Belonging or not belonging, that’s a question.

Liting Liu

Having been in Montreal for exact four months, now I feel no much difference from the day I landed at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport. Since I don’t speak French at all and my English is limited as well, the awkwardness I felt at the beginning still haunts me. I live in the community but I doubt if I belong to it.

In the evening of August 12th, I arrived at Montreal. I got a number, waiting to be called by the customs officer. Beyond my expectation, they don’t use any bilingual broadcasting machine to announce numbers. Instead, they shouted out numbers themselves in French, and in the hundred-digit-omitted form (e.g. 230 is read as “trente”). It is only after learning some basic French that I got to understand their omission by that time. As you would have guessed it right, I didn’t know the officer was announcing my number until she called several times and asked my number in English. I heard people in the room snickering. At last, the officer kindly offered me a tip – “If you plan to find a job and stay here, you must learn French.” After passing numerous “ARRET” road signs, I got to the apartment, posted “Welcome to the world of being blind and deaf” on Facebook.

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