The first half of our exchange to UW from UBC came too quickly, but Parsa, Julia, Leo and I were warmly welcomed to Western Washington University (WWU) for a presentation on our exchange and Canadian/U.S. relationship at CANADA WEEK. Parsa, Leo and I hastily hopped into the UW rental car midday, eating our lunch as we went, as we trudged onto the I-5 towards Bellingham. It also happened that it was Julia’s birthday so I prepared a little sweet surprise.
We arrived at WWU with nothing less than a sense of awe as we found ourselves gazing at the mountains and forests that surround the beautiful, sun-kissed campus. We met up with Julia, who—like some Canadian angel—brought us Timbits (donut holes). We shared them together at our presentation.
After our presentation, which was as insightful and educational for us as it was our audience, we decided to find somewhere to stop for a birthday dinner. Instead of heading down the I-5 this time, we chose to take the scenic route along the coast. Wow, was that the best choice ever. As Parsa drove and we sang along to our road-trip playlist, we caught a glimpse of the fading sunlight peeking through the trees. We could hardly keep our eyes on the road, so we decided to take a little detour and admire the view.
The beautiful scenery of the ocean as the sun set rivals the natural beauty you hear about in Vancouver. I was so glad to be able to see something like this away from home. And we were even more lucky to be able to grab a bite right next to it.
The four of us took this moment to just relax and enjoy what was around us and reflect on our exchange as the winter quarter drew to a close. We watched the sun set from our table in the company of candlelight and each other, sharing stories from our classes and days. We bantered about everything from our stances on the environment and politics to our day-to-day lives now and before the exchange. Though the restaurant was small and quiet, our laughter and stories filled its walls. A passing stranger even thanked us for the entertainment as he dined alone. Julia and I had a taste of some oysters caught fresh from their own waters and other places in Washington. It was safe to say that this detour took the right turn.
As the blanket of night drew in around us, we hurried out of the restaurant and into the cars to enjoy my sweet birthday surprise: some cupcakes from the University Village! We laughed with our faces caked with frosting and stomaches filled with cake until it was time to head home. We drove the rest of the way home watching the lights pass by and reflecting on our day and the exchange to Washington.
It is incredible the way that being at UW feels so similar to home and offers such comfort, but also has this unique beauty that we can’t ignore. We shared the familiar feel of Vancouver while being in a completely different country and explored the new adventures that awaited us. As the four of us head into our final quarter here, I’m sure that we will have similar, if not better adventures ahead of us in Washington!
Photo credit: Marion Ferguson
The Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange Program Fund provides an opportunity for undergraduate students at the University of Washington to spend two semesters at the University of British Columbia or University of Victoria; and for students from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria to spend three quarters at the University of Washington.