When I left for Canada on August 27, 2016, I had no idea what was going to be in front of me, but yes, I had some expectations, and none of them were correct. You never know what your Exchange Year is gonna be about, and that’s what I love about it.
I expected Vancouver to be different from what it really is, IDK, I imagined it more like the stereotype of “pine trees and timber houses” that everybody has when thinking about Canada. I was totally wrong. Vancouver is a bright, young, sparkling city, and I just love it.
I expected my host family to bring me on field trips around BC. Not even close. Do not misunderstand me, they were an amazing host family, but they were pretty damn lazy about trips.
I expected to do lots of sports. I didn’t do any. More or less. The only sport I practiced was during P.E classes. No football or hockey school team waiting for me, ouch.
My point is, don’t make plans. Enjoy your experience as it comes to you, in the good and bad moments, as you’ll never live such a thing again in your life. And you’ll wish that it never ends. Trust me. I’ve done it.
There are some songs in my Spotify collection which I added while I was in Canada and that I therefore connect to that experience now.
Steve Aoki’s Back 2 U for example reminds me of all the morning runs on the bus commuting to school with my host brother John. But there are many others such as Sean Koch’s Lift You Up or Sample Answer’s Hold On To Me.
It’s crazy how strong the binding between those songs and my memories is. I just need to play one of ’em and instantly a ton of images fill up my mind. Right now I’m listening to Lift You Up (the one I mentioned) and I can’t help but remember all the rides on the skytrain, looking at the landscape outside slide away.
Trevor Hall is a songwriter I discovered while in Canada and I totally love his songs: Well I Say remembers me of all the time spent wanderin’ in the school’s halls with my friends and the walks on the way home in the night. Back To You it’s another crazy song from him too, I listened to it so much back there.
Coleman Hell’s Fireproof it’s a killer. I used to listen to it during the afternoons chilling around with my mate Pavle. He used to hate it though ahah, he’s more a trap guy.
All of these songs are special to me, and I hope you’ll like them, if you wanna see more posts about music, visit my dedicated post category.
I know it’s been a while since my last post, but you know, what’s the point of writing bullshit constantly instead of good content once in a while?
Anyways, in the last few days I had the opportunity to host a good friend of mine, K. , and it’s been a pretty LIT experience. We met in Canada and we’ve been buddies ever since, we had a good time.
What it’s particularly cool about this Lil experience we had is that it demonstrated how friendship actually works. We hadn’t seen each other for almost 4 months and when we first talked into the station, it felt like we said bye to each other the day before. THAT’S WHAT A TRUE FRIENDSHIP IS.
We are gonna meet again, that’s a fact, although it ain’t easy keeping an Europe-spanning friendship on.
But after all the only thing that actually matters is one: we are unstoppable.
I always loved traveling, and I always will. Luckily I have been to many places already so I can pick from a pretty variated list of locations. There are some places that will always have a special place in my heart, for many different reasons, here is a list of 5 of them:
- Vancouver: here I had my exchange experience, so how can I not include this in my list? I won’t stop saying this, Van is simply magic.
- London: I was lucky enough to visit London twice in my life, once with my parents (at age 5 or something) and once on my own in 2015 during a language course in the UK. I stayed there just 3 days before moving to Torquay, Devon, but I just loved it. The atmosphere is just unique and there are so many different boroughs like Chelsea, Camden Town, Fullham, Tottenham and many others, and each one of those has his own soul and particular feel. Crazy shit uh!?
- New York: I went there in 2011 with my parents, as a part of a bigger trip involving also the Niagara Falls, Toronto, Quebec, Montreal and Portland,MA. My stay wasn’t long (3 days uh) but was enough. I remember that time as it was yesterday. Amazing, I mean it’s The Big Apple, there no need of presentations.
- Toronto: Marvellous city, Canadian but completely different from Vancouver. Feels more like New York somehow. It’s bigger, louder,rushier, but surely as good as Van. I had the chance to visit twice, in 2011 and 2013.
- Paris: I went there a few years ago with my parents to visit some friends who lived and still live there. It’s simply dope. I love the food, the Eiffel Tower and all the museums, theatres and amazing streets and places such as Montmatre and Pere Lachaise. I don’t like the French people tho. Not at all. Fucking frog-eaters.
By the way, today is my birthday.
Although I loved my stay in Vancouver as fuck and I’d go back fast as lightning if I had a chance to, there were some things that I didn’t really like back there (minimal stuff, but I think it’s still worth talking about them).
- Weather : day after day I got used to Vancouver’s rainy weather, but a little more sun wouldn’t have been bad. At all. In fact I think the sun didn’t shine in Van for something like 2 months straight. I remember maybe one day in October , then only in September and December. I was so used to rain back there that I didn’t care anymore, I didn’t even open my umbrella anymore sometimes.
- Temperature : Van is one of the hottest cities in Canada, so I don’t wanna know how it’s like in the other parts of the country, for real, I can’t even imagine. I didn’t really hate the cold back there and, just like the rain, I got used to it in a couple weeks and I gotta say that REAL cold only got to the city in December, when snowfalls started to white out the city. I remember my host mum telling me at 7 a.m: “Tommy, it’s snowing outside” and I went like:”No f*cking way!”. Those days we used to get temps like -8 in the mornings. And I used to go to school in jeans. I froze my legs everyday, I swear.
This is a little collection of some of my best shots from Canada, particularly from the Metro Vancouver area.
I decided to bring my camera along in my trip to Canada because I wanted to have memories of it, and I couldn’t make a better choice. I really feel something when I see these pictures, they’re special to me.
Settling back to my usual routine here in Italy wasn’t easy. It ain’t easy. The first days went through pretty fast, they just flew away like seconds. After a couple weeks I started to be bored, and I started to miss Canada. Home is Home, YES, but Canada is Canada too, folks. I missed the freedom I had oversea, the complete autonomy I had to organize my life, in every aspect. It had downsides too, like running out of money at the beginning of every month and having to pray for the Credit Card to work for the rest of the time because I had no damn clue of what my balance was (shitty homecountry bank lol).
School is being pretty though this year, so I’m pretty busy with it. Canada had a big point here: school was bullshit, total damn bullshit. I was getting B’s without opening a book, just paying attention in class, someday.
Anyway, I digressed, as I was saying I started to strongly miss Canada, but luckily, thanks to my friends and with the school keeping me so busy, I got over it and now I’m back and happy. I recovered. I don’t really know how it happened, it just happened. Honestly when I realize that I’ve been back for two months already, it just scares the sh*t out me. It seems like yesterday the day I flew back, and more than that it feels just like a couple weeks ago the day I left for Canada! It amazes and scares me everytime when I realize that time goes so fast. This whole damn thing has been so quick. Faster than the blink of an eye. No shit.
Unfortunately I don’t know when I will be back there, hopefully soon, but at the moment I’m home, and I’m finally happy about it.