Letters Home: Denmark

It’s been almost two months since we landed at Montréal-Trudeau and, for the first time, stood on North American soil. We’re two Danish exchange students Jakob and Nanna, majoring in journalism. Montréal is our home until Christmas.

Our first week was extremely stressful with everything being new—but luckily, we had the hostel Auberge Bishop, to give us comfort. The staff was friendly and helpful, the room clean, and the breakfast? Well, we learned to live with the white paper-like toast-bread, the interesting assortment of jam and the unusual bitter coffee.

Danish exchange student Jakob Groth is studying journalism at ConU.

While living at Auberge Bishop, we started our search for a permanent place to live. We sent a bunch of emails to people on the infamous website Craigslist. The weirdest reply we – or Jakob – got was from a guy who wrote, “I know this is unusual but if you would like, you can come sleep over tonight. Try the room, the bed, see the place, meet me. I changed the bedsheets but I didn’t vacuum. Let me know.”

He was probably just being extremely friendly, but…Before leaving Denmark, people warned us.

“Be careful in Montreal,” they told us, “they have this weird thing called poutine.”

And yes, the thought of fries swimming in a pool of gravy with cheese on top did not really appeal to us. However, on our first night in Montreal, we were really hungry, and when we asked the hostel staff where to go for dinner, they instantly recommended the Smoke’s Poutinerie just two minutes away. So, of course, we had to try it.

It was so good! The cheese (is it cheese?) was a bit like rubber, when chewing it, the fries were all wet and incredibly greasy from the gravy, the bacon and the pulled pork made a perfect combination, and we looked at each other feeling disgusted and over the moon at the same time. “We have to eat this again,” we said.

And so we did. Again and again.

We both agree that if our journalistic careers fail when we get back to Denmark, we will open a poutinerie in Copenhagen. It would be a huge success, no doubt about that! We still don’t understand how it can be so good.

There are still a lot of things we don’t understand about Montreal. Take the alcohol policy for instance.

In Montreal, we’ve seen people smoking weed with cops close by, but sitting on the street drinking a beer, are you crazy? One night, Nanna was actually stopped by the police, because she was drinking a beer in the street with some girls. In Denmark, it’s perfectly normal to have a beer in a public place, so how would we know?

We also felt a bit stupid going to the tam-tams, bringing chips that would allow us to drink our beers. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, OK, that’s good advice. However, what difference do some potato chips, an apple or even a black olive really make? Now, if you had to eat a poutine for every beer, then it would be a completely different story…

By the way, we both found nice places to live after five days, Nanna in Little Italy, Jakob in the Plateau. We both love it, we love Montreal and the people who are extremely friendly, and as long as we don’t drink our beers in the streets, we are sure that our time in Montreal will be unforgettable.

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