Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Exchanging farewells

The Honourable Donald S Ethell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

As part of Alberta's International Education Exchange week we were invited to a reception with all the other Alberta exchange teachers. The reception at McDougall Centre in Calgary was hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (The Honourable Donald S. Ethell).


 We felt very honoured to be part of Alberta's International Education Exchange Programs week. In addition to the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk (Alberta's Minister for Education) also highlighted the value of student and teacher exchanges. It was very reassuring to hear so much enthusiastic support for such valuable programs, especially as  a number of countries are restricting their exchange programs as part of their austerity measures.

Following the reception we were further honoured to be the guests of Deb and Richard, former Canadian exchangees to Queensland. Not only were they kind enough to offer us a bed for the night, but they hosted all the other Australian exchange teachers and their families for a long night of festivities.
I think the collective noun for a group of Australian exchange teachers could be - A boomerang. We had many happy returns - thinking about returning home to Australia and talking about the prospects of returning to Canada one day. The stories flowed thick and funny - the consensus being we have all had a memorable year, one that we will never forget.
A huge thank you to Deb and Richard for confirming just how generous Canadians are with their hospitality.

The weekend also gave us an opportunity to say farewell to Calgary and southern Alberta.
Calgary through the bike wheel!

Calgary; obviously not a smoke free environment.

It was with mixed feeling we realised this was our final big excursion.
We wont miss the icy/snowy roads, aggressive drivers and distances between wash-rooms.
We will really miss the wonderful open spaces, prairie views,  courteous drivers, wildlife spotting and  the ability to get to most places on wide straight highways and paved roads.

More bison, still no bull moose - will we be allowed to leave the country without seeing one?

Car window view we are going to miss.

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