I've been in Canada for just over a week and it's been non-stop since I arrived. I left Orkney shortly after Christmas and headed down to Dundee and onwards to Edinburgh for New Year. I'd like to thank Amy and co. for letting me live in their flat over New Year it was great! I almost ended up having no plans on New Year but thanks to Dan and Innes for taking pity on me and I ended up having a night similar to back home where I was only heading home at 7am with brandy to keep my insides warm. I spent my last day in Scotland with the lovely Craig and Calum who kept me company for 12 hours and even stayed up until 6am with me and even drove me to the airport. What sweethearts! Thanks again boys and I'll send you some maple syrup in return!
I managed to pack (almost) everything I wanted to take with me for 6 months into one hold-all and I optimistically thought it might be within the luggage limit. 27.5kg and £40 later I was on my way. The plan was to get some sleep on the plane but when they are serving cooked breakfasts, I'm not risking missing that! Usually I like to chat to the person next to me but I gave up on this guy when he got pissed off at the air hostess for shutting the locker for on his "£200 suit." I will also say that it was a female pilot and she did a very, very smooth landing!
I was flying out to Chicago first and I was surrounded by North Americans for the first time, something I'd have to get used to. Suddenly I noticed my accent, something that I haven't really ever done before.
Most people hate flying long haul but I love it, firstly there is the personal entertainment systems which are now found in economy and then there is the weird time-travel aspect of it which I seem to really like but most of you would just call jet-lag. Even though I had films, tv shows and games at my fingertips I fell asleep to the 'soothing' sounds of the Dark Knight Rises...
|Chicago O Hare. Bit of a timewarp.|
My plane to Toronto wasn't much bigger than the Saabs you get on from Orkney to Edinburgh, even though it was an international flight it didn't feel like more than flying from Kirkwall to Aberdeen. I was sitting next to a woman from Quebec who had a proper French accent, you forget that in Quebec their first language is French and it's completely different to the rest of Canada.
Touchdown in Toronto just after 7pm local time but midnight back home. Canada is 5 hours behind the UK but my sleeping pattern during winter is so bad that it completely cancelled out any potential jetlag. There was no walkways onto the airport so as soon as you left the plane you were hit by the cold Canadian air I was warned about. Canadian immigration were very pleasant and made their interrogating questions just sound like casual conversation. As with any journey involving air travel, I was happy to be reunited with my bag, all 27.5kg. I was greeted by my Great Uncle Alfred I hadn't seen for 10 years or so and my Great Aunt Sandra I'd never met, and understandably didn't recognise me!
We had dinner at a roadside inn called Mowhawk Inn between Toronto and Waterloo which was pretty much how I naively pictured every bar and restaurant in Canada to look: logs and stone walls, roaring fire, massive pitchers of beer and ice hockey on the TV. We were served by a waitress who had been working there since the 1980's and by her perm it didn't look like she was ready to leave the 80's yet.
I had a wonderful sleep in Alfred and Sandra'a beautiful house and they were very welcoming and lovely so stay with. It is reassuring to know there are people I can turn to here if something goes wrong! I'll definitely be visiting them again and I thank them again for helping me so much!
|Found in the tiny town of Fergus in Ontario, alas in a British speciality shop.|
In the evening I met more of my family across here, Alfred and Sandra's daughter Jillian and her family who were another example of my welcoming relatives over here. I was surprised to find out I was one of the few family members from Scotland they had actually met and even Sandra has never met my Dad! I can't imagine having not met my Aunt! Thanks Jillian for the Chinese even if I ended up forgetting it in the fridge back in Waterloo! I'll definitely come visit again soon and definitely before I leave!
|Check me out at the bleachers! So totally like awesome.|
|Rose-ified my room.|
|The uni has a guide dog training program! Puppies everywhere!|
Over here people can take pretty much any combination of subjects which is cool, Dundee were quite strict on what I could take and they had to be biology related. However I did get to pick one module from outside biology. I am taking:
Principles of disease - makes me think I am a medic and it's REALLY interesting.
community ecology - probably the most boring but I can't complain!
conservation biology - Interesting even though the lecturer seems like a really scary lady
evolutionary ecology - This class is really interesting, mainly because the teaching is so different as the lecturer is trying to integrate creativity into science. There is no exam and you are marked on your contribution in discussions!
Introduction to Anthropology - I've been dying to take Anthropology for years and now I have a chance! Only one lecture a week and you have to submit a research paper which I might do on linguistics, particularly the Orcadian dialect! Can't wait for this one!
I'm also looking into ideas for the Ontarion which is the uni paper here.
I bought tickets to an ice hockey match in Feburary! Excited! Not tried it myself yet...
I've made a good few friends here already which is awesome and everyone is really friendly and easy to talk to so I am sure there will be more, it's only been one week! I've even met two people who knew someone who went to Stromness Academy! Seriously what are the chances?! Small world!
|My photography of my nights out haven't been fantastic... I'll improve!|
Tomorrow I am going to wander around Guelph and get to know the town and next weekend I will hopefully head to Toronto to meet more family and or go to Niagra Falls. So expect lots more photos than I have been taking in the next few weeks!
So that's about it for now, I did warn you I'd been busy and this is a summarised version! In essence I LOVE CANADA!