Hello there! ISo far this summer I’ve been taking a break from blogging because I wanted to stop thinking of how to turn my life into a text post for a while. I just got back from a family trip to Australia, which was AMAZING. The whole experience was unforgettable and just, wow. What a beautiful country.
A few of my favourite parts:
- The World Harp Congress in Sydney – This was, in fact the reason for us going to Australia. It was inspiring and I learned a TON. Hoping my new practicing skills will give me an edge this year.
- The Penguin Parade – We went to an island near Melbourne and saw hundreds of little penguins waddle right past us, out of the water and into their burrows on land. Magical.
- A wild cockatoo landed on my shoulder – We were at a place were you could feed them and there were about four of them on me at one point.
- The outback – We saw Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon. The red desert is so beautiful, and I got to learn a lot about the aboriginal culture, which was my favourite part of the outback. One thing I thought was interesting was that there were very few plants in the desert, but nearly all of them were very powerful and nourishing, whereas in the rainforest there were tons of plants but most of them would kill you if you tried to eat them.
- Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef – I did not expect snorkelling to be as crazily beautiful as it was. I just stuck my face in the water, and BAM I can see clearly through the water and there’s fish and coral right there, and hey that fish is like ten centimetres away from me. WOW. At one point our guide led us through a shallow area and I started drifting and the coral seemed about a foot away from me and I swear if I moved any of my limbs I would have wrecked EVERYTHING if the guide hadn’t come and towed me away. That was a bit scary. But gosh, coral is so beautiful. It makes me so sad that worldwide it is dying due to climate change.
This summer has been a restful one. I decided not to work because of my long-ish trip, which I’m okay with because it meant during my last real summer vacation ever I got lots of time to relax and have fun.
Now that I’ve bragged enough about my summer, how was yours? Let me know in the comments. :)
Belgium was a blast. I had so much fun while I was there, saw a lot of new places, ate a lot of really good food, failed epicly at speaking French, and actually was the least stressed I’ve been in ages. (When I came back I had actually lost a bit of weight because of the lack of stress.)
Before we had left for Belgium, Go Global put on a “pre-departure session” for us, part of which involved group dynamics, and acknowledging how others work and think to aid in problem solving. To be honest, I didn’t really think out group needed it since we’d been working together since September and knew each other by now. However, when we got to Belgium, there were more clashes within groups than I thought there would be. Turns out those problem solving lessons came in handy. (I hope?)
The trip also came with some career development. I got to meet up with a harpist in Belgium who I’d met once in Vancouver, who now will be an international contact for the future. I also got to perform at a concert in Belgium which would be good to put on a CV – international performance experience.
And besides all of that, I made friends while I was away. Friends who I will continue to see and talk to now that I’m back in Canada. As a person who finds it difficult to make friends, this is really valuable to me.
I guess what I’m saying is that a Go Global experience is much more than a trip to see the world.
- Waiters take your orders for drinks and food separately.
- Brussels is very large and my feet hurt a lot.
- Met the woman who is renting her harp to me during this trip and who I met in Vancouver last October – she has a really cool performance space in her apartment and an awesome electric ramp for getting harps up the stairs! Also apparently her husband/partner/friend (I didn’t ask) is a famous Belgian glassmaker. Cool.
- We went to the Musical Instrument Museum and there were ocarinas there the size of a large cat! Huge!
- Saw above and below ground palaces.
- Waffles are consistently delicious.
- Went to Bruges, very beautiful city. Much more green space, open area, and water than Mons or Brussels. If I had to pick a place in Belgium to live, I would pick Bruges.
- Made friends :)
Sorry, I would post more but I spent all day yesterday and today in Brussels and Bruges and I’m real tired.
Hello from Belgium! A few things of note since I have arrived:
- Most restaurants in Europe (or at least Belgium) don’t give you free water. You have to pay for bottled water.
- Cobblestones are hard on the feet.
- Mons, the town/city we are staying in, is roughly the size of UBC campus.
- No matter what you think, you cannot totally escape jetlag.
- Belgian waffles are delicious and basically function like donuts in Canada and the US.
- All bread found in Belgium is amazing.
- People really like their sandwiches here. And they are made on baguettes so why wouldn’t they?
I was going to upload a photo with this post, but the uploader is not working so you’re just going to have to wait!
Currently I am sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane which will take to London, and from there to Belgium.
I am incredibly excited, but before I left the house today I don’t think I had really internalized the fact that I was travelling so far away.
As my friends hugged me and waved goodbye, told me to have fun and travel safe, suddenly I realized that I’d never been so far away from my family and friends, and I wouldn’t even be able to use my phone to text my boyfriend while I was away. I mean, Vancouver is already halfway across Canada from home, but we’re talking a separate continent! Suddenly I felt quite small and quite alone.
I got to the airport and suddenly felt like, oh my gosh, no one is going to talk to me the entire trip and I’ll just awkwardly be doing stuff by myself. Totally unfounded, and not something I was feeling for the last several weeks leading up to the trip.
Now that we’re through security, I feel a little more settled and I’m not too worried about being far away or alone. I’m feeling excited and happy to be here.
Basically, I’ve decided that whatever happens, I am going to keep a good attitude and have a good time. Not everything will go perfectly, but if I can keep a smile on my face I’m going to have a blast. More to come from Belgium!
After many months of preparation and anticipation, I will be leaving for Belgium this Saturday! Needless to say, I am mega excited.
The preparation phase has been kind of hectic, as there are a lot of things you need to do before going overseas. Pay for flights, buy insurance, get currency, make photocopies of documents, pack, sign up for the student registry (a list of UBC students overseas so that if something bad happens in a country, eg. the tsunami in Japan, UBC knows where you are and helps you get home), keep up with coursework, and then annoying unexpected things such as forgetting your duffle bag on a bus and then having to go all the way downtown to pick it up from the Translink Lost and Found office. (Yes, this happened. To be honest though, I’m just happy that it got turned in.)
I am so stoked to be going on this trip! After finding out that exchange wouldn’t work for me, I thought I’d never get an opportunity like this in my undergraduate degree. I am so thankful to Dr. Bob and everyone at the School of Music and Go Global and UBC in general who made this happen!
P.S. There will be pics. At some point. Don’t know if I’ll have time to blog in Belgium.