Lost in Translation

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“I can confirm that I didn’t find a new version of myself huddling beneath a snow drift, or have a kind, humble yeti carry me to his hut, spoon feed me cocoa, and beguile me with tales of old.”

Articulating how it feels to have left Calgary is a feat of magnitude. My attempts to explain to family and friends about the life I left behind have felt lack-lustre, and as I furrow my brow and nod my head assuredly at earnest questions such as, ‘was it as amazing as it looked?’, I feel unable to translate my genuine sentiment on the matter unto those who weren’t along for the ride.

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A Lifestyle Metamorphosis

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“It all began with the planting of a set of magical beans that the Year Abroad office unknowingly handed me in January 2015.”

Undergoing a lifestyle metamorphosis is an inevitable part of taking a year abroad. Aspects of your existence that you don’t expect to change are swept out from underneath your feet and for a second you’re in limbo, floating unassisted through an exciting though admittedly chaotic flux of cultivating new friendships, questioning old beliefs and mapping out your new physical and social surroundings.

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Almost a Fairytale

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“The idea of a girl cloaked in red weaving her way through the woods, being watched carefully by a big bad wolf, seemed far from fantasy.”

Reading Week in February positively leaped out at us from the dark corner it had been lurking behind, providing a terrifying reminder of the inevitability of time itself, and thrust upon us a welcome opportunity for adventure. After drawing up a lengthy plan (perusing and pointing at spots on Google Maps) and a challenging game of tetris involving the car boot and our suitcases, we took to the road.

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Festive Farewells and Rainy Reflections

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“I walk across campus, my freshly washed hair turning to literal icicles, fingertips close to frostbite, hands lizard-like from the dry air.”

These days in Canada have a habit of running away from me, and it is only as I sit down and recollect happenings from since I last wrote that I discover that an entire month has crept past. I boldly claimed in my previous post that the semester had been an emotional roller coaster yet this month may have topped it.

It has been abundant with trips to the mountains for snowboarding and sightseeing, final exams, departures of dear friends, a Christmas excursion to Vancouver, and a week of reflection and board games in rainy old Albion. Continue reading

Fall-en into Winter

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“After a trip to the British Import Store where I almost cried with nostalgia over a box of original Heinz baked beans and a packet of wine gums, and following a few cups of Yorkshire tea I found my resolve and evolved into Emma generation two – Canada edition”

Well, fall certainly fell away as quickly as it arrived. I’d been happily instagramming campus without even having to feed my photos through a rosy-golden tinted filter due to the abundance of multi-toned maple leaves which cast an effortless glance of Autumnal colour upon their surroundings. I’d even been caught using the word ‘fall’ in place of ‘Autumn’ – a harmless yet alarming example of the many northamericanisms I have delevoped since coming here.

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An Unexpected Journey

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“Seven weeks have flown faster than Smaug and I have already immersed myself in the life of a new university which is vastly different to Durham.”

This blog for me is a diary – a chance to document my adventures from the year in as much detail and embellished grandeur as they deserve. I would draw comparison to myself and Bilbo Baggins, though my feet are not hairy enough to be those of a hobbit, it certainly isn’t my 111th birthday, and I don’t possess a ring of immense power. Continue reading

Taking Over Canada

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I don’t know how to break this to you but I’ve practically taken over Canada, or at least the west coast and a proportion of the Rockies and the Prairies. The grizzly bear fetches me English breakfast tea with a click of my fingers, orca give me pedicures and breach on command, the golden eagle is my personal hair stylist, and elk perform interpretive dance upon my will.

In an attempt to comprehensively break down our journey across from Vancouver to Calgary this blog will form three segments – The West Coast, The Rockies, Calgary. I begin writing this blog with regret that I have not updated you sooner and trepidation that anecdotes which seemed so urgent at the time have been lost amongst the chaotic soup of stories swirling around my mind from the past month. Continue reading

Maple Leaf Dreams

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“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.

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