June 2008

Canada: the first month

Almost exactly a month ago today, Carolina landed in Vancouver, and so far the time literally just flew by. We already see it coming how we'll pack our bags and fly back to Germany...

Until then, we still want to experience a lot and continue to prepare for the next season, though. On the weekend, the two of us and Bryan (a friend from university) went to Lynn Valley in order to take a look at the area around Vancouver. It really is gorgeous here in Vancouver. The combination of mountains and islands, of ocean and mountains reaching the horizon, of city and typical North American suburban developments, of beach and small mountain rivers... Maybe these comparisons sound absurd, but this is exactly what Vancouver currently represents for us.

Daniel's host mother Helen explained to us that Vancouver is still a very young city which has since been settled by a great number of immigrants. This is exactly what we see every day, and you realize again and again: there's not one Vancouver. Vancouver is polycultural in the truest sense of the word.

Oftentimes it's the small experiences which fascinate us, which catch your eye again and again, and which show us that we're not in Germany. You begin to see things in a different light and start to question certain things. Why is this like this in Germany? Is there a reason for it? "At home" you simply take a lot for granted; after all, you've grown up with that. When you get to know something new here, you realize that there is no such thing as "normal." Something quite simple is paper, for example. An ordinary sheet of paper in Germany is DIN A4 and punched with two holes in order to fit in a folder. In Canada, there is no DIN A4 (the sheets are shorter and wider) and they are punched with three holes. I don't know why, there's no right or wrong either, but this illustrates how set in your way of thinking you already are at our age.

We largely spent the first month just settling in. We came to Vancouver, and apart from Victor's promise, the plane tickets and a place to sleep, we hadn't organized much else. Today we're both staying with very nice families, are having a good practice schedule, and there hasn't been any problem which we couldn't solve. So far, we've had a lot of luck, and the decision to come here was good. Maikki and Victor, Rosemarie and Reg (Caro's host parents), Helen and Rodney (Daniel's host parents) are probably the best people we could meet here in Vancouver...

We think we've become more open-minded, we're trying to really experience Canada, and trying to make good use of the time here. Be it training, college, or also for ourselves. It's incredibly great fun for us to discover another new "different" every day. Helen told Daniel last week that more often than not the time of guest students passes way too fast, and that many forget to use it well...

Our normal daily routine hasn't changed much compared to the past few weeks. At college, the midterm exams are due, and Carolina has started to learn playing the piano. On the weekend we'd possibly like to take a bike trip through Stanley Park, or we'll go to Chinatown with Bryan, but possibly we'll also meet some friends at Daniel's to play billards...

It's fun to be in Vancouver. Best regards to Germany,

Carolina and Daniel




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