Goodbye, Canada

Well, today’s the day.  Finals are over, my room is all packed up, and I am sitting in the Toronto airport waiting for my connecting flight.  I flew out of Charlottetown this morning at 6:00 a.m. and arrived in Toronto around 8:00 a.m.  Unfortunately, due to the weather, my flight has been delayed and I am sitting in the Toronto airport.

It is crazy to think that my time in Canada is already over.  Last night, when I finished packing my room, I just sat there and thought about all the memories and friends that I had made in that room.  When I flew to Canada, I had a feeling that this experience was going to have an impact on me.  However, I didn’t know that this would make such a great influence on my life.  Everyone that I have met throughout my time at UPEI and in Charlottetown has caused me to grow drastically.  Every single one of them has taught me about myself and what type of person I want to be in life.  All of them has caused me to become a better, more accepting, open minded person. Honestly, if it wasn’t for this experience, I don’t think I would be half the person that I am today. I learned how to become more spontaneous and how to be myself, no matter who is around.  I can now walk into a room and be confident about myself.  I can talk to someone that I have never met before without being closed off and shy.  I can be me.

Knowing that I am not returning to Canada next semester is probably one of the hardest things to know.  In the short four months that I was at UPEI, it became my second home and the people that I met there became my family.  I feel as if I am leaving a part of me behind.  Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to be home and see my friends and family back in the States.  Yet, knowing that I may never see some of those people again is what saddens me.

I feel as if I owe so much to everyone who has helped me through this experience.  To my friends, family and staff at MSSU: thank you.  Thank you for pushing me to go out and do something new, to break boundaries.  Thank you for supporting this crazy idea of mine to go abroad a semester.  Thank you for staying in touch with me as I went through this journey.  To everyone in Charlottetown, my friends at UPEI and the staff at UPEI: thank you.  Thank you for being so gracious to a mid-western girl who had no idea what a “toque” was or who had never eaten a Kinder Egg Surprise.  Thank you for laughing at my jokes, even when they were’t funny.  Thank you for accepting me for who I am.  Thank you for making me a better person.  I love all of you.

I know that this isn’t the end.  I now know that I want to travel more and see even more of this big world.  I want to be able to see every culture and experience every aspect of life.  This experience has caused a small ripple in my life, now, I want to cause a tidal wave; I want to go and do.

I hope, and know, that I will return to Canada very soon.  I could’t imagine not coming back to see my friends that live there.  In the future, I want to bring my own family to PEI and show them how beautiful is.  I want them to see this providence that I have fallen in love with, in hopes that they will fall in love with it as well.  So now, as I fly out of Canada, and back into the States, I will be sad.  Yet, at the same time, there is reassurance in me.  I know that I will be back and that the memories and connections with people that I have made in Canada will last me a lifetime.  So, instead of saying farewell to Canada, I will be saying until later because I will be back, and I can’t wait.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”  ~Flavia Weedn

In between my studying, I have been taking breaks to do fun things.  On November 30th, Charlottetown had their Christmas parade.  Stephen, Via, Kate, Kaylee and I ended up going to it.  Apparently the Christmas parade is pretty big in Charlottetown because as Kate and I were walking back from the store about an hour and a half before the parade started, there was already thirty or so cars lined up waiting for the parade to start.  The parade itself was really fun and it was really cute to see the whole community together.  We even saw Andrew who was marching in the parade for Cadets!

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Float in the parade.

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Via, Stephen, Kate and I.

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Another float.

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Oh hey, it’s Andrew!

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Santa Clause was at the end!

After the parade, Via, Stephen and I want to The Prince Edward Island Brewing company for an album release of an Indie band that is founded on PEI called “Paper Lions.”  Two other bands were also playing that night.  They were called “The Express” and “Coyote.” All three bands were so talented and entertaining! The venue was also very beautiful! They just opened up their concert hall and it was so amazing! It’s so neat to see how much PEI is involved in supporting their local artists.  There is truly so much talent here on the island and every person in both the music community and the general public seems to support the music that is created here. When I got back to the dorm, I ended up buying The Express’, Coyote’s,  Paper Lion’s albums.  There was also a balloon drop at the end of the release and that was so much fun! Being in a balloon drop was on my bucket list so I got to experience that while listening to some great music and hanging out with some of my favorite people ever.

Paper Lions performing “My Friend.”

Coyote performing “Fossils.”

The Express performing “Holy Daughter.”

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Waiting for the bands to start.

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The stage.

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The Express performing.

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Coyote performing.

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Paper Lions performing.

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The balloon drop!

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Inside PEI brewing company.
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Another view of PEI Brewing company

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Seating in PEI brewing company.

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More seating in PEI Brewing Company

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PEI Brewing Company

On Sunday, a group of us got together for Secret Santa.  There was about 14 people all together and it was really fun for everyone to just hang out during relaxed hours before everyone begins their finals and heads home.  It was so nice because everyone there seemed to have such a fun time.  Everyone also seemed to think of something that was both creative and meaningful to the person that they received for their Secret Santa.  The whole time, everyone was laughing, goofing off, and there was even Christmas music in the background.  To me, this was my Christmas with my amazing second family.  I am so glad that we were able to spend some time together before everyone heads off to spend their actual Christmas with their families.  I am so lucky to have been able to meet such amazing, fun, kind-hearted people, and I could not imagine my experience here without a single one of them.

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Robyn, Kate, Jasmin, Stephen and I watching everyone open their presents.

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Stephen was really excited about his present.

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Sarah, Jenna, Robyn and Paige.

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I was really excited about my scarf and that I guessed my Secret Santa correctly.

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The presents.

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Chad loved his Nerf Gun.

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Kate was really happy with her gifts too.

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Kate, Jasmin, Robyn and I.

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We bought Jasmin the scarf she is wearing for her birthday and Paige ended up getting me the same one for Secret Santa, so Jasmin and I now match!

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Andrew was really happy about his present as well.

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Everyone with their presents after Secret Santa.

Funny photo of the blog:

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Via ended up getting a Crock Pot for Stephen for Secret Santa. He was honestly really excited.

Disclaimer: The photos of The Express, Coyote and Paper Lions, as well as the pictures of the interior of PEI Brewing Company, were taken and are owned by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company.

Almost the End

I know, I know.  I have not blogged since who knows how long.  It seems like this is becoming quite an occurrence.  In my defense, I have been very busy preparing for finals and the end of classes.

Before classes were over, and the stress of finals began to hit everyone, the University decided to have one last fun night.  They hosted a casino night for the residence.  Everyone got to dress up and went to go play poker, black jack, and something similar to roulette.  There was also food and some really neat ices sculptures that one of the cafeteria workers made.  At the end of the night, there was an auction for prizes such as hockey tickets, bowling passes, gift cards, etcetera.  It was so fun to be able to dress up and go out with everyone and enjoy time playing games.  I always enjoy getting dressed up and going out, so this was a nice excuse to do just that.  At the end of the night, a big group of us ended up pooling our money together and winning a $50.00 pizza gift card.  I didn’t do so well with the whole gambling thing because I really don’t know how to play blackjack or poker, but it was fun to try.  I tried my hand at blackjack, which I did okay at, but I wasn’t much of a winner.

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Karen, Robyn, Kate, Jasmin, Dale, Sarah, Via, Samara and I with our “money” before playing games.

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Playing Blackjack with Sarah and Jasmin.

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Sarah, Dale, Kate, Karen, Robyn and I playing Blackjack while  Via and Jasmin watch.

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Robyn, Via, Leaf, Karen, Megan, Nicky, Brandon, Chad, Dale, Sarah, Kate, Samara and I  sitting down for some appetizers and visiting.

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Robyn, Via, Chad, Kate, Jasmin, Karen and I with our $50.00 gift certificate that we won!

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The amazing ice sculpture.

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A close up of the ice sculpture table.

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A close up of the ice sculpture cards.

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the University and PEI in general.  The whole town is decorated with lights, Christmas trees, and even snow! It has snowed consistently throughout this past week, but we have been lucky enough for it to melt pretty much as soon as it hits the ground.  If not, then it melts the next day or so.  However, there was a couple days when the snow didn’t melt.  There was kind of a lot, and we were able to make snowmen.  It was the first snowmen of the season and it was really fun to go outside and play in it.

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Starting my snowman.

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One part down, two to go!

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Three out of three complete!

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Just a few last touches…

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And our snowmen are complete! We placed them in front of Bernie, our dorm building. Karen described it as the “Gates of Argonath.”

UPEI residence is having a door decorating contest.  It is so fun to walk around the dorm and see doors decorated in so many different ways.  It is so fun to see all of the festivity around campus and it makes me so much more excited to be home for the holidays.

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Buddy the Elf

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Hanukkah door

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Santa door

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Reindeer door

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Christmas tree

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Presents door.

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“The Peanuts” Christmas bulletin board.

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“Happy Holidays” board on my floor

Wednesday, the 27th, was a very neat day for me.  Dr. Adam Fenech, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for Climate Change, came and talked to my environmental studies class.  He operates a Climate Change research lab here on campus.  Dr. Fenech discussed how much the weather has changed on PEI and what his reach is involved in.  Dr. David Suzuki, a spokes person for climate change and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, was also on campus on Wednesday.  He was giving a lecture that night, and I was planning on purchasing a ticket, but by the time I got online the tickets were already sold out.  Luckily, on Monday, I was informed by my environmental studies professor that there were tickets available to win and all I had to do was send an email stating why I thought I deserved a ticket.  I ended up being selected as one of the winners and I was able to go to the Dr. David Suzuki Lecture.  My ticket ended up being in the VIP section and I was in the fifth row.  It was so interesting to hear Dr. David Suzuki speak about the problems of climate change that Prince Edward Island, the Maritimes, and Canada is having.  It was so nice to see that so many people care about our environment and who want to help stop, or at least slow down, climate change.  This lecture consisted of opening commentaries from Dr. David Suzuki, a film on Climate Change in the Maritimes, a panel lecture, which included Dr. Fenech, and an open discussion with the audience.  I was able to learn so much about the environmental policies of Canada and I found it so interesting to hear about all of the problems that Canada and the rest of the world are facing concerning Climate Change.

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Dr. David Suzuki and the panel during open discussion.

Thanksgiving for The United States was Thursday.  We did not do anything here, but I was able to Skype my family.  Everyone was there, including my family from South Dakota, and it was really nice to hear their voices and see their smiling faces.  In the matter of 40 minutes, I got a private clarinet performance from my cousin, Jacob,  gave a lesson to my other cousin, Grace, about the Kidneys, had a political discussion with my mom, and overall, experienced the much missed craziness that happens when my family is together for the holidays.

It’s that time of the year, again.  Classes are finished and everyone is beginning to spend their long, late nights with their books rather than with their friends.  For most students, this is the time to buckle down.  To spend 12 hours a day in the library teaching themselves everything that they didn’t pay attention to in class, or reading the whole entire textbook because they didn’t bother to do it until now.  The University is dead due to 22.5 hours of quiet hours.  Everyone is tiptoeing as they walk around the halls and whispering as they go to and from classes, the cafeteria or to wherever else they might be going.  I, just like every other student, am beginning to buckle down and start, what feels like, the very long haul of studying for finals.  I am also beginning to start packing up because, after finals, I will return home to finish the rest of my university career back home.  It is so sad to think that I only have a couple weeks left here before I return back home.  Yet, when I think about it, I am ready to see all of my friends and family.  I know that either way, I am going to miss the people of whatever town I am not living in, and for whatever reason, I must return home.  Christmas is so close, and it will be so nice to see everyone that I have missed and give each one of them a big hug.  But first, I have to conquer finals.

Not so funny, but pretty amazing picture of the blog:

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Prince Edward Island was once known for their fox farms. However, after the closing of them, the foxes were released back into the wild. Now PEI has a large population of, what seems like, semi-domestic foxes. There are two on campus, one black and one red. This guy was spotted when I was walking through a path in the woods after volunteering. I was lucky enough to capture this photo the instant that he discovered that he was not alone in the woods.  We were probably five feet away from each other.  He scampered away shortly after.

The Long Weekend

I know that it has been quite a while since I have blogged, and I am so sorry about that.  I have had quite a few papers that I needed to get done and there are only two weeks left of classes, so things are beginning to get pretty hectic around here.  Last Thursday (the 7th) was my last day of class before my long weekend.  That night, it was pouring down rain and I was in the food hall eating, when American Steve started talking about skateboarding.  I told him he would have to teach me sometime and the next thing I knew, I was putting on my rain boots and rain jacket and running outside to skate.  It was so much fun! By the time we were finished there were at least 6 or 7 very wet people out in the parking lot laughing and attempting to skateboard.  Before we started, American Steve said that this is something that I will never regret or forget, and he was totally right!

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After skateboarding!

Classes were dismissed until Tuesday of this week due to Remembrance Day.  It was a nice weekend to catch up with old friends, do school work, and have some fun around the town.  Since most people who go to UPEI live on the island the majority of the campus and residence halls were empty.  It was kind of weird to not hear at least one person walking or talking at every point throughout the day.

I was told by Karen on Thursday that there was a package for me in the residence office, but by the time I got there, it was closed.  So on Friday morning I went and picked it up.  It ended up being from some of my super close friends, Kylar and MiLeah.  Inside was some super cute room decorations along with cards from both of them!  I was so happy to be able to get letters from them and I absolutely loved all the decorations! I ended up putting them up immediately and they look great! It was such a good way to begin my day and to be able to hear from my friends.  Thank you so much, Kylar and MiLeah for the great package! I loved it all!

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The amazing decorations from Kylar and MiLeah

That afternoon, Kate and I went and played Bingo with the patients at Hillsborough Hospital.  We had such a fun time! Everyone there is hardcore bingo players and it was really funny to watch them be so serious about winning.  It was also nice to see them out of the unit that they are usually in and having fun.

That night, Karen, Via and I decided to dress up and go downtown to have a nice dinner.  Robyn was at home for the weekend so it was just the three of us.  After walking up and down the streets of downtown, ended up eating at a sushi restaurant called Ta-ke.  It was absolutely amazing! All of the food was so fresh! Via and I split some sushi and then we both ordered a main dish for ourselves.  I could have sat there all night and ate.  Once we were finished, we headed back to the bus stop only to find out that we had missed the last bus. So, we ended up having to catch a cab back to the University.  Even with the couple of glitches that we had, it was such a great night!

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The inside of the restaurant was so cute!

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Some of the photos on the wall of the restaurant.

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“Push the button when you’re ready to order.”

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Mastering the chop sticks.

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The sushi Via and I split.

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My main dish: salmon teriyaki.

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Via’s main dish: tempura udon

On saturday, Karen, Kate, Via and I want downtown to a Christmas Fair in the Confederation Center.  This was where many island craftsmen come and sell their pottery, paintings, sculptures and whatever else for the holidays.  Some of the people were even painting and working on a pottery wheel throughout the day.  It was really neat to see all of the handmade items from the island and to see how each one incorporated a pice of the island into their artwork.  1426581_10202472561642080_1342556079_n

Handmade ornaments.

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Candle holders.

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Hand-dyed yarn.

On Sunday, Via and I woke up and looked outside to see snow.  It was not very much, but it was still enough to make us excited.  We both threw on some shoes and a coat and went outside to take pictures.  Unfortunately, both of us forgot to bring our room key so we ended up being locked out of the building.  Luckily, there is a waiting area that you are able to get into without a key and there is a phone inside to call security if you get locked out.  IMG_1653

The snow when first walking out of the dorm.

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The square with a tiny bit of snow.

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Via with her Mexican blanket outside.  She doesn’t like the cold, at all.

Monday was Remembrance Day.  It is kind of like Veterans Day in the United States.  Every city in Canada has a Remembrance Day Ceremony to honor the veterans and the soldiers that are still in war today, along with their family members.  I went to the Charlottetown ceremony.  It was a rainy cold day, but there was still a large amount of people there.  I later learned that everyone either goes to the ceremony or watches it on the television.  To pay honor, everyone wears red poppies on their left side.  During the ceremony, soldiers and family members lay wreaths on a war memorial  to commemorate those who were lost in battle.  This was such a beautiful thing to be able to experience.  It is amazing to see how everyone here is so appreciative of what soldiers have sacrificed in order for freedom.

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The poppy.

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The poppy wreaths around the war memorial.  (This picture was taken at a later date because it is considered rude to take pictures during the ceremony.)

Tuesday was a homework day for everyone.  We had such a long weekend that it was time for everyone to relax and do the homework that they said they were going to do all weekend long.  Robyn also came back home, so it was really exciting to see her and to be able to hear how her weekend went.

On Wednesday, Via turned 19! American Steve and I ended up taking her out for pizza at midnight on Tuesday in order to celebrate.  While we were gone, Robyn, Jon, Dale, Andrew and Chad decorated Via’s room for a surprise birthday party.  I ended up having to stall when we got back because the room wasn’t finished decorating, so we went and searched for my “lost” earring in the lounge.  It was really fun to be able to surprise Via and she had no idea anything was going on.

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American Steve, Via and I at the pizza parlor.

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Via’s room decorated.

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Via’s card.  She deemed it “the best card she has ever gotten.”

This Friday, Robyn and I went curling with the international students.  Robyn has curled before but no one else ever had, so it was really fun to be able to learn how to curl together.  I had a blast and met some great people while there.  Robyn and I decided that we were going to have to get a team together and go back to the curling club and play a real game. IMG_1840

The curling rocks.

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The curling rink.

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Me in action.

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Robyn and I after curling! It was such a blast!

There are only two weeks of classes left before dead week and then finals.  It is so crazy to think how quickly these past couple of weeks went past.  I feel like these last few weeks are going to go by even quicker.

Funny photo of the blog:

IMG_1817 Via loves One Direction so we ended up hanging a poster above her bed for her birthday.

A Special Post

This weekend was a long weekend due to Remembrance Day in Canada.  But, before I talk about that, I want to discuss something that is very close to my heart.  As many of you know, there was a super typhoon that hit the Philippines.  However, what you may not know is that my bathroommate, Via, is from the Philippines.  Via’s immediate family lives in Manila, but they were not severely affected by the typhoon.  However, her grandmother and her aunts were.  Via’s grandmother lost everything; as Via described it, “Everything’s gone.”

It is amazing how strong Via has been acting knowing that the majority her country is completely destroyed.  I could not imagine being practically around the world and not being with my family during this time of crisis.  However, Via is, and she is doing it with complete grace.

Approximately 9.8 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.  Many homes, businesses, and buildings were destroyed.  Friends and family members were lost; lives were forever changed.

All I ask of everyone that reads this post is to pray.  Pray for the people of the Philippines.  Pray that God will grant them peace and comfort as they go through this horrible tragedy.  Pray for the people who are injured.  Pray for the ones who are lost and scared.  Pray for the volunteers who are going to help aid in the recovery of this country.  Just pray.  I know that God will help the amazing people of the Philippines, and that slowly, this country will come back, bigger and better than ever before.

If you would like to help the Philippines in their recovery, please visit any of these sites:

http://www.redcross.org.ph

https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod4650031

https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/TyphoonHaiyan

https://www.wfp.org/donate/typhoon-philippines-b

https://www.mercycorps.org/donate/help-typhoon-haiyan-survivors?utm_source=media&utm_medium=press%2Brelease&utm_content=help%2Btyphoon%2Bhaiyan%2Bsurvivors&utm_campaign=philippines%2Btyphoon%2Bresponse

https://www.rescue.org/donate/typhoon-haiyan

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/super-typhoone-haiyan-response/#donateBottom

https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/onetime.cfm?source=AUU1311LBD01

Baseball and Halloween: What more could you ask for?

These last couple of weeks have consisted of getting ready for Halloween, celebrating Halloween and watching baseball.  As many of you know, the World Series was on just last week.  Being from Missouri, I grew up watching baseball with my grandfather and I played softball.  So, let’s just say that it was inevitable that I watched the World Series, seeing that the St. Louis Cardinals were in it.  I ended up finding some other people who wanted to watch baseball, so it turned into a nightly thing for all of us to get together and watch the World Series.  There were only three of us who were there for the game and everyone else just wanted to hang out.  It was super fun to be able to watch the games with everyone, even if the Cardinals did lose.

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In the lounge, prepping for baseball.

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Somehow watching the game turned into playing “The Floor is Lava.”

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We watched YouTube videos during the commercials.

It took a while for everyone to find their Halloween costumes.  I believe that I made at least five different trips out with different people before everyone found what they wanted to dress up as.  UPEI has a campus wide costume party at the campus pub, called The Wave.  It’s a wet-dry event and pretty much everyone goes.  However, it didn’t start until 22:00.  So, before we went, Robyn and I went Trick-or-Eating with a group from residence.  Trick-or-Eating is like Trick-or-Treating, only you ask for nonperishable food for the UPEI food bank.  It was amazing how much people were willing to give and we ended up filling, I believe, a van and a jeep with food.  We also got some candy at a couple of the houses, so that was a plus.  When we returned from Trick-or-Eating, we headed over to Andrew Hall, the other dorm, to get together with some of our friends before the Wave.  It was really fun because everyone was dressed up and there was music playing, so we were able to have a mini-party before the the campus party began.  The Wave was also very fun, although it did get very crowded at one point.  We were there until about 2:30 a.m., but I still went to the one class that I had the next morning.  There were not too many people who went to class, so I was pretty proud of myself for forcing myself to get out of bed and go.  Overall, Halloween night was a blast! If I had a chance, I would totally go again, although I am not quite sure that I would stay out so late.

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The amazing cakes that the cafeteria had on Halloween.

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The thank you note for Trick-or-Eating.

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American Steve and I!

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Robyn and I!

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Via, Robyn, Karen and I before leaving for Andrew Hall.

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Andrew, Via, Robyn, Karen and I at Andrew Hall before the Wave.

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Getting ready to go to the Wave!

I have also been to quite a few hockey games.  The men’s UPEI hockey home opener was last weekend, so we went to that along with a women’s hockey game last night and another men’s hockey game on Saturday.  I also went to a women’s Rugby game last week.

I have also been quite busy with writing papers that are due in three days (yikes!).  I pretty much have them finished, save for a little editing.  I have two more papers after that and an exam tomorrow (the 5th.)

Remembrance Day is this Monday.  Because of that, UPEI does not have classes Monday or Tuesday.  My professor also announced that my only class on Friday is canceled, so I will have a five day weekend! Remembrance Day is a very important, respected holiday here, so I will be attending a memorial service on Monday.

I only have one month and ten days left until I have to go back home.  It feels like only yesterday was I getting off the plane with my family, full of excitement and nervousness.  It’s interesting to think how quickly a foreign place can feel like your second home.

Funny photo #1 of the blog:

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Yeah, I’m not quite sure what American Steve is doing here… I guess that’s what baseball does to you.

Funny Photo #2 of the blog:

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Yes, that is corn riding a unicycle.  Why? I have no idea.

Oops! I Ate Banned Candy!

This week has been filled with new experiences! I have done everything from eating something that is banned in the U.S. to watching a Canadian talk show.  On Thursday, Karen and I went down town so that she could buy a winter coat.  But before we did that, we stopped at the dollar store to get a couple things.  In the checkout line was this candy called Kinder Surprise.  Ever since I got here, people have been asking me if I had eaten a Kinder Surprise yet.  I had never heard of this so called Kinder Surprise until I came here and every time I asked someone to explain it to me they’d simply say, “It’s this chocolate egg that has a toy inside of it. It is banned in the U.S. because kids couldn’t figure out how to not bite into the toy without choking.”  So here I was standing in line, staring at this row of candy banned in the U.S., contemplating whether I should buy one and praying that if and when I ate it, I wouldn’t choke.  The good news? I successfully ate the Kinder Surprise egg without killing myself in the process!

The Kinder egg has a layer of milk chocolate and white chocolate.  It was probably some of the best chocolate I have ever had, aside from the gourmet chocolate from Switzerland that a family friend brought back for us when she spent her summer there.  Yet, what made the Kinder egg stand out was that there was a toy inside!

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Kinder Surprise 

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After biting into the Kinder egg.  The yellow pod is where the toy is.

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My little friend that was inside the Kinder egg pod! 

On Friday, we went to the first UPEI girl’s home hockey game.  We ended up not winning, but it was fun to be able to go and cheer on the team with the rest of the students from UPEI.  

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The girl’s hockey team before the National Anthem.  

On Saturday, I went to my first real rugby game with Via and Jon! Chad invited Via and I to watch a practice, but this was the first time that we were going to watch the PEI team play another team.  It was kind of chilly that day, but it turned out to be a super good game! At first PEI was losing, but after some great plays, we were able to pull out a win! I even was able to learn a little more about Rugby and its rules. Thank you, Jon!  There were a lot of hard hits and I couldn’t imagine tackling someone, or being tackled, without wearing pads or a helmet.  I came to the conclusion that all those guys out there are super tough because if I were to play, I think I would run the opposite direction just so I wouldn’t get hit.  

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PEI with the ball.  I believe this play lead to a Try. (Touchdown in football terms.) Image 

Setting up for a ruck. (A play in Rugby where a mass of players gather in a clump and attempt to gain possession of the ball by kicking it out of the ruck and to a teammate.)

Yesterday afternoon, right before I was about to leave to go Halloween costume shopping, I received a knock on my door.  It was Kate, a friend of mine who lives on the first floor of my dorm building.  I was invited by Kate to go to a talk show with her.  The show was called “Stuart McLean & The Vinyl Cafe.” Basically, it was this man named Stuart McLean who told very funny, fictional stories.  He is the host of the CBC radio show called “The Vinyl Cafe,” which has been running for 20 years.  Kate told me that as a child, her and her family would sit together and listen to him on the radio every Sunday night and that it was probably her favorite talk show.  There is also a musical guest that Stuart McLean invites to perform in between his stories.  The guest that was here with him at PEI was Ron Hynes.  Hynes is a popular folk singer-song writer from Newfoundland.  He has won many titles such as Artist of the Year and Album of the Year from the East Coast Music Association. Now I had never heard of either Stuart McLean or Ron Hynes, but I had such an amazing time and enjoyed them both so much! All of Stuart McLeans stories were super funny and Ron Hynes music was amazing! I am so happy that Kate invited me to come along with her and to be able to experience something that so many Canadians listen to on a Sunday night. 

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My ticket for the show!

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The Vinyl Cafe set before the show. 

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Kate and I sitting in the Theatre waiting for the show to start. 

Yesterday I also received a letter from a great friend of mine back home named Rachel!  I was so excited to get a letter from her and it was really nice to read it! Rachel is a super funny person and I had missed her sense of humor quite a bit! This letter allowed me to hear her sense of humor and it put a smile on my face! If you’re reading this, Rach, thank-you for making my day! 

Unfortunately, the sheep farm trip on Sunday got cancelled, but I have been promised that we will still go, so I am really excited for that!  

I received my Mid-Terms back for both classes and I did pretty well.  I was above the class average for both and my Canadian History professor said that my score was “Not too shabby” considering that I had never taken a Canadian History course before.

It’s strange to think that I will be returning home in a little less then two months.  I have begun to create my schedule for next semester back home and it is making me excited to see all of my friends and family again, but also sad to leave all of the friends that I have made here.   I am so excited to see what crazy adventure we are going to do next! 

Funny photo of the blog: 

We ordered Chinese food on Sunday night for dinner.  However, non of us realized that we needed dinner wear in order to eat.  Fortunately, Karen had extra plates, and I had cups from the care package my grandparents sent me.  I ended up eating dinner with these:

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That’s right, it’s a Monster’s Inc. cup, a Thomas the Train bowl and a Spider Man Spoon.  

Thanksgiving in October?

So it has been almost two weeks since I have last blogged and I would like to begin this post by apologizing to my friends and family for not giving you guys more updates, along with the people, who I may not know, that are gracious enough to read my blog religiously.  Trust me, I am quite aware that I have not fulfilled my duties of keeping everyone up to date, and I have been informed almost everyday by my roommates on how horrible it is of me (thanks, Via.)  But, in defense of my laziness for not blogging, I will say that I have been very busy with many other things.  I had two midterms and they were worth a large percent of my grade (45% and 40%.)  Because they were worth so much of my grade, I decided that it was probably better to ban myself from blogging in order to study for them.  Thanksgiving was also yesterday (October 14th) so I was able to get off campus for the long weekend and enjoy the holiday with a great family.

Image Me with my care package.

Image Opening my care package.

Image My care package goodies.

Along with all of the stress of midterms and the joy of the holidays, I finally had my share of homesickness.  Thankfully, after my last exam on Friday, I received an email that there was a package for me in the resident’s office.  The package ended up being a care package from my Grandparents who live back in Joplin. When I first arrived at University, I requested that my family send me “American things.”  Yet no one, including myself, knew what I meant by “American things.” However, the items inside this care package were quite amusing.  Some of these items included a note and card from my grandparents, fall decorations, American candy, and post cards from my hometown.  My favorite items, though, were definitely the United States flag napkins and the US Weekly’s that my grandma sent me to “fill up the box.”  That care package, along with the cards my friends sent with me when I left for Canada and a great talk with one of the RLA’s, gave me the perfect amount of “home feeling” that I needed in order to get me through my rough patch of homesickness.

Two Saturdays ago, a group of residents went apple picking.  There were quite a few international students who went along for the trip and it was really fun to see them enjoying this experience.  Many of their countries did not have apple orchards so it was fun to see them enjoying something that they wouldn’t be able to experience in their home country.  It was also quite nice to be able to get out of the city and into the country and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.  There were even farm dogs that we were able to play with!

ImageThe farm dog that was at the orchard.

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Image Apples galore!

Image SItting around the fire pit.  Jon didn’t want to try on my sunglasses.

Image The apple cider barn. We were able to go and watch them make apple cider the next day.  It was super interesting and we got to taste it fresh off the press!

Image The barn cat!

Image The apple picking group!

This Wednesday the University hosted a Thanksgiving dinner.  But before we went to the dinner, we had to go downtown to help Karen look for a winter coat.  We were not lucky in our endeavors, but we had a fun time when we were downtown.  We went to the pier and looked at the water and then we ended up finding a Cow’s Creamery.  The area we ended up going to while downtown was mainly for tourists so it was pretty empty, but it was fun going into all of the tourist stores.  ImageRobyn, Via, Karen and I downtown.

Image WIth the cow in front of Cow’s creamery.

When we got back to the dorms, we headed to the dining hall to enjoy our turkey dinner.  There was so much food and everything was absolutely delicious.  It was really nice to be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner with everyone who lived in residence.  It honestly made the University feel more like a family than it already is.

Image The Thanksgiving serving table.

Image A small part of the desert table.  Those “turkeys” are really cakes!

For Thanksgiving break, Via and I were invited to the Townsend’s home.  They live about an hour away so it was really nice to be able to get out of Charlottetown and spend the holiday with the Townsend family.   Their house was right by the beach and had a view of the Confederation bridge from start to finish.  On Saturday, a group of us had a bon fire on the beach.  The weather was absolutely perfect and it was great to be able to sit around the fire and visit.  On Sunday, we went to the family’s church where the father is the pastor.  The sermon was great and everyone at the church was so nice.  On Sunday night, we went to a haunted barn, which was a fundraiser for the local fire department.  I had never been to a spook house before, and I was really nervous, but it actually wasn’t horrible! I was a little scared at the beginning, but after the first three minutes, or so, I was laughing at Via and Jenna’s crazy reactions.  Afterwards, we were allowed to stay and scare.  It was really fun to be on the other side of the spook house and it was super funny to see others’ reactions.  We had two Thanksgiving dinners with the Townsend’s.  One on Sunday, the day before Thanksgiving, and one on Monday, the day of Thanksgiving.  Both dinners were absolutely delicious and it was so nice to spend some time with a family for the holiday.  They reminded me so much of my family and it was nice to just sit and hang out with others while laughing and having fun.  On Monday after Thanksgiving dinner, we took a walk to the nearby lighthouse, called Seacow Head Lighthouse.  This is the second light house that I have seen on PEI and Via’s first.  It was quite different than the North Rustico Harbour Lighthouse.  The Seacow Head Lighthouse was on the cliff while the other was in a small fishing town.  It is interesting because the Seacow Head lighthouse was the one that was used for the wide shots in the Anne of Green Gables television show.

Image Hanging with Charger.  He had his paws crossed, so I decided to cross mine.

Image Charger again! He was such a sweet heart.

Image Walking along the Townsend’s beach.  It was super pretty.

Image The view of the Confederation Bridge when you got to the Townsend’s beach.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Image Via and I sitting at the dinner table.

Image The Seacow Head Lighthouse.

ImageVia and I sitting on the banks of the cliff.

Image Via and I chilling.

Image The Townsend’s beach.

Image Via and I in front of the Townsend’s home.  It was so nice to open their home to us and to treat us like one of the family.

Overall, despite being a tad homesick and stressed, I had a great couple of weeks.  Via and I were able to spend some time seeing the island, while experiencing Thanksgiving in October.  We were both so glad to be able to spend the weekend like we did and I can say that I cannot think of any better way to spend my Thanksgiving.

Funny Photo #1 of the Blog:

Via, deemed herself a “city girl” and decided that hiking wasn’t her thing.  This was the result of Via going with us on a hike:

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Funny photos #2, 3, 4 of the blog:

So our curtains decided that they wanted to break this morning as we were leaving the dorms.  As University students, we decided that we were going to get creative when it came to fixing them.

Image Before

Image After! Karen was so proud of our work.

Image Our secret weapon: duct tape.

A Tea Party… With Darth?

This week has been pretty fun! To end residence weekend, a group of us week to the PEI Islanders hockey game.  I had never been to a hockey game before, so the only things that I knew about hockey were the stereotypical things such as hockey fights, slams and crazy fans.  I was really excited to see what a hockey game was really like, and much to my surprise, it consisted of pretty much what I thought it was going to. Oh, and some scoring.  The first 18 seconds in the game, a fight broke out.  This was one of many that happened throughout the three periods.  There was also many hard slams and some crazy fans who knew a lot about the plays of the hockey team and what to run.  However, I absolutely loved the whole atmosphere of the hockey arena and the game itself.  The game was very close, and we ended up losing after a shootout.  After that game, I decided that I am going to attend as many of the UPEI hockey games as possible.  Plus, I think that hockey is my new favorite sport.

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Via and I in front of the hockey rink. It was also Via’s first time at a hockey game.

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The neat blimp that would drop prizes over the fans in between periods.

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The PEI Islanders mascot.  It’s a fox.

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The PEI Islanders hockey game.

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One of the players down after a very hard slam.  The man over him is the medic.

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Some of the residents that I went to the hockey game with.  From right to left: Robyn, Jon, Via, myself and Chad.

On Monday, Via, Robyn, Karen, Jasmin and I went downtown.  We mainly went to go to this super neat one of a kind scarf boutique call Green Eye Designs.  However, we soon found out that Green Eye Designs is closed on Mondays, so we walked around downtown Charlottetown instead.  We found another boutique called Color Blind Boutique, and it was simply amazing.  Much of their products come directly from LA and the prices aren’t too horrible.  I ended up getting two shirts for myself and I absolutely love them!  Via had also not been to Cow’s Creamery, so it was a must that we went there while we were downtown.  It was really nice to get off campus, but it was pretty weird because tourist season is coming to an end.  So, the downtown that was once filled with a crowed of people at all times, had turned into a quiet downtown.  It was very strange to see the down at such a different spectrum.

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I was pretty sad when I found out the store was closed.

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David’s Tea: an amazing tea store that Karen showed me.

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Inside David’s Tea.  The amount of tea that they have is crazy!

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Who could forget about Cow’s Creamery?

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Inside a downtown candy store.  So much candy!

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Downtown after tourist season. It is so empty.

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Talking to one of the local book store owners.  She has a dog in the store, so we were all laughing at him.

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This was put up in downtown Charlottetown not too long ago.  It’s this giant chalk board that says, “Before I die…”  On the left side of the photo you can see a white bucket and it is filled with chalk.  People form all over come and write on the chalk board.  It was super neat to see what some people had written.

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I was completely overwhelmed by the responses on the board.  Some of them silly and some of them so sincere, serious and honest.

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Writing my “Before I die…”

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My response? “See the world.”

Yesterday, I went and did some volunteer work.  I really enjoyed being able to visit with the patients, and I even learned how to play Crazy 8’s.  I forgot how much I enjoyed volunteering, and it was really nice to be able to go and visit with some people and make their day better. Plus, it was the first time, since I started going to the hospital, that I did not get lost while attempting to navigate throughout the bus system!  I was pretty proud of myself!

Last night, Via, Robyn, Karen, Chad, John, Jon, and I had a tea party and watched Star Wars.  It was originally supposed to just be a get together where we had tea, but Karen decided that we needed to watch Star Wars.  When I went to volunteer, I told my coordinator what we were doing and she told me that she had tea cups and saucers that I could borrow, if I wanted too.  So, our little get together somehow morphed into this proper tea party while watching Star Wars.  The whole situation was really goofy, but it was so fun!

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Pinkies up! The Star Wars tea party group. From right to left: Via, Robyn, Karen, John, myself, Chad, and Jon behind the camera.

This Saturday, we are going apple picking at a local orchard! I am so excited to be able to do this!  Jon said that they have amazing apple cider, so that on the list of must do things while apple picking.  Mid-terms are next week for me, followed by Canada’s Thanksgiving next weekend.  It’s so strange that Thanksgiving is so early here, but I am excited to have a small break from school.

Goofy picture of the blog:

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John (in the middle) wore this shirt to the tea party.  Chad and Jon own the same shirt in different colors, so the both of them decided that they were going to surprise John and wear the same shirt as him.  Chad and Jon were pretty excited, the other John? Not so much.

Resident’s Weekend

This weekend is deemed “Residence Weekend” at UPEI.  Because of this, the weekend is jammed pack with activities for the residents.  Friday after, we decided to go thrift shopping to get some clothes for paint twister, which was an activity that was happen later on that night.  There is only one thrift shop in Charlottetown, so we hopped on the bus and headed there.  We were able to find some really cheap clothing that was perfect for paint twister.  Via, my bathroommate, also found some clothes that she liked for everyday wear.  We also had to go to Walmart to get some food for our dorm room.  While we were there, I was able to look around and see what food is different form the food we have back at home.  I was honestly surprised to see how much was actually different.  There were many candies along with other snacks that I had never seen, or heard of before.  I had to keep telling myself to put food back because I just wanted to buy it all and eat it.

ImageRiding on the bus to the thrift shop.*

ImageVia loved the thrift shop!*

ImageSome of the very snack cakes that were found at Walmart.

Paint twister was hosted in the residence field.  It pretty much sounds exactly what it is: twister, with paint.  After two rounds of paint twister, everyone just kind of ended up rolling around in the paint and throwing it at each other.  We all had a last making a mess with the paint.

ImageBefore paint twister.

ImageAfter paint twister.

ImageThe back of us after paint twister.

ImageThe group after paint twister.*

ImageDuring paint twister.*

ImagePaint twister fun!*

Image Paint twister.*

After everyone got cleaned up, we headed to a residence soccer game.  This game was co-ed and it was against the two dorms: Bernadine and Andrew.  It started pretty late at night, so it was chilly, but it was really fun to be able to spend time with all of the residents.  My dorm ended up losing, but it was okay because we still got pancakes at midnight.

Image  Watching the soccer game with Via.

Image Watching the soccer game with Jasmin.*

Image Bernardine Hall vs. Andrew Hall Soccer game.*

This morning, we went to the open house of The Atlantic Veterinarian College (AVC).  AVC is located on campus so it was really neat to go and see what was there.  This open house is a pretty big event that happens in Charlottetown and everyone is very eager to see the AVC animals, students, school and equipment.  I had never been to a Veterinary College before, and AVC is considered one of the best Vet Schools in the area, so it was really neat to see how it was set up and what it consisted of.

Image Dog agility course at the AVC open house.

Image Some of the AVC animals.

Image AVC animals at the open house.

Today is UPEI’s Men Soccer game, which I will be going to.  There is also a hockey game tomorrow and I will be going to that as well! I have not been to a hokey game before so I am really excited to be going.  Mid-terms are coming up, so this is probably the last weekend that I will be able to go out for before I begin to prepare for them.  I cannot believe that I have already been at PEI for a little over a month.  I miss everyone back home, but I am so happy to be able to have this amazing experience.

 

The pictures indicated with a * are not my pictures.

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