The last six weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest.
Realising that slowly we are heading towards the end of our time at Queens is taking its toll on everyone. No one wants to leave yet, and most of all- we haven’t got round to doing everything! February was the month of the weekend trip. Dave, Julia and I (along with some fairly random tag alongs that found us!) headed to Tremblant for a weekend of skiing. It was only two days on the slopes, yet getting back into bindings and whizzing down wide empty slopes felt awesome- even if the apres ski was cripplingly expensive! I loved that fact that despite being in Canada, skiing in Quebec meant we were still be shouted out in French by the lift operators… at least they shouted at us with a big Canadian smile!
Then 8 of us fitted into two cars for the weekend at set of for Quebec City. After travelling a reasonable amount throughout North America, Quebec City shot up to the top five favourite places very quickly! It had a wonderful European feel that feels bizarre so out of place next to Tim Hortons.
We rented an apartment in the Old Town during the carnival- what an experience! It was an incredible winter wonderful filled with hot chocolate, ice slides and maple syrup sticks. Despite spending the entire time shivering from being outside all day in -20C, it was well worth the horrendous drive through snow storms to get there.
(Below: Julia taking the reins on our very first dog sledding adventure!)
We’d only been back for a few days when hysteria reached Kingston… Reading Week was coming! Back in Edinburgh, reading week meant your tutorial was cancelled- if you were lucky, and you got an extra lie in instead. I think it must be the trauma of surviving a winter that didn’t push much above -20C, but the Queens students made a mass exodus of the campus heading straight for the Carribean.
Not feeling like we wanted to miss out, the exchange students joined them, and 8 of us headed to an all inclusive beach resort in Cuba for a week of way too many unlimited rum cocktails, sun, snorkeling, and just general relaxation. (I think the snorkeling got the better of Mo… he was not a happy boy on that catamaran!)
(Below: My amazing underwater camera in Cuba!)
I had promised my parents that instead of spending seven days drunk, I would endeavour to see some of the culture of Cuba, and the rest of the group had the same idea. We enlisted the help of a random Cuban man- friends with the guy who handed out towels!- to drive us to Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad for a few days of sightseeing in his rusting people carrier. It was INCREDIBLE. Scrap Quebec City- Havana heads straight to my list of favourite places.. we are talking about the place where the Mojito was invented! The old town is beautiful and filled with people just ambling around the place enjoying life… we were happy to join them.
(Below: The Old Town))
Back to a rather glum Kingston, we decided to carry on the festivities and continued on the party spirit for a few birthday nights out, and a benefit by the wonderful Chris and George for the victims of the NZ earthquake (it quickly became for Japan as well). Otherwise, I’ve been eating as much Cadburys at Rachel would let me after she brought it back from her trip home during reading week- what a star.
Now its back to the regular Queens life (well, I lie- I’m writing this in Montreal airport on the way to spend a weekend in Miami with my friend Abby!), and essays have finally been written (after much procrastination). I can’t wait for this week, and Lucie’s debut as a Queens Player- a Queens institution. I promised one of my managers that I’d mention my work- and I’m definitely spending far too much time at CoGro at the moment- the coffee shop on campus where I work… its going to be v v sad to be leaving such an awesome job in only a month’s time.
The one thing I’m going to miss more than anything about this year was the mentality that you have as an exchange student. 8 hours in a car for 2 days never seems like a bad plan. There’s always a new city to be explored, an adventure to go on. Got to go…. Plane to Miami is about to board!