If you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m a planner, and a meticulous one at that. I like to know everything I can, evaluate my options and organize possibilities before committing to anything.  However, with W.W.O.O.F., I was going in blind. I had no idea what kind of work I would be doing, how our days went, who else would be there, how often I would get to see Colin, what my sleeping arrangement would be, or how I would even begin to wrap my mind around not knowing all these things. Ready or not, Colin dropped me off on Tuesday and I began my five-week W.W.O.O.F. adventure.

Before I dive into my week, I will further explain what W.W.O.O.F. is. W.W.O.O.F. stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. “Organic” meaning non-GMO and no use of pesticide or herbicide. The “willing” part is exactly how it sounds: I’m volunteering for this position (my “payment” is in room and board).

The farm was about fifteen minutes away from Colin’s house and we both got a tour when he dropped me off. The farm is ten acres and consists of about 2,000 pine trees, thousands of birds, a green house, two sizable fields and other smaller planting areas, growing all sorts of vegetables. Soon after I got to the farm, I was put to work.

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A little less than a week ago, I set off from my home in Tucson, Arizona to spend about six weeks outside of London, Ontario. Before and after my five-week W.W.O.O.F. volunteer program, I will be spending a few days with my boyfriend Colin and his family.

Thursday, 28 May: I usually fly into Detroit, Michigan and take a shuttle into London, but this time, I flew into Toronto and took the same shuttle service into London. I got into London at about 9:00 PM, where Colin and I had dinner before heading back to his house in Zurich, Ontario. After a long day of traveling, it’s an understatement to say I was ready for bed as soon as we got there.

Friday, 29 May: We visited Colin’s work in Exeter, where I met a few of his coworkers. For the rest of the day, we just chilled at home and watched Better Call Saul among a few other shows while enjoying some local pizza.

Saturday, 30 May: We met up with Colin’s friend, Max, at a bar in Exeter for the Western Conference finals (go, Blackhawks!).

Sunday, 31 May: Colin’s friend, Scott, picked us up and the three of us into London for a night of bowling and mini golf. Although I lost at both, it was a good time had by all.

Monday, 1 June: For the first time all week, it was (mostly) sunny, so we took advantage of the lovely weather and went down to the beach in Grand Bend and later took a walk in Exeter.

The next day, Colin dropped me off at the farm and I participated in a five-week volunteer opportunity, you can read about it here.

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My best friend, Sydney, and I decided to take a short trip to southern California together. The two main purposes of this trip was to spend time with Sydney before I leave for my study abroad program (as I won’t be spending much time in Arizona this summer) and to spend quality time with my family before my brother’s graduation.

Wednesday, 13 May: My dad drove Sydney and I to the airport for our early flight and all our travels to Los Angeles went smoothly. My grandparents (my dad’s parents) were waiting to pick us up from the airport. They took us to lunch at a Hawaiian restaurant in Malibu, where the highlights were definitely the ocean view and the hula pie.

Thursday, 14 May: Sydney and I drove about an hour from my grandparents’s house in Camarillo to Six Flags Magic Mountain to ride the “big girl” roller coasters. We got there a bit after the park opened and were warmly greeted by overcast. In all seriousness, the overcast was a gift; the park was a ghost town and we got on all the rides we wanted to almost immediately. Correction: the overcast was a gift until it turned into rain, shutting down half the park. We weren’t sure if (or when) our favorite rides would be back up, so we left, mostly satisfied with our time there.

Friday, 15 May: We rode the train into Los Angeles Union Station and took the subway to Hollywood. We walked parts of the Walk of Fame on Hollywood and Vine before continuing to Hollywood and Highland. There, we ate, met a very convincing Captain Jack Sparrow and saw typical tourist sites (Chinese Theatre, El Captain Theatre and more). We also watched a new star on the Walk of Fame being made for Melissa McCarthy. To wrap up our day, we took the subway further to Universal City, where we explored the city walk and I bought my first (and probably my last) designer bag from Fossil.

Saturday, 16 May: We had a cookout lunch with my mom’s dad and my step-grandma in Thousand Oaks before taking the scenic route to Venice Beach. While Sydney wasn’t the biggest fan, I love it a lot down there. Everywhere you look, there’s something (or, more often, someone) interesting to see. Speaking of which, an exuberant English man with a balancing act drew in a large crowd, including Sydney and myself. He was hilarious and quite the athlete. After a stroll up and down the boardwalk, we headed over to Santa Monica Pier, where we lounged on the beach, rode the Ferris wheel and had dinner at Bubba Gump’s.

Sunday, 17 May: After a busy couple of days, we decided to take it easy for our last day, going out to lunch with my grandparents and cousin and seeing Pitch Perfect 2.

The next day, we bummed a ride with my mom’s dad back to Tucson and about eight hours later, we were back.

I wish we had a little more time in the area to explore downtown Los Angeles and better weather wouldn’t have hurt, but I had an amazing time regardless. I’m glad I got to spend this time with both Sydney and my family before I leave for my study abroad program.

Photo by Jacob Repko.