People say that the first impression something or someone makes to you is vital for whether you are going to enjoy it or not. In this blog, you'll read about how I enjoyed my first month and what I do when I don't have school. -Ewout
28.08.2017 - 24.09.2017
Now that the social media camp was finished, it was time to start with the great journey I planned on doing this half year. To live with my host parents. On Monday the 28th of august, I left Truro by bus and it drove me to Sydney, a city at the far east of Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island. The drive would be a long one, but the time went on real quick due to the astonishing nature and the nice people I talked with.
I arrived way after supper time (it was already 6:40!!) and I met Mike and Michelle Finigan(M&M from now on), my host parents and the ones who will do anything within their reach to make myself feel comfortable during my stay. From the moment I left the bus and said hi to them, they succeeded in their mission. They’re very warm and caring people, who are host parents for a couple of years now. The first hour, I gave a lecture about how to pronounce my name and we discussed the fact that my name sounds completely different than when you write it (You write Ewout, but in the opinion of my host parents, it should be Avout). We went to a restaurant where I tried the fish and chips. It was very good. The most surprising thing that night was that my host mother ordered chicken fingers and she got one that has quite a familiar shape.
My first day at the Finigan’s, M&M gave me a lot space to land. I unpacked my bags and we went to downtown Sydney, famous of its harbour and the big fiddle. In the harbour, there was a ship that came from Rotterdam, which happens to be the city where I live in the Netherlands. We came to the conclusion that it was a positive sign.
In the evening, Michelle’s parents, Michael and Cecilia, came over to have supper and to meet me. They are very kind and nice people. Again, we started with a lesson in how to pronounce my name and after a minute of exercising, Cecilia decided to call me buddy, because that was easier.
Until Friday, the day my host brother would arrive, we had some highlights. On Wednesday, we went to the famous Cabot Trail. It was a 2,5 hour drive, but it was it all worth. I can’t describe the beauty of the nature we saw that day, but the best way I can express it is with this small anecdote:
Mike and I went for a hike to the top of a mountain, Michelle had a meeting and couldn’t be there. When we arrived, the view was so overwhelming that Mike asked me if I was okey, because I was so quiet.
On the Thursday, I went to my high school for the first time to choose the subjects for my semester. These are: English, Law, Music and Sociology. The idea is that you have four subjects in a semester, and that you have these every day.
Friday at 2 AM, we went to the airport to puck my host brother David from Spain up. We stayed awake with credits to Michelle’s friend Sharmaine and the beauty of the game Yahtzee, which we played about 5 times that night. David landed in Sydney after a 33 hour trip because of an unlucky 12 hour connection at Toronto, so we went home as quick as possible so that he could go to bed.
Now that David was arrived, our time together could finally started. We had our first family meeting, we prepared ourselves for school, we arranged our new phone numbers and David chose his subjects.
At Saturday, we went to John and Jaenette, family of Michelle, for supper. They live in the summer time in a cabin at the Myra River. Needless to say that this was one of the prettiest places I ever had supper in my life. John started with trying to pronounce my name, but after a couple of tries, he started to call me Awa and Awo. It took me a couple of times to realize that he was talking to me, which resulted in John repeatedly screaming Awo 5 or 6 times.
On Thursday, we had our first day of school. This was a day full of firsts. First time in a school bus, first try-outs with the high school soccer team and the first time I had class in only English. It was a good day, even though I could not find my classrooms a couple of times. On these moments, I could ask any person in the hallway if they know where my classroom is and every time I got the response, “Sure, I’ll bring you there”. This showed me once again how kind and polite almost all the people are in here.
Picture with riverview grade 12
The first week of school was about trying to get used to all the habits that the Canadian high school has. Both David and I made it to the first team of soccer at our high school and we got our first homework and exercises. We started the soccer season almost perfect. So far, we won 4 of our 4 matches.
On the weekend of the 16th and 17th of September, we went with all the internationals who live in our region to an orientation weekend at the Gaelic College.
It started with a meeting in which someone told us the does and don’ts during our stay in Canada. This took a while, but it made everything very clear for us. After that, we played some ice breakers to get to know the other internationals. In the evening, we had a dance and a bonfire which was very good. The next day, we went to a museum that is dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell.
A picture of the orientation, the group one
The week after that, we had our first tests for school and our first practise for soccer.
On Friday, we went with the internationals to the Two Rivers Wildlife Park. I saw animals over there that I’ve never seen before. A moose, a coyote and the bears.
If I would give a summary of my first month in Canada in a few words, I would say it is beautiful, kind and comfortable.
Beautiful due to all the nature I saw so far, kind because of all the nice and kind people I already met and comfortable since the way everybody lives here and the aura that it gives to us. Everybody at school, at my soccer team and when I’m for example in the mall wants to help me whenever I need it.
Even though I’m here for just a month now, everything feels like home to me.
I still have a lot to discover. From nature to food and from special days to sport events.
I will do as much as I can do over here and it is a pleasure to share everything that happens with you at home. Stay tuned