Another day, another hike

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Hola!!

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted and life is still very fast paced. Uni is still going well, I’ve moved in to my new home and I also have a waitressing job 4-5 nights a week so I’ve been busy, busy, busy!!
The only highlights lately have been some fun and beautiful hikes in the Vancouver area… here are a few pics of my time!

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These were taken at Lynn Canyon (including the suspension bridge up top) which is a short hike in North Vancouver.

The following were taken at Quarry Rock in Deep Cove, north Van as well. This is a bit of a bigger hike but SO BEAUTIFUL. It looked just like Narnia and fresh snow was falling and I even fell on my butt!! This has been my favourite place so far hehe

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Stay tuned for more pics as the weather warms up and more hikes are had!

My first month in Canada (the calm before the storm)

snowboard

Okay, so one thing I did not realise before embarking on a year exchange, was that my month long holiday before school starts in my new home would be SO jam-packed full of foreign fun activities.

I arrived to Vancouver on the 7th of December, and because my (Canadian) best friend lives in Vancouver, we have been looking forward to this moment for a LONG time. I was picked up from the airport, and after so many hugs/tears and smartfood popcorn (my favourite food on the planet) I slept through the night and the very next day we were set for a trip to the USA. Being so close to the border means it’s something Vancouverites do often, so after a (mildly scary) border cross, we were in Washington. We spent one night in Seattle and the next in Portland, and it lived up to every expectation I had. So many friendly and generous people (I’m talking free Ubers and photobooths just cause you’re ~international~), we went to endless craft breweries and ticked off a few bucketlist items, like the Gumwall and Pike Place Market (and also Olive Garden because you can’t get any more American than a chain food restaurant).

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Shortly after our USA weekend, we also had another holiday planned to Kamloops (further inland BC) to spend the weekend at Sunpeaks ski resort, celebrating my bestie’s 25th birthday and coincidentally- New Years. There was a group of us 7 girls in a lodge right at the base of the ski hill. We did the usual thing, like go to Walmart and Costco to get enough food and drink supplies for 8 hungry and thirsty girls for a New Years Eve weekend. Our lodge was even equipped with an outdoor hot tub, so we lived our best lives all weekend, snowboarding and skiing by day, relaxing in the hot tub by night (especially relaxing when it is -18 degrees outside).

sunpeaks view(Just one of the views from our lodge).

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Another highlight since my arrival and before school starts is I got to see an ice hockey game, another item off the bucket list! My friend got given 2x free tickets to go see the Vancouver Canucks vs the Calgary Flames, this was a huge game and the stadium was full to capacity, unlucky for us the Canucks lost, but the game was so much fun to watch!

flames vs canucks(Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames, Rogers Arena)

Now it’s over a month later since my arrival and I’m already in to my 3rd week of school at the University of the Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford. Everyone has been really helpful and friendly so far, I’m making friends in my classes and I’m loving all the new content I’m learning. I’ve settled in quite nicely, found a waitressing position in Yaletown and my friend and I are moving in to our new home next week. I can’t wait to be settled and to make even more friends ūüôā

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset(View from my favourite place in Vancouver, a 5 minute walk from our new home)

Grateful for Mrs G

I know I haven’t written for a while, I have definitely been slack, but the reason I am writing now is because of self doubt. In everything I do, I find myself doubting my abilities. It’s such a negative aspect on my life, one that’s really starting to bring me down, one that I no longer want.

This week for prac I’m teaching 3 double period lessons, the weekend was spent typing and planning these lessons, tonight I get feedback and all of a sudden the anxiety and self-doubt kicks in. And I think to myself, “Am I even a decent teacher?” Little things that should be blatantly obvious slide by. I don’t know if its lack of experience or the pressure I put on myself to do well that’s making me feel this way. I guess I have to give myself a bit of a break, it’s only my second primary school prac and I can’t know everything (although at times I believe I do).

Anyway, over the dramatics and back to my amazing time in Canada! Since my birthday I have been so super busy! It really is a busy life right now haha

Due to some circumstances, I have a new prac school and I’m now with grade 2/3s! This classroom is absolutely wonderful and I am so grateful for Mrs G taking me on and allowing me into her classroom. I have only taught 2 lessons but they are going well (maybe from all the feedback I get??). My associate teacher is amazing, she’s really wonderful and her teaching skills are second nature, I can’t wait to be able to do this!

As I said above, I have been so busy and assignments have really started to begin, although I don’t think it’s been all that bad. Sure we have assignments to do but I was expecting it to be so much more than what it is/has been. I’m still enjoying the uni here! It’s seriously so amazing! Some unfortunate news though, CSU Ontario will no longer be offering students education courses on campus, meaning this year is the last for Canada’s campus. It’s really sad to see and hear and the first thing I think of is “what about the lecturers” they’re so amazing at what they do, it’s disappointing that they will no longer be offering their expertise to aspiring teachers. Maybe they should come to Albury and continue spreading their greatness haha So all in all, I’m the last Australian CSU student to come over and study at the Canada campus, it’s sad but at the same time such a privilege.

What else has been happening?? OH, I HAD MY FIRST EVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND! It was pretty amazing, although a little disappointing, because I had 2 assignments to complete, but other than that magical! My math lecturer invited all the Aussies to her house for a thanksgiving meal on Friday 10th, it was wonderful. Turkey, cranberries, vegetables and a wild berry pie! So divine! I was also lucky enough to spend thanksgiving on the Sunday with Lisa and her wonderful family. I also tried pumpkin pie for the first time, it has a funny texture but you can’t really taste the pumpkin, the spices take over!

Recently, we had dinner at our Prac Directors house and she made a beautiful dinner for us, my first ever chilli! It was delicious, tasted a lot like pasta sauce. We also…. CARVED JACKOLANTERNS!! You can’t celebrate Halloween without carving a pumpkin, gee it was so much fun. It was an interesting experience, one that I need to perfect!

I have also been to Toronto again, this time we tackled China town, Kensington market and the Royal Ontario Museum. Such a huge and wonderful museum, we were actually there for close to 5 hours! It’s so big! By the end of it we were kind of walking around aimlessly as my feet hurt and I was tired haha We desperately wanted to see wicked but the tickets were all sold out ūüė¶ such a shame! Oh and I forgot to mention Sir Robert! The squirrel I got really really close to and fed, but not close enough that he could pounce and attack my face haha

Oh, also I cannot forget to mention the absolutely gorgeous picture perfect moments I get to see every day! Fall is beyond beautiful, the trees are such vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, green and sometimes a deep purple. The view is absolutely breath-taking! I appreciate my time here more and more every time I walk out the door (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it ūüėČ haha) Although fall is beautiful, I am already freezing my butt off! OMG the “fall” here is technically winter back home and I can not deal! I seriously don’t think I’m going to make it through the winter! It’s so cold and I am constantly being reminded that it’s not, from the people around me, what they say and wear (t-shirt and jeans).

Anyway, that’s all I have to add! I promise to write more regularly and to not ever start again on a sad note. On the bright side the hug from Stace and me writing has brightened my night!

Sweet dreams!
Jess
xoxoxo

Fall in Burlington

Fall in Burlington

Fall 2

Fall in Toronto

Jackolanterns

Jackolanterns

Squirell feeding!

Squirrel feeding!

Missing these cuties!

Missing these cuties!

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Thanksgiving dinner

Meeting the President of the University of Regina

Last Tuesday I got the fantastic¬†opportunity¬†of meeting the President of the University, Dr. Vianne Timmons. It was fantastic that she took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and have a brief chat. She was very interested in why I chose the U of R and how I enjoyed my time as an exchange student in Canada.¬†Her daughter is a ¬†student in New¬†Zealand at the moment so she knows¬†what¬†its like as a parent to have their child on the other side of the world. Dr Timmons and the University of Regina are strong advocates for student exchange; She believes in the educational and social¬†benefits¬†a student exchange program brings. I want to thank my parents for allowing me to have this great adventure. Its been a wonderful¬†opportunity¬†and it¬†couldn’t¬†have¬†happened¬†without their love and support.

Dr. Timmons gave me a University of Regina t-shirt and we snapped a quick picture. It was a real pleasure to meet with her.

Dr Timmons and I

Dr Timmons and I

The T-shirts

The T-shirts