Medium Fry is going on a student exchange trip to France this year.
(Before the story really gets rolling, let's all take a moment to reflect on how much cooler school is now than it was Back In Our Day. Aaaaaaand... moment up. Carry on.)
In preparation for this exchange, the exchangees are doing a bit of a structured pen pal thing through their schools. Apparently Halloween isn't celebrated in France so some of their first discussions have centered around this strange foreign holiday, from the benign - 'Do you decorate your house for Halloween?' - to the unintentionally hilarious - 'When do you prepare the Halloween feast?'
Really, they should have planned the exchange itself around some unique and fun events in the host countries, such as Halloween here and - I have no idea what there. You'd think this sort of thing would be part of what the kids would get to discover. Instead, they are sending those poor French kids here in February. February.
Quick, think of the worst possible time of year to visit Calgary.
... okay, other than Stampede.
... and January.
Exactly! February. In February, no one has seen sunlight or a fresh vegetable for five months. It's tax time. Either minus 40 or a slushy mess of a Chinook, sometimes both in one day, which I guess makes it migraine season in addition to flu season, not to mention I've-officially-failed-at-all-my-New-Year's-Resolutions season. How do you pack for that?
What will we do with this kid for ten days in February? Canada is an amazing country and Alberta an amazing province, but February is pretty much our collective dirty laundry and we just shouldn't be airing it willy nilly. I can't even think of how to welcome this poor exchange student here in February that doesn't involve a preemptive apology. I've got a few ideas to run by y'all, let me know what you think:
Bienvenue au Canada! We have prepared for you the traditional gift of long johns and vitamin D supplements.
Bienvenue au Canada! Let us engage in our traditional winter sport of dangerous driving conditions.
Bienvenue au Canada! I swear it's usually hospitable to human life.
Bienvenue au Canada! We saved you some Halloween feast!
Bienvenue au Canada! At least you're not in Winnipeg!
Bienvenue au Canada! Enjoy the Great Indoors!
Bienvenue au Canada! Uh... sorry?
And seriously, if anyone has any ideas for things to do and see around town in February, particularly "weather contingency" options, please let me know. I'm stumped.