- The sense of belonging to a bigger social group (the internationals and the rugby team).
- All the intern jokes we made among us exchange students and Canadians, and just being with so many nationalities in general. It's amazing how you can become so close with people from different parts of the world.
- Being able to walk "everywhere", especially downtown. I lived a 10 minute's walk from the gym. While in Norway I need to take a bus into the city, which means that there's always a lot of planning involved. I also lived close to the high school.
- The laid back everyday life I had as an exchange student. Because we are not allowed to work, there's not really a lot of big "responsibilities", compared to the stressful life I have here.
- Random strangers who actually look into your eyes and greet you while passing by or random chats with the cashiers.
- Cheap ("almost everything), especially food.
- Starting late at school (09:00 AM).
- Having 10 minutes of first class to "wake up" because of the national anthem and announcements.
- Going to the gym with all my friends, working out but having fun at the same time. In Norway I go to gym with my ear plugs and music, do my thing, and leave. In Yarmouth we would chat in-between working out, playing pool and just having a good time.
- Music in the streets (downtown, made me feel like I was in a movie).
- Talking English (although I prefer my first language).
- Being surrounded by hot internationals boys (especially in the gym, perfect motivation). Girls tend to say that it felt good coming back to the Norwegian boys after a year abroad. Me on the other, have no complaints, and was more than pelased with the international selection.
- Feeling like a mini celebrity (haha). For instance: It's not everyday you are on the front page in the local news paper, get scouted to the rugby all-star team, or get invited to an award show.
- As close to no social status pressure. Wear whatever you feel comfortable with and sit wherever you like in the cafeteria. Go to school in sweat pants, slippers and long sock. In Norway this is called social suicide, which I think is very sad.
It seems to me like we humans are never fully satisfied. I already miss my friends a lot. In addition there are several parts from my experience in Canada, that I wish I could have brought back to Norway.
I'm sure there's more to it, but it's 2 AM so my mind won't cooperate any longer. However, I am overly happy to be home to what I missed when I was away.
I am home, safe and sound. The trip went very well, with only a small delay on my flight from Iceland to Norway. A shuttle picked me up 08:00 am, and I arrived Tønsberg around 10:00 am (Canadian time).
Enough serious talk. There are lots of funny, strange and a little bit challenging parts about being home, including switching back to the language and old habits. Today I went to the mall and had problems using the Norwegian paying machines. In Canada you have to press OK several times before entering the pin code, while in Norway (probably other places too) you immediately enter the code and press enter. Because I forgot the machines started beeping every time I tried to pay (lol). I also caught myself talking to my dog in English. English words in general slip out in the middle of a sentence every now and then. Just as I thought adapting to the new life in Canada was challenging, I find readjusting back just as hard.
I hope you all enjoy your last days in your host country and homecoming. Travel safe.
There's so much more to say, but I have chosen to split it in multiple posts instead of writing one long.
This year has been an incredible experience and learning lesson. I don't have any additional comments at the moment. There are too many thoughts and feelings to process at once. A lot is going to happen during my two remaining days in Canada. I promise to catch up with everyone reading the blog later.
Enjoy your last days, and for the next exchange "generation", get ready to have the time of your life :)
Before reading this keep in mind that this is overall exaggerated to get people thinking.
Because I am adopted from China I have two different nationalities. I feel 100% Norwegian but I'm also Chinese. Racism is everywhere. As an Asian looking girl, I'm one of the many targets. People make racist jokes all the time. I must admit that some of them are hillarious. Even I find myself making fun of myself and my "own race". However, sometimes it gets too much. My eyes are more narrow, my nose flat and skin colour different. Most of my friends have big eyes, bigger nose and white skin. Does that make them any better than me? I can definitely see the difference, but who are you to set the standards?
I don't mean to pick on any specific population, but let's use Norway and China as an example. It's funny how so many Norwegians, by viewing themselves as the normal majority, allow themselves to make racist jokes about Chinese. There are 5,019 million people in Norway and 1,353 billion living in China. Is point taken? Why are my eyes so much funnier than my Norwegian friend's? Because I'm the "different" one. Remember, my eyes are small, wonder how I can see through them. Don't really see any more beauty in having fish eyes though. What's most funny? That I can't see or that you have fish eyes?
I can try to explain how it feels to be the target every day to my Caucausian friends. They might say: Yes, I understand. I'm sorry, don't be offended. It's nothing personal. It's just for fun. It doesn't matter. It's nothing anyone will fully understand without being in the situation. If you got some extra fat on your body or if you are ginger you probably know the feeling.
This is overly exaggerated, but think about World War 1 and 2. As a result of one man claiming his race, the Caucausian, to be the normal and most valued, millions of people died. I think this is an inborn ideology. We have taken an enormous step from these old beliefs. Still, I find most people, including myself, labelling the Caucausian as normal (pretty ignorant). Racism is a big word, and there's too much to say about it for just a "short" post. I don't want anyone to pity me. It's not like i get bullied and have a horrible life. I also want my friends to keep on having fun at my expenses. I'm very open minded and fine with it, on the contrary other might not be. I just want you all to think twice before you speak. Racist jokes are funny, especially Asian I guess. It's okay to joke around, and I think it's important for people like me to be able to laugh at them. Racism is not going anywhere. The only option is to meet it with humor.
Regardless of your race, as long as you stay within the border of acceptance and tolerance, have fun with it (unless someone tells you otherwise).
Ps: Chinese are not the only Asians.
They say: "Every sixty seconds spent sad is a moment of happiness you can never take back," and I kind of agree. Yet, I think it's better to face the fact that we are leaving and that it is and will be sad. Rather than pretending that we have forever. Like my mom said, I can't live in this bubble for the rest of my life. I know that the day I'm leaving will not feel okay, but it will, eventually. It's okay to admit that it's not. However, I am extremely excited to go home and I know that the sad tears will turn into happy in the moment I get reunited with my family.
By the way, this post have no negative intentions and I'm perfectly content right now :)
The exam week is over and vacation has finally arrived!
I had three exams this semester; French Pre IB 10 on Wedensday (got 130/141), Global History 12 on Thursday and Advanced Mathematics 12 on Friday. They all went better than expected. I'm a bit worried about math. It's okay as long as I get over 50 on the final. Despite the exam stress, the last two weeks have been nice and relaxing. We've pretty much spent most of the remaining school days watching FIFA, chatting, signing flags and year books and just enjoying the last time we have together.
On Monday I went to see "The Fault In Our Stars" with Celine, Hannah (her host sister), Katie and Matias. Romantic and sad but a bit too cheesy and tragical. On Thursday Natcha (my Thai friend) and I had a math-date/sleepover at her house. Sounds boring. However, we did obviously not just study. For instance we went out on the lake with a paddle boat. Made me feel like a kid again. On Friday I had a great girls night with Celine, Jeanne and Katie. We cooked pasta at my house (Jeanne was the chief), watched movies and slept in the camper.
Other than that I've mostly been eating out (we had our last rugby team lunch yesterday), working out and hanging around with friends.
Fun, fun, fun.
I have had a great weekend with my friends. We've been working out, playing pool, eating out, been to the movies (22 Jump Street) and watched FIFA (What we usually do in Yarmouth).
Today I realized that I have a long list of tasks that I've been postponing too many times. My Sunday has therefore involved all the "less fun" such as cleaning my room, doing laundry, finishing exam reviews, buying a suitcase and pens for people to sign my flag, and other departure preparations.
By the way, I would like to say happy Father's day to all wonderful fathers. Also a big thank to my host dad. In Norway we celebrate dads in November 9. However, pappa, if you are reading this, know that you are loved and appreciated.
I am enjoying every single minute of my last two weeks in Yarmouth, Canada.
A brief summary of the last couple of days: Camp Peniel (reuinion with the exchange students in the TCRSB), summer, restaurants, gym, pool, mall, movie theatre (A million ways to die in the West), all-star game against Nova Scotia's provincial team (girls under 18, lost second game with only one try), rugby season is officially over, picnic, finished coop (work placement), got an award for participating in rugby on the Night of praise (you know you live in a small town when you get invited to an award show), 1 week left of school (reviewing for exams).
As time is slipping through my fingers, I find myself looking back at my year in Canada. Counting all the wonderful experiences, knowledge I have gained and people I have met makes me feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world. Before I left Norway I would agree to the statement that "Exchange is not a year in a life. It is a life in a year". After living in Yarmouth for nearly 10 months, I can finally say I fully understand it. You actually do build a second life in your host country, and it's challenging to balance the two different lives at the same time. In fact, that is the main reason why I have not been in touch with my Norwegian family and friends as often as normal. I'm currenty caught up in a blend of happiness and sadness. It's impossible to choose side.
It's funny, you go abroad hoping that you will learn more about the big world, but go home and realize that what you learned the most about, is you. Not only you, but also your own culture and home country. Being on my own and away has made me discover what I value, my boundaries, who appreciates me, who I care about, what I dislike, what I love, what I cannot live without and last but not least, how much is yet to be explored. Just thinking of how many great friends I have made from different parts of the world, in this small town called Yarmouth, makes me wonder how many possible friends are out there.
Like I've said a million times, my year has been very close to perfect. There have been irrelevant few downs, compared to the many ups. My host family has taken me into their home and made me a part of the family. The school has offered a great social study environment and all the courses I needed to complete the year. I have had a blast with all the international students and I know for sure that lots of them will remain my best friends. I have also got to bond with a bunch of amazing Canadians. Especially over rugby, a sport we are all passionate about. The Nova Scotia International Student Program has been excellent arranging fun activities, giving guidance and information and being there when needed. My family and friends have continuously messaged me, sent me packages, read my blog, and given me all the love and support they could possibly send over the Atlantic ocean.
If I were to personally thank every single one of you, the speech would go on for days. I would like to thank everyone for making my experience the best it could be. I am indescribably grateful and appreciate you all. Although my life as an exchange student in Canada will soon be over; This is not the end, this is just the beginning. We are young teenagers holding the world in our hands.
Prom was just as amazing as expected. It was a warm and sunny day. I was happy with my hair, make up, nails, dress and shoes (painfull, but bearable). My host family took pictures and offered rides. I was surrounded by a great group of friends. And last but not least, I couldn't have asked for a better date :)
Most pictures are taken by Michael and friends.
Prom is a huge deal in North-America (probably bigger in US than in Canada). People have been talking about and planning prom since they started in high school. I had a pretty tight schedule, but everything ran smoothly.
10:00 - Worked out
12:00 - Hair appointment (50 CAD)
Flowers had to be picked up (Matias took care of this, 45 CAD)
15:30 - Frost park (pictures)
Eat (We went to Rudders to eat, but Yara and I had to leave due to bad planning)
19:00 - Grad march (The graduates walk with their dates in the church. The boy gives the girl a rose. I walked this with my Dutch best friend Yara. We were the only girl couple).
Michael picked Matias, Yara and me up at the church. We stopped at Superstore to buy some food. After Jordan, Celine's date, took her, Matias, Yara and me out to the lighthouse.
21:00 - Prom (Dance at a hotel downtown, 25 CAD for one ticket)
23:30 - Prom party
This was definitely one of the best days of my exchange in Canada, and will be one of my fondest memories. I would like to thank my mom (had to send the dress from Norway), my date, my host family, friends and hairdresser for turning my dream prom into reality. I hope everyone else had a great prom experience as well!
THEA JORDAN (18)
I'm an adventurous and positive girl from Tønsberg, Norway. Last fall (2013) I decided to fly out of my comfort zone to live 10 months in Nova Scotia, Canada. With this blog I want to keep my family and friends posted on my everyday life in Yarmouth, Canada. I also hope this can be an inspiration and guidance for future exchange students.
Med denne bloggen ønsker jeg først og fremst og holde familie og nære oppdaterte på livet i Yarmouth, Canada, samtidig som jeg håper at dette kan være en inspirasjon og hjelp til andre som også har lekt med tanken på ett år i utlandet.