First Week.

First week of living on campus went by so fast. The first couple of days were a little bit slow due to the fact that I pretty much was alone on my floor not knowing anyone, but as soon as people moved in; everything changed. Never in my entire life did I expect meeting people that are so nice as the ones I’ve met so far. My floor is a coed floor but honestly it feels like we all are, in some twisted way; related. A big messed up family, that is getting to know each other a little bit better as time passes by. You know like in the movies where there’s a big family gathering around a holiday and all the cousins come by and you don’t really know them but you know of them, and during the holiday that the big family is stuck together, you get to know the distant family members better. Thats how it feels like, but not at all as awkward as they make it seem in the movies.

I am probably the oldest on the floor, and going into this life that I’m starting at York U, I thought that I would feel a lot older than the rest, that I would be isolated and all things that comes with being brought up in Sweden. But truthfully, I don’t feel the age difference at all, I don’t feel isolated and I feel like I am a part of the family that is my floor, and Bethune Residence. Very poetic and romantic, I know. But in all honesty, So far, I’M IN LOVE WITH THE LIFE I LIVE. I know its frowned upon to be saying these things back at home (Sweden) but I could not be more happy than right now. I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people that I now can call my good friends.

I’ll try my best to post at least one post per week, and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask anything and I’ll try my best to answer it as good as possible. In the future to come, I’ll try to write more informative posts about how life is in a different country and what my opinions are and what little advice that I could give. So welcome to my the little peek show of my life in York U, hope you’ll enjoy it and let me know what you guys think. Take care, hope you guys have an amazing day.
xoxo Lilian

U of G – Week 2

Did you know…

That milk is sold in transparent plastic bags in Canada? Apparently it is much cheaper to buy a bag with 3L of milk than it is to buy 1L or 2L of milk contained in carton. The bag contains within it 3 smaller bags of 1L milk each. However, it is also possible to buy 4L of milk divided into two bags. Fascinating.

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Dear reader,

Another week and yet another blog entry. This time I will be focusing on living on campus, its pros and cons, as well as my observations so far. I will also tell you a little bit about how my lectures went, and, of course, a bit of drama. Brew your tea, add some “half and half”, stir in a bit of honey, take a sip and read on.

Living in the East Village

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First of all, I’m currently living on campus in a residence community called East. As I mentioned in the earlier post the East residence is divided into two parts: Village and Residence. I live in Village. Which is pretty much the “adult” part of town…or village. You get the point.

Moving on!

The East Village is a, usually, quiet and serene area with townhouses. Within the residence is a building merged into the townhouses called The Town Hall. Inside are the mailboxes, laundry room, games room (with tennis and pool tables, and a TV), as well as beverage and snack machines, and a large room upstairs which you can rent.

On the opposite side is a building called East Residence. This is where all the youths usually reside. You can also find a convenience store in there (quite convenient, eh?), the East residence desk, and an ATM.

I have yet to see the insides of the East residence rooms. However, the village townhouses are quite similar to each other, and are reasonably furnished. For example, the townhouse I’m currently living in is shared with three other women other than myself. We each have our own room, and each floor, there are 3, has a bathroom and a shower. Except for the first floor/ground floor which has the kitchen and dining/living room. Quite cozy, too.

Lately I have been referring to Canada as a “zoo”. Why? Well, let me tell you something. I saw a skunk the other week, I see more than 5 squirrels every single day, adorable chipmunks passing by, and there is at least one ground hog in my front “yard”.

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Suite mates

So far I have, sadly, not been able to properly communicate with my suite mates. They seem to be too busy with their own lives to even care about whom they live with. I managed, however, to have a nice conversation a couple of times time one of them.

Not wanting to be the annoying suite mate I have been ignoring the whole awkward situation and gone on with my life. However, I did send an email to the lot about meeting up. Guess how many replied? So frustrating.

Classes

IMG_1772IMG_1769My first week of lectures was both exciting and disappointing. I ended up dropping a couple of courses due to their irrelevance, and chose three new ones instead. Latin, here I come! However, before I was even able to drop out of my courses, I needed to speak to my programme coordinator, who, by the way, is six hours ahead of me in time. Thank God, he answered quite fast (at 1 AM his time) and I managed to drop and register the courses within a day. Thank you so much Berndt Clavier!

The teachers here, mostly, refer to themselves as professor or doctor X. and, thankfully, they also tell you what to call them. You see, we don’t use titles or prefixes in Denmark or Sweden. Meaning I currently have to restrain myself from calling the professor by their first name. That would be rude unless they told you otherwise.

Something I discovered here in Guelph was the i-clicker. This device is used in class as a tool for multiple choice questions. For example, in both the history courses I am taking we often use the i-clicker during the lector. The professor allows us a certain amount of time to pick our answer, before ending the question and showing us the answers. These quizzes count towards your final grade.

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Sincerely,

Lady Diala

U of G – Week 1

Did you know…

that the “Poutine” is a common Canadian dish which originally comes from Quebec? The dish basically consists of fries, curd cheese, and gravy. You can also find different toppings sold at various restaurants and fast food chains, such as a vegetarian poutine.

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Dear reader,

This week has been just as hectic, if not more, as the previous one. With the orientation week and its 500+ events, culture clashes from left and right, and a certain juvenile suitemate. The o-week, as they call it here, was amazing. People were everywhere beaconing students to listen to their cause, inviting others to taste some delicious vegan BBQ, get a free book or buy a plant. However, before the o-week was kicked off, Move-in Day made its appearance. It all started on a hot summer day, one busy Saturday morning…

Move-in Day

I woke up early that day excited, and exhausted from the day before. I quickly finished up some dishes from last evening, and went back up to my room, waiting. Didn’t last long since I quickly got bored and decided to clean around the house, watch some TV shows, cook, Skype with my family, print and cut out coupons, and before I knew it, it was quite late in the afternoon. Nobody had turned up yet. Suddenly the front door to the three story townhouse was opened, and in came a girl. The said girl shot me a quick “Hi, I’m Ta ta~.” put her stuff away inside her room, locked the room, and left the house. She came back the evening before classes were supposed to start. That is, four days later.

However, the day after the disappointing “move-in day” another girl moved in. I greeted her with a smile and offered her a hand. Alas! I was, yet again, shot a “I’m La la~.” And she continued with an upset visage “I don’t like it here. I hate this place.” I dared ask why, and was met with a shaking head and another mumbled answer “I really hate this place.”

The third and last girl moved in while I was out busy with o-week. We accidentally met when an RA (residence assistant) rang the doorbell. She was a nice girl, and we quickly agreed on a basic kitchen rule.

Other than these three instances with the suite mates, I haven’t had the chance to actually sit and chat or get to know the people I’m living with. I’ve been trying to strike a conversation, you know, a simple “good morning, how are you today?” and was either answered with a “hi, ok” or a nod. All of them always seem to be in a hurry, and mind you, I have not been constantly trying to get to know them, oh no. I’ve been leaving them alone to their business and stuck to my own. However, none of them as much as communicate with one another. One is always running around (probably sorting things out) or in her room, the second is always in her room and I barely ever see her, and the third prefers to skip classes (since she hates the university, although she assured me that nothing was wrong with it) and watch Bollywood movies with wine all day and night.

The audacity!

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Pictures from the Orientation Week.

The Pep Rally

Putting aside boring residence problems, I would like to tell you all about my pep rally experience. However, first I presume I must clarify the term itself. A pep rally is intended to “pep” (energize) an audience before a sports game. The whole point is to get people excited and pepped. That is in briefer terms: to encourage the school spirit. The whole pep rally is seen as a huge support to the team who will be playing and cheerleaders usually also show off some dance moves and keep the audience cheering.

My role in this:

Each on-campus and off-campus residence community was divided into several groups of students. You’ve got North, East, South, West, and the off-campus living students. East was divided into East Village and East Residence/Side. And East side/residence was also divided into smaller groups, depending on the different names of their buildings. The whole dividing act was also applied on the other residence communities. I live in East Village, and had to pep with my fellow EV’s.

We got a t-shirt with the residence logo on (a monkey holding a banana in my case), and we were to learn some “dance moves” within a couple of hours before the actual event. Fantastic! Everybody was nervous and we all complained about not having had enough time to practice. Nevertheless, the pep turned out well. We danced, bumped into each other, and had a laugh. An overall great and unique time was had.

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Pictures from the Pep Rally.

Niagara Falls

Naturally, if you’re in the area of the famous waterfalls you ought to pay them a visit. START International had such an event planned, and I quickly signed up for it. I’m so glad I did. The Falls were absolutely astonishing. Although, I must say the pictures and videos I have seen of them kind of make them look bigger than what they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, the Falls are quite huge and sprayed a shower-like mist whenever you got close. My point is, don’t expect them to be covering the entire area like I did. Because they don’t.

Moving on, my group and I were guided to a big cruise-like boat and were given a plastic poncho which was supposed to protect us from the “mist”. I’m glad I brought my raincoat with me. Because the “mist” was like a shower, a heavy shower of rain which made me laugh in delight. The experience was quite hilarious. Though I do think I’m one of a group of few who found it so.

The remaining of the time my group and I took a long walk around the area, which looked strangely Americanized, and we ended the whole trip with a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate Factory.

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Pictures from the Niagara Falls trip.

Sincerely,

Lady Diala

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans – Week 3

Dear reader,

I finally arrived to Guelph on the 26th, and was thrown right into a neatly scheduled breath taking, feet exhausting, sweaty, hilarious, bonding, and welcoming three days. I cannot express with my current vocabulary how much I enjoyed this three day event with START International and its amazingly talented team. Here you have a snippet of the shenanigans I was so blessed to be a part of:

Caesar Windsor

However, before we move on to Guelph I would like to talk a little bit about this casino my uncle so kindly invited me to. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play, but we did get a delicious taste of the amazing Market Buffet located in the heart of the fancy place. They had everything from international food to salads of all kinds, and an enormous ring buffet filled with sweets. My favourite dish was the Pasta Your Way section, where you had the choice of various meats, fish, and bird. Afterwards you get to choose the pasta type you prefer, along with a souse. Delicious.

U of G – START International Day 1

I woke up at 6 AM sharp to get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast (just this once), and head towards the University Centre. On my way I was greeted by several brave squirrels, brave because they dared come close rather than run away, and a few students. An overall good morning.

Upon arrival to the UC I found the registration table, registered, signed up for the trip to Walmart, and chose East Side Mario’s as my preferred restaurant to eat at in the evening. Had I ever been to the restaurant? No. However, Italian rarely disappoints.

The trip to Walmart was through your typical American, yellow school bus. The shopping itself was quick and smooth.

Upon return we all, international students alike, went back to our residence to get rid of the burdens of dorm room essentials, took a bath (well I did), and went back to the bus stop area by the UC. There we took a regular bus, our group led by a START International worker, to the Italian restaurant. On our way we all chatted, got to know one another, and had a laugh at how silly the idea of “milk in bags” sounded.

The restaurant itself was very noisy and stereotypically Italian decorated. The food was amazing and so was the service. They we tipped well for that.

We went back to our separate dorm rooms by foot, and had a long talk about TV shows, books, the weather, culture and expensive dairy products on our way there.

The START International team also had a games night arranged. Fun, loud, and ridiculous would be the appropriate terms to use for this event.

U of G – START International Day 2

I started the day with a well-planned breakfast (leftover pizza from the day I arrived), and went by foot to the UC. The place was crowded by happy-tired students, who stood in three long lines. One queue led to the registration table (you would get a tag with your name and country flag on it), a second to the bowling registration table, and a third that led to the breakfast buffet. The said buffet consisted of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for drinks. Scones, muffins, cinnamon buns, jelly filled puff pastry, and fruit for food. What a way to start a morning, eh?

After “breakfast” we went down to the basement, named Peter Clark Hall. On our name tags we also had a number indicating the table we were to sit at for the rest of the day. Skipping through the funny and very informative presentations given by university staff members and the 12th Councillor herself, Leanne Piper, we were invited to lunch; three tables at the time. Wraps, dessert, and drinks were supplied to everyone in big numbers. After we got our food we went back to the table assigned to us, and started socializing some more.

I met people from all around the world that day. You name the country and/or continent and I can assure you that I’ve met at least one person from there. Amazing. Not only did I meet people through the exhausting Campus Chase, but also through simple incidents such as having a person open the door for you, inside the elevator, at the stores, and even at the bathrooms! People are so incredible nice it’s almost suspicious. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

We ended the day with a noisy dinner, again, and went back home from fear of having a skunk spray us. Yes, I actually saw a skunk. On-campus. I’m loving Canada already.

U of G – START International Day 3

Once again, registration and breakfast at the UC.  We had several people come up on stage and present or explain rules, buildings, the weather and what to wear, and we were also advised to visit the services fairs which not only gave away neat freebies, but also encouraged us to join their movements. Interesting.

After the supplied lunch, we took a quick city tour in Downtown Guelph, before ending the day (well for me mainly) at Diana Downtown, an Indian restaurant.

This will be the last post related to the Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans. I’m, finally, going to start my long awaited semester at the University of Guelph on the 4th of September. Please stay tuned for “the real deal”, as they say nowadays, since much more is yet to come.

Sincerely,

Lady Diala

For Illustrated Shenanigans Please Click Here.

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans – Week 2

Balloonapalooza

Dear reader,

Snow cones, glazed popcorn, and cotton candy are only a few among the many delicious sweets one can enjoy at the annual Balloon festival held in Downtown Windsor, Ontario. Sweets, food, beverages, face paint, and “tattoos” can be purchased at the various stands spread around the closed streets – no cars may pass while the event is held. Along the sidewalk, with perhaps a glass of cold lemonade in hand, you can watch and admire the huge tomato or pickle. If you’re into Sesame Street you will absolutely adore the several foot tall Ernie, Abby, and Big Bird. Should you be more into fast food, then don’t fret! A large hot dog can be seen, but not eaten, by the sidewalk next to Frenchy’s Poutinery.

What am I babbling about you may ask?

Well, the quadruple Oed word I entitled this post with is literally a balloon festival. You can do so many things there: casually stroll down Downtown Windsor and look at the large balloons, donate to the Breast Cancer Foundation among many others, ride the Ferris Wheel or the Berry Go Round, drink a glass of lemonade, eat glazed popcorn, try out your luck with the many games. There are hours’ worth of fun and relaxation down there!

Personally, I went there with my uncle and his family. We had glazed popcorn, cotton candy, my first snow cone (cherry flavour!), face paint, rode several of the rides, tried out a few of the games and ended the day with dinner by the river. An overall amazing day.

Sincerely,

Lady Diala

For Illustrated Shenanigans Please Click Here.

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans – Week 1

An Introduction of the Author:

Greetings,

My name is Diala and I am a 21 year old Lady (got proof of this claim) from Denmark. Situated in Denmark I’m currently taking a bachelor programme called English Studies at Malmö University in Sweden. The said programme has allowed me to study abroad in Guelph, Canada as an exchange student. The following semester will last all Autumn, and end in December. Throughout these months I will be documenting my observations, experiences, and mischiefs adventures.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I will enjoy writing them.

 Best regards,

Lady Diala of Chaol Ghleann

 

Over-Friendly Canadians and Suspicious Michiganders.

Dear reader,

My first impression of the Canadians, I was forced to share an 8h 20min flight with, was a relatively good one. They were quiet, polite, and very apologetic. Even their children lived up to those adjectives! They only spoke when spoken to and they apologize a lot. Also, they never showed signs of impatience or anger. Impressive.

IMG_1175IMG_1159IMG_1161IMG_1214Apart from having prepared a long list of essential and semi-essential items to purchase for my dorm room and stay in Guelph, I also had an empty list entitled “Canadians”. However, this one was a mental one and not written on paper. I knew absolutely nothing of this country and its culture before traveling there; nothing aside from Tim Hortons, the people’s over friendly/apologetic nature, Canadian goose (the brand, too), moose, and the rumoured “eh”.

I did see several Tim Hortons on my way from the airport, and I did experience the over-friendly Canadians who would apologize for the simplest of things such as spacing out, not standing in your way, you bumping into them etc. I have seen no moose as of yet, but I did see Canadian goose by the river the next morning.

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The city I am currently staying in is called Windsor. Windsor is located about a 5min drive away from Detroit, Michigan. The day I went there I was relatively excited. The last time I had been to the states was back in 1996, and a lot had changed since then.

After crossing the border I was stopped by a couple of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. My goodness did they take their roles seriously. The hardest part of the entire procedure was for me to keep a straight face. I was questioned by both a white officer and a black officer. Their accents were pure American Hollywood movie accents, and so were their body language and facial expressions. I managed to get though the customs after filling out a form, going through a series of questions, having my fingerprints taken, and getting called ma’am.

Would you blame me for bursting out laughing after getting back into the car?

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Sincerely,

Lady Diala

Pre-Autumn Semester Shenanigans is a special series of blog posts posted once a week in August.

Gatineau Park

Förra helgen fick jag låna en cykel av en bekant, hurra! Har inte cyklat sedan i december, men det kändes som det var igår. Jag och en kompis cyklade över till Quebec och Gatineau Park, vilken är en väldigt stor och känd nationalpark här i Ottawa.

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Det var soligt och (relativt) varmt, men som synes mycket snö kvar.

IMG_2754Vi strosade lite i parken och solade sedan som om vi aldrig sett solen. Sedan cyklade vi tillbaka till Ontario igen. Mysig dag!

/Hanna

ByTowne Cinema

IMG_2405ByTowne Cinema är “Ottawa’s home of international and independent movies“. Biografen med den fina skylten är verkligen fantastisk. Det är en bio med anor, första filmen visades redan 1947. Det är en enda salong som gäller och en får välja platser fritt. I salongen luktar det smörpopcorn och biljetten kostar endast 10 dollar (ungefär 60 kr). Jag har hunnit med två biobesök hittills, filmerna Gloria and Dallas Buyers Club rekommenderas å det varmaste!

/Hanna