Hello everybody!

Here comes my next report. The last month was probably the best November I have ever had. I’m sure now that it was really the best decision in my life to make this exchange year.

This month I was in Vancouver for the first time. I went with my host father and brother on Thursday. I had Friday off, because of Remembrance Day. For all who don’t know what it is about: Remembrance Day is for remembering all the soldiers in the world who fought in wars for the peace we are enjoying today. On Thursday we had an assembly in the gym. We sang “Oh Canada” and also a singing version of the poem “In Flanders Fields”. It wasn’t a long assembly but, of course, a serious one. After a minute’s silence, we continued class. For lunch and the forth block I went to Thompsons Rivers University with my ESL class. We were shown around and had a nice time seeing all the cool places and buildings.

Anyway, after that we started our trip to Vancouver. My host mother stayed home but there was one good thing about it: I had more space in the car. After a four hour drive we arrived in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver. My host dad, Bob, thinks that Vancouver and all its suburbs to Abbotsford, the next bigger city, are like one huge town. I didn’t think so and started to tell him a bit more about “den Pott”. We stayed at the second cousin of my host dad near Vancouver, who had a really nice house with lots of space.

I was impressed that I was not able to see the city from the highway. Even in Vancouver are still lots of woods. The weather in Vancouver is even worse than in Germany, well, worse for human beings, but not for the trees. They were really huge. All over the cost is rainforest, which is pretty much the opposite of the semi-desert I live in at Kamloops. The first day, we visited Stanley Park, which is almost like the Central Park in New York. It’s a huge park near downtown. There we went to a museum of the First Nations. The totems and the other woodworks from the First Nations were really cool. The First Nations were even smarter than I thought. I found out that they had great techniques to build the totems, canoes and houses. There was also one piece of art, which is representing the story of the first humans on earth and which is on the 20 Dollar bill in Canada.

After the museum we went to Gastown, which is a part of downtown Vancouver. We had dinner in a pasta restaurant and discovered a bit the city. For my money Vancouver is one of the best towns I’ve visited so far. The location couldn’t be better, there is nature all around you and the habitants are really nice.

On Saturday, we went to the Vancouver aquarium. They had great animals like beluga whales and dolphins. The dolphin show there was awesome. They did many tricks and it looked so easy and smooth.

I was also in Granville Island, which is a big market, where you can get almost everything. I could get some good French baguette, which is not like German bread, but much better than the toast I usually get. I also tried something I never had before: Salmon candy. It tastes like the name says. It’s sweet, but you can still taste the fish.

The long weekend in Vancouver went by so fast. It appeared like one day to me. I was happy that it snowed a lot on the Coquihalla, which is the way we came. That’s the main reason why we went back over Whistler. Of course, I heard a lot about Whistler before I came to Canada. I watched the Olympics and it’s also a dream of my father to ski there. Unfortunately, it was foggy and the ski season hasn’t started yet. It was still nice to be there. We had lots of time and Bob showed me around.

The saddest thing for me in November was the end of the volleyball season. On Thursday the 17th, we had the last practice before the Okanagan’s. This tournament was our last chance to make the Provincials (something like Landesmeisterschaften). If we didn’t make it under the first three, our season would be over. The group games were on Friday in our school. The first team was pretty good and had more success than us in the tournaments before. I really wanted to play against them, but I was just sitting on the bench. Anyway, our same six guys played and won. The two sets were even really clear. We won the next game as well, but this time in three sets. The third game was my turn. We won in two sets and I was really satisfied with myself. Because we were first in our group we were already in the semi-final. We would play against the winner of the second and third of the other group the next day. That also meant that we had two chances to make the Provincials.

The semifinal was very close. We lost in four sets, but that was more our fault. We gave one set away because of too many mistakes and in the other sets we were a bit unlucky at the end. We still had another chance in the form of the “little final”. I really wanted to get the chance to play, because I didn’t want that to be our last game. The first set went straight on our account, but we lost the second set. Then, in the middle of the third set, I came in. We played great in this set and so did I. We won with 25 to 20 and I finished the set with my greatest hit so far. That was the best moment for me in the season and it turned out to be my last. We had to win just one more set. It was so close, but we lost the fourth with 23 to 25. In set five, we lead 8 to 5, but after we changed sides we lost 4 points in a row and finally the set, the game and our dream of the Provincials with 13 to 15. It was the saddest end of the season I could imagine and it still hurts a bit to write about it. The whole season went by so quickly. Now I’m playing handball on Tuesdays. I also try to play tennis, which was my favorite sport in Germany.

On November 22, we had our international food festival. That is already a tradition at Sa-Hali. I was with three other Europeans in a group. I made “Kaiserschmarrn” for the others. It is actually more Austrian, but it was the easiest to make. There was a whole bunch of variety. The Brazilians made some great sweets. My favorite one was Brigadeiro. The Chinese made tea and the Japanese Sushi. I especially liked the tea. It warmed you up a bit. The three girls in my group made Muesli from Switzerland, Cinnamons from Sweden and Tortillas from Spain. I think it was a great and delicious chance to get to know different cultures.

Last weekend I had my first ski day at Sun Peaks. It was really nice for early season, even if the weather was not the best. There was not much snow. That’s why I borrowed some old race skis from my host family. They were a bit too short for me, but I didn’t want to destroy my new skis. Somehow it even rained a bit at the bottom of the hill. Sun Peaks isn’t very high, 1300 to 2200m. That’s why there is still forest between the runs. Where I skied in Austria it was either too high for trees or I didn’t try to and so it was my first time I skied through the woods. It was really unfamiliar for me. It was a bit too narrow for me and it is harder to turn. I was always behind, because I told myself, “safety first”. That’s actually not my motto, but for the first time it was okay. Once I fell in a really funny way. Skiing in the trees with my friends, I lost my way briefly and didn’t make the turn to go back on the main trail. I fell and when I tried to stand up my skies sank into the deep snow and it took me one minute to get out. This would have been a funny “you tube” clip, if someone had filmed it.

Then I have some more stuff about Sun Peaks for you, just for making you guys a bit jealous. Sun Peaks is the third largest ski resort in Canada and the second largest in BC. With over 2.000 hours of sunshine a year it is the sunniest ski resort in Canada. Every year there are falling about 5 and a half meter snow from which 2 meters are Powder. Additionally, Sun Peaks gets probably the best Powder snow you can get. I’m sure that I’m going to love it.

Okay that was my November. December is always one of my favorite months in the year and I really look forward to experience the Canadian Christmas.

Have a nice Christmas time!

See you next year

Categories: Niklas