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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

Coast to Coast: Vermont and Quebec City

After our visit to the birthplace of Mormonism Laura and I drove to Montpelier, Vermont to visit her brother and sister-in-law. This was my first time in Vermont and I couldn’t believe how rural it was. Seriously, I saw nothing but trees, rolling hills, and small towns. The state capital only has a population of 8,000 and it’s way small. It feels like the kind of perfect little town that would suddenly get destroyed by a volcano in some cheesy action movie (I mean you, Dante’s Peak). We took a tour of the state capitol which was actually really cool. I learned that two presidents have come from Vermont, but they both became president by being vice-president to a president who died. So apparently Vermont is good at electing vice presidents.

My friend Leigh drove an hour to visit with me and it was so great to see her. We had three years of gossip to catch up on after all. She stayed for dinner and Laura’s sister-in-law Sarah made an awesome meal from local produce. The salad even had flowers in it which I had never seen before. If I were to write a slogan for Vermont it would be, “Vermont: Pretty salads.”

The next day Laura and I drove to Quebec City which is when our car problems started. Unbeknownst to us Laura’s car was leaking oil. It was the result of a really poorly done oil change before the trip even started. During the drive there was no sign of any problem, but one block before we pulled up to where we’d be staying that night three different warning lights suddenly came on and the car did not sound healthy. We were super-lucky that the problems started when we were at our destination instead of in the middle of nowhere in a French speaking province. We put more oil in the car and it ran just fine (for a while).

My sister Lindsay and my mom flew in to Quebec City that night to join Laura and me on our Canadian adventure. We spent the whole next day exploring old town Quebec City and it is so cool. It feels like Europe with old buildings, winding stone streets, and people speaking a language I don’t understand. We took a bus tour of the city since we only had a day to see things. While we were sitting on the upper deck we drove a little too close to a tree and I ducked to avoid a branch. My sister was sitting right behind me and didn’t see the branch because my big head was in the way. She had no time to move when I ducked so she got unexpectedly tree slapped. She was totally fine thanks to her sunglasses and a healthy amount of laughter cured any embarrassment.

Laura had spent the previous evening learning French phrases on Duolingo. I could hear her repeating phrases like “you’re a woman” and “there’s a cat.” I can’t recall if it was out loud or just in my head, but I was definitely making fun of her for learning such useless phrases. To show me just how wrong I was Laura had not one but TWO opportunities to appropriately say, “There’s a cat!” while we explored the city. The only things I can say in French are “My name is Ben,” “I’m from Washington,” and “I love you, my friend.” According to Duolingo Laura is 2% fluent in French. I won’t argue that.

There was an ice cream shop a block from our house with ridiculously long lines. We couldn't understand what the fuss was all about -- until we went there. The ice cream is a delicious soft serve that they dip in one of twelve coatings. It was awesome, just awesome. If you are ever in Canada and see a Chocolats Favoris you have to go. Lindsay loved it so much she's thinking about going to the one in Victoria for her birthday. 

More Canadian adventures to follow. 

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