As I am writing this, I already spent more than two weeks in the country of moose, poutine and grizzly bears. I find it hard to believe when I look around my new room, stylishly decorated with random shit from home, or when I hug my flatmate Joanna with whom I’m already too much in sync. I can still see myself clinging to my mum at the airport like one of those clip-on koalas and maybe potentially pushing some liquid out of my eyes in the process (what happened to that tough girl, eh?). All sentimentality and love aside, even after two weeks Canada has taught me some wise lessons the past two weeks which I would like to share with you all.
1. Canadians are lovely human beings
You do not want to believe the stories and stereotypes, but a lot of them do appear to be true. It warms my heart every time some random Canadian smiles at me despite the bad weather or when someone apologizes for something that was entirely. not. their. fault. They actually say “Eh” and eat poutine, and most importantly, they absolutely seem to love lines. Unsuspectingly waiting for the bus, I was slightly flabbergasted when people started to line up next to me to nail that first come first serve principle. Really?
2. Making friends is hard when you think too much about it
As a student of a small college in which almost everyone lived in the same building, it kind of felt like my first day of high school again when I first walked into an enormous auditorium. I normally have the annoying tendency to befriend complete strangers within seconds, but it took me quite some days to adjust to this new concept of ‘university’ and get in touch with people.
3. British Columbia is one helluva lovely place
Lynn Valley, Grouse Mountain, Stanley Park, Pacific Spirit Regional Park- nature is literally on my doorstep here, or a free bus ride away. I don’t even care today was probably the last sunny day I will experience here. Hiking Lynn Canyon in the rain gave me the true BC feeling, and it made me realize that there wouldn’t be so much nature without the bad weather too.
4. University can be like it is in the movies
I have to admit I only bought a ticket for the homecoming football game because I want to feel like I’m Sandy from Grease. And then there’s that university campus, with rose gardens and museums, frat houses and a nude beach (what?), straight from the movies.
5. I am happy to have a home
The amount of homeless people really shocked me when I happily bounced around downtown for the first time. I don’t know how they ended up there or why no one takes care of them, but I’ve come to realize how much we are pampered and protected in that beautiful flatland of ours.
Living abroad has been an amazing experience so far. The difficult or frightening moments are a part of this experience too, but these also made me realize how much respect I have for all my friends who left their countries, families and friends to come and study in The Hague, in a country where they don’t even speak the native language.
When I take that into account, I know I’m overreacting when I get this cute little postcard from home and I turn into this squishy kiddo, waiting for her parents to wake up so she can thank them. 5 months isn’t that long, but I guess I’m still just an expat in the making.
P.S. Postcard for a postcard? I promise to write one back with love. –> Fairview Crescent 2615-1, V6T 2B8 Vancouver, BC, Canada.
P.P.S. My awesome flatmate Joanna vlogs about her adventures in Canada and she actually just uploaded one about her arrival in Vancouver! In case you’re interested in watching our intense struggles whilst buying toilet paper, make sure to watch it 🙂