We woke up early to make our way to Telegraph Cove, a port town on the northern part of Vancouver Island. Here, a boat was waiting for us to take us out on the ocean for a couple of hours. Ever since watching Free Willy, it has been my dream to sail the waters that killer whales call home. The tour guides, who were all marine biologists and researchers, welcomed us and told us what to expect from the upcoming trip. To create more realistic expectations, they explained that there had been no sightings of orcas for a while now, but that we were likely to spot some sea lions and dolphins. I was worried, as this would be our one and only chance to see orcas – we would soon leave Victoria Island and travel away from the coast, deeper into British Columbia. Then, just ten minutes after the boat’s departure, the captain received a signal from one of the fishing boats out on the ocean…
I always knew that one day or another, I would move to Canada. When I was as young as 4 years of age- or I should better say as far as my memory goes back – I remember telling everyone over and over again that I would one day live in this country. Six months ago, at the age of 22, I finally went and did it: I made the move to Montréal together with my boyfriend. My time here has been a wonderful experience and absolutely met my expectations (see, the 10 things I will miss most about living in Montreal). However, I have also missed Europe and started to appreciate certain things about it more. In this blog, I will name a few of these things. Also, in this blog post I am holding my first giveaway contest! More info about this at the bottom of the page.
In less than a month, I will be returning to my home country, the Netherlands. Therefore, this is a recap of the 10 things I will miss the most about living in Montréal.
10) My favourite hotspot: the anti-café. This is a place where you pay per minute, rather than per drink. What this means is that you pay 3 dollars for the first hour you are there, and 2 dollars for the following hours (with a maximum of 9$). Basically, during your time at this cafe you can consume as many cups of tea and coffee as you would like, in addition to having unlimited cookies and snacks. If you know me, you know that I drink a crazy amount of tea every day and that I hope to have a huge tea corner in my future dream house. Therefore, this place completely suits me.
A few months ago, I moved to Canada to do an internship for an organisation called Big Brothers Big Sisters. Many people have asked me what BBBS is about, and my answer usually was `We provide children with a positive role-model. ` However, I wasn`t fully aware of either the meaning or importance of this at the time nor of the actual role of a mentor. What does `being a Big Brother or Sister` entail? How do they make a difference? Over time, I have learned a lot about the positive effects our volunteers have on the children in our programmes. Mentoring not only helps children, but helps their parents as well. Additionally, many volunteers feel that they benefit from the experience themselves too. Let me tell you more about the insights I have gained from my time at BBBS.
Today was quite possibly the most beautiful day of my life in terms of natural scenery. My boyfriend and I visited the Montmorency Falls just outside of Old Quebec City to get a taste of the Indian Summer. Not all the trees had turned red yet, however, it was the perfect time to see the transition in colours between the seasons. The forest was filled with different shades of green, yellow, orange and red. This blog is full of pictures, my favorite one being the one above… as green fades into yellow fades into red.
My brother is visiting me in Montréal. He told me beforehand that I shouldn’t plan any activities on the first Friday of him being here, as he had a surprise in mind. Turns out, he arranged for us to go bungee jumping and zip lining! This was his birthday present to me, as it has sort of become a tradition for us to do something for our birthdays that we can tick off of our bucket list. In the past we’ve been skydiving, go-karting and water-skiing, but this has been by far the scariest activity yet!
The first morning waking up in Canada, we were told by our park guards that there were seven ‘active’ bears on site. This meant that we had to be extra careful with regards to hiding all of our food in a bear proof manner. Storing your food ‘bear proof’ is done by placing all of it in a cool box, covering the cool box with a jacket and storing the cool box with the jacket in a car. This is necessary because bears are clever enough to recognize a cool box and break into the car to get to the food. Surprisingly, we were also told to hide all of our cosmetics such as shampoo, because the bears are attracted to the smell. Cheyen heard about this right after he had put on his perfume and feared he would be the first to be taken by a bear…
“This was indeed an extraordinary and bizarre day!”, I wrote in my diary on the 8th of August. Diane, a half-native Canadian woman we befriended four years ago, had taken us to our first ever Pow Wow. A Pow Wow is a ceremony of North America’s Native people to repeat the traditional rituals of their ancestors, and is a festivity to celebrate their liberty to do so. The fact that this ceremony was taking place was not indicated in any of the touristic booklets, and without Diane we would never have had the opportunity to experience this unique and incredibly interesting happening.
As promised, this is a sequel to my story about camping in Canada. During our second week in Canada we moved to another campsite in Alconquin Park, where we met a Canadian family with whom we spent most of our final week with. In general, I find that Canadian people are probably thé nicest people in the world. Very open, very welcoming and enthusiastic to have a chat. For example, one evening, a couple sitting by a campfire invited us over. They gave us some corncobs which we heated above the fire and talked to us all about Canada and their adventures whilst camping. When it turned dark, the lady even started singing a few songs for us.
Not long afterwards we met the Green family. My mum and I were swimming in the lake by the campsite, wondering out loud if there were many leeches and what we would have to do if one would bite us, when Bill came swimming towards us to offer some advise. He had been camping at Alconquin for many years and knew all about the animals around. His son in particular was fascinated by the local wildlife and could spot animals from a remarkable distance.
So it was that one day his son spotted a moose on the other side of the lake, that to us looked like perhaps a little rock. Bill invited us to join him in his canoe to go see the animal from up close. It was indescribably beautiful to be on the lake and to have the impressive animal so nearby and silence all around us. We stayed on the lake till sunset, the nature shone bright green and the sky was coloured red. Otters sometimes appeared to show their little heads. Bill told us that if we wanted to, we could borrow his canoe any time and for example make a fishing trip. Continue reading “Adventures in Canada”
My obsession for Canada started when I was a little girl. For unexplained reasons, I dreamt about going there someday. In primary school, my presentations would either be about Canada or Killer Whales, and all my friends would hear; “one day I will move and live in Canada.”
When I turned 18, and received my high school diploma, the day had come: my mum and I would visit Canada. The trip exceeded my expectations. Perhaps not surprising, but I could go on and on about our time there. So much has happened, and so many wonderful people (and bears) have crossed our paths… that’s why I will probably write this story in two parts.