Montreal, Quebec

Even though it was kind of a stretch, I knew I just had to visit my best friend, Nina, if I was going to be in the area. We have been friends for about four and a half years and I have visited her once before as a graduation gift from my parents. It was an amazing week and I have looked forward to seeing here again every day since.

Tuesday, 25 August: After an overnight bus ride from Philadelphia, I arrived in Montreal early that morning. Nina and I went to the Old Port where we walked around, rented peddle boats and ate lunch at a familiar vegan restaurant in the area. After a much needed nap in the afternoon, I spent time with her family, including her new Australian Shepherd puppy, Rosco, who is quite the handful.

Wednesday, 26 August: We headed in the city with Nina’s friend, Tatiana, for an afternoon at the Biodome. After that, we headed to John Abbott College for a movie in the park (Mad Max: Fury Road), only to get rained out ten minutes from the end.

Thursday, 27 August: We were supposed to go to Six Flags, but by a wonderful stroke of luck, the park was closed that day. Instead, we met up with her friend, Amanda, for breakfast, a “maze,” a stroll downtown and a relaxing evening on the McGill University campus. The “maze” was not a physical maze, but rather a mental one; we were locked in an unassuming room which actually contained clues to solve a mystery. Although we didn’t solve our mystery, we worked well as a team and got pretty close for first-timers. It was nothing like anything I’ve done before and it was a lot of fun! To end our day, Nina and I got poutine (a famous Canadian dish of fries with gravy and cheese curds) for dinner. In my half a dozen times visiting Canada, it was my first time giving poutine a proper try. I had mine with vegan “gravy,” mushrooms, green peppers, onions, sour cream and olives. It was delicious!

Friday, 28 August: We revisited Olympic Park for a day at the Botanical Gardens. It was beautiful, I just wish I had more energy to explore. Later that day, there was a small fair in Laval near Nina’s house where we spent our last evening together. I had a relaxing and fun week with Nina and I already can’t wait to go back again.

I’ve learned a lot from this trip that I could probably use abroad, but my biggest lesson was not to set my expectations too high. I expected this trip to be perfect and for many reasons, it wasn’t, but I learned to roll with the punches and still had a great time.

I was dropped off at the train station in Montreal this morning and I’m now on a train to New York. I didn’t want to bring my smorgasbord of suitcases with me throughout my east coast trip and New York was the cheapest to fly out of to London. I can’t believe my international adventures start tomorrow. Nick is dropping me off at La Guardia early tomorrow, where I will stop in Chicago before landing in London (Heathrow) late tomorrow night.

London, Ontario

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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