On my first morning here I woke up at 7 am freezing and wide awake so I got up, got dressed and by eight o’clock I was on my way to a supermarket for grocery shopping which is about 10 minutes by foot away from my house. I looked up my area on Google maps like a thousand times before I came here so I could remember which direction I had to walk to get to the shopping street. In case you don’t know me, everywhere I go, I love starting the firts day off by just going for a stroll around the neighbourhood which kind of gets me feeling I’m a local already and that’s where you see how people really live here. Walking through the neighbourhood this early in the morning was an amazing feeling, the sky was blue (which it was every day so far looking at the pics), the birds were singing while the city was slowly coming to life. Walking through the streets reminded me of the suburbs in the American movies that I have watched. Everyone is driving these big SUVs and Chevrolets and everything in the supermarkets is sold in massive packs. I went grocery shopping at Loblaw’s, a big supermarket, however knowing that the fridge still isn’t working for some reason, I couldn’t really buy a lot of fresh food.
In the afternoon, after eventually meeting all the 4 out of 5 girls from my apartment that have arrived by then, 3 of us went to Walmart to buy the most important thing that there is- a Wi-Fi router…and a full-size mirror, however of course we still ended up with a trolley full of food and at least 4 tubs of ice cream (since the freezer is working fine). Here we usually take an Uber everywhere that is longer than half an hour by bus away as it is very convenient and also very cheap compared to the rather expensive bus fares. When we got home all the girls were excited to tell me my bed finally has arrived, you can’t imagine how happy I was.
My room is eventually looking like a bedroom with some more accessories from IKEA that we got on Sunday, and yes the shops here are opened on Sundays! What I find really confusing here in the shops though is that all the prices on the price tags and all services are excluding tax, so for Ontario, at the till they add another 13% tax on top of each product’s price.
Unlike the typical ‘University experience’ we did not go clubbing on our first nights together but we stayed in and were just chatting and getting to know each other. As much as I like going clubbing and I’ve definitely had too many nights out in Uni last year (I mean is there even something like too many nights out? I don’t know…) I really like the contrast program here which is having quiet nights in and watching movies with the girls as it allows me to settle in and sort out all the Uni stuff which, considering that this year counts for my studies, isn’t too bad afterall, right? Tonight for example we had a movie night with all the girls and a lot of snacks! By the way, that is my room…so far only with a bed and the door you can see leads to a small walk-in closet that I equipped with an IKEA foldable hanging shelf, very practical!
Monday, September 5th
Today was a national holiday here – Labour Day. Many shops and banks were closed apart from the Rideau Centre, the big shopping mall here. Me and one my flatmates (the 5th girl) who is a first year went to go to a ‘Carnival’ organised by the Uni for 101 week, which is the Fresher’s week here, turns out it was more like a small amusement park thing on the University Campus. The video shows a small part of it. People here are crazy for Drake (who is from Toronto in case you did not know) and many other hip-hop and RnB artists, so that is all they have been playing on campus for welcome week so far, which I actually really like listening to!
After that, to explore the city, we went to ByWard Market, a famous place in Ottawa right behind the University with many vegetable, fruit, jewellery and cloths stands and many restaurants and bars. A very cute place that I will definitely visit more often, also to do my grocery shopping maybe. I forgot to add that the past 4 days have been super hot (30 degrees at least) all day long. I really did not expect this, but I obviously love it. I’m just thinking it’s gonna be very cold soon enough anyways, right?