I’ve been in Canada for two months as of tomorrow and it’s been a wild ride. It feels like I’ve seen the entire country, yet I’ve hardly scraped the surface. I’ve been to Ottawa and Montreal, I’ve been to Fightnights, and I’ve been through a school lockdown which has been the most North American thing yet. But the craziest thing yet is the number of bears I’ve seen. 

There seem to be bears everywhere here, in the forests, on the streets, and even at the front door. The strangest part is that within my first three weeks of being in Canada, I seem to have come closer to a bear than most Canadians. While walking Maggie, I came within three metres of a black bear. At first, I assumed it was a big squirrel, but then it popped its head out from behind the tree and that was most definitely not a squirrel. 

The next time I saw a bear it was at a far more comfortable distance of at least 200 metres, while we were in the Peak 2 Peak gondola. Not only were we a safe distance, but there was also no way it was getting more than 200 metres in the air. Since then, I’ve seen one more walking down the street, but that one was a comfortable ten metres away, so that wasn’t a big deal. 

The craziest encounter yet was when the bears came to visit us. Rather than me wandering into their territory, they came up to the front door to say hi. All of which was caught on the Ring doorbell, which was a surprising sight. I’m glad to only have seen a video and not to have had another close encounter. 

In my time in Canada, I’ve also caught covid, much to my dismay. I dodged catching covid for months while it was running rampant through New Zealand (not to mention the two household exposures) and now I caught it in Canada where it seems to lay dormant. 

My teachers have been less than impressed with the amount of school I have missed thanks to my term-time holiday to Ottawa for a week and then a week off with covid. In the last three weeks, I have spent a whopping four days at school. Which has resulted in two lunches lost to English catch-up classes and a significant amount of homework. Surprisingly, the only course I don’t seem to be falling behind in is maths (or math as the Canadians call it). I can’t say the same for ceramics, in which I’m definitely not exceeding expectations in. It can’t have helped that my clay went mouldy.

Overall, I’ve almost had the full ‘North American experience’. I even have a gun now! We’re all gearing up for Halloween and I’m ready to eat my body weight in chocolate.

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