Friday, 8 April 2011

Nicaragua! and Alberta (!)

Yesterday I was walking around downtown Toronto, half sick with the flu, tired, congested, headache-prone. I thought, "I'll go home early, eat something small, go to bed."
Before I went to bed I had to e-mail something to my employer. I switch on the computer, log onto my e-mail (yeah, I'm so behind in the times in this sense. no simply checking my Blackberry for me) and scan my messages. Delete, delete, delete. Then I read an e-mail with the subject line 'Congratulations!' Woah, how did this get through my spam filter?
Then I read more: 'Congratulations! You've been selected for a position on the following exchange...June: Nicaragua. September: Alberta.'

I'd signed up for the Canada World Youth program and thought that I wasn't going to get placed, but I did and now I am excited. I didn't end up getting much sleep last night and now I'm more sick than ever before but I hope the magic of exciting travel times will heal me soon enough!

The program
For those who don't know, Canada World Youth gives youth (comme moi) a chance to live in another community in Canada for 3 months and in a developing country for another 3 months. I'll be in with a group of 17 other youth, 9 in total from the other country and 9 Canadians. For the whole 6 months I will be living with host families with a person from Nicaragua. For the 6 months we will be volunteering for and serving the needs of the host community. I will be working with the FUNARTE organization based in Esteli. It's meant to foster tolerance and diversity and leadership skills...It sounds really structured but I'm hoping to learn a lot from it.

Rest of San Francisco

I just realized that I never finished my travelogue concerning San Francisco. Oops! Well, I had such a fun and busy time the last few weeks I was there that I simply forgot.

Well, I bought and read American Gods by Neil Gaiman because having travelled for 40 hours over four days in a bus over the American land I had a real craving for a story about America. I would recommend it to anyone who has a craving for the United States of America.

For the last few days I was in San Francisco my kind relatives took me on a tour of the Bay Area - we went to the University of California at Berkeley campus. They have a really pretty campus - it helps that they have sun and no snow year round - and a gorgeous library. We went to a North Face outlet store where I bought really cute boots. We went to have a buffet lunch. We went to the Jelly Belly jelly bean factory and I came out smelling like cinnamon. In all seriousness I hadn't tasted Jelly Belly beans in about a decade and would've forgotten that they existed were it not for this trip. Thanks for bringing memories of my childhood back! The next day, we went to Muir Woods, site of the redwoods. It was very pretty and I wished I lived nearby. The thing about San Francisco is that there is such close access to the outdoors - it took my relatives 30 minutes to drive to Muir Woods. If I drove for 30 minutes I would still be either in Pickering (suburbs), Barrie (suburbs), downtown Toronto (city), or Mississauga (suburbs). There is no good natural areas in the GTA - you have to really take a weekend or two off to go somewhere nice.

That ends my San Francisco travelogue.