what I am looking forward to

Things that I am really excited about!

– being able to go outside between classes and be in outdoor/indoor campus buildings

– living coastal, all the time!

– fresh fruit and veggies and markets (maybe I will be able to try a guanabana!)

– meeting local students, other exchange students from SFU and all across the world, international students from all the partner countries  (including Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, and ~10 more!!)

– trying lots of new sports like surfing (I know I will have epic bails like the one in the picture but on piddly waves), snorkelling, and scuba diving

– white beaches (still think they are photoshopped)

– hiking (especially in the rain forest and previously volcanic areas)

Is it just me, or does that picture of that scuba diver TERRIFY you?? I am really going to have to get over my fish-phobia.

plan for the first week

Only 13 more days until I leave for Fiji! Seems so soon! The first week looks pretty good.

I arrive on Saturday the 14th really early in the morning and am planning to spend two nights at a backpackers resort -ahem- hostel. Since almost every city or town is coastal, I think I have to call it a resort. I’ve had recommendations for three places, two along the Coral Coast near Koralevu (south side of the main island in between the airport (Nadi) and where I’m living (Suva)), but also looking into Natadola (a little more west). I am bringing my full-on snorkelling gear, so I am thinking I should choose a place where I could snorkel the first day I am there!

I will arrive in Suva on the Monday and then we have international student orientation Wednesday to Friday. And then (!!) from Friday – Sunday, all the international students go with USP on a two night trip to Levuka.

The airport is in Nadi, and I will be staying in Suva. The USP trip for international students is to Levuka. The green circles are the places I deciding between visiting. I left the scale on there so you can see the size difference to Canada!

Then school starts on the Monday! It’s been a long time since I have taken classes. I have signed up for Human Resource Management, Marketing, Accounting II and Physical Geology. That will change if there are any conflicts.

I will be meeting up with the other two SFU students, Sarah and Cindy, at USP!

living small

In terms of belongings, I have been trying to live smaller and smaller over the past year. As I am an out-of-province university co-op student, I move a lot. Less stuff cuts down on stress and saves me money! It also doesn’t restrict my choices when moving into small rooms or rooms without furniture or closets.

Here are some things I like to do:

1. Don’t bother unpacking your boxes so you can save time packing the next time you move.

2. Use suitcase as storage container all the time.

3. Who needs shelves when you can use sideways cardboard boxes? When you need to move, just rotate 90 degrees and VOILA! Pre-packed!

4. Those boxes you didn’t unpack since the last time you moved? Get rid of all of it! Donate it! Don’t even bother looking inside if you know you haven’t touched it for 6 months.

5. A library card is much smaller than a books and textbooks.

6. If you are car-less, people will pick up free things from you.

7. Borrowing things is cool.

8. It is ok to hold on to sentimental items (I have finally parted with my broken Wallace & Gromit shoes, sniffle) but only for a certain length of time!

9. Some things take up less room without the boxes (board games).

10. Decorate cans and jars as cup-holders, so you can recycle them when you are leaving!

It is crazy to think that I have lived in 5 different places in the past 12 months and will be living in two more places in the next couple of weeks. (Ottawa, residence, Kat & Scott, East Van, other house in East Van – and next: Kat & Scott, USP residence!) Yeepers!


goodbye, ontario!

Last week I travelled to Ottawa and Listowel/Harriston to visit family and friends before I leave for Fiji. It was a pretty full week, but was also very relaxing.

The first day involved a strawberry yoduly bubble tea with popping bobas (instead of tapioca pearls), lamb and chicken kabobs (without the sticks), my first time going to a bar/club in Byward Market, and some Settlers (of course!).

Steph playing Settlers

My dad and Kate threw a goodbye party for me the first weekend I was there. It was a true-ish pot luck and we ended up with a lot of chicken wings (woohoo!!). I really enjoyed seeing family friends and high school friends, and visiting with everyone as I hadn’t seen everyone there since the winter holidays or last summer!

It was a nice day! Also, sweet ramp Jet.
The youngins (like Steph and Cameron) stayed later to play games and eat all the leftovers.

The rest of my time in Ottawa was very casual – dinner with Winnie and Callum, a beach-scapade featuring copious amounts of shawarma (shawarmas suck in BC), visiting Bell, hanging with Steph (yay!) and delicious dinners.

Me pigging out on potatoes and a massive shawarma at Britannia Beach. Anyone that knows me well knows that I can’t actually eat this much food (unfortunately).

On Saturday, my dad, Kate and I headed down to Southern Ontario for my Grandpa’s 80th birthday party. It was really nice seeing all of the family at once! It was fun! We set off fireworks, had a campfire, and had lots of delicious food (delicious steak and om nom nom cedar plank salmon). Everyone left early on the Sunday, but I stayed around and spent some time with my grandparents and flew back from Kitchener in the evening. That was nice.

Grandpa (birthday boy!) and Great-Aunt Trudy
The whole crew
And Settlers got brought out for the 3rd time for this trip (it was Paul’s idea twice though!)

It was nice experiencing Ontario summer weather again.. because it is sooo hot. I hope my body adapts well to Fijian weather, I am definitely going to have to get used to it.

The Kitchener airport is funny – it is very small, but was jampacked because Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier convocation was that weekend. For some reason, I really like walking on planes even if it is pouring rain. I found it very amusing when they announced that the airplane to Ottawa was boarding and only three people got on. Anyway, the flights were great (I love WestJet), I got to Vancouver earlier than scheduled (I love WestJet) and my suitcase was the first suitcase to come on the carousel (I love WestJet)!! I should be a WestJet spokesperson.

Rob was in town when I got back Vancouver.. he said earlier he’d meet me at the airport. He also came with a car! I’m a lucky gal.

All in all, it was a great trip and I am really happy I was able to see so many people, relax and be back home! I got strep throat though….. who licked my fork??