Welcome to the East

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I took a much needed break between finishing school and moving houses to provide the travel bug with a little fix before I can make for a longer trip and add some more stamps to my passport.

IMG_4194It started here… Hamilton International, an airport I’d never been to before so it really was a whole new adventure … on my way to the east coast, specifically Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I arrived in Halifax late Wednesday night, so that didn’t leave time for much to be done, but it did leave me the whole weekend. I stayed with family that I hadn’t seen in years, which made the trip that much better. I found my bearings on Thursday and didn’t do much. We got our nails done and went for lunch. I met my youngest cousin that lives out there, and her sisters, whom I’d met before but they were young.

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Friday is when I really explored. We drove out to Peggy’s
cove, the iconic “what should I do in Halifax” landmark. We continued on to Mahone Bay and

then back to Dartmouth. We checked out Boondocks for dinner and then took a little tour of the area.

Saturday was spent at the market, and hanging out at the park with my cousins and Sunday we went to the beach.

I know this probably wasn’t what you were expecting considering my previous travel hunts. I usually do everything and anything and have much more of a story to tell, but this was a quick vacation and I plan to drive across Canada and do the rest of Nova Scotia, plus the province’s in full cover.

I ate more fish and chips on this adventure than I ever have in my entire life, and I can’t lie to you – I honestly loved it!

 

So here’s the thing, I know I’ve been slacking on giving insight and updates and I am sure there are still unclosed ties from my year abroad, so this summer I promise to close those all off, and keep this well up to date and even throughout my next year of school! Im back and refreshed so more content coming your way soon.

 

Until the next adventure, and in safe travels

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Meg; xox

It’s been a minute…

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been here, and I’m no longer home, so let me just give you the low down on what has happened since Christmas.

Big things first, I left my job for a new one, my dream job, doing something I absolutely love. It still comes with insane hours, and stressful times, but I wouldn’t trade the people for the world, their stories are unique, and their futures are bright.

I’m graduating in 40 days, the semester, my final one is over and it ended on quite an amazing note, mostly outside of the four walls of the university, but it didn’t end too low inside those walls either. My final exam was fallowed by meeting one amazing guy for his birthday and to celebrate and the beginning of something amazing. In 40 days I can add graduate and alumni to my list of things I have accomplished over the years!

My next year isn’t going to go exactly as I had hoped, in fact it is going in a completely different direction. It happens, despite the efforts and hard work put in over the last five years, it happens to everyone, spots fill up in programs before your name gets added to the list and you receive the dreadful, upsetting notification that you weren’t accepted, but there’s always next year. So I’m taking a break in a sense, I’m putting Speech on hold, and I’m going into treatment, challenging another side of what I love to do.

In the meantime, between the countless and endless hours I am working, I have managed to add one more flight to my list, even if there isn’t a stamp to show for it, I have started to explore Canada, a long time bucket list item and here I am.

 

So for the next week I am in Halifax, and I will give another update when I return, but in the meantime you have the quickest synopsis of where I have been the last few months and where I am headed.

 

Safe travels, and until the next adventure

 

Meg

The “R” Word should make your skin crawl too

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I cringe every time I hear someone throw the “r” word (retard (ed)) into their sentence and day to say conversation. Someone isn’t *retarted* but rather differently abled, and it is important that as a society we accept this and realize the power of our words.

Those that are differently abled are not defined by their ability or inability. Just because one processes information differently than you, or uses wheels as their legs, an implant as their ears, an iPad or their hands as their voice does not make them retarted. Rather it makes them abled in a different way.

They’re just as abled as you are to do math, read and write in their own way. They may process a question or a sentence differently or take longer to respond, but they aren’t retarted.

Aside from using the “R” word to describe the differences between yourself and someone who is differently abled, the difficultness of the subject you’re currently studying is not retarted, the bus that was late is not retarted. The “R” word is a word that society needs to remove from their language, and it takes one person, one person to correct their friend every time they say it until they stop. One person to speak out to break down the stigma and berries of those differently abled to have them accepted by society without using the “R” word to describe who they are, and what they are capable of doing.

48 Hours at Sea

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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.

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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

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. “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
  8. The cost of everything here is outrageous, at first glance. But I have the
  9.  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,

 

Meg

 

xox

Stay Salty

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It’s almost the end of week 3 abroad, but week two ended on quite the adventure. I ventured off with 4 other exchange (none of whom I knew 18 days ago) to ZipItt for a zip lining adventure! It was exhilarating to say the least. Trinidad and Tobago has Maxi’s not buses, so our adventure started on a red maxi from the edge of campus to the terminal point in the Port of Spain, where we hoped on the Yellow line, which took us to Chaguaramas. On the maxi for about 15 we minutes we decided it be best we ask the driver where we should get off… at the end of a dirt road, no civilization in site.

There’s no taxi’s here

The Maxi driver informed us that we’d have to hike up this hill to the end, which could take all day… At the very least we were on some kid of adventure. We thought we’d wait and see if there was someone to ask, and luckily within seconds a police officer drove past, and we stopped him to ask if there was any other way to get to the place. They just kind of laughed at us, 5 girls who thought they could get a taxi, we really must not be from around here, so “can you all fit in here” he says, and we squish. Illegal hey, not much is done by the rules here.

 

 

An 8-line course, through the rainforest for $22 Canadian, how can one say no. You can’t find a course for close to that in Canada even when you’re looking for the sketchiest of places, and this place had awesome reviews. The staff was amazing, they ensured that not one of us was left behind and that everyone was comfortable.

 

Hotdogs on the beach for $12TT ($2.15CAN) their items may be expensive, but it’s really cheaper for most things, and then an adventure down to Macqueripe Bay for a quick swim! A beautiful one at that, but that seems to be a common theme here with nice beaches, especially when compared to that of those in Canada (those that don’t really exist).

Tropical state of mind

I have to say, a beach a week isn’t going to be a hard bucket list item to cross off. So far it’s been pretty easy and this time, the rain stayed far away for us! Doesn’t that just make you want to hop on a plane and find such a beautiful beach.

 

 

 

Until the next adventure

 

Meg xox