Last weekend the Queens International Centre took all the exchange students to a local maple syrup farm. We saw tree tapping and ate pancakes and played in the snow. 6 months ago those three activities in quick succession would have probably tipped me over the edge into incomprehensible levels of excitement, but that’s life now. I ‘play’ (debatable, most days I wake up and tut at the Canadian weather when I draw the curtains and have to get to work by 7.30am) in the snow most days of the week and I eat pancakes at least twice a week. Going to the maple farm showed me just how Canadian my life has become. I wear my plaid and denim, I unzip my coat at the tropical temperatures of -3 and I say ‘eh?’ after most sentences.
I’m not far enough into my Canadian adventure to say that I wouldn’t flinch if I saw a moose, thankfully. But I have been submerged in their culture long enough now to be almost passable as a Canadian, if only they didn’t say tomatoes so stupidly! The novelty is wearing off, but that doesn’t make life here substandard, just comfortable and homely! The country is undeniably homely anyway. You’d be hard pushed to meet an unfriendly Canadian or a foreign individual that can’t make Canada their home.
At the moment exams and essays are filling my time, but when I do stop to think that I’ll leave Canada in just a few weeks I do know that I’ll miss my second home when I’m 7000 miles away. It’s not just Queens, a really great University with an applaudable ethos and spirit, nor is it Kingston with its lake-side views, not even my friends, both Canadian and exchange students, but the very country itself. In its vast beauty, charm and welcoming nature I’ve been submerged for 7 months now. I couldn’t have chosen a better exchange destination.
At the beginning of May, my housemate and I will spend 4 days and 4 nights on a train straight across this country. Whenever I tell Canadians about my travel plans they often note that Ida and I will see more of their country in 4 days than they have in 20 years. I think Canada is the perfect exchange destination because this vast, stunning country, coupled with the exchange attitude, would keep even the most intrepid adventurer entertained for a year.
While I’m infinitely excited to be reunited with my friends, family and familiar sights in just a few months, I will always miss Canada and cherish the knowledge that I have a home here to return to.