What a weekend! After three full days of being a tourist, shopping, and JET Orientation #1, I’m exhausted, but so pleased.
To say that Halifax had beautiful weather while I was there would be an understatement – each day was sunny and hovered around 40 degrees C (with the humidex). Good practice for Japan, right?! Friday was my day to relax, and after only an hour of walking around downtown and the Public Gardens, I figured it was time to beat the heat and do some shopping! I even lucked into seeing Halifax’s (delayed) Canada Day fireworks on the waterfront, too – completely unintentional and completely awesome.
I let myself sleep in on Saturday, then took my time getting ready for Day 1 of our Halifax Weekend Orientation (HFX WO) which started at 2pm. Our orientation was actually quite small – there were only five JETs, our JET Programme Coordinator, and a JETAA Q/A member. It was the perfect setting; although a schedule had been e-mailed to us in advance, our small number allowed us to be quite flexible with it, depending on the discussions held and how much information we wanted on certain topics. The orientation balanced presentations and personal stories, which I found to be incredibly helpful and inspiring.
On our first day, we covered what to do between now and departure (including lots of tips on packing) and from departure until school starts, basic natural disaster-preparedness, some manners, and basic etiquette (including essential Japanese phrases). Our entire group then went to a local Japanese restaurant for a delicious meal – yum! Stuffed to the brim, one Halifax JET took another JET and me on a short walk up Citadel Hill to see Halifax at night – absolutely beautiful! By the time I got back to my hotel room, it was 10pm and I was exhausted.
My highlight from Day 1: “Embrace the sweat!” Which is exactly what we did for most of Day 2 when our orientation room’s air conditioning didn’t work for much of the morning and again when we had our “unique cultural event” – but more on that later. ;)
27 days ’til Japan!