The week just gone was mid-semester break at Dalhousie University, or as the professors call it “Reading Week” (obviously hoping to inspire some actual reading to get done.. which of course it didn’t!)
A few weeks ago, the 3 New Zealand girls and 1 Australian girl whom I live with and myself decided we would like a change from the bipolar weather of Halifax, and went into the travel agent with the request for ‘somewhere warm’. We ended up booking a very reasonably priced all-inclusive package at a resort on Grand Bahama Island, in the Bahamas (if that wasn’t obvious from the island title!). All I can say is WOW!
What a world away from snowy Canada.. so amazing that you can jump on a plane in snowy Halifax (-16 degrees that day) and a few hours later arrive in a tropical paradise (23 degrees).
On the bus from the airport we got our first taste of Bahamian people- they are the loveliest and friendliest people, most of whom call all women “baby girl” and who do everything at 2 speeds- sloooooowlyyyy and stop!
But after hectic mid term exams for all the girls except me (but my hectic stress sessions for the upcoming 100% exams) we were more than happy to slow it all down.
The bus driver sung us a couple of hilarious Bahamian songs and on the bus we met a group of 4 other student who were coincidentally also from Dal, 3 boys and girl.
We ended up hanging out with them for much of the week, which was awesome as we have expanded our group of friends in Halifax as well.
During the week we also met a couple of really nice families from Boston and New York state, who have invited us to come stay with them once the semester ends- score! The families taught us how to sail on the resort’s little hoby cats and we spent the rest of the week sunbaking, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, playing beach volleyball and generally eating and drinking too much (all inclusive buffets and bars are not conducive to staying in shape.. everyone came home a good few kilos heavier than they left!)
One of the days we hired a car and drove around the island, visiting the National Park (where there were amazing water filled caves) and Port Lucaya (the main touristy area/ city centre), as well as just driving around and looking at local areas.
I also had a near-death experience with a falling coconut to make the day more exciting! Luckily I didnt need to use my health insurance but it sure was close!
*Note to anyone visiting- don’t sit under coconut trees!*
Mid week we borrowed bicycles from the resort and rode the 5 miles into Port Lucaya and another night we attended a Bahamian ‘Fish Fry’ on the beach.
It was nice to have a real mixture of people to hang out with, some old, some young, some children, and from all walks of life.
All in all it was an amazing trip and such a nice break from the harsh winter of Canada.
Returning home was a cold shock to the system and getting back into the swing of study has been a bit rough, but it makes it easier talking to those at home who are in week 1 and also struggling to get into routines, whilst battling it out in the extreme heat..
Even though I was only in the sunshine 2 days ago (the temperature was a comfortable 23 degrees or so everyday), it feels like a lifetime ago, and walking to ‘school’ today in -2 (but feeling like -16 with wind chill) felt more like home than 33 degrees would..
As we stepped out of the airport into the chilly Halifax air yesterday we all caught ourselves calling this city home.. It definitely has become our home and we will all be devastated to leave.. it was so nice to get back to Fenwick Tower and catch up with the other exchange students and hear about their adventures over the week!
On a more exciting note, the travelling continues next week with 4 of us (including me) from Fenwick heading off to Cancun for a 4 day taste of American spring break.. as we were checking out of our resort in the Bahamas about 600 US spring breakers were checking in so I can only imagine the chaos poor little Freeport is currently experiencing!
If the stories are true I think we are in for one wild long weekend!
Until then though, its head down, bum up, and I am in lockdown in the library to get all my reading done so that I dont fall behind!
I really encourage anyone on exchange to make the most of their exchange city’s proximity to other countries.. it is much cheaper to see them from this end than to go all the way from Australia! All the hard work i endured in the months leading up to this exchange is being converted from dollars to experiences and while I may go home with an empty bank account I will definitely be going home rich in memories of my travels and the friends and contacts we are making around the world!