Snow days, slowing down, speeding back up again

My favourite thing about Halifax in the Winter has been the snow days, which is for one simple reason: everything slows down. Nobody is in a rush (because you literally can’t be) and it is comical if you make an attempt to get anywhere fast. The usual trek to the grocery store becomes an adventure of climbing, sliding and generally battling against the elements (I am committed to student discounts on a Tuesday and a little snow is not going to stop me). Getting out the front door was a hilarity in itself as our front steps became what we like to call the “leap of faith”, and descending onto the bus from a mountain of snow was also a daunting experience to say the least, but these once trivial tasks give you a real sense of accomplishment when snow enters into the equation. And for that, I am thankful.

Since Halifax feels like it has been put on pause when it is a snow day, I need to use my best persuasive skills to get my flatmates to join me on snowy activities. One of them refused to leave the comfort of our house without a bottle of Bailey’s to numb the pain, but we made it in the end:

Point Pleasant

It is probably worth sharing here that I decided to move flats over the break – it was a very last minute and impulsive decision, but one which I do not regret in the slightest. Since I spent most of my time with the other exchange students in the first semester, I didn’t really know what to expect when I came back from travelling after the Christmas break to find nearly all of my new friends had left! To be quite honest, it made me pretty anxious to think about it, so I decided to act upon my “gut feeling” and put an ad up for my room on my favourite website in the entire world – kijiji.ca. A couple of weeks later, I found a sublet, packed everything up and moved in with some pretty wonderful girls who I met in the first semester. It was all very fast, but it was undoubtedly the best decision I could have made, so I am very grateful for that little voice inside my head that said “go for it”. Your experience is always what you make of it, but when you are so conscious of the little time you have left on exchange, you really can’t afford to miss out on anything – no matter how big or small!

So, aside from the occasional blizzard, this semester has been way more manageable for me in terms of my workload (touch wood!) This came as a bit of a surprise since I felt so overwhelmed by taking five 3000 level courses last semester, and I am taking exactly the same amount and level again this semester. It may just be that I am better prepared this time (mentally, at least) or maybe that the profs this semester are more forgiving with their assignments. I could be taking all of this back in a month’s time, of course. However, I welcomed the chance for some free time and have used my weekends to go skiing, ice-skating, to hockey games, to concerts… or just to investigate some new bars – so no complaints from me!

IMG_8848 IMG_8821 IMG_8824 IMG_8708

There are a lot of exciting times ahead this semester: on Thursday, I am off to Cuba (!?) with two exchange friends for a week, and next month I am going to NYC with two of my best friends from home who are also on exchange this year to celebrate turning 21 – but more just to celebrate the fact that we will all actually be in NYC together! There is also a lot going on in Halifax, namely “Burger Week” which is an entire week dedicated to – you guessed it – burgers, and “St Patty’s Day” (they don’t get the whole Paddy is short for Patrick thing) which seems to be as big an event in Halifax as it Is in Glasgow. I will be representing my Irish roots, of course. Will report back accordingly.

I am sure the workload will increase again after reading week (a.k.a spring break/Cuba) but until then I am finding uni to be pretty manageable, so I am just enjoying the Winter Wonderland that is Halifax and taking on all the opportunities to travel while I can! x

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