Though I’ve talked about my accommodation, I haven’t talked about arriving. When I was at the Toronto airport, I met a girl who was coming here as frosh, not an exchange student. We talked a bit about the school, and she said that she was scared of the weather – she had heard that it was cold all the time. We talked a little bit about books, and that was that. I readied my boarding pass and passport, and when a man scanned my boarding pass, he looked at my passport, and said “Going home to school, eh?” I was confused for half a second until I remembered that I was using my UK passport, and said “Not exactly home”. He looked disappointed at my un-Scottishness. The UK passport was a good move, though. On the plane I had to fill out an immigration form, and I was a bit worried that I might have to pull out all of my school-related documents even though I have a domestic passport. I needn’t have worried. There was a massive, slow line-up at immigration, and I was whisked through the EU line in under a minute by a woman who grumbled about how it’s stupid that Air Canada makes UK nationals fill out forms. That was easy.
At the Toronto airport that evening, there were lots of people waiting, and none of them were wearing coats. When I got off the plane, lots of people were wearing jackets – even quilted jackets, and most had scarves. I had my coat and scarf in my luggage, and was carrying a warm sweatshirt. I had a relatively thin shirt on. I put my sweatshirt on, and braced myself upon leaving the airport – and it was lovely outside! Sunny, not windy, and warm. I immediately removed my sweatshirt. Strangely enough, though, I was the only person to do so. I was standing around in a t-shirt and long-sleeved button shirt, and I think I definitely looked comparatively under-dressed on several levels. I got on the bus, remarked to another student that it was absolutely lovely, eh? and people on the bus actually laughed at me. It was bizarre. Canadians like to brag about their weather being harsh compared to American weather, and so I suppose that Scots like to brag about their weather to the English and everybody else. However, I suspect in terms of actual weather harshness, the points go to Canada.
Somebody else wrote about the roads, so I’ll just touch on them briefly – merely driving on the left freaked me out for about thirty seconds, but I still have not figured out how the lines on the road and the intersections work.
So far, I feel strangely like I’m not geographically far – if I had seen myself moving I might. However, I’m very isolated. I feel like I’m in a parallel world, like the alternate universe on Fringe. There are all the same types of structures and items as there are in my home universe, but nearly everything is subtly different down to the light switches and little butter packets. I’m staying in a hotel right now, and the stovetop is disconnected from the stove. Incidentally, “cooker with hob” is really, really easy to accidentally spoonerize.