Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tremblement de terre

Autumn is a special time in Maine. I, like many Mainers, take advantage of Adult Continuing Education that the local school district offers in the fall. This year I am taking French.

French is an important language in Maine. Maine borders two Canadian provinces: French speaking Quebec, and bilingual New Brunswick. Many of our visitors to our community are French speaking. Franco-Americans also make up the largest population in Maine. The first European settlement in Maine was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, 16 years before the pilgrims "landed" on Plymouth Rock.

While sitting in French Class last night going over "ER" verbs,  the floor started to shake.  First,  it was the floor,  then the walls, and then furnace pipes. Not being in to many earthquakes in my life, I had no idea what was happening. The shaking lasted for about 10 seconds, but seemed longer. I thought something smashed into the building. It was an odd feeling, like being on a fast moving train going over an old bridge.

The French Professor started saying:  tremblement de terre, tremblement de terre. Not knowing what this phrase meant, we quickly learned the meaning!  I guess this is a new one we need to know: Earthquake!

Earthquakes are  extremely rare in Maine.  Reports show that moderate earthquakes take place in Maine once every few decades.  This earthquake registered at 4.6 on the US Geological Survey. The earthquake was located in Waterboro.  I was in a classroom in Wells Maine, about 22+ miles from the epicenter.

Needless to say, this French class was memorable!

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