By Jing-Jing Hu (University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada)
Two more months in beautiful BC. To some it may sound like a lot, but I feel like a day passes in the blink of an eye and two months are gone only too soon. Before I arrived here, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but there is just so much to do and to explore, I discover something new every day. The more time I spend here, the more I want to stay.
Today I went hiking on Knox Mountain with a friend and the view was simply breath-taking. I was especially amazed by the water and the different shades of blue you could see. It looked so pure and clean and mirrored its surroundings, as if there was a thin layer of glass between the water and the air. It was a really beautiful kind of quietness that surrounded the area and there were benches along the way up, for you to sit and enjoy the view. It’s the kind of place you go when you just want to take a moment to escape busy city life to enjoy nature, to think and clear your mind.
We also saw some deer, three younger ones and a parent (I think), and a baby squirrel. Unfortunately, the baby squirrel escaped before I could take a picture of it. It was tiny and very cute. I find deer so adorable, the one on the photo looks pretty much like a real-life Bambi to me. My Canadian friends laughed when I told them that we have deer in zoos and that I have never seen one outside of the zoo.
They were like, “That’s so strange, they are everywhere. We often find them in our yards”. And me? “I would love to have deer in my backyard!” But the Canadians? “Nah, they are so annoying, they keep eating our plants.” – Excuse me?
That really surprised me, but the thought that, as one of my friends once said, having deer in zoos for Canadians is like putting dogs in zoos for us made me smile. It’s funny how Canadians are used to having so much wildlife and nature around them that they sometimes forget how beautiful their country is.
When we first saw ducks here my friend actually asked me whether we have them in Europe too and whether they look the same, which really made me laugh (yes, we have ducks in Europe and yes, they look the same, same colour, same shape). I sometimes wonder what people from Kelowna (good weather, city life, wildlife and friendly people) would think of Manchester. But then again, people are often attracted by opposites. And even though I’m falling in love with Kelowna, I still miss Manchester from time to time. Every place is unique and beautiful in its own way. Beauty, after all, lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Last week I also went skiing for the first time. Although we fell quite often during the first two times, we managed to ski without falling by the end of our little trip. There is a student offer on most Fridays where you take the bus to Big White with other students at the bus stop in front of the EME building, which is also the only bus stop on campus. From there you can take the 97 to Walmart, the mall (Orchard Park) and downtown.
As mentioned in my last post, I also went to the B.A.R.K programme this week. Below you can see me hugging Bailey. When you are trying to leave or sometimes for no reason, Bailey reaches out to you with his paw. He is also able to stand on just two legs with both of his paws in your hands.
The B.A.R.K. programme is the first of its kind in Canada and was established about three years ago. A man who kept running into people who would stop to pet his dog started it as a programme against stress and mental illnesses and it has been quite successful so far. There is a short survey about your stress level before and after your visit. All dogs are trained and very calm. They have also introduced a B.A.R.K. To Go programme – a dog somewhere around campus that you can pet when you pass by instead of a drop-in session. I love it.
My current stress level? Very close to zero.