For some of you this may come as a surprise: for the past 11 months, I was living in the Canadian capital. But now in less than a week, I will be leaving her for my new life in Poland. But I guess you’re wondering what brought me here in the first place. Why didn’t I blog about my experiences here? The truth is…I just didn’t have the time.
I came to Ottawa to pursue a second masters degree in Applied Linguistics. It seemed like a good idea, and that it would open more doors for me. I had a full scholarship, including a TA position.
However, this seemingly good idea turned out to be a sour one. I soon discovered that I had gotten myself into something way over my head. The workload was very demanding, where I would be holed up either at home or at the library working on research papers and endless readings. Classmates were too busy to socialize, exacerbating the situation. As a result of this time consumption, my WIP got put on hold, my posts stopped appearing, and ultimately I witnessed an attrition of followers – both on social media and my blog. My TA deal wasn’t any better. The professor I was assigned to mistreated me to the point where I had to consult my union.
I began to realize that this quest for a second masters was doomed to failure. I had been in school long enough, and needed to return to the working world. And while I was at least enjoying Ottawa, my next adventure could not include her.
Despite the hardship of my university experience, I managed enjoy all that Ottawa had to offer. It’s truly a unique experience to spend an extended stay in the capital of one’s country. In Ottawa, it’s a big city with a small town feel, where outdoor activities are plentiful all year long! As I prepare to depart my nation’s capital, I reflect on some of the highlights of my time here:
- Skating on the Rideau – dubbed the longest outdoor skating rink in the world. I think every visitor to Ottawa should try it. Just remember it’s not like skating on a regular rink (pretty bumpy).
- Attending Remembrance Day ceremony at National War Memorial – the best part is when I saw the prime minister’s wife from afar!
- Curling – I actually learned to curl last January, and glad I took lessons. Much harder than it seems!
- Bike trails – these I will miss the most! The best one is along the Rideau Canal, where you can bike downtown. I definitely recommend investing in a bike to those planning to live here for an extended period of time.
Many apologies for not sharing my Ottawa experiences with you. It was just burdensome to share something, which for awhile was causing great pain. However, I am definitely looking forward to Poland as I have dreamed of working abroad for many years now.
Until next time!
Well, the curtain has fallen on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The fans have gone home, Russians go back to their normal routines, and the venues will sit empty in solitude until their host clubs resume domestic duties. And let’s not forget France, who are now back celebrating their World Cup triumph with their fans in Paris, 20 years after winning it there.
It’s sad to see the World Cup officially over. For me, it always fills that one month of my summer with pure radiance! Now, I must wait until 2022 when Qatar will have the honor Russia just did.
Before the World Cup started, I prayed that there would be some surprising matches along the way. And surprises I received. Mind you, some of those surprises weren’t good ones, but I guess that’s why it’s called ‘surprises’.
I took notes of everything that happened during the four weeks of the tournament: goals scored, cards given, etc. And yet some interesting things came out of this World Cup, which I’d like to point out in no particular order:
- We Did it! Uruguay and Belgium were the only teams to win all of their group games!
- You’re Fired! The coach of the Spanish team, Julen Lopetegui, was fired two days before the World Cup began after accepting the manager position with Real Madrid. Some will argue this caused La Roja to ultimately go home early after losing on penalties to Russia.
- Everybody Scores! Every team scored at least one goal! Long time since that’s happened!
- What? No Goals? Although every team scored at least one goal, there was one goalless draw in the group stage between France vs. Denmark.
- Going Home Empty-Handed. Egypt and Panama were the only teams that did not earn a point. In other words, neither earned neither a win nor draw.
- Curse of the Champions. Pre-tournament favorites Germany, who won the tournament four years ago in Brazil, went out in the group stage. In fact, this was the third time in a row that the defending World Cup champion failed to qualify for the knockout stages! What’s worse for Germany, was this was the first time in history that they went out in the group stage.
- All European Final Four. All the teams in the final four were European, the fifth time in the tournament for this to happen (1934, 1966, 1982 and 2006)
- No Red! Not one red card was issued for a violent tackle. This surprised me the most as I was expecting a plethora of them throughout the tournament. Don’t ask me why.
Which one surprised you the most?
It’s also worth noting the final between France and Croatia was the first final in 16 years that didn’t need to be settled in extra time. Well, I’m done rambling, so now back to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!
Now I might lose a few followers with this post, especially with what’s going on with Trump. But I’m not letting politics get in the way, and I’m certainly not joining my friends as they boycott American products.
Most of my friends only go down south of the border for vacation. I, on the other hand, had the privilege of living there for six years. Having received both my bachelor and masters degrees from American universities, I am grateful towards the United States. Without the experience of living there, I would not be the man I am today and this blog would not exist. Furthermore, my WIP takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio.
So, on America’s birthday, I would like to say thanks to her for:
– 33 years – and counting – of wonderful memories in Sarasota, Florida
– Lifelong friends
– Making me committed to serving others
– Making me a proponent of progressive education
– Making me a global citizen
– New experiences such as paintballing, riding in a hot-air balloon, surfing, and serving as copy editor for my school’s newspaper
– Giving me the inspiration and ideas for my debut novel
– Welcoming me when I come to visit
Happy 4th of July to everyone! And to my American friends and followers, God bless America! As for my followers at home, I do hope you will continue to support my blog. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.