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“Do You Have Any Guns?”: A Tiny House Border Crossing

“Do You Have Any Guns?”: A Tiny House Border Crossing
Tiny House Upstate New York
THGJ on the road towards Canada

After spending almost a week in New York City, we began to feel the “itch.” I can’t remember the particular reason our tails began to curl up under our bums, but I suspect it might have been around the time we glimpsed at our bank accounts
and gasped at the recent depletion.

Shortly after, Guillaume and I had the sudden, brilliant idea to say goodbye to the big apple and head north. Once again we were headed into uncharted territory (at least on our personal atlases) and for the billionth time during our relationship, I was happy that Guillaume was French. I settled in for a relatively easy voyage, confident that traveling through Quebec with my own personal translator should be a breeze, assuming we could cross the border. I’ve heard of a few tiny homes doing it before, but we were still anxious as we approached the gateway to maple-land.

THGJ Canada border
THGJ waiting to cross into Canada

“Do you have any guns?”

“No.”

“Are you planning on moving into Canada?”

“No, we will be leaving October 5th, via a ferry from Yarmouth to Maine.”

(Beat)

“And, you have no guns?”

“No, no guns.”

“Hmmmm. This (re: tiny house) is very unusual. Please pull over.”

We pulled over as directed. A few minutes later two different officers arrived to inspect our home. Guillaume had been speaking to the officers in English thus far and (proven on several cheesy occasions when I requested he be “more French”) couldn’t put on a French accent if our lives depended on it. As far as they were concerned, he was born and raised in some state in the middle of America named after a forgotten Native American tribe and couldn’t speak a lick of French.

And so every time the two officers would rattle phrases back and forth in French, I would secretly pretend we were secret tiny house agents sent to spy on these Canadian custom officers. As they crawled into our loft, I carefully examined Guillaume’s face for clues as to the officers’ private conversation. In English, they were all business. But, perhaps in French they thought the tiny house was super awesome! I relished in the fact that I’d get the details later. But then –

“Do you have any guns?”

“Nope,” sang the chorus.

After an hour of inspection, we were set free. Guillaume and I dashed to the truck, feeling like we’d just been given a golden ticket for Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Not a moment after I shut my door did I inquire about the officers’ covert communication, thinking my man was very clever to conceal his bi-lingual super power.

“I couldn’t understand a word of it,” Guillaume admitted.

Apparently the officers had very thick accents, used different slang and spoke very fast. I was disappointed that I would never know their secret admiration or aversion toward our home, but also worried my translator and I were about to have a rough few weeks…

Stay tuned for our travels in Quebec!

 

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19 Comments

  1. October 7, 2014 / 1:05 pm

    Quebecois french is much different than European french (French french?) And yeah, we are a tad bit uptight about guns up here, eh? Anyhow, Bienevue! (Welcome)!

  2. Matt
    October 6, 2014 / 10:25 am

    France and Quebec… to places separated by a common language.

  3. October 6, 2014 / 9:31 am

    Ha! I took an immersion French class in Jonquiere before you were born, At that time, I could understand ‘a word of it’! (maybe not so much aujourdhui)

  4. Rachel
    October 6, 2014 / 8:27 am

    Welcome to Canada!
    About when do you expect to be in or near Halifax?
    Safe travels. I love reading about your journeys and the border crossing (now that it’s completed) was great! :>)

    • October 6, 2014 / 8:38 am

      Thank you, unfortunately, we’ve been out of Canada since yesterday… It takes time for us to write those posts and process the pictures, we are usually a few weeks behind. We already went through Halifax (loved Nova Scotia, you guys are so welcoming!!!).
      Anyhow, if you want the latest from us, the best way to get it is through our Facebook Page.

  5. Maura
    October 6, 2014 / 7:47 am

    Too funny! Really enjoying following your Tiny house travels

  6. October 6, 2014 / 6:25 am

    I believe that Quebec has its own “french” language!!! Maybe Acadian French?

    • October 7, 2014 / 1:03 pm

      very different from the real french language if you ask some people in france about canada they will say thats not real french im an american born my father came from germany but theres french in the long ago family came from france i dont speak german or french just english

    • trevor Langevin
      November 6, 2014 / 1:29 pm

      Quebec French has morphed into its own distinctive genre. The Acadian’s were only in Nova Scotia, by Lunenburg. The British drove them and the local native tribes out in the mid 1750’s. Spain and France relocated most of them to Louisiana, to help block British expansion up the Mississippi. Some came back to Nova Scotia, but most stayed in the US.

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