Pamela MacNaughtan

It’s odd to think that in two weeks I’ll be moving myself to Québec City to learn French. Am I crazy?! Sure, I adore Québec City, and it is the best place in Canada in terms of learning French, but still! Living in Québec City is going to be a lot like living in France. I can still do my freelance and social media work, but there is no chance of picking up temporary work to help pad my bank account – damn language barrier!

That kind of makes me nervous. Yes, I can rent a small cheap apartment for a couple months, but in doing so I also need to work more than I do now to ensure that I can pay the rent and still save money. It’s something I haven’t had to do for almost four years and I am kind of freaking out. Canada is slightly more expensive than Asia. I’m not saying it cannot be done, just that I am having wee panic attacks. Pre-moving jitters as it were.

Apartment Hunting

Living in Ontario and looking for apartments in Québec City has been an interesting process. I’ve found a few cheap places, but not having an apartment for the last four years is not helping the process. In Canada, landlords like to have references, credit checks, your first born child.  I find myself reminiscing about renting an apartment in Asia where all I had to do was show up, look at the apartment, sign a contract, give money, and move in.

Dear Canada, I know you’re a first world country, and you like security and stuff, but can we bend some rules? Just for moi? See, I threw in a French word for you! I should totally live in Québec!

At the moment apartment hunting involves creeping through websites like Kijiji and then using Google translate to send messages enquiring about price, and location. If I were in France I wouldn’t think twice about it, but I live in Canada and my brain seems to think that finding an apartment in Québec should be a lot easier – and not involve Jedi mind tricks!

I Fell In Love too Soon

My first apartment hunting mistake? Falling head-over-heels in love with an apartment in Old Québec. It’s quite small and requires a one year lease, but it’s in the old city and I can afford it. Yay! I could pretend I’m in France every day! I could walk everywhere. I could… I could wax poetic about pretty much everything in the old city and make a very good case for why it would be the perfect location.

Now that I know of a cheap, cute apartment in the old city, everything else looks like chopped liver. I swear I’ve pretty much married this apartment in my mind. Oh, it would be perfect, but the whole money and survival thing has me worried so I kept looking and enlisted the help of my friend Marjolaine.

Tonnes of Panic, Then Peace

Turning to Marjolaine for location advice turned out to be the BEST decision as she was able to quickly find a small studio apartment being sublet in Old Québec City from Dec – July! No lease, furnished, and in the heart of the old city. How amazing is that?! The apartment is only $630 a month and doesn’t include cable or phone, but that is totally okay with me. I don’t need cable. I have a cell phone. I’m good.

For weeks now I have been losing sleep over this whole moving thing. I’ve looked at apartments and thought “yes, I can do this!”, and then 10 mins later I would be filled with doubt and fear. Can I really do this? Can I risk a move and still be happy? Maybe I should go back to Asia. I could do more, visit more places etc.

And once again, I almost bought a place ticket to Bangkok. In fact last week I went as far as to do a farelock on a plane ticket to Bangkok because it was only $840 round trip including taxes. That is an amazing deal!! Do it. I need to do it now. That is what I told myself. Then I went to Québec City for a few days to interview someone and realised that I needed to suck up the fear and doubt and just go for it. I had ideas and plans. I don’t need to ditch those. I can still go forward. I can still find balance and passion.

I CAN do this. And I will do it.

On December 1st.



  • November 17, 2013

    No better way to learn French that’s for sure.

  • November 19, 2013

    You can most definitely do this! You have such passion that it will work! 🙂

  • Paul

    December 7, 2013

    And if you don’t learn French it still is a beautiful place to live. LOL


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