By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)
Thursday, 12th February
It’s reading week – hip hip hooray! As soon as classes ended last Friday, my friends and I packed our bags and headed to the Greyhound station (a Greyhound is a coach that takes you to different cities in Canada for relatively cheap prices). Destination: Vancouver.
I’m actually at a friend’s house in Vancouver right now as I am writing this post, which means we are already halfway through reading week *sigh*. Here are some pictures of my trip:
One of our first stops was the UBC Vancouver campus. A friend who goes to UBC Van showed us around. The campus is much bigger than the one in Kelowna. I still haven’t seen all of it, but apparently even some first year students that go there haven’t seen all of it – that is how big it is. There’s a greater variety of food places to choose from and it seems busier, but it also takes longer to get from one place to another, and it is easy to get lost when you first arrive there (if your sense of direction is as fabulous as mine). Another thing I noticed is that their dorm rooms (at least the ones I have seen while we were visiting) are tiny compared to the spacious rooms we have at UBCO.
The Vancouver campus is beautiful, but also quite overwhelming; I don’t actually know which one I prefer, both campuses have their pro and cons, but as an exchange student I quite like the small campus environment in Kelowna – it is easier for me to get around .
When I was there I also stumbled across a little talent show that they called “The Coffee House”. It was really cozy. People played instruments, presented poems and sang which was really nice to watch.
On Friday we went to the Vancouver aquarium near Stanley Park. That was the first time I had seen a beluga whale (as far as I can remember). We went to all the shows, except for the penguin show which we missed because of a 4D movie. My favourites were the sea otters. Sea otters are so incredibly cute! Did you know that they have the densest fur in the whole animal kingdom? We were told that their skin never actually gets wet which is hard to imagine since they are swimming almost all the time. I really enjoyed my visit there. The Vancouver aquarium is amazing and I would highly recommend going there if you are in Vancouver and as much of an animal lover as I am. Also, when you go there, tell me whether you could find the sloth, because it’s always hiding. I eventually found it laying very high up in a tree, but it wasn’t really moving. In German, sloth is “Faultier” which literally means lazy animal. If that really was the sloth, I can see where that is coming from.
In the evening we went to an ice hockey game (a must if you are visiting Canada), the Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins. I especially loved the beginning when the lights went off and they sang the national anthems as well as the breaks with the funny ‘Kiss Cam’. On the Kiss Cam picture below you can see Fin, the mascot, kissing (or rather eating) someone.
All in all, it was a great Friday the 13th (no bad luck, but maybe I shouldn’t say that too loud) and a wonderful reading break.
Finally, another picture of the picturesque landscape on my way back to Kelowna. This is one of my favourite parts of Canada – everywhere you look you see beautiful nature. Whether on the train, the bus or the Greyhound, I just love staring out the window. I think the view of the mountains is one of the things I will miss the most. I don’t know why I like them so much, but I just do, and I still keep staring at them every once and a while when I go to class.
I can’t believe how fast time has gone by again. What really suprised me is how fast the weather here can change, one day it is sunny, the other snowy, and then misty or windy (luckily, rarely rainy, an advantage of being in Kelowna instead of Vancouver or Manchester). However, it’s definitely getting warmer and spring is approaching, which means the kangaroo zoo opens soon! I am also going to the BARK programme next week, basically a room full of dogs that volunteers have brought there for you to cuddle with! 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t mind a room full of dogs in Manchester (or cats, but I’m more of a dog person).