After months of preparation, form filling and emailing the university in Canada, I am finally here. The flight from Gatwick was shorter than planned and only 8.5 hours. I had a wait of 5 hours in Calgary which passed quickly and then a one hour flight on to Kamloops where I am staying and attending Thompson Rivers University.
It was a fairly easy process to go through in order to study here especially with all of the help and support that I received from the university staff in applying and sorting out visas etc.
The weather is very hot and dry here and averaging 36 degrees daily. We currently have smoke from wild fires putting us on alert to evacuate the home where we are staying. This is exciting as we don't get anything like this in England. I have had to prepare a bag with a change of clothes, medication and toiletries just in case we have to evacuate urgently.
My host family are wonderful and very understanding and accommodating regarding my visual impairment. In fact the mother of the family even put a sticker on the salt cellar so that I could tell it from the pepper. Awesome!
I had an interesting situation on my first visit to the bank. As I am visually impaired I wear dark glasses all the time and the cashier asked me to remove them. I thought it was because she was looking at my passport and needed to see my face but in fact it was for security just as we are not allowed to wear crash helmets in banks in England. She was very embarrassed when I told her I was blind and I was very embarrassed for having misunderstood why she asked me to remove them.
I have been to a musical presentation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which was really interesting and a traditional Canadian spectacle.
My classes start this coming Thursday so more news will follow.