In 2010, my brother, Blin, travelled to the United States of America as an exchange student. He lived in San Francisco for one year, where he got to meet people from all over the world, started flying classes to become a pilot, and worked on his written and spoken English. When he came home almost one year later, he had a lot of amazing stories and experiences to share with all of us. I remember being mesmerized by his pictures and endless stories and almost wishing that I was the one who had gone to the USA. At that time, I was still in grade 10, I began to dream of going to USA as well, where I would make friends from all over the world and have amazing experiences. Well, two short years later, my dream became a reality when I boarded a plane to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
At 17 years old, after many months of planning, I travelled to the USA where I got to live with a host family and attend an American high school for one year. I remember being terrified and constantly homesick. I had never before lived away from home; I had never even spent more than a week away from my family. I missed my little sister, my mother and father, and my best friends. Slowly, however, I began to get used to the fact that I was living away from home and even began to enjoy my time in the USA. I joined several school programs like the school choir and band, I got to visit many metropolitan cities like Chicago and New York, and got to know my host family very well. By the end of the year, I had made several new friends, whom became like a family to me. When the time for me to go home came, I actually began to feel a little bit sad since I knew that I was going to miss my new friends and my host family.
When I returned home, I reunited with all of my friends and cousins, and was really happy to be back. I was surrounded by the people I loved most, with whom I loved talking about my amazing experiences in USA. One day, however, I received an email from my admissions counsellor, Lotte. In this email, Lotte communicated to me that I had been accepted to Quest University Canada for the Fall of 2013. I remember dropping everything that I had in my hands and starting to jump up and down. I was happy, really happy! I could not believe that my dream of attending Quest was becoming a reality, finally!
Soon, however, similar to my experience before going to the US for one year, I began to get nervous and rethink my decision to go to Canada. My year abroad had been amazing, do not get me wrong. However, it had also been one of the most challenging years of my life. Living oceans and mountains away from home was really hard, and I began to think whether I could do it again: this time not for ten months, but for four years. I remember having long conversations with my parents, whom always supported me regardless of which decision I was going to make. After careful thinking, I decided to go ahead and go to Canada, a country where I did not know anyone but hoped to meet lots of amazing people who were going to make the journey a little bit easier.
Upon coming to Quest, I did face several challenges such as getting used to the heavy rainfall, learning how to write university level essays and research papers, and thriving in a new environment. I did, however, meet amazing new people from many countries of the world, who made this crazy journey an easier and more enjoyable one. Today, I want to specifically talk about two of my friends, Martina and Katie, with whom I got to hang out last week in Vancouver and was once again reminded how thankful I am to have such amazing friends in my life. Many other friends are very dear to my heart and have made my experience at Quest such an amazing one, about whom I will write more in other blog posts.
Martina is the very first person that I met upon landing in Canada. I remember walking in circles in the arrivals area at the airport trying to find Quest staff. As I was frantically looking for them, I heard this girl’s voice, who asked whether I was a Quest student. That girl’s name was Martina, little did I know that she would become one of my closest friends here at Quest. Since then, Martina and I have shared many experiences together and have created such a special bond by attending different concerts and going on various trips. Similarly, Katie is also one of the very first people that I met at Quest. Upon meeting Katie, we both realized that we shared similar interests and hobbies and were very happy that Quest had assigned us to be roommates. Four years later, Katie and I are still best friends and roommates, and are both looking forward to living together in our last year at Quest.
Last week, as I previously mentioned, I got to spend a beautiful day in the city of Vancouver with Martina and Katie. It was a warm and sunny day. Thus, we decided to make the most out of it by spending as much time outside as we could. First, we went on a long walk across Olympic Village. We talked about when we first met each other, about our experiences at Quest, and also how thankful we are to have had the chance to get to know each other. Afterwards, we went to Granville Island, which is a neat area of the city filled with authentic shops, amazing restaurants, constant live music, and lots of visitors and tourists. We spent many hours going from store to store, looking at clothes, decorations, and paintings. Afterwards, we had a quick lunch, and then headed to the beach. We spent the afternoon catching some sun rays, listening to the waves of the ocean, drinking lemonade, and eating popsicles in English Bay. The day slowly came to an end. After some long and warm hugs, I headed to Squamish whereas Martina and Katie went to their houses in the city of Vancouver.
And just like that, the day came to an end. What an amazing day filled with so much laughter, sunshine, and happiness. I feel very thankful to have met such amazing friends like Martina and Katie, in the other side of the world so far away from home. I look forward to many new memories with them and other friends during our last year at Quest.