Friday, June 18, 1999
Eighth graders explore Quebec's enticements
The eighth-grade Quebec trip has been a Carlisle tradition for several years. Painstakingly organized by French teacher Mademoiselle Baker, the trip consists of about one-and-a-half days to see the sights, explore the city, enjoy traditional Quebec meals, and dance the night away on the ever-popular disco cruise.
Our adventure began on the morning of Thursday, June 3, as the eighth-grade class loaded the buses that would bear the brunt of our journey. Although the morning had dawned grey and overcast, everyone's spirits remained high and the buses pulled out of the school parking lot, leaving behind them a crowd of waving parents and siblings.
After an eight-hour ride through northern New England and Canada, we arrived in Quebec where we met our guides and settled into our hotel rooms. We then went to a nearby mall to do some shopping and practice our French on the native Quebecois.
Dinner that evening was an experience that many of us will probably remember for a long time. We went to a restaurant designed to replicate a typical eighteenth-century eating house, where actors and actresses were dressed in old-fashioned clothing and the food was served in the medieval style. Upon entering the restaurant, a somewhat crazed-looking young man was frantically searching for his key. Some of us pulled out our room keys, but unfortunately none of them were his.
Throughout the meal, the people of the restaurant enacted a play in which the aforementioned man had to find his key and win back the love of his wife, despite a wicked and spiteful woman who kept getting in his way. Dana Tsakos and Jeremy Till were chosen from the class to help him accomplish his task, to the delight of all. The performance ended happily, with some rather humorous song and dance numbers that had everyone laughing. Historically, the night was topped off with a 3D-multimedia show, delighting all our senses with the intriguing history of Quebec.
A visit to Old Quebec
The morning of the second day dawned bright and clear. After a quick breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we boarded the buses again for a visit to old Quebec. After a tour and another show on Quebec history, the class divided into small groups for a scavenger hunt that took us on a walking tour of the old city. We then had time for lunch and some personal exploring before getting back on the buses to visit the famous Montmarcy waterfalls of Quebec. The falls proved to be breathtakingly beautiful, and a great photo op as well. Then we got back on the buses to return to our hotel rooms for a little rest and relaxation before dinner and the disco cruise.
The disco cruise
Of all the Canadian memories the eighth graders hold, one of the most vivid would be that of the disco cruise. This took place on a multi-decked harbor vessel that toured up and down the Saint Lawrence River. The music was appealing to most everyone and many of us met new people from the five other schools on the boat. The only noticeable drawback to the whole experience seemed to be the slant of the dance floor, which did not even matter to most of us, save those trying to sit down, who ended up off-balance. If dancing was not enticing enough, there was always the wonderful view of the river from one of the upper decks. It was a beautiful night and the coastal lights made an appealing spectacle. There couldn't have been a better way to spend our last night in Quebec.
Some final thoughts
As all good things come, they also leave. Our third and last day was yet again a day of travel. However, we had until 12:30 p.m. before we had to leave. A little touring here, and some learning there, and soon it was our last free block of time in Quebec. All those who still possessed Canadian money knew there would be no other chance to spend it, and thus a shopping spree ensued in old Quebec. The day ended with individual memories of lunch, and the last 30 minutes before boarding the buses. The whole grade then boarded our two buses, popped a movie into the VCR, and headed for the highway. Eight hours later, we again saw the familiar scenery of Carlisle and upon reaching the school, the trip officially ended.
For all those who speak French, this part's for you:
Nous sommes chanceux d'avoir de tels professeurs de haute qualité pour nous fournir ce voyage. Car Mademoiselle Baker rappelle toujours sa classe, la meilleure chose pour apprendre une langue est de passer le temps dans un pays qui parle un tel langage. Le voyage á Québec offre ceci, et heureusement beaucoup de gens qui parlent anglais (au cas où le français n'était pas votre meilleur sujet). De façon générale, était tous nos professeurs et leur travail qui ont fait ce voyage possible, et nous voudrions les remercier, particulièrement Mademoiselle Baker qui est la femme responsible. Chaque un de nous pourrait associer son histoire propre, parce que le voyage était un des points culminants (sinon le point culminant) de la 8ème année! Il était vraiment merveilleux!
Translation: We are lucky to have such high quality teachers to provide us with this trip. As Mademoiselle Baker always reminds her class, the one surefire way to learn a language is to spend time in a country that speaks such a language. The Quebec trip offered this, and luckily there are still many people who speak English (in case French is not your best subject). Overall, it was all of our teachers and their work that made this possible, and we would like to thank them, especially Mademoiselle Baker, who is the woman in charge. Every one of us would be able to relate a story of his own for the trip was different from one child to the next, but one thing is uniform: this trip was one of the highlights (if not the highlight) of eighth grade. It truly was terrific!
Nora Carr, Andrew Costello and Jen Morse are eighth-grade students in Carlisle.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito