Wednesday, 14 March 2012

67 days.

We appear to have reached that time in the year when every year-abroader I know is realising just how little time we have left on our crazy adventures. It's interesting to see. Some people seem wholly uninterested by the fact that they're leaving; they're even anxious to get home. Others are wildly protesting the notion of leaving their new lives behind. Others are somewhere on the fence.
So, how do I feel about this whole leaving business? To tell you the truth, I'm not all that sure. I have 45 days left in Ottawa, and 67 days left on this continent, before I hop on a plane back to London and then drag my luggage-laden self back to sunny Newport, where the chavs and the pigeons will no doubt be welcoming me back with open arms.
Now, don't get me wrong, I've got plenty to do over the next 67 days. Between essays, exams, concerts and city-hopping, I won't be short of things to do, but then it'll all be done. Over. Back to reality, and I'm not sure I want that, especially since reality involves moving house and gaining some sort of summer employment.
I'm going to miss this place. While campus buildings may be uninspiring, and the academic quality of this university isn't exactly intellectually or artistically mind-blowing (this fine establishment has the unfortunate nickname of "last chance U" if urban dictionary is to be believed), but I like this place, and, more importantly, I like this city, this country, and these wonderful people. There are so many things about this place that I'm going to miss. They hardly seem extraordinary, but I don't think I will ever grow tired of them: the beautiful canal, the cats behind parliament, buying endless bracelets at the market, McDonald's signs with maple leaves on them, tottering through snow in heels, spotting a previously unnoticed pun on a mural in the tunnels, the adorable houses with their little wooden porches, black squirrels, Tim Hortons, BeaverTails, spontaneous nights at Ollie's because Brittany decides we need to get drunk, complaining that there's "nothing to eat" at the caf and then eating everything anyway, the carts driving around the tunnels, the fact that people here find my British cynicism witty rather than standard behaviour, the general love and enthusiasm for life that people in this country have. Yes, believe it or not, I am going to miss the pep. I went to see The Vagina Monologues on Sunday, and the one thing that really struck me was the genuine fellowship and love that people here have for each other, and they're not afraid to show it. I'm not sure I want to go back to a country where people frown upon public displays of enthusiasm for the very fact that we are alive.
And on a more personal level, I feel like I've finally found my feet here. I'm not going to pretend that this place has radically changed my life. I'm still the daft, insecure girl who eats too much junk food and spends too much time cooped up in her room watching movies instead of writing papers, reading books and enjoying the beautiful scenery. But I like to think that I've changed, in some small way. I feel more certain of myself. Moments of self-doubt are just that: moments. I don't feel like I need to apologise for who I am as much anymore. I'm not a new person, by any means, but I'm just starting to feel like I'm finding a bit more of myself here, and I don't really want to go back until I've learned more.
And, of course, there are countless people here that I don't want to leave behind. Special mention goes to Brittany, who has done more for my sense of female empowerment in a few months than I managed in 19 years. But, you know, I can't spend too much time talking about her, because we don't acknowledge that I'm leaving. Ever.
Obviously, there are things that I'm looking forward to about being home - family, friends, proper chocolate and cheaper food are the first things that come to mind - but as it stands, I'm very reluctant to leave this wonderful place, and I very much look forward to the day when I can come back, and all of the crap that Brittany eats will have caught up with her and she'll be huge (totally joking... sort of...).
But for now, I would very much like it if all of my essays and exams would bugger off, so that I can actually enjoy the time that I have left. Pretty please? No? Oh well, back to the procrastination it is.
Oh, Canada. <3

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