All’s Well That Ends Well

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My final day in California – cold and wet but on top of the world!

It’s been almost two months since I left Calgary and yet that part of my life already seems like an age ago. I’ve travelled so much recently that I currently feel very far away from what I’ve come to view as my second home. Especially now that I’ve finally ended up in Belize, somewhere which is miles apart from Canada, both quite literally (6,239km to be exact) and in other senses; the climate, the culture, the languages, the food. You name it, it couldn’t be more different. Whilst adapting to this new Belizean lifestyle, which I currently find myself indulging in, I’ve had some time to reflect on my experiences since leaving Heathrow last August. This year has broadened my perspectives and changed my attitude towards others; it’s taught me how to respond to new people and unfamiliar ways of life.  In that sense I’ve learnt considerably more than I could have ever done at home – not just in the academic sense. I have thought long and hard about the things I’ve learnt whilst being abroad and, as this is my last post, I would like to share them with you.  I hope this proves to be good advice, wherever you travel in the world. Continue reading

Let Loose From Calgary! Time to go Travelling and Surviving in San Francisco

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I made it to San Francisco!

So it’s been around three weeks since I left Calgary and what a jam-packed adventure so far! It’s been quite the whistle-stop tour of the west coast; stopping off in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. Right now I’m currently residing with my sister in San Francisco and have been here for around ten days. It’s been wonderful to stay in this quirky, diverse and gritty city whilst attempting to get to grips with its often surprising and eccentric inhabitants. Nevertheless I can’t help but feel the occasional pang of longing for my Canadian friends across the border. I will miss Canada for all its charm and courtesy (and there’s no Tim Hortons here either!). America feels far more dogged and rough-edged than its polite and reserved neighbours further north. Continue reading

Goodbye and Farewell Calgary

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Celebrating the end of class at Bermuda Shorts Day!

It is with great sadness that I write this post because in just over a week I will be packing away my winter clothes, brushing the dust off my suitcases and saying farewell to the University of Calgary. Unlike Durham, where you have a few weeks for post-summative de-stressing with your friends, once you finish your last exam here you have about a day to move out of student halls. It’s all so sudden and rushed. One minute you’re busy organising and cramming for finals and the next you’re vacating the building like you were never truly there. And everyone is given different move out days so there’s not really a chance for one final get together. There’s no time for partying, no time for goodbyes, not really any time for recollection at all, which is what makes leaving all the more heartbreaking… Continue reading

A Rain-Softened Brit: Coping With The Cold In Calgary

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My friends and family back home just love asking me what the temperature is.  It’s pretty much always the first thing we talk about when I appear on Skype. The English have a fascination with the weather which is certainly not just a false stereotype. That’s why Calgary is so enthralling for us Brits. Its unpredictability and pretty unforgiving winter weather makes England’s look vanilla in comparison.  The phrase ‘it’s a bit nippy out’ doesn’t quite cut it when you sometimes have to walk to class in painful wind chills of around -20°C. It feels like a slap to the face. I think the coldest temperature I’ve experienced so far, was around -40°C. I think I hibernated that weekend. And the first time I saw millions of tiny ice particles glistening in the air, one bright and frosty morning, I thought I was dreaming.

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A Christmas To Remember in Vancouver City

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For most of us, Christmastime is about enjoying the home comforts. On those bleak December nights, there’s nothing quite as cheering and reassuring as sharing in annual traditions with friends and family. Nestling up and getting cosy by the fire, drinking mulled wine whilst feasting on warm mince pies, watching Christmas movies and shedding a little tear when Buddy the Elf gets to ride in Santa’s sleigh. However with most of these things denied to me, how was I going to get in the festive spirit? How would I get through December all alone? It was understandable that in the run up to Christmas, my friends kept asking with great concern how much I was going to miss England and how homesick I was going to feel. Thankfully for them and for me, I was actually going to do just fine. Continue reading

Not Quite Winter Blues: hibernation and feeling nostalgic

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Ahh, so peaceful. View of the mountains from a park in Banff.

The final weeks of term have flown by in such a rush, that I’m still struggling to come to terms with the sudden inevitable end of this semester. I don’t quite understand where the time has gone, but gone it has and in its place I am left with this sudden feeling of nostalgia – already! It doesn’t seem like two seconds ago that, on a hot and sunny September morning, I was arriving at UofC with a slight feeling of trepidation but mainly absolutely buzzing to meet my roommates and get all settled in. Now here I am, sat in my hat and jumper, on a dark December night, pretty darn knackered but feeling all emotional about how far things have come and how many new things I’ve tried. The wonderful places I’ve visited, including Penticton, Banff and Edmonton. The delicious food I’ve tasted (and believe me, it’s all been delicious) like: Poutine, Tim Hortons donuts and the dreaded Kraft Dinner. The fun things I’ve done such as: roadtripping on a Greyhound, learning how to ski and attempting to line dance. And of course, the fascinating and wonderful people I’ve met, and the friends I’ve made, along the way!

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The Snow May Have Arrived But That Won’t Stop Me…

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It’s safe to say that the past four weeks have been absolutely hectic, a complete ‘snowstorm’ of events, emotions and new experiences. I genuinely don’t think I’ve stopped for a minute. For that reason it’s actually quite gratifying to have this blog; to be able to sit down, compose myself, mull over the craziness of it all… take a deep breath… aaaand… spill out my thoughts in the form of a short, sweet and hopefully coherent post.

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Welcome to Calgary!

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I hate to think of such an overused cliché but goodness me! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

In a couple of days’ time I will be celebrating a month since arriving in the beautiful city of Calgary and yet it only feels like a moment ago that I was taking off from Gatwick on a miserable summer’s day. Nevertheless so much has happened in that time frame that I think I’m going to struggle to tell you all about it! Apart from the numerous and understandably important tasks involved in settling in; getting a bank account, a mobile number and adjusting to a new university lifestyle etc., it’s safe to say that I’ve spent a lot of my ‘free’ time being a super-cringey tourist. I’ve armed myself with a new camera and a list of things to do. I’ve attempted to tick off as many stereotypically Canadian and Calgarian activities as possible (as well as some of the not so obvious ones as well).

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