Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I'm daydreaming. And realizing that time flies.

While in university, I spent a year in Canada as an exchange student. One of the best years of my life. I often think about people I met that year, people I became friends with, places I went to, things I did, classes I took and the every day life in a house with three other students.

I get nostalgic very easily when thinking about that year. My eyes fill up with tears when thinking about the girls I shared housing with and all the times we sat around the living room, eating ice cream and talking about our lives "at home", comparing cultures. I smile when I think about friends; the tall European guy who everybody took for being my boyfriend as "we looked so good together", the short Canadian guy who used to date a Swedish girl, the engineering girls with whom I did some projects; the one with the German name and the one who had a twin sister, the "rosa häftapparatstekniker"-guy who spent more time with my Swedish dictionary than listening to the profs and who also talked me into joining him playing hockey one night, the girl who used to work for Bell...

And the things I saw. The things I smellt. And tasted. Cinnabon at the mall. Superb ice cream 24 hrs a day. Allnighters in the big city waiting for the first bus back to university town. Hours in the computer room. Basketball games on TV every Sunday morning. Snow blizzards and icicles in my hair. Grocery shopping on Saturdays. Great Big Sea. Niagara Falls. My first Christmas not being with my family in Sweden. Pumpkin pie. Pancakes for breakfast. Studying for exams in the glass hall while wearing thick socks. Scyscrapers. Hockey talk. 137668. My first episodes of SNL. Muffins of all sorts. Phone cards for international calls. Collecting quarters for laundry. Lecture notes that were partially in English and partially in Swedish.

My year abroad means a lot to me. I grew quite a lot being "on my own" like that. Sure, I had had my own apartment for a couple of years before going to Canada, and I had paid my own bills for just as long. But the distance between my parents' home and my student house in Canada was what I needed to be able to grow that last inch or two.

There are so many things from that year that I can recall vividly and I'm gobsmacked realizing that I went there seven years ago... Seven years ago! It doesn't feel like that long.

Looking at the university web page I see changes. The student house I lived in is still there but some of the other graduate houses are not longer for housing. The houses across the street from our house is now a part of the university. There are new buildings. New laboratories. New classrooms. It seems like the campus has been revived.

Googling the town's name and checking out various sites on the Net, I realize that some things I take for being forever connected to the town, isn't there anymore. There's no Cinnabon in the mall nowadays. And no Baskin&Robbins either. (There's a Ben&Jerry's though.) The "luxury restaurant" downtown went bankrupted some years ago.

But on the other hand... The bead shop is still there. My hair saloon is in the same location. The hotel/bar is still there. My bank is on the same corner. The cinema for "alternative movies" is still in business. One of my friends, whom I'm not in contact with any longer, is still at the university. A lot of my professors are there. The Ultra, that was opened 24hrs a day on weekends and therefore was frequently visited by me in the middle of the night when my ice cream urge got too strong to neglect, seems to still be there.

I haven't been there in five years. I think I would enjoy spending a day or two there to see the differences and to find all those things that were special to me. I know I would definately want to see some of the people from "back then". Even the ones I haven't stayed in touch with.

I'm daydreaming. And realizing that time flies.


essjay said...

It is amazing how distance can really force us to grow up - but it is a good thing. I'm so glad you have such great memories of your time there, even if so many things have changed your time there and memories of that place will never change.

Anonymous said...

Man, that house was the best...I didn't know how good I had it until I left Guelph...those days are gold to me now.

Thanks for sharing your awesome memories, girl!


Kate said...

Isn't it unbelievable when something seems like it happened yesterday, but you realize it was SEVEN years ago? I spent a summer in Canada seven years ago...at Université Laval in Québec. Incroyable!!

Anna said...

Hej Shell!!!! :)

Kate: I guess we might have just missed each other in Canada. I came August 2000 and left in May 2001. Not that I spent any time in Quebec that year, but still; Canada. :)