Good morning everyone! :) And greetings from my writing desk where I am currently enjoying an apple, some tea, some Dizzy Gillespie, and the sounds of the busy Ottawan traffic as it passes under my window. The sounds of the traffic actually remind me of Cornell a bit, with the TCAT buses going by every few minutes.
I arrived in Ottawa yesterday evening, and it was already dark then, so after a bit of squinting to see the house numbers on Wilbrod Street, I eventually found 476. To be honest, I was a bit unnerved just kinda wandering the dark streets, but as soon as I found the house, two big double doors were opened and about five smiling people greeted me and ushered me inside. One of the girls even called out to the rest of the house that Courtney had arrived. Diana, the owner of the house where I am staying, was also there to greet me, and after giving me a quick tour of the house, showed me to my room (which reminds me so much of my room in Balch my freshman year of college - it has vaulted ceilings and I have my own sink!) and (along with several strong males) helped me unload my car and carry everything upstairs. After everything was in my room, I hung out a bit with everyone downstairs in, which will probably come as no surprise, the kitchen, which as far as I can tell is without a doubt the "main" room in the house. Not the living room, or the TV room, or even the dining room, but the kitchen is where everyone seems to gather. Needless to say, I was very happy about this ;)
Anyway, Monday had actually been Thanksgiving Day in Canada, so the house had celebrated with a big pot-luck style meal. I arrived just as the meal was winding down, but there were plenty of leftovers and everyone kept asking to fix me a plate, which made me feel really good (especially since I was pretty hungry by this time!). While I was eating, there were about seven other students at the table with me. One of the girls is from Egypt and is staying here twelve months to receive her Grand Diplome (which means she is going "all the way" and receiving certification in the Beginning, Intermediate, and Expert categories of both Cuisine and Patisserie). Another guy was from India and is studying Cuisine. I also met someone else taking a gap year like I am, except he is taking a gap year between high school and college (he'll be starting Yale in the fall).
I could have honestly stayed downstairs for hours talking and getting to know everyone - I was having such a good time - but I was also POOPED from the drive and carrying everything upstairs (I'm on the third and top floor), so I said goodnight to everyone with every intention of going upstairs, throwing all the boxes, etc. that were resting on my bed to the floor, crawling under the covers and hibernating, leaving the mess that was my room to be dealt with in the morning... *however* things didn't exactly go according to plan. Aka, I embarked on what turned into a two-hour unpacking expedition...lol It was actually kinda fun unpacking and getting to set up my room and put all my pictures up and my books in place on the shelves. On a side note, THREE people have already made a comment about how many books I brought with me lol One of the boys was carrying a box of my books upstairs, and he asked if I had brought my own set of knives with me! I said no, and that they were actually books. "Cookbooks?" he wanted to know. "Well, maybe about three of them are cookbooks..." I replied. haha But even though they were kinda difficult to lug up the stairs, I wouldn't give up any of the books I brought - it makes me feel so much more at home to be surrounded by Vonnegut, Borges, and Hopkins.
But anyway, after I finally unpacked everything and got my room all set up, it was definitely time for bed :)
I had a really good sleep and am ready for today - I'm going to go grocery shopping with a few people in a few minutes actually which should be pretty fun!
I'll leave with a quote by Ina Garten, one of my favorite chefs, that I found in my "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" book (thank you Mama!) and which I find very calming indeed as I get ready for my first day of school tomorrow: "Food is not about impressing people. It's about making them feel comfortable."