The week between the Gala and my departure

People probably looked at my week between the Gala and my departure date as unconventional to say the least, but I think it has been a great way to do one last week of preparation for my year ahead. I became much more in tune with figuring out problems on my own, I became less reliant on technology, and got to experience life in a different country for a little while(although I know the difference between the US and Canada is nowhere near the gap between the US and Rwanda).

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The itinerary was as follows, I had 8 days to get from Boston to Toronto for my flight to Toronto. The flight was leaving from Toronto, because it was around $250 dollars cheaper than any other flights on the East Coast. I decided to rent a car because I had gotten so many donations. Only pictures can do the job describing how much stuff I have.

But first getting the donations were a mission in and of itself. I shipped them from California to Boston via Greyhound. Yes, that Greyhound, the one mostly known for sending sketchy drifters across the country. They have a shipping operation which is very cheap, but as I came to find out it doesn’t come with the luxuries of tracking shipments. So ever since I shipped them off I was just hoping and praying they would arrive.

Anyways I picked up the shipment at South Station in Boston, and there I had my first challenge in packing. I already had to destroy one box because it wouldn’t fit in the ever so spacious Hyundai Elantra. When I got back to Patrick’s house I played the ultimate game of Tetris to fit in the rest of my luggage and shoe donations and somehow managed to fit nearly everything inside. I mean I was putting things under seats, I put my I slides on the side of the door, jerseys to the top of the trunk. No space went unused.

After a couple hours of packing I made my way up to New Hampshire. I ended up staying at a sustainable farm called D’ Acres. Again I stayed here because it was cheap, only around 15 dollars a night, but I was sleeping in the yoga room. I think you will start to catch on that I will make some “interesting” decisions in order to save some money. Honestly though it was beautiful up there, but the hippie vibes were very strong. I had no cell service there, and it was something that would soon become normal. The whole mission of the farm is to

While one might debate my decision to stay in a yoga room on a farm; sometimes when you make the unconventional choice you get some unexpected perks. Look at the views I had while I got to shoot around here.

After my farm experience it was time to make my way up to Canada. I was definitely freaking out as I was about to cross the border. While everything was true, I’m sure it’s a hard story to follow. Yes I’m from California. Yes, I’m driving a rental car with California license plates, working for a Boston based nonprofit, about to bring loads of stuff to do work in Rwanda, and yes I’m leaving from Toronto, Canada.  I got a good amount of questions, but I had all my paper work, and I think he just had to figure there is no way I could make this all up.

After crossing the border I made my way up to Montreal, where I would spend a few nights in a hostel, because it was 17 dollars a night. Luckily they had a luggage storage, so I picked up half of my things out of the car, and put them in the hostel. I only got a few puzzled looks as I carried multiple 50 pound boxes inside.

My time in Montreal was amazing it is a beautiful city with a great culture. While there I said goodbye to hearing English everywhere, and even though everyone knows the language I did notice myself becoming quieter.

Although there were beautiful cathedrals, streets, and more. My favorite thing was…. You guessed it. Cheap. There is a restaurant called Cinko where every meal is $5 Canadian, so in US money that’s essentially free. The meals were delicious too! I had salmon with pesto and rice, cobb salad, Italian sausage with mac & cheese. At night there were DJ’s playing as well. I have absolutely no idea how they make any money, but it was delicious food that was cheaper than the McDonalds and Subway that were next door.

After that I made my way over to Lisanne’s house in Toronto, where her family would look after me for my last two days. Her family is so nice, and sweet, and made me delicious food. They made me these delicious burgers for my last meal in North America, and they were absolutely to die for. I only took a few photos in Toronto and did not do too much, just picked up some last minute necessities.

However on my last morning I had to wake up at 5:30 to say bye to Lisanne’s mom who was so sweet.

Finally the day had come. I was going to the airport. Everything is about to get real.

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