“An MRI scan of my brain would undoubtably reveal the shape of a maple leaf etched upon my frontal lobe.”
Perhaps I overestimated the amount of preparation I needed to do before my year abroad. I had heard horror stories about last minute packing shenanigans, forgetting lucky underwear (heaven forbid) and turning up in the country without even a short itinerary of places to go, things to see, restaurants to eat at (obviously essential research).
I had bid farewell to the majority of friends at my early 21st party in July, explained about my year abroad to an inquest of tipsy customers during two waitressing jobs (“Canada? Bring your winter boots!”), and used the Canadian flag emoji in one too many snapchat posts. An MRI scan of my brain would undoubtably reveal the shape of a maple leaf etched upon my frontal lobe.
I was done with England, and South East Asia for that matter after seeing it crop up endlessly on my Facebook timeline. After much procrasti-baking that would impress Mary Berry, making travelling plans, and consoling friends that I would always be available through the magic of Skype, I began packing.
Little did I realise that packing one suitcase to go halfway across the world for nine months is comparable to fitting a whale into a swimsuit. I’m not Mary Poppins, or Hermione Granger. Also, APPARENTLY my cat is listed as ‘prohibited item’ and I can’t pack him in my case. Needless to say, he was distraught.
The last week arrived and went by in a flurry of farewell coffees, sunbathing (as I guessed that months of snow and icy cold winds wouldn’t do wonders for my usually tanned complexion), and saying goodbye to the cats I couldn’t take with me. All five of my immediate family are heading out for a two week Canadian adventure, starting in Vancouver and making our way to Calgary via wonderful places such as Vancouver Island, Jasper and Banff. By the end of that time I’m sure I’ll be as Harry was to the Dursleys – bloody glad to be rid of them.
On the morning of Monday the 10th, colour coordinated luggage in hand, document holder at the ready, I practically skipped out of the door of my house and we hit the road to the airport.
As I perch on the edge of my seat on the plane to Vancouver writing this I feel overwhelming relief that the tumultuous build up to my year abroad has finally become a reality. I am 38000 feet above sea level, right over Jasper National Park. After watching most of the country go by through the window, I am struck by the unfamiliarity yet untouched beauty of the vast landscape. My new flight attendent friend fancies building his dream home somewhere amongst the vast expanses of icy lakes and tundra which we flew over for at least two hours.
Despite the seemingly inhospitable landscape the appeal of starting out somewhere brand new with so much to explore and discover certainly resonates with me. Okay, so I’m moving for a year not a lifetime, but you get the sentiment. It’s going to be pretty great.
After months of using the Canadian flag emoji as a vector for my excitement, I can now almost taste that maple leaf, and the channel for my excitement and adventures (with some studying along the way) will become this blog instead.
See you next time, marvellous readers.