2 days in Iceland, and I have a lot to say about it

I can’t not write a massively long post about my layover in Iceland. It lasted exactly 50 hours and it was AHHHH-MAZING. My first stop after my four hour wait at the airport was Blue Lagoon. Can’t say I wasn’t massively excited for this! Check it out:

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I swam around for an hour or so, and although I never wanted to get out because it was SO cold outside, there’s only so much swimming that one can do my themselves before they get really bored! A warning to readers who are thinking about tripping it to Iceland and going to Blue Lagoon: DO NOT PUT YOUR HAIR IN THE WATER. It’s been five days since I swam and my hair is a disaster: frizzy, dry, broken, horrendous. I’ve been treating it like crazy, but it hasn’t gotten much better yet! That aside, Blue Lagoon was breathtaking and such a relaxing experience.

I also spent a good chunk of my time in Iceland on a tour through the ‘Golden Circle’, hitting up the biggest natural landmarks that Iceland has to offer!

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Selfie at the Gulfoss Waterfall- video here: http://instagram.com/p/eIKmzYjBPY/

The North American and European tectonic plates!

The North American and European tectonic plates!


Strokkur Geyser- video here: http://instagram.com/p/eILC2xjBAC/

My favourite photo from the trip

My favourite photo from the trip

When I wasn’t being a massive tourist, I would walk around downtown and drool over the unbelievably beautiful ($$$$) clothes in shop windows and attempt to take artsy photos:



There was an awesome graffiti park behind my apartment; granted this photo doesn’t do their artistic skills justice, but Icelandics seem to feel strongly about this kind of messaging

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The last thing I expected to see in downtown Reykjavik, but it turns out that they’re a very socialist/forward-thinking/accepting population on the whole

There's some phenomenal modern architecture to counter the cute and colourful old buildings scattered around!

There’s some phenomenal modern architecture to counter the cute and colourful old buildings scattered around!

It’s interesting, travelling alone: I found myself eating and drinking by myself in restaurants, chatting with middle-aged couples from all over the world about my aspirations and my year abroad. A year ago I could have never imagined myself having the courage to do anything like this without anyone there with me, but now I just want to re-live those two days over and over. Every single person I’ve spoken with about this trip, I’ve told them that I would move to Iceland in a heartbeat! The country is nothing short of visionary, especially when it comes to their passion for green initiatives. All of their heat and power comes from geothermal sources, meaning that it is generated and stored in the earth without the use of hot water tanks and other technologies that we use in North America. To put it into perspective a bit more, our tour guide (who lives in a 100m2 apartment with heated floors) pays $40 US per month on utilities. WHAT. EVEN.

In general, Iceland thinks in a very forward manner; far more forward than we do here in Canada in the US. Without doing any research, one would have no idea what this country has in store for them. Seriously though, I would move there. Tomorrow.

So, I’ll finish it off with the very first piece of media I saw/read when I arrived in Iceland. I WANT MARKETING LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN IN CANADA. That is all.

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Zoomed in on the text: “Origins of this saying are slightly obscure. Was its inception fuelled by the desire for glorious summer during the darkness and discontent of winter? The absence of vegetation in the seemingly endless black lava fields and lifeless sandbanks? Or blissful ignorance of existence of radiating plutonium? Who knows. But since it’s an old proverb, it must be true.”

Post about my first week in Brussels is soon to come! À bientôt!


Teary-eyed goodbyes and my new favourite airline

I never imagined a sendoff as extravagant as the one I got at the end of Frosh Week at Glendon. I also never imagined that I could shed as many tears as I did. The D-Frosh all signed a beautiful card for me, and all of their comments either made me laugh, cry, smile, or all three at the same time. Frosh was one of the most exciting, fun-filled, exhausting, and sickening weeks of my life, but it was the best way to finish off my time at Glendon before I left for exchange!

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Tears. Lots of them.

So many emotions were felt between Sunday and Monday that I can’t even get my head around it. I’ve left so many people I love back home and it is absolutely devastating, but I always remind myself of how excited they are for me and it makes me feel so much better. Mum, Dad, the rest of the fam, Brendan, Kate, Mikhaela, Mac, Aedan, Diana, Sarah, Jade, Parker, Aaron… the list could go on forever… DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME!

My flight to Halifax with Air Canada was horrendous. I sat by the window, which I don’t enjoy when I’m sitting beside someone other than my mum or dad. Picky, I know, but long legs pose problems on planes! It was hot on board and my headphone jack wasn’t working properly. I wanted OUT.

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The view, however, was fantastic!

And then, something magical happened: I boarded my connecting flight from Halifax to Reykjavik, Iceland.

I’m writing this from way up in the air in the middle of the night because I need to express every emotion I’m feeling about this flight. If you ever get the chance to fly with Icelandair, DO IT. I know this doesn’t happen to everyone, but because I am flying solo and asked for an aisle seat, Icelandair upgraded me to ‘Saga Class’ (Business class equivalent)! My seat is almost twice my size and I’d have enough foot room to grow an extra five inches. ♡____♡

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! I’m watching Arrested Development and sharing wine and Pringles with the Dutch woman who’s sitting beside me. Not. Kidding.

Fast forward…

We landed 4:55 am, and I’m sitting at arrivals until 8:30 when I get picked up to go to my first destination. Though I am drinking the best green tea I’ve ever tasted, I have no idea how to work the SIM Card I just bought (which didn’t come with an actual SIM Card…) since it’s entirely in Icelandic. Halp? Problems aside, Keflavik Airport is hands down the nicest building I have ever set foot in!

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Keflavik Airport- Iceland

Some highlights from Iceland will be the Blue Lagoon, whale watching, the Northern Lights, and my trip around the Golden Circle. Post will be coming as I travel from Reykjavik to Brussels on Thursday morning!

Þangað til næst! (Until next time!)

Wait, I’m actually going on an exchange?!

The idea of studying abroad has been in my mind for as long as I can remember. Maybe it was all of the French movies we watched throughout elementary and high school, or maybe I’ve just always been itching to travel to a far, far away place (I’ve never travelled Europe aside from going to Scotland when I was eight!) I came to Glendon in 2010 knowing that an exchange wasn’t even a question; not only because my parents have always been large advocates for it, but because it’s also a requirement of my International BA. Perfect! Now I have a real excuse to frolic around Europe for a year. 😉

There are obviously many other reasons why I chose to do an exchange. The first is because I was inspired to immerse myself further into French culture after having done the Explore program in Trois-Pistoles, Québec. I cannot even describe in real words how amazing that experience was, because real words wouldn’t do it justice. I’ll leave it to your imagination and trust that at some point in your scholarly career you’ll do the Explore program. There is absolutely nothing to lose except all communication in English (but seriously).
The other reason why I chose to do an exchange was because I’m studying to become an elementary school French teacher, which is not always the most inspiring kind of teacher to many students. That’s what I want to change in my future classroom. I hope to inspire my students to continue studying this beautiful language for the rest of their lives, and there is no better way to do so than to share with them my own experiences with the language. Instilling a sense of adventure and FUN into my students in the French classroom will be a much easier task if I have a year’s worth of full French-immersion adventures in the bag.

The exchange application. O M G. So. Exhausting. Looking back on it, though, the application really made us wrap our heads around what we were about to get ourselves into.
‘Do I have the money to do this?’
‘Will I be able to be away from home for a whole ten months?’
‘Will I adapt to the different culture thrown in my face the moment I land?’
If I could give one piece of advice to those who are thinking of applying to the exchange program in the coming years, it would be to START EARLY! Every student procrastinates and this is no exception. You do not want to find yourself scrambling to finish the night before the application is due! Another thing to note on this subject is that your professors are not as timely as you think they are; request references from them as early as you can so that they don’t leave you hanging.

“You have been selected to attend Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgique during your exchange.”
Probably the most beautiful words I had ever read in my life. I jumped a lot, cried a little, called my mom, then posted a status on Facebook, in that order. Even better, I’m going with two of my best friends at Glendon, Ana and Meena. This could not possibly get any better!

My reaction consisted of lots of this,

and a lot of this.

So here I am, in the process of preparing for my exchange between September 2013 and June 2014. Slowly but surely, it’s getting really real in my mind. I’M GOING TO EUROPE FOR A YEAR!

Today, I booked my flight. I honestly don’t think I’ve bragged about something so much in my entire life. It might be because my flight was dirt cheap, and has a two-day layover in Reykjavik, ICELAND.

Iceland. Whatever.

My parents have always wanted to take a family vacation to Iceland, so I’m just rubbing it in their faces at this point. (Love you Mum and Dad! (They’re totally reading this.))

We also booked our camping accommodations for Oktoberfest in Munich today! We’re going for my 21st birthday at the end of September, and I cannot think of a more fun way to celebrate.

Well, that’s all I got. You should bookmark this blog so that you can read about my life all year. Deal? Deal.

Until my next post! À bientôt!