Sunday, February 28, 2010


It's only been a week since I've found out that I am going to be living in Chile for a year and one of the worst things has happened to my host country. A earthquake higher in magnitude than the Haitian one has struck the central part of Chile, the epicenter where I will most likely be placed for my exchange. I'm pretty much glued to the news coverage because I already feel so connected to my host country. Luckily my friend/inbound from Chile has told me that his family is fine, but I still can't imagine that yet again another huge earthquake has shook-up the world in more than one way.

About a week ago or so I was talking with my best friends about the worst type of natural disaster that we could imagine, and we all came to the consensus of an earthquake. Putting so much faith into the ground that we are so fond and comfortable of, and then boom... its shaking beneath you. All I can do is hope for the best of every Chilean, and the rebuilding of such a great country.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I will be going to...

February 21st was a life-changing day for sure.

I drove to Brampton with my family to meet with all of the inbounds, outbounds, rebounds, and everyone's family to find out where everyone was going on exchange this coming July/August. As I entered the Rotary Club I was the second outbound to arrive, and I was almost immediately fitted for my red Rotary blazer which I'll receive in May. It was so good to see all of the exchange students again since most of us haven't seen each other since Wanakita! After some catching-up the Rotarian's got us all settled down and Announcement Day had finally begun!

First the Rotarians were all introduced and they were very skillful at keeping up the anxiety and suspense. After finding out that no one was going to Ecuador this year I was a little worried because I was hoping for a South American country, but I was ready for anything! Finally the Rotarians called up the first girl for her envelope but before she could open it they read the full letter out for everyone to hear. With my last name starting with a "W" I was expecting to be the last person to open their envelope, but NOPE... I was the second one! I was so nervous but also strangely calm as I walked up to the podium to open up my envelope in front of everyone. As I opened up my envelope I had the great please to announce...

"I'm going to... CHILE!"

Just after opening my envelope

That's right! This blond hair, blue-eyed Canadian girl will be living in Chile for the next year of her life! I'm so happy that I'm going to Chile, it was my first choice to go to and I cannot wait! As every outbound opened up their envelope the inbound/rebound from that country would run up and hug the inbound, it was so awesome! After everyone's country was announced we spilt up into three groups, South America (Chile and Brazil), Europe (Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France), and Asia/Oceania (Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, Australia). We were able to talk to the inbounds and rebounds along with our Rotarian coordinator to learn more about our countries and re-assure our parents. After that we were able to just hang out again, take pictures, and just enjoy the fact that we are all going to amazing countries! Finally to my parents relief, we finally left and I was surprised with a little present at home from my mom and step-dad. My mom being confident in me going to Chile bought me a map of the country a week ago and I also received a lovely little "rough guide" to Chile along with some Canadian flag badges.

Book (from Thailand), Sampo (from Finland), Me (Canada/Chile), and Cristobal (from Chile)

I am so thrilled, ecstatic, joyous, grateful, blessed, appreciative, excited to go to Chile and to have this amazing cultural experience!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Only 11 more days until I find out what country I will be spending the next year of my life in! Life-changing day you could say!

For my district Rotary Club the students going on exchange have absolutely no choice in what country they will be living in. It is all up to the Rotarians in charge. It may seen a little scary that people that you have just met are deciding your future but through the few days spent together they can understand more about the students than the students may realize themselves. By going to the Bolton weekend and Wanakita the Rotarians have been constantly facing us with challenges and situations to see how we would act, which help to decide what country is best suited for you. But it also helps when the Rotarians are constantly asking you where you would like to go on exchange... but there's no promises! I of course used this opportunity for sharing my opinions on countries which I'd like to exchange to but hey... does it really matter? I'm blessed enough to have this opportunity so ship me off anywhere, I bet I'll love it!

Here is a list of the possible countries yours truly could be spending the next year of her life in...










New Zealand




Friday, February 5, 2010


I just got back from winter camping at Wanakita YMCA camp in Haliburton. All the 7080 Rotary inbounds and outbounds got together to enjoy the Canadian winter. Everyone travelled on a bus together up to Wanakita and by the end of the bus ride you could tell everyone was getting pretty close. For the outbounds (like myself), it was the first time that we had met most of the inbounds and vice versa.

Once we got to the camp we were split up into our cabins, I was with girls from Canada, Japan, Germany, and Ecuador. We were then split up into two groups, one learned how to x-country ski and the other started on the quinzhees. I started with the quinzhee (snow hut, not quite an igloo) and we did a lot of digging, then piling, patting, more piling... oh and did I mention piling snow until it was 6 feet tall? After a awhile the groups switched, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I was x-country skiing, but it was a lot of fun. After dinner we were told that the quinzhees weren't tall enough yet, so everyone trekked over to the"quinzee field" to continue piling snow in the pitch dark. You weren't able to tell who anyone was in the dark it was too funny.

The next morning my group started with a snowshoe trek through the forest. We had fun jumping off rocks and taking some action shots. Then we headed back to the quinzhees where the other group had started to hollow out the inside. If your claustrophobic then starting to hollow out a quinzhee is not the right job for you. After finishing the quinzhees and going for a x-country ski all outbounds and inbounds were sent out on a candlelight solo sit out in the dark wilderness to write one of the 3 letters that we will be receiving a year from now while in our host country/back home. I enjoyed being alone, the quietness (except for some screaming children off in the abyss), and the time for reflection after meeting so many amazing people over the last two days. After having my bottom frozen from sitting in snow we had an outside campfire and then half of us got ready to sleep in the quinzhees. It was a long process to get organized in the quinzhee, but after getting into my two sleeping bags I was ready to have a good night with two Ecuadorians and a girl from Japan! I must admit, I slept amazingly! Every Canadian MUST try sleeping outside in a quinzhee once in their life!

On the third day we went out on a day long snowshoe trek/orienteering expedition. After getting the groove on using the compass, map, declination, and bearings we were off. My group was able to locate all of markers and drink our much rewarded hot chocolate. It was such a great feeling being able to work together and find our way through the "back-country." After a good hearty supper we had a dance party, I even attempted some Spanish-style dancing thanks to my Chilean friend, and then the second group was off to experience the night in the quinzhees.

On the last day we had to pack our stuff right after breakfast then we had the choice of breaking down the quinzhees or tobogganing. Call me old fashioned Canadian but there was no way I was missing out on tobogganing! It was so much fun, there were people who had never tobogganed before, and we made huge toboggan lines going down the hill.

Going home on the bus I thought for sure that I was going to pass out from exhaustion and lack of sleep, but for me it was the opposite. In just 4 short days all the inbounds and outbounds had become great friends, I couldn't sleep, not with so many different people to talk to, and different cultures to learn about!

The next big matter of business happens February 21st... what country will I be living in?