April 14, 2010

Danielle heads west

Danielle left this morning for Calgary. She's one of four students in her classs selected to attend a Student Leadership Conference. She'll be there through Sunday and enjoy speakers, team building, group projects and a day of sightseeing in Lake Louise/Banff. She'll be with kids from different parts of Canada, and unlike her school, she'll be with boys and girls.

She'll be staying with a Billet family -- a term that's new for us. Although I first heard it when my friend Cheryl mentioned her son, a hockey player, was staying with a billet family in Washington state. In North America, the term is used mainly for junior hockey players and billet families provide a home away from home so to speak. The term Billet was first used to reference living quarters for a soldier -- there were times where families were required to accept soldiers into their homes in Europe.

To make things confusing, in French, billet also means ticket. So at the movies, airport, museums, sporting events and ski hills....we have to look for a sign saying "Billets."

As it turns out, Danielle's billet family is a family of expats from....HOUSTON. Thankfully we didn't find this out until after we bought a hostess gift since when we were in Vermont a couple of weeks ago we thought about getting something "really American" for her billet family. Instead, we got them a Montreal Canadiens cheese platter (I know, sounds cheesy but it is really cute) only to find out they are from TEXAS and we have no idea if they even like hockey. Oh well, they can regift it to one of their new Canadian friends because everyone in Canada loves hockey.

Calgary tends to be a bit more conservative than Quebec. Calgary was the first place to welcome George W to come and speak after the celebration the end of his presidency. And, they kinda sorta like Sarah Palin up there around those big parts of Canada. Not the part of Canada that's by Alaska where Palin enjoyed universal health care from time to time. And not the part of Canada to be confused with Russia. But Calgary, the part of Canada that tends to be "more American" than, certainly Quebec. Let's just say that if Sarah Palin came to speak in Montreal she would certainly be the target of a few tomatoes, and some baguettes and some brie cheese being hurled through the streets. While Canadians are peaceful people, we've seen some interesting protests over the last year and a half.

We're proud of Danielle and her enthusiasm at school which lead to her having to opportunity to attend this conference and see another part of Canada. Next week she leaves for New Brunswick for a rugby tournament. And tomorrow, Kish and Louis will take the train to Toronto, Ontario to meet Paul and go to the White Sox/Blue Jays game on Thursday night. We're certainly not in Illinois any more. Life sure is different. Tonight our family of four will be sleeping in three different Canadian provinces.

1 comment:

John Oltman said...

Good luck to Danielle! That will be a great experience for her. Diana and I spent time in Calgary in 1994. I remember the Joey Tomatoes restaurant, good eats.

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