50 Days Across the Pond

I’ve made it to day 50! So what have I been up to…

Well, studying abroad is definitely a bit of a roller-coaster that’s for sure, the last 50 days have been full of travelling to some of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to, ‘studying’ a bit I guess and yes a bit of crying too…

I’ve been into the Rockies twice, been rafting on the river that runs through Calgary, gone Ice skating and I’ve experienced my first thanksgiving (all while trying to stay on top of my work 🙁 )

One of the first trips I went on was to Lake Louise which was just as beautiful as I had been told. It was the first time I had seen snow here too which was a bit surreal seeing as it was still September!!

I went to lake Louise with the centre for international students, it was stunning and snowed for most of the day.

The Rocky mountains may be one of the most incredible places that I’ve ever been to, but the city itself and the University have lots to do too. The Olympic Oval (used for the 1988 games) is less than 100m from my building and all the facilities here are free to use too, so I’ve been going skating lots and even to the gym and bouldering (I never normally do exercise at home!!). I also went rafting down the Bow river that runs through town with some of my Canadian friends and we got to walk over the peace bridge to downtown. There is also a really cool area in the city called Kensington, which has loads of restaurants and is a really cool place to walk around, due to it being the ‘hippy’ area of the city. The most recent event that I’ve been to in the city was illuminations at the zoo (just like being in Blackpool, a bit prettier though!!)

Lights at Calgary zoo, Ice skating at the Olympic oval

The peace bridge and rafting with my Canadian friends Ruth and Morgan.

I definitely made the right choice picking Cascade halls; most people living here are international (mainly Aussies!!) so we have all formed a big friendship group to travel with and do activities with in Calgary. The accommodation itself is really nice too; the only downside is that they like doing practice fire drills at 6am :(.

My friends from Cascade (minus a few!!)

I also have been to my very first Canadian house party. It was just like in the movies; a beautiful house (basically a mansion) with a massive basement that had been turned into a games room. It had a table tennis table, an air hockey machine, a cinema screen and even a traffic light for lighting!!! We played beer pong with the famous ‘red cups’ and then all went in a limo to the club!

The cool traffic light

I got to experience my first thanksgiving with a Canadian family and it was so lovely. We had a traditional roast with homemade apple sauce and then pumpkin cheesecake (so much better than pumpkin pie!!).

Thanksgiving dinner with this bunch!

The second thanksgiving dinner I had (I know you are only meant to have one a year!) was at a hostel when I went on a weekend away to Banff with my friends from the halls. I got to try pumpkin pie here which was surprisingly nice (doesn’t beat the cheesecake though). The weekend was lots of fun but very tiring (I was getting up at 7am and hiking 20km a day and then going out at night til 3!!). The views from the top of the mountains I hiked up were the most incredible views I’ve seen in my life and there was so much snow (it was so slippery when we walked down though). Luckily (I think) we didn’t see any bears, but we had our bear spray ready and played music from our speakers to scare them off!

Banff and the hostel (I’d never stayed at one before, it was alright but weird staying in a room with strangers)

View from tunnel mountain                                     At the top of sulphur mountain.

What else did I learn from the weekend….
1. Poutine is so good and beaver tails are amazing (especially maple syrup ones!!)
2. Greyhounds are full of some interesting characters to say the least
3. Sticky Fingers (an Aussie band) are really good
4. It’s so much fun going in hot springs when its -2 and snowing (though its weird being outside in a bikini in the snow!!)

The hot springs in Banff with my friends from Cascade, the pool was 40 degrees but it was -2 and snowing!!

So I bet you are thinking she is having an amazing time and it doesn’t sound like she’s doing much work. Well… I have to admit the ups are incredible but like any ‘roller-coaster’ (which is what I feel like I’m on being here) there are downs too and they can randomly come out of nowhere. I had never been homesick before, (I never even normally cry) but it turns out that, despite me thinking being 4,000 miles from home is the same as being 70 miles from home (being away from home is the same however far right?) it turns out I was very wrong.

Some days I just can’t stop crying for no reason and often skyping people at home (especially when your friends are at a social for your Lancaster society, BIG MISTAKE) only makes things worse. For some reason, sometimes you just feel like you are missing out and in that moment all you want is for everything to go back to the way it was before (don’t worry you’ll get over this).

When you miss home there’s always the Great British Bake Off and a full English to fall back on.

I am also doing some work; there are so many assignments here, but luckily the grading is more lenient than at home. The other difference from at Lancaster is that there are no clubs to go to on weekday nights :(, which I miss because as long as I can remember I have been part of a club. I wanted to try and join a netball team at the start but it turns out no one knows what netball is here!! I am managing to go to the gym, skating and bouldering though so its not all bad!!

To conclude I have had the craziest 50 days of my life, full of ups and downs, but I promise you its worth it!! (even if sometimes you wish you were back home).
Here’s to the next 50 days in this beautiful place 🙂