that’s me!), Gavin Bigelow, Dylan Spurlock, Evan Buckingham, Connor Norman, Michael Holm, Nicole Thayer, Chris Yoon, Zach Bohn, and Kayleigh Blanchette.

So far, my classes feel very surreal, in the best meaning possible. I don’t really feel like I’m in “school” when I’m in class, both because

the classes are so small and because half of my classes aren’t in classrooms at all. For example, last week for class, the whole group went out for Dim Sum (an Asian cuisine) in Chinatown to discuss literature and critique our papers. For art, we have gone to multiple art museums and studied various pieces. For my science course, we have visited Mont Royal to study the forest as well as the Botanical Gardens downtown.

In this photo, you can see Shona Watt (my science teacher and the Student Activities Coordinator for Montreal students) with us at the Botanical Gardens on a field trip. After seeing a Chickadee fly by, she stuck out her hand and one landed right on her! It was pretty amazing.

I think I’ll end here, as I have stroganoff cooking on my stove top and roommates gazing hungrily in my direction (it’s my turn to be the chef). Until next time!

Want more info about Champlain Abroad? Visit http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad.html and for more information about Montreal specifically, check out http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad/Montreal-Campus.html

Ready, Set… And They’re Off!

We are officially moved in! I arrived in Montreal last Thursday with my family and moved my stuff into the UQAM Residence Hall the following morning.

Actually, it was more like I took the boatload of boxes from my mom’s van and stacked them all over the apartment. It was kind of a nightmare.

Yet, as of last night, the final piece was put away, and everything has its place!

Introducing the roommates: (from left to right) Gavin Bigelow, Erica Lynch-Ferrier (that’s me!), and Evan Buckingham.

Our living room/common area!

Currently in our living room, our light (only 20 bucks at Walmart!…because it’s pink) is missing a lightbulb, meaning it’s a bit dimmer than we’d like. That’ll change soon!

Our kitchen is amazing! My roommate, Evan, and myself brought WAY too much foods, so our kitchen is very well stocked! Also, I brought my wonderfully colored rug which I think really brightens the place (the boys even agree!).

Orientation weekend was a lot of fun. We had a few information sessions just to fill us all in on what to do in Montreal, how to be safe and the best places to go see! We went to a few places with the entire group, including an Improv Show, quite a few tasty restaurants, a scavenger hunt, and the Tam Tam Festival. It seems that we’ve come here at the perfect timing, as there’s a bunch of festivals going on all around us. Montreal is such a festive city!

Au revoir for the evening! Check back next week for more updates as I further explore Marvelous Montreal!

Want more info about Champlain Abroad? Visit http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad.html and for more information about Montreal specifically, check out http://www.champlain.edu/Office-of-International-Education/Champlain-Abroad/Montreal-Campus.html