2016 // Review [PART 2]

In my last post, I mentioned that my life had changed. 2016 has been the best year of my life so far, and I’ll forever be thankful for all the ups and downs that happened this year.

January // January 1st – I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime (literally). I left my parents at Shanghai International Airport and ventured into the unknown. To be honest, I can’t remember how I felt. I’m sure I felt a multitude of emotions inside – excitement, fear, nervousness, joy, anticipation and trepidation all at once but a year later, I honestly can’t remember exactly what was going on in my head. I met a high school student from a small city/town? near Toronto and we chatted about Canada. I was surprised everyone recognized my ‘Australian accent’ as in Australia, an Aussie accent…isn’t an accent.

I arrived in Vancouver on the 1st of January and I remember thinking the streets were so empty. The taxi driver said it was because it was still early and/or people partied hard the night before so they were all inside asleep. The streets, buildings and trees were all covered in layers of snow and I’d never seen anything so beautifully fascinating. The motel I stayed at looked tiny from the outside, but I was given a whole apartment to myself. It was literally an apartment!!  I spent the first and second day wandering around Downtown by myself. I bought instant noodles, and ordered pizza at 2am in the morning. I still remember after uttering 2 words, the pizza guy was like “are you Australian” and I just felt kinda exotic???

I wandered around Stanley Park and walked 15km each day. This is why I love travelling – I don’t know what public transport to take so I just walk and absorb every little thing around me. Nothing goes unnoticed; not the benches with writing carved on the back support – a dedication to a family member/friend/loved one who had passed away, similar to an epitaph; not the exquisite colour of the water and the families strolling leisurely through the park. While I enjoyed experiencing all this by myself, it was another story when I went inside a restaurant. I’ve never liked eating alone inside a restaurant – I feel so lonely while everyone else is chatting away and I always feel like I don’t belong. I remember because of that, I bought food from the local supermarket and ordered takeout.

Jan 3rd – I moved in to UBC. I remember tipping the taxi driver $10 because we couldn’t find the entrance to my house and he went around asking for me. We eventually found an entrance (not the entrance though haha) and I walked with all my luggage from the other side of Fairview to my house. That day was probably the most homesick I’ve ever felt in my life. I walked in to a house with 3-4 people lounging in the living room. They were polite and we exchanged pleasantries. One girl was actually from Melbourne and she lived in my room the previous semester, so we talked a bit. Then after a while she said she was going to leave to go to a bar. I felt….lonely. There was no one else in the house – the girl downstairs is a local and she left the house early, another local girl lived upstairs with me but she was at home with her parents, and the last girl hadn’t moved in yet. After reading all my YA books and watching romantic comedies, I had envisioned moving in with someone I’d become immediate friends with. Obviously that didn’t happen. I remember leaving my doors open to seem ‘inviting’ in case anyone came back home. No one did. I suddenly realized I didn’t know anyone at UBC – not my roommates, nor anyone from UNSW. I started imagining spending my entire semester at UBC locked in my room because I didn’t know anyone. I can’t begin to describe how traumatizing that was for me, but because of the sudden epiphany that I could end up wasting my time at UBC without any friends, I decided to message the only person from UBC who had messaged me several months back. Luckily, he was nice and agreed to meet up with me the next day. Turns out, he’s one of my closest friends now 🙂

Early Jan – Met a bunch of people from around the world who will later become some of my closest friends.

Mid-January (exact date is engraved in my memory) – I met a guy; a guy who was vastly different from all the guys I’d previously liked. He stood out amongst all the other guys I laid eyes on at the pub. This guy was very….different, which was probably why I found him so intriguing. He was self-assured in a way that people might mistake for cockiness; he knew how to have fun and didn’t give a crap about what anyone else thought of him. I initially thought he was the irresponsible type who actively sought out attention but after observing him I realized he was the opposite. There’s something so attractive about a guy who knows what he wants and doesn’t try to impress those around him. He was straightforward and sometimes too blunt and honest, but he was real . Not once did he try to be someone he wasn’t, nor did he pretend to be nice to the people he didn’t like. I’d never seen someone who could talk so easily with everyone and knew how to have fun the way he did. I fell for him…and I fell for him hard.

Late January –Went skiing for the first time in Canada and second time in my life!!!!!!!

 

Exchange Updates

It’s not Thursday but feel like posting #throwbackthursday posts hehehe

This was written sometime in March.

13/03/2016 – 20/03/2016

Another week has passed, and I’m dreading the last day of exchange. I can feel it creeping up slowly, but surely, and honestly, as cliched as it sounds, if I could do anything to stop time,  or to rewind time to January/February, I would. People are saying how we should go to as many parties as possible, spend as much time with friends as possible, but exams are looming and it’s almost impossible for everyone to be free at the same time to catch up and do things together. I for one, need to study my ass off to pass my courses because right now I’m terrified I’ll fail them.

Over the past month I’ve noticed that I can’t even remember what my Sydney life was like. Was it really so uneventful and unmemorable? All I remember is waking up every day to go to Uni, spending a few hours 3-4 days a week tutoring little kids and high school students and occasionally (how often is “occasional” though) going out to dinner with friends.

I do remember how every time my friends and I wanted to organise a dinner to catch up, at least one person would be busy because of work or some other commitment, and then this dinner would get cancelled and then everyone would forget to reorganise it. There were never any spontaneous dinners or drinks because everyone simply lived too far away. No one could be bothered to get out of the house at 9pm to go to the city for impromptu drinks. But in Vancouver? Since every lives on campus, it’s so convenient to walk 5 minutes to Mahoney’s or someone’s residence and have an impromtu party there.

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Love you guys ❤

I distinctly remember one Saturday when everyone was at home studying or just chilling, one friend messaged “Guys, drinks tonight” in the group chat and immediately, everyone replied with a thumbs up. It turns out one person was a little upset due to personal issues, and a few of us started messaging other friends to come join as well. Within an hour, everyone – and I repeat, everyone we messaged–  rocked up and I was quite literally floored at how supportive everyone was. A few came directly from grocery shopping (didn’t even go home to put everything away), and others turned up in sweatpants because they didn’t expect to go out that night. Thinking back to that night, I’m filled with love and gratitude to have met such an amazing bunch of people who would drop everything to come comfort a friend in need. It’s times like this that I really appreciate what exchange has shown me; back in Sydney, I don’t think it’s possible for someone to say “hey guys, this happened, come out for drinks tonight” and expect the entire gang to arrive. It’s just…not possible. But on exchange? I’ve witnessed it happening and it’s a scene that I’ll always remember.

UPDATE: I think I wrote this while I was extremely stressed and unfortunately it feels unfinished, but these were my naked thoughts at the time and finishing it off now will just smear the authenticity of it so I’ll simply leave it as it is.

UPDATE 2: OMG I MISS EXCHANGE 😦 😦