September ended and October started with one and the same thing. The last weekend of September, we went to Victoria with a group of 17. It was a trip full of good moments and some surprises during the trip that made it unforgettable. In Victoria, our first activity was the Royal BC museum. It was pretty amazing! You can find inside a very real reconstruction of a Wild West village! The next part of the program was supposed to be a walking tour around Victoria, but it was raining cat and dogs. We went to visit the Empress Hotel in Victoria, one of the most luxury places that I’ve seen in my life. After that, we tried to visit the Beacon Hill Park, but the weather was so bad, that we came back to the hostel. We slept in the Hi-Victoria in Downtown. After a shower and with dry clothes, we went to dinner in the Old Spaghetti Factory.
After that, we decided to go to a pub. The chosen place was the Sticky Wicket. We danced, we had some beers and cocktails, and we had a lot of fun. The next day we went to visit the Craigdarroch Castle. It’s like a Scottish castle but in the middle of Canada. After that we visited the Emily Carr House where the staff opened the house only for us! Emily Carr was a real women, one of the first feminists, environmentalists and one of the first persons who defended the people of the First Nation. Then we went back to the hostel to pick up our stuff and leave Victoria. It was sunny, very sunny for the first moment during the weekend. And suddenly, somebody said: there is a big storm in the north of the Island; all the ferries for this night are cancelled, you have to stay in Victoria another night. Can you imagine our faces? At the beginning we were a little bit worried, but finally we could sleep in the hostel and we could inform our home stay families and our colleagues at home. The people of the Hi-Victoria were super nice to us; they give us movies and pop corn. We spend the Sunday night with some beers, talking until very late. Finally we could take the ferry the next day, and we arrived at Vancouver super tired and dreaming of a hot shower. After all, I have to say that all the mess was at the end super funny.
After this adventure, all of us deserved a little break and something to relax. And the perfect opportunity for that was Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving, one of the most famous holidays and not to be confused with the U.S. American version is celebrated at the second Monday in October. It is similar to the English and European Harvest festival, symbolizing people’s gratitude for everything given by nature or God that sustains them. While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians may gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend. Thanksgiving in Canada is also often a time for weekend getaways. The traditional dish for the Thanksgiving dinner is roasted turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Watching football on TV is also a part of the modern tradition for many Canadians. Becoming a statutory (public) holiday in 1957, Thanksgiving goes back much further than that. Besides being linked to the before mentioned European traditions, it is also a way to remember the English explorer Martin Frobisher and his search for the Northwest Passage in 1578. As it was common in those times, his journey was a difficult one; made hard and exhausting by severe weather and ice. So when Frobisher and his crew arrived in Frobisher’s Bay, they celebrated the first ceremonial Thanksgiving.
And after this rather contemplative time of the month, we launched into the Halloween season. Stanley Park Ghost Train, the Dunbar Haunted House and – our big Halloween Party in the Blarney Stone. “INTERNeX drops dead – So get your freak on” was a complete success! Crazy costumes, smiles, laughter, a scavenger hunt, drinking games and a costume contest! We danced, we had tons of fun and we enjoyed the whole night! Check out the crazy pictures…
And as fall left Vancouver, the PR team had to say good bye to one of its members again. Tobias left us in the beginning of November to continue his education in Germany and was very sad to go back. His 7 weeks have flown by faster than he ever expected.
Fitting to this somewhat sad event, Canada also had another holiday in November, but one of the sadder sort. Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, or Armistice Day – the celebrations have many names but the holiday’s essence is the same in all the Commonwealth countries. We remember soldiers fallen in the line of duty, especially those during World War I and World War II. Special meaning is held by the date and the time the festivities are taking place. Because the hostilities of World War I ended officially on the eleventh day of November 1918, in the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour. So, at that time, there are one or two minutes of silence to honor all those, we need to remember. Connected to this day is also the custom of wearing a red poppy the weeks leading up to the eleventh of November. This symbol evolved due to the popularity of a poem written by a Canadian writer and soldier John McCrae, In Flanders Fields. It is one of the most famous pieces of Canadian literature and represents the emotions connected to Remembrance Day.
However, as November went on, we turned to happier matters again and planned our monthly trip. This time it took us to Whistler for three days, to ski and board and sight-see all day… and party all night!!! Whistler is one of B.C.s famous tourist destinations all year long. And during the winter month you can ski and board where international athletes competed during the 2010 Olympic Winter games. Whether we were skiing and boarding or soaked in a hot tub; went out partying, or enjoyed a dinner cooked with friends, we had a great time. Take a look at Flickr and you’ll see why the world was upside down for some of us during this weekend 🙂
And after Whistler, it was suddenly December and the last month of the year had already begun. Everything in Vancouver was noticeably preparing for the merriest holiday of the year and we did our best to get in the mood as well. Whether we went ice skating at Robson Square, visited a fantastic Candy Town or paid a visit to the Vancouver Christmas Market; we were getting ready for Christmas! Christmas is celebrated by millions of people around the world and is one of the most popular modern customs of the holiday includes gift giving. Don’t we all enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere? Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and mistletoes? And after this holly jolly feast is over now, the only thing to look forward to in 2013 is New Year’s Eve. So stay tuned here, we will for sure give you some information on where to party into 2014!
INTERNeX International Exchange
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Vancouver, Canada -V6B 9N9-