Ok not quite… More like the Caribbean island. Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, St. Augustine, The University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. It’s been 31 hours actually since I have been on my exchange so far and in the 28 hours I have so far spent awake, I’ve witnessed 8 stand out culture shock moments – we will get to those.
First things first, it’s been a huge change here. It’s hot and humid, and while it’s nice seeing as Canada had such a gloomy summer, it’s made up for it in 31 hours already and I am ready for cool fall nights.
Second, it’s apparently Independence day today, so that pillow I contemplated bringing but opted to not bring to save space, yeah I really miss it right now seeing as I’ve slept on a heap of clothing instead.
If we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots instead of feet
So here it is, the 8 things that were the most shocking things I’ve experienced so far
- I’ve experienced some awkward moments in my life, but I have never tried to drive a cabbies car before. I did my research before leaving and never once did I read anything about driving on the left side of the road…. OR in the right side of the vehicle, so at 5:40am, I did in fact almost get into the drivers side of the ride to the school.
- Ontario has a law that infants and children ride in carseats rear facing until they are some 40lbs and can walk and then they forward face in a booster for another heap of years. Not year, I passed at least 6 vehicles on my way to the grocery store where littles, I mean like 3-4 year old littles were sitting on their knees in the back seat so they could see out the front windshield
- I say Hello to people I am walking by every once in a while at home, I more frequently say it to people I know. That is not the case here. You say “Good Morning” and “Good Night” to every single person you pass and see, to the point where customer service workers will not serve you until you’ve said it back to them. This will be the biggest adjustment, and sorry Canadians, be prepared to say good morning and good night to me every time you see me when I return.
- BUSING. I already disliked Ontario busing. Busing in Thunderbay was bad, St. Catharines, not much better the driver sometimes just drove by you, or the buses were over crowded and stopped running god awfully early, but here, you’re in luck if they run once and hour to where you need to go all day. I left campus and followed the very detailed instructions to the shuttle stop, where I waited for an hour and 15 minutes and not a single shuttle drove past me, not even 1. So my impatient, introverted self walked all the way back to residence alone, in a new place, completely unaware of her surroundings, but I am living to tell the tale, so I must have made it.
- LIGHTS, SIRENS, DRIVERS PULL OVER….’er Nope, that’s apparently just a Canadian law. 3 times now I’ve been wandering the streets and heard lights and sirens and watched drivers continue to just drive in every which way. The streets already seem chaotic to me because of the adaptation to driving on the wrong side, now throw the emergency vehicle in the loop. People probably think I’m crazy as a pedestrian because even I stopped to watch where the vehicle was going so that I didn’t get run over on my second day here…. Pull over people, the streets are narrow to boot.
- Pedestrians have the right away… right away. Stop lights red, pedestrian goes. Busy road, cars stop pedestrian goes. It must be a sixth sense because people just walk and cars just stop. In the middle of the busiest street travelling at speed limits cars flash their lights at me, signalling for me to cross the street, traffic coming in both directions, lights red my way, Do I go?
- “Insert whistle and car honk here” I’ve been cat called hundreds of times walking down the good ‘ole streets of Bowmanville, little whistle here, car honk days later. Nothing compares to this constant honk after honk. Drivers slowing down. Prepare for it ladies, especially in countries when you are the visible minority. You are a new world for them. They really never have seen a blonde white girl walking their streets, alone at that. Just put your head down and walk with purpose
- The cost of everything here is outrageous, at first glance. But I have the
- luxury of converting it to what I really am paying and then its not so bad. Check out theseavocados. $34.99 a ilo T&T, fair sized, you’d probably get 2 or 3 for that price, but $35 people… I almost walked right by. I thought about it though, with all things considered, I’m paying no where near that much for these. My grocery bill came to over $700 and my heart almost sank, but that’s really the same as what I pay at home.
So there you have it folks, my first 31 hours in Trinidad and Tobago. 264 days to go!
Adventure is worthwhile, it is out there. Go find it.
Until The next adventure,