My Year in Canada....

Coming to Canada has been one of the best decisions of my life. Spending one year in brand new country without knowing any people, speaking different language and starting new life with new habits sounds crazy but is definitely worth it. Learning more about the world and people is something everyone should want to do.

I didn't really have any expectations about Canada, so everything I've done and seen has been amazing. Like for example Niagara falls - absolutely beautiful! I'm happy to explore new places: Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec city, New Brunswick as well as Florida, Lake Placid and New York city in USA have been on my visiting list so far. And it will get longer!

Okay, I have to admit... I had one little expectation about Canadian people. I heard that people in Canada are really polite and nice to everybody. Well, I agree. It makes me happy to walk down the street and unknown people just smile and say hi to you. When you walk to Tim Horton's people keeps the door open for you. And about Tim Horton's: Roll up the rim is the best thing ever! Winning free coffee and donuts, what else can possibly make you happier? Those are maybe the best things about Canada. Ah, sorry, it is rude to tell lies... The best thing about Canada is hockey for sure. Everybody likes hockey! It is just so nice to watch good NHL hockey from TV (or just go and see Leafs' game to Toronto) and before Olympics all commercials touched hockey in some way - that is so neat, I hope it was same way in Finland too! Olympic time was good, I remember to woke up at 3 am to watch some games and races. Have to put priorities in order, sports before sleep!

School is fun. The hardest part is waking up in the mornings! I have had fun courses and the highlight of my year was canoeing trip with my outdoor education class. For four days we did fishing, canoeing and living camp life with amazing weather! And I love how much sports you can do at school. Rugby has become my favorite hobby and I'm looking forward the coming season. As much as I like this cold winter, I hope the snow melts soon so we can go play outside. I also played hockey and did cross country running.

Doing an exchange with Rotary is excellent. I've felt safe and comfortable for the 8 months I've been living here and all my families have been good for me. One part of the program is to change families - normally students have 4 places to live and I think I've been lucky. I have lived far from school, near by it, had sisters and brothers and dogs and cats. In every house you have to get used to their rules and learn where everything is in general. Moving hasn't been the easiest but it is good experience; you learn a lot from others and yourself too. I move soon to my last family and I feel little sad when it means that my year is almost over! Funny how in such a short time you get places you can call home.

Overalls I'm having the time of my life and I'm enjoying every moment. Some days are better and some worse when I feel little homesick, but it's nice to know that back home my family and friends wait for me. And I know when I'm going back to Finland, I have people here who will remember me. It feels good and makes me happy.
Sometimes in life you have to make big decisions. And sometimes having the courage to choose the another option can be the best one. You can learn much about yourself and it can change your view of life. That is good. And life is as good as you want to make it!

Saara Laine