Home is where the Hawk is!

Settling into the nest!

So, I have been in Canada now for over a month, so settled in fact I have almost learned the rules of football and have fully succumbed to calling crisps, ‘chips’ for lack of being understood. It has been an incredible few weeks and through some kind of witchcraft it has simultaneously managed to pass super-fast and seemed like a lifetime.  So many crazy experiences all squashed up beside one another and yet those weeks keep sliding by like nobody’s business. Here are a few of the hometown highlights:

So, I have been in Canada now for over a month, so settled in fact I have almost learned the rules of football and have fully succumbed to calling crisps, ‘chips’ for lack of being understood. It has been an incredible few weeks and through some kind of witchcraft it has simultaneously managed to pass super-fast and seemed like a lifetime.  So many crazy experiences all squashed up beside one another and yet those weeks keep sliding by like nobody’s business. Here are a few of the hometown highlights:

 

Home Coming
Homecoming Football Game

If you get the chance this has to be on your hit list because, quite frankly, it’s madness. The usually rather demure population of Waterloo come storming home to Laurier, don some purple and gold, and let the good times roll like they are freshers again. I’m not kidding, it’s a 24-hour dawn till dawn celebration complete with road closures, football cheerleaders, kegs and more Hawk merch than you though possible. If you have the stamina and the vocal chords it really is a blast. I haven’t a clue about the rules of American football either but even with the copious amounts of Jargon blaring across the loudspeaker it was an enjoyable spectacle. Unfortunately, we lost the match, despite the early lead, but with all the sunshine and high spirits no one seemed particularly bothered, by the time we reached the house parties it was entirely forgotten. If you are into that sort of thing it is a school spirit dream come true and, despite my maturity, a little piece of my High School Musical cheer came out, and I found myself yelling “Go Golden Hawks!”

 

Farmers Market
Home Farm Apples

This was just a day trip that we went on one weekend on the word of our Don, (The person who manages our two floors of residence) who assured us it would be ‘a real Canadian experience.’ She wasn’t wrong, run by Mennonites, a religious faction unknown to me before my Canadian Literature module, it was quite the display of traditional culture. Even though Waterloo can’t really be considered big city life, Uni can be frantic enough when there are midterms and assignments so there is something strangely about stepping of a bus breathing in the smell of farm life. Never really considered myself a country girl but I was a nice to see the horses and buy some decent veg for once. Besides it is cheaper than Walmart and there are free samples a plenty.

On a similar excursion we also went Apple picking at a place called Home Farm in mid-October. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and the owner introduced us to her bees, it was, safe to say, idyllic. I have never gone apple picking before but it is exactly the Tom Sawyer experience that you would imagine. You trundle across 85 acres with a little red wagon and a big grin until you’ve eaten so many apples you cannot walk and further. Then you go back to the farm and buy apple cider and an apple crisp before heading home to catch up on all last week’s reading. It’s a great laugh and a good place to pick up a pumpkin to satisfy your typical Fall fantasies.

 

Waterloo
Autumn forest scenes

It actually took me a crazy amount of time to do some exploring of the town in which I’m living, as I was became somewhat like a distracted puppy, the whole of Canada at my fingertips; I didn’t know where to look first. However, getting to know your surrogate hometown is vital to settling in. Already through October and only now am I getting a good grounding of where to get the best coffee, vegan flapjacks, and second hand classic paper backs (you can email me for all the Trade Secrets.) These things are all essentials to my pretentious hipster existence, so it is nice to know where to get my ‘aesthetic brunch’ fix wherever I am in the world. Uptown Waterloo, if ever you do visit, has some of the most well named drinking establishments I’ve come across, like the Jane Bond, Death Valley’s Little Brother and the enticingly titled White Rabbit. They are all gorgeous and there is always very British, ‘Pub on King’, if you are feeling homesick or ‘McCabe’s Irish Bar’ if you are having Murphy’s withdrawal.

Despite being in the city I also managed to find a little greenery to lounge around in when the days are warm. Waterloo Park made for a pleasant surprise as it isn’t often you go out for a jog and stumble upon an outdoor zoo complete with several rather friendly, if not random, sheep.

 

 

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