There’s No Place Like Home….

I can honestly say that my trip home was the longest day of my life.  Literally.  I actually relived the morning twice, so that was crazy.  The time passed quickly though…I was able to catch up with my fellow Edmontonian who was living in Brussels.  During the 6 hour layover in Toronto, I Skyped my best friend (after buying tea :p) and we talked for nearly 2 hours!  Funny story….David and I were in Toronto, buying my tea.  We were examining our Canadian money and comparing it to Euros.  We got so into our discussion, that the cashier asked where we were from haha.

IMG_0078I’ve been home for a week already, and I’m slowly getting back into normal routines. For instance, today, my sister and I competed in the Alberta Highland Dance Championships.  Neither of us made the Alberta team this year, but I am already getting ready for next year.  After 2 years not really competing, I’m looking forward to the dance trips and practice next year.  I’ve also been working hard core on our school’s upcoming concert this coming Friday.   Since I’m not taking any core classes this term, I’m working most days at the pool in May.  I’m a lifeguard…not sure if I mentioned that or not.

Being home has been strange….things are the same, yet different.  Tiny things.  The garbage in the kitchen is now on the opposite side.  A new towel rack.  New lunch containers for school.  New water bottles.  Different pictures on the walls.  Our new internet router was installed- but it’s not working on my iPod, so it anyone has any suggestions.  There are some things I prefer from Belgium, but lots that I prefer back home.  I’ve more or less adjusted to the time change.  I still prefer to eat my lunch and dinner later….that’s going to take some time to adjust to.

I’ll be doing a “Top 5 Experiences” post later on this week.  What were your favourite adventures to read about?


Cooking Lesson ft. Burkina Faso

Word of advice: make sure you like the following foods before you go to Africa.  Because they’re basically all you’ll be eating…

  • bread
  • jam
  • rice
  • spaghetti and Bolognese sauce
  • mangoes
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • couscous
  • fishP1010218

Breakfast every day was bread with jam and butter.  I tried drinking powdered milk, but coffee and tea were the most popular drinks.  Most of the time, there were also mangoes, bananas, and oranges

Lunch/Dinner just about every day was either rice or couscous with some sort of sauce (usually tomato based with cabbage and meat).  Lots of spaghetti…when we were travelling during the tourism week, lunch was “make-your-own-sandwich” with a baguette the size of my arm.

On a couple of occasions, there we had something completely different.  For instance: shiskabobs with roasted veggies, plantain fries, peas, pizza bread, and french fries.

Dairy products were non-existent.  I’m guessing that it’s because it was too hot.

Majority of the food was cooked over fires in huge pots.  In larger restaurants, they had working stoves and grills.  It was super cool to see such a different way of life.  I loved the fact that there were mango trees all over, and you could just pick fruit and eat it.  In all of the villages we visited, farm animals just wandered around…chickens, cows, goats, pigs.

I’m Baaacccckkkkk!!

Hello Friends 😀  I missed you all

So Arica was definitely an eye opening experience.  I have so much to say, so this post is probably going to be all over the place.  I’ll just do a general post about what IP1010410 did, and then some more specific topics.  If there is something you’d like to hear more about, just let me know!! I’d be happy to write a post for you 🙂

After arriving in Ouagadougou (the capital), we took a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Koudougou.  The Centre UNITAS was our home-base for the stay.  As a large group, we visited a local school and participated in a scavenger hunt.

So, my first week in Burkina Faso (April 5-10) was a “tourism” week.  There were 60ish students, and we were divided into 2 groups- Loumana and Sifarasso.  The names are of super small communities.  I was in the Loumana group.  We stayed in the village of Loumana for 2 nights.  The way of living is super different.  We also stopped at African mountains (which look a lot like hoodoos), hiked a mountain and saw old clay houses, took a boat ride a saw a hippo, and my favourite…..SWIMMING IN A WATERFALL ❤

The second week (April 11-15) was “immersion”.  We were given 9 different options to choose from and were assigned 3.  My first immersion (2 days, 1night) was at an orphanage.  4 other girls and I helped paint a classroom and played games with the children.  Second, was an art immersion (2 days, 1 night).  In Koudougou, we visited the theatre, art school, and marketplaces.  The second day, we learned how to make our own oil paintings.  We also had henna done.  Third and final immersion was in the community of Toega.  We only had 1 day, but we visited a preschool, and played with the children for the morning.

Working as a large group, all the students helped run a carnival for the children we had met during the week.

Friday, our last day, we said goodbye to the correspondents who helped run activities for us.  We’ve exchanged email addresses/FB info so that we can stay in contact.   We drove back to Ouagadougou and visited a local Artisan’s Market.

We arrived in Brussels at 5 in the morning yesterday.

Hakuna Matata

Just image: +40 degrees, monkeys swinging through the trees, lions….

I am SO STOKED to be heading to Burkina Faso tomorrow with 60 other students from Christ-Roi for the next 2 weeks 😀  I leave the school at 6:50 tomorrow morning.bfafrica

All I know about Africa is what I’ve learned from The Lion King haha

This is the 10th year that CCRO has organized the trip to Burkina Faso (located in the Northwest of Africa).  We’ve done a lot of preparation…one of the highlights was organizing the “store” in the school.  People from all over the area have donated books, school supplies, clothes, shoes, hats…and each BF participant had the opportunity to pack humanitarian supplies with items from the store.  We were each given a description of the place where our boxes would be sent.  Garance and I packed for a primary school.

For the first week of our adventure, we will be touring around the country.  The second week, we will be split into smaller groups to go and actually live with families in the community!!  We will be participating in many different activities…primary and maternal schools, hospitals, the marketplace, traditional dance and music…

From what I’ve read, they wake up around 5 to accomplish as much as they can before the sun is up and then go to bed early. I’m excited for the warm weather, swimming, experiencing such a different culture, and practicing my french!!  No English is spoken in BF, so that will be a challenge for me!!

And just a heads up…I will have NO internet access until I get home.  So feel free to message me, but just know that I will not respond!

Hope everyone is enjoying Easter Break!! And Happy Easter in advance!!

Planes, Trains, and Bikes…

Just sign me up for the Olympics guys 😀 I swear I biked 50km this past Saturday!  I’m surprised I can walk right now hahaP1010127

The province of Wallonie held its 11th annual “Weekend Bienvenue” this past Saturday/Sunday.  Between 10 and 6, you could visit the many small towns in the area (Malèves, Orbais, Perwez…) and stop at one of the many stations.  There were 53 different stations set up with topics ranging from jewellery to country dancing. The weather may not have been great, but I persevered!!  At some points I thought the wind was going to blow me over!!  Funny story: the basket on my bike broke about halfway through my trip…BUT I fixed it using a hair elastic and my camera strap haha. Problem solving is my middle name- It’s actually Virginia-May Petrice, but that’s besides the point.  It was great to be able to visit different families in the community.  It’s crazy to think that such a small country is so independent!!  All of their food is locally grown and produced.  Canada needs to step up it’s game!!

My favourite was the chocolate station haha no surprise there!! A local chocolatier demonstrated how to make praline and we got to sample them :p Speculous filled Easter Eggs?  I think so!!

I also learned about Drones, strawberry jam, glass blowing, cheese, and horses.

Sunday was a pretty laid back day…just, ya know, packing for Africa.

Excuse you Jillian, but what did you say??

I said AFRICA ladies and gentlemen.

Burkina Faso, to be exact :p

More info coming in a later post…

I also stopped at some of the local shops along the way.  I found a super great clothing store.  It was like the Bay- one big store, but 20 different brands available.  I bought 2 new shirts and a present for my sister.  I also tried a European eclair and apple tiramisu.