Back to reality @ queens university

Trip Start Jul 21, 2005
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Trip End Jan 12, 2006


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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Update 10: School - what is that?
(OCT 5 - DEC 31 2005)
Follow links at bottom of page to photos for this entry

Back to School: After spending most of weeks 2-4 in Chile, getting back into the rhythm of school proved to be quite difficult. There was plenty of work to catch up on, but it wasn't really happening as I wasn't concentrating so much on uni as I was in meeting new people and seeing and doing as much stuff as I possibly could.

My academic performance showed just this and one particular weekend I went on a 50km canoe trip when I had mid-term exam at 8.30am on the Monday following the trip which I subsequently failed. This was one of the two I managed to fail while at Queens. I was thinking about that exam later and I realized that it was perhaps the first exam I can recall failing in all of my university life and perhaps most of high school. That's the nerd in me coming out. But then again, that's the beauty of being an exchange student - I only have to get a 50% to pass and the marks don't count back to my home university.

The canoe trip was amazing. It really was far too late in the year to be going out but we did anyway and were rewarded with a great weekend of weather. We paddled down the Gananoque River from a town called Delta to Gananoque - and the scenery and wildlife were great. We had fun with some knife throwing challenges and canoe transfer excercises which almost ended in disaster. On the second day after one of our portages, one of the canoe teams managed to capsize after they launched off without seeing a shallow angular rock below that caused the cabie to tip. Quite funny really! We finished as it was getting dark. The second day was the worse of the two for weather and paddling into the wind for most of the day was tiring and we got to the end site just after the sun had set. I am sure we all slept well that night.

Also while I was at Queens I got involved in a competitive intramural (with in the university) inner-tube water polo league with a bunch of my friends and it was such a random sport paddling around in tyre tubes in the water! We actually did quite well finishing 2nd on the points table but loosing in the semi-finals. I also played in a dodgeball tournament which was great fun too.

What I have come to love most about Canada is ice hockey - seriously these Canadians are onto something - I think its the best sport in the world. Its fast, requires a lot of skill and I attended a number of state league games here in Kingston (OHL - Ontario Hockey League) while i was here. For one of them, my friend Ruston who works in promotions, hooked me up to be in the spectator challenge during the intermission. It was quite embarrasing loosing to a 12 year old kid - but hey that was the first time i had shot a puck. I also managed to get to one NHL (pro) game up in Ottawa to watch my team - the Ottawa Senators smash the LA Kings 5-1 in a very entertaining games which included 6 fights and 3 brawls. I have had the opportunity to brush up on my skating skills and have played a game or two of hockey myself - it is great fun and I will be continuing in the sport when I get home - I have already bought my hockey kit.

Snow has certainly been an interesting thing to deal with - when the first snow fell I was amazed and still am, however as each day passed I was increasingly convinced that it hides a nasty side and is far less innocent than it seems - I axed myself a few times on icey sidewalks and saw plenty of other people take spills too! It was definitely cool being able to look out my bedroom window at snow - something i have never been able to do before. Another thing to note is how my perception of warmth and cold has changed and you know there is something wrong with you when you say "wow its warm today" and its -2 degrees. Its the -20 degree days with a wind chill factor that you come to dread. It is such a foreign thing to me to have blue skies whilst temperature is in the negative. Normally blue skies indicate that it will indeed be quite cold as it tends to be milder when it snows.

I got to experience my first white Christmas with my good friend David from Queens in a town called Sudbury (350kms north of Toronto). It was really fun and it was so good to have some home cooking again! My meals started off really well at the beginning of the semester but deteriorated over the course of the semester - especially so in the last week as I was trying to use up my last supplies. Anyways onto more exciting things, on Christmas day I got to go up to some of Dave's relatives where I got to ride snowmobiles and to play in their family's annual American football game in the snow. So much fun!

We went to Toronto on Boxing Day to pick one of Dave's friends (Antti from Finland) up from the airport and we spent most of the next few days exploring the city, even after the gang shootings there, and we went to the hockey hall of fame, up the CN tower and a bit of shopping as well. We also got down to Niagara Falls (my second time there) which was cool. Today (31st) we dropped Antti down at Buffalo airport in New York State before heading back to Toronto. It had snowed a bit on the way there and there were plenty of accidents and one we came across just after it happened (5 car pile up) which caused the closure of the whole highway. We were lucky to get through!

Well tonight is New Years Eve and we will be going into Toronto for that which will be great!

Happy New Years to All!
Nath
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