some memories from europe
My coming home is a bit different as I am not returning to Australia but after 4 months of traveling 3 of which were spent in Europe I am now returning to Victoria Canada to complete another semester of exchange. It feels really weird calling this home, but it really is. I managed to set up an apartment before I left which was really lucky to do, I am living with a friend near downtown its really nice and really cheap. It is surreal being back and I really miss all of my friends most of whom have returned back home after there exchange. Everything I see reminds me of them and all of the fun that we had. I have met up with the few people that are still here, my Canadian friends and international student which is great. I have met a few of the new “exchangers” but as I arrived at uni late, I have missed some of the orientations and activities.
UVic looks a lot different that I remember as well, for one, I have been here a week and have only seen blue skies and sunshine! Definitely not a complaint about that, I was worried it would be cold and raining as usual. But it is supposed to be the warmest week all summer, people are laying on the grass the fountain has been turned back on, its so nice. I am telling the other new exchanger to make the most of it because it wont last.
Classes started yesterday, I am so looking forward to it! i am doing French photography and American sign language.
I don’t really miss home now, I did at the start but my friend wrote me a letter every week and I was so busy, the busy traveling so i think i have been lucky to miss the home sickness. but I wouldn’t mind if they emailed me more!
Today my best friend Michelle is going to visit me for 2-3 weeks! i am so excited she will be the first person from home to visit 🙂 I have so many things planed and I know all of the good places to go now because this is my home. Tonight we are going to Olympic National Park and are going to hike to a hut on top of a mountain and sleep there 🙂 – I hope she is prepared….
My Europe trip was incredible, the highlights were the 2-3 weeks I spent working on a farm in Ardeche France, my french improved so much! and I loved it there, hitch hiking around France and Switzerland, hiking in the Swiss alps, rock climbing in the black forest Germany, my 2 weeks in the Netherlands with the awesome dutch guy I met in uvic and visiting all of my new European friends thanks to the exchange!
That’s about it for now, I will post pictures when I can,
I am in europe for 3 months till i go back to Victoria for fall semester, i have started using another blog site:
I almost made it the 530km by hitch hiking but unfortunately when my last driver was going to drop me off it was pouring down with rain! so i asked her to take me to the train station. The stupid ticket machine didnt work so i got on without a ticket, then the conductor came and i was able to buy one without a problem apart from the fact he charged me the adult price not the child price (12-25) i barely look 20 let alone 25! my last driver was quite strange it was a mix of english and french, so i didnt understand everything she said an she told me all about her problems, her sickness, her friends dieing; it was very depressing it felt like i was at work at the hospital again! ahs she never stopped talking. she had a kitten in the car too, she was so cute, only 6 weeks old. My host in Bordeaux was sooo nice and really easy to talk to we go along really well.
I visited the Dunes Du Pyla with é other CSers it was so cool! really bizzare it looks so out of place. The french guy that i went with kept on flirting with me, pushing me over and poking me and stuff. he said : what are those on your swimmers, what are they for; (pointing to the frilly bit) i said i dont know to look pretty; he said you dont need frills to look pretty. i am sorry but every pick up line or flirt thing like that just sounds sleazy from a french guy. We went to arcachon too and had an icecream so good.
In Bordeaux some of the window spaces have been covered do the new windows are smaller than the actual stone frame. this is because in the old days the people used to have to pay taxed for the size/amount of windows that they had so people would make there windows smaller or get ride of the all together!! crazy. the city is a world heratige site so everything new must fit in to the old and the cobble stones streets must get recobbled not tared, also the city had a massive re-vamp about è years ago which cleaned all of the stone walls and turned most of the city centre into walking streets only. this made the city clean and very well preserved as it was untouched by the wars. My host qnd i went inside a church and he sqid oh you dont want to go in there this is ugly. it was a beautiful old cathederal, man if this is the ugly one i want to see how amazing the nice one is! The river in bordeaux is usually flat but at certain times when the tide changes quickly there is a wave which you can surf on and it goes for kilometers!!!!
The wine in bordeaux is amazing, it is sweet because around the ti,e that the grapes are picked there is a thick fog on the ground which allows this fungus to grow on the grapes. this fungus sucks the water from the grape which increases the concentration of the sugar. I love couch surfing and hitch hiking you learn so many great things!!! also the guy that just drove me to toulouse did a study and sun screen actually harms the corals so he has developed a new sun screen that will not harm the coral! so cool
It is hard to describe but this now feels like home. Especially now when the classes are dying down and i have time to read in the morning (not a text book or study but just for fun), i have time to do more normal things that i would do at home. Tonia often asked if we have ever felt like a fish out of water. i do not think that i ever felt that way, often i forget that i am an exchange student, i forget that my friends are as well. they do have accents obviously but i dont attribute them to countries but rather to the person if that makes any sense. There have been some “final” things, such as the farewell dinner and the last church dinner. there is a church that feeds about 400 students every Tuesday night, awesome! So the reality that we are leaving is sinking in. Everyone is trying to make plans to hang out during the exam period and after. I will be going camping with 3 of the girls here, Stephanie, Iris and Pernille. i am really looking forward to our little retreat in the middle of this hectic time. when i go home i want to get away more and explore more of the beautiful things around Wollongong that i have taken for granted.
i also love the community here, i am living with like 20 of my new best friends. I know that this is not the real world and i think that is a shame that people don’t live in such environments anymore, well at least in the instances that i have seen. for example people don’t even know their neighbors! I really enjoy being able to show up at any time to someones door and ask them if the want to get a coffee or lunch with me. Where you don’t have to arrange a specific time or a specific place and write it in the diary 2 weeks in advance.
Home sickness—i haven’t really had it much thank goodness! last time i went away i did get home sick and it is a horrible feeling. But then again i have only been gone what … 3 months? only 10 to go… =\ I do miss everyone of course! Sometimes i wake up and forget where i am, especially when the person in the room next to me has the same alarm as my brother whom i sleep in the room next to at home. so i think, oh scott is getting up to go to work… oh wait he isnt here. My 3 good friends at home, Phuong, Sam and Dan write me letters, Phuong does every week! and i love getting them, makes me feel like i am not forgotten 🙂 i write back obviously and it will be very interesting to read them when i get back. Like a journal of my trip. I have the best friends ever! i dont think that she will be able to write to me when i am traveling through europe though, but i will still write to them.
The weather is getting warmer! more sunny days and it is up to 11 degrees today! makes such a difference.
After exams i am going to the east coast (montreal, toronto, NY ect) for a month, then i will go to europe untill 2nd of september when i will return to UVic for another session. I am a bit intimidated by planning such a massive holiday! I really need to start organising it, and it feels weird organising it when i am not at home in Oz. Also i have to organise my funds really well! i am used to working more when i am going to be going on a holiday, but here i cant! i just need to budget. At times like these i am glad that i am not a girly girly, as i can save a lot of money but hating shopping 😀
I am still getting A’s in Astronomy and i actually passed my French test yesterday!!! SOO excited, it is pretty hard! i have to do a dialog in French tomorrow, i just got help on my pronunciation…. hmm but worried!
Last weekend i went on a massive bike ride. my friend and I rode about…25km then couch surfed at a really nice guys house, he is a full on vegan lives in a trailer is an anarchist and loves animals. When i saw his profile i was a bit hesitant but when i talked to him on the phone he was lovely. And when we met him he cooked us dinner – all from dumpster dived food! (he also taught us some of the good places to go dumpster diving, so we tried it and go some fruit!) so cool and we played awesome game called carcassone. i won twice :p Then next day we went up to the potholes, my friend went swimming in glacial water – he is a bit special. This area was amazing! and great to see on a bike! lakes and river and forests and horses. at one point along the galloping goose (the name of the bike track) there was a pony pulling a cart with 2 people in it and my friend was racing the pony! it was awesome! unfortunately i did not get a picture 😦
After a gruelling bus ride i got to banff. While i was here the temp ranged from -16 to -35 i recon. On the first day i went on a tour of johnson canyon. It is amazing!!! heaps of frozen water that has come out of the cliff so they look like frozen waterfalls. we got given cleats to help walking. we followed the river up to a smaller waterfall, it was all frozen but you could see the water gushing out of the bottom – amazing! and a deep pool of fresh blue water. it looked so inviting aswell. At the top there was a massive frozen waterfall – the pictures below just dont to it justice, there were also 2 guys ice climing! We got hot choc and biscuits on the way yum, yum 😛
The next day my friends Joelle and Hannah and I took the gondela up to the top of the mountain, it did have a great view however it was cloudy and really cold. We also went to the hot spring, it was snowing so we all had snow on out head and our hair would freeze!! it was soo cool 🙂 i went there again last night and on the way home we went for dinner, when we got back to the car my swimmers has frozen, crazy.
I am staying in a hostel room with 8 girls. WOW i am not used to this, i am used to 2 brothers. they talked alot about getting smashed and their previous drunken endevuours, “i won $200 last night!” “awesome! how did you do that?” “I only had to show them my tits!”. and they also talked about drugs, not just pot but heroin and other stuff!!! i have never heard anyone talk about it before, very different. And talked about girlie things and of course sex and boys were a favourite conversation of theres.
Today i walked up tunnel mountain, it had an amazing view as you can see below!
I also got a $2 of your first pint at a bar, so i went there and started to talk to the three guys next to me, one was Australia, one Canadian and one English. They were really nice and actually ended up buying me 2 shots. They decided i was going to join them out of the night, as i didn’t know anyone and had nothing else better to do i agreed. They asked me what my name is and i said “Lisa” they said “That is a boring name, I am going to call you Cornelus!” It was a very fun night and i have never had anyone buy me a drink before, but this night everyone was buying me drinks! it was awesome!
“VICTORIA (CUP) – Every Wednesday at 4:20 p.m., dozens of University of Victoria students gather near the campus fountain to show support for sick people who struggle to treat their conditions with medicinal marijuana.
While nearly all the students are healthy, the university’s Hempology 101 club attracts attention by supporting the use of illegal drugs. During meetings, members of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club provide updates on current events involving medicinal marijuana while dozens of students pass joints around a circle.” here is the full story: http://media.www.thestrand.ca/media/storage/paper404/news/2004/10/20/News/Uvic-Pot.Trial.Delayed-778710.shtml
So I got out of class today and happened to walk past the front of the library (It was at 4:20 on wednesday) and there is a big circle of students with a guy with a mic in the middle talking about pot. I have heard about this time and this day being pot time but i had no idea it was this big, i just thought it would be some sneaky swapping of pot and cash. Pretty much everyone has smoking and passing a joint, IN PUBLIC!! and in the middle of the day! Then they had a BONG COMPETITION of who had the best looking bong; there was: ‘puff the magic dragon’ ‘willy bonka’ ‘alfonzo’. I am not used to seeing them in pubic let alone a contest at a uni in the day…. crazyyyy. Next week is a joint rolling competition, BYO hash… I really wanted a newsletter (yes they even have a news letter!) to send it to my friends, so i went up at the end to get one but everyone was coming to the middle so i couldn’t it so i stood back and they all huddled together and put their hands in the centre and said “The 4:20 CLUB!!” – it felt a bit like a cult… There were about…100 people there? but i am bad a guestimating. And there was a guy filming it all aswell, i am trying to find it to show you.
So that was an interesting afternoon! I am so ignorant to these things, and i know that they are popular in BC especially as i can smell it walking around the campus (i now know what it smells like). But seeing it openly displayed with heaps of people around blew my mind!
“The UVSS Hempology 101 Club and the International Hempology 101 Society will be hosting its 11th Annual Cannabis Convention Sunday February 28, 2010 at the University of Victoria.”
a facebook page says this:
“Does anyone care about the UVSS elections?
Are you sick of self-righteous students trying to change the world?
Tired of college-level election ‘parties’ competing with each other with identical platforms?
Do you see any benefit to voting for one person as opposed to the other?
Are you of the opinion that the UVic 4:20 Club holds more political sway than the UVSS student society, and has higher attendance?
THEN: THIS GROUP IS FOR YOU”
So my reading break begun with my friend and Jasper and i walking to the steet just of campus and sticking our thumbs up. Success only took 10 minutes when a lovely lady picked us up and took us to the highway. Then another 1o minutes an middleaged couple picked us up and took us to the ferry terminal! they had lived in Sidney their whole lives and told us more about the area. Unfortunately you can not hitch a ferry so we had to buy a ticket. We did try and get a ride for the other side but were told “No hitching on MY terminal!!!”
The ferry is massive! it has study area, kids room , massage room, arcade games room! wow. It took to more hitch’s to get us all the way to whistler but in the end it took about 9 hour which is the same as taking the 4 or 5 public transports. We couch surfed on Saturday night with a guy called Scott and his girlfriend Emily. They were great! she showed me beautiful pictures of all of the amazing hikes that you can do around whistler in the summer, and Jasper taught Scott about some computer programing thing i think…
In the morning we woke to “…i came home to strangers on the couch!!” then a slammed door. Scott had forgotten to tell his room mate about us surfing, so he was angry. I have never had this happen before, but Scott was really nice and apologised, but it did mean i was accomondation-less. I just crashed in my friends hotel room on Sunday night.
Oh well! we went snowboarding after that and Jasper taught me how to do it properly and i finally get it! i can turn and stop and all sorts of things!! i was so excited! but i now go faster and stack harder… so much fun. Whistler is a cute town with an awesome village walk.
I love the sign “fire lane” ??? there is snow everywhere. Also the lovely sun beds 🙂 they did have the lovely view of the half frozen river.
next is Banff!
My friends came over thismorning to get me for breakfast. They were wearing jeans and 2 jumpers, beanie’s, scarfs ect and i was wearing my summer dress. They thought i was ridiculous and stated how cold it was outside (today temp is min -1 max 3, current condition 4…?). when i woke up the sun was shining and my room was warm, which hadnt happened in 2 weeks. I was taking advantage of it while it lasted. it was cold outside, which i wasnt supprised. So my point it that I am loving exchange and all of the people on exchange (and locals) and everyhing about my exchange – but the weather.
You know the days where you wake up and it is cold and raining and you just want to snuggle up and drink hot chocolate and watch movies all day? that is what type of day it is everyday. It is always cold, always. Rain is everyother day, but when it isnt raining it is still coudy and grey. and on the rare chance that the sun does decide to bless us with its precence it is even colder because the clouds arnt acting as insulation to keep it slightly warmer.
I miss the sun, the beach, wearing thongs all the time (i still wear thongs, but not everyday). I miss sun baking, never needing a jumper, jacket and beanie. I even miss sunscreen. There is a massive poster up in the dining hall about “sufing in Tofino” – aparently tofino is the place to go surfing and there is going to be a day trip or weekend trip there sometime. It seems so ridiculous to me – all the of the beaches i have seen so far have rocks with brown sand/dirt and logs all over them. Furthermore, they have to wear a dry suit or a wet suit to go surfing, even in summer. I can not wait untill the exchange expo where i get to represent UOW. Oh man i hope UOW is ready for the influx after my advertising. So my only complaint is that i am sick of being cold.