Our last night in Hamilton consisted of removing unnecessary clothing from my pre-packed bags with the help of Rhiannon. This was the first step towards achieving the goal of leaving most of my clothes in Canada, which is the only way I am going to fit all my luggage into the long-haul allowance. We delivered an IKEA bag full of clothes to our friend who conveniently was working in a nearby bar, where we stayed for a drink with our Australian friend Elly, who we would have to say goodbye to that night for a good few years. We helped Brandon clear his fridge of random food items and then set to sleep for a few hours. Continue reading
We left on a Wednesday afternoon. After our last exams we had to move out by 3pm the next day, a rule that makes sense in theory but actually causes quite a lot of stress for students living in residence rather than prevent crazy post-exam parties. I traipsed off downtown to collect the hire car for the weekend (a Dodge Avenger), credit card and passport in hand. Driving back to campus required the help of a Canadian friend to guide the way through the treacherous one-way system of Hamilton.
Eventually arriving in one piece, we set to packing the car with all the years belongings of four people. We realised after two that there was no way everything was going to fit – so we dropped off a bag or two at our “traveling buddy” Brandon’s house to pick up later. Continue reading
It’s strange celebrating a birthday away from home, especially a big one like 21. I don’t think I would have imagined my 21st birthday to be spent eating burgers with another friend’s family in a small town in Canada, but hey, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
Since the last blog post, life has been a whirlwind of activity: I have visited NYC for the first time with my family, sat the longest bout of “midterms” you will ever hear of, been to Montreal for a second time, experienced the Toronto Christmas Market, become closer friends with a few of the “locals”, attended handfuls of Zumba classes, and discovered the Williams Cafe on campus – a delightful island in a sea of overpriced bad food. Continue reading
My life has become something that I wouldn’t have believed 6 months ago: I am a seasoned traveller! No, I may not have walked the wall of China, or been to a Full Moon Party, but I have booked flights for my road trip across North America, and I write this onboard a flight to LAS VEGAS for the weekend.
The joys of being 21 never get old. I always used to find it annoying when people would ask me on my birthday “how does it feel to be a year older?” because of course, being 14 feels exactly the same as being 13. But 21 is different. It’s more than just an age, it’s an opportunity. Yes, it is the beginning of a long, sometimes boring, and more responsible adult life, but it gives me the mark of freedom to do exactly what I want to (within reason of course). Continue reading
I have never appreciated that song about driving home for Christmas as much as I did on that flight home. It would have been a massive understatement to say that I was “excited” for my own bed, a good roast dinner, and maybe a hug from Mum.
It had been an emotional month, what with exams and my 21st birthday as well as a spotting of lasts with some of the closest friends I had been closest with on this trip. The so-called “squad” was losing half of its members after Christmas, which meant a few long hugs goodbye and watery eyes. Most of the leavers were Australian, which has been a big push for me to organise a trip there in the coming years. You could say I may have caught the travel bug, with the thought of settling down into an office job sounding more and more distant. Continue reading
Montreal is a city that got its name from the three hills (or mountains) it is built on. It is situated in the state of Québec which is French-Speaking and about a 5 hour megabus journey from Toronto. Considering it takes 2ish hours from campus (via Hamilton) it takes a good half a day to get there. Continue reading
That’s what they call it here: Freshers are called “Froshmen”. How weird. They also don’t say “half past” the hour, at all, they don’t know what it means. Language barriers are more common than I initially thought they would be, but fortunately, these encounters come across in more of a cute way than a communicatively obstructive way. For example, a girl laughed at me today in the lift (sorry – elevator) when I asked where she’d bought her “chips” from. I should know by now that they call the deep fried potatoes “fries” by now. Yesterday I saw a sign that said “Please put your trash in the garbage” – how Canadian!! Also they don’t know what “jumpers” are. Continue reading
It’s strange how well you can get to know people in nine weeks. Or how well they can get to know you more like. My work friend made a point of pressing these post-its on my side of the partition between our desks periodically, and each one made me giggle in a very office-inappropriate way. This one I thought he got particularly spot-on.
This year abroad in Canada began two years ago when I applied to Durham. An inspirational talk from Dr. David Sims-Williams at the open day highlighted the opportunity, and this was one of my main attractions to the University. The first night in Hatfield we met our Academic Advisors, and it was the first question I asked.