Leaving Canada to study abroad for a year in France was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. Correction: THE hardest thing I have ever done. A few nights before, I had a small party with a close group of friends, and I gathered all their mailing addresses and such. Mostly though, we concentrated on blasting music, going for a midnight stroll that became a midnight swim, and just having fun. Nobody was really thinking about goodbye. At that point, I think I was still in denial, so it really wasn’t really that tough. It didn’t feel REAL. Especially since most of the goodbyes were the morning after, so we were all absolutely exhausted and had no idea what was going on. I was expecting the stereotypical teary goodbye where you hug and hug and hug, and have to be torn away kicking and screaming. But nope, it was more like a quick hug and a “see you later!“ I went to see a few of my best friends individually as well, and those goodbyes were harder. But still, I was in shock. I couldn’t fathom the idea that I wouldn’t see these people again for an entire year. I still don’t think I can grasp that concept. I guess I’m just taking it one day at a time; it’s manageable that way.
The night before I left, I had two close friends sleep over one last time, and they made me goodbye cards that they hid somewhere in my suitcase. Then, when it was time to leave, I said goodbye to my cat, my dog, my rabbit, and finally my friends. The first thing they did once we left was to organize my room, then make a video about everything that was happening in Canada- with a vow to continue making these videos throughout the year. I had confided in them my fear of missing out on everything that was happening back home, so they came up with a pretty great solution that made me feel a lot better.
The trip to get to the airport was long itself- not to mention the voyage across the world. First, we drove to the ferry docks, and caught a two hour ferry. Then we parked the truck in Vancouver, and took a sky train to the airport. The entire time I was worrying that we would transfer onto the wrong train, get lost, and I would miss my plane, so my dad kept joking around and saying, “I think we’re on the wrong train!” Of course, he got me almost every time, until the voice on the intercom started repeating “to Vancouver Airport” every five minutes, which was just annoying. We finally got to the airport, about four hours before my flight was scheduled to leave, and realized that maybe we were a bit early. But I checked in my bags and such, then we had my last Canadian dinner. (Yumm, airport food!) Actually, it wasn’t too bad- we had pizza. We wandered around the airport for a while, and then sat down to wait. Finally, I had enough, and told them that they could drop me off at security now. Either I would be waiting here, or waiting there. Honestly, I just wanted to get the goodbye over with. So I got a few teary hugs and “I love you”s, and then ran through the gate before I could start crying.
I waited at the gate for a few hours, and then it was finally time to get on the plane. My adventure was about to begin. I probably checked my passport and ticket about a billion times, before finding my seat and settling in for a long haul. As the plane took off, I looked back and thought how beautiful British Columbia really was. I thought of the ocean and the rivers, of my friends and my family, the Country that had shaped me into who I am today and I asked myself: why would I leave such a wonderful Country, and WHAT am I getting into?