Hey everyone! In this post I will tell about my ski trip to Jasper and how was it. This trip was organized by rotary for all the exchange students in the district (5370). We were divided in 2 vans to go, one to drive people around Edmonton (Julia, Isabel, Petter, Andreas, Moa, Jan and me) and another to drive people around Grand Prairie (Ámelie, Cláudio, Robin, Charlie and Ploy). We left Edmonton, stopped at Tim Hortons (of course) and took almost 4:30 to arrive in Jasper. We went on december 1st and stayed untill december 3rd staying in a place called Palisades Education Centre. In the first day we arrived at night so we had supper and we had a fire pit with blankets to listen a first nation's woman talk and sing some songs. We also did a Secret Santa and was a lot of fun! I took Andreas and thanks Moa for my present! Hahaha. In the next day we woke up very early to have breakfast and go to the hill where we had lessons. Ploy and I had the lesson together because we had never skied before. After this we skied all day and in the end of the day we went to the Jasper's town, that it's so cute! We walked, did some shopping and then went to the Palisades to get supper, play some cards games and we also play hide and seek HAHAHAHA (we definitely had so much fun). In the last day we had another lesson in the morning and skied all day again. I really can say that these days were one of the bests days of my exchange! We had a lot of fun skiing and being together. I never thought i would go to the top of the mountain like I did. I want to thank Isabel, Ámelie, Moa and Julia a LOT because you guys had so much patience to help and teach Ploy and I hahaha. Also thanks Cláudio, Andreas and everyone that were helping me and waiting for me. I fell so many times that i can't even count! After this my body was sour for more than 1 week hahahaha. I want to thank my host rotary club (Rotary Club of St. Albert) that sponsored me in this trip, you gave me an amazing opportunity, the district to had organized this awesome trip and the chaperones that went with us and were very nice and fun! This trip was the best one, Jasper is in my heart now and I'm looking forward to go back there again! I made a video for my youtube channel and I hope you like it!

A lot of kisses,

Gabi.

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Today completed exactly 100 days that I’m here in Canada and again, the only thing I can say is that I can’t see myself in another place, I love here and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity. I’m improving my English each day more and actually I’m surprised: I’m already thinking in English all the time. I called my mom some weeks ago and we were speaking in portuguese, but it was so hard because I was putting words in English together that we decided just speak in English (because my mom is an English teacher so she can understand me). I was a big step since I arrived here, now I listen the language so natural that sounds my first language, I don’t even need to translate in my mind or think before. The school is being pretty good too, I got some good marks, the teachers and the principal are very nice with me, I joined the swim team and I made so much friends. They’re all super cool, kind and patient with me. I’m very glad to have met all of them. During this time I went to the Jersey Boys Musical, I saw the Remembrance Day ceremony, I went to the rotary conference in Fort McMurray where the others exchange students and I helped packing food for needed countries, I went to swim races, I went to the mall couple of times, I had a fun dinner with my rotary called “guess who’s coming for dinner”, I did shopping and I get dinner with my friends, I volunteer in a Christmas event in my city called SnowFlacke and another one called St.Albert Awards Night, I watched my first hockey game, I visited a ghost town, I had my first Halloween and I also went trick or treating (we don’t have in Brazil), I sold cupcakes at school to raise money for my club, I did a helicopter tour, I went to Calgary (to the zoo and the tower), I had supper with a rebound from Brazil and we spoke in portuguese (she actually stayed in the city beside mine there). I went to the Canadians Final Rodeo where I stayed in a private box, I cooked Brazilian food in my food class at school, I made Brazilian sweets and a Brazilian juice called mint pineapple juice for my family, I had my first Thanksgiving Day (we don’t have in Brazil too), I skied and I SAW SNOW FOR THE FIRST TIME! It’s pretty but it’s so cold for me, very hard to be more than 5 minutes outside, even with a lot of clothes. I'm enjoying all the moments, even the smallest one, because time is flying and it doesn't go back. I made a video with all my best memories in Canada so far and I hope you enjoy it! Thank you everyone who’s making my year the best of my life.

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My host brother Brennon took me to my first Hockey Game: Edmonton Oilers x Carolina Hurricanes. I live in St.Albert, a city very close to Edmonton, so our team is the Oilers. The place where they play is brand new, it was built just 1 year ago and it's called Rogers Place. We had to park the car in a parking lot in Edmonton and take a bus to the arena. Before the game starts we bought some food (chickend and fries) and I found Petter, the other exchange student, from Finland. The game is divided in 3 periods of 20 minutes and between each period they game a 20 minutes break. Unfortunately we lost, but I loved the game, it's so exciting to watch and I was nervous almost all the time (it remembered me soccer in Brazil). Sometimes is very hard to follow the game because it's very fast and you can't almost see the "ball". It's also very fun in the break when there are some funny things to entertain the people there, like the "kiss cam" and some games. I shared a video in my youtube channel about the game and I hope you like it!

Lots of kisses,

Gabi.

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I went to a ghost town called Rowley with Nicole (a Rotarian) and another 3 exchange students: Mona, Petter and Andreas. We went on Friday the 13th, so it was very cool and scary. The town is very small and is totally abandoned. I don’t even know why people just left. We took almost 3 hours to arrive there and we spent some hours looking around and taking a lot of photos. We really loved to have this opportunity, it was unusual and a good experience to see a “ghost city” in Canada. I also record a video for my youtube channel and I hope you like it!

Lots of kisses,

Gabi.

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I had my first volunteer job in my city. It's called the "St.Albert Awards Night", a day where some people are invited to compete for a prize for their work in different categories. My counselor took me there and when I arrived I was a little bit scared because I didn’t know too much what I was supposed to do, but then when people were getting the cocktail, the other people helping with the event and I went to the stage for practice. I was helping in the backstage, so all the time I had to take the certificate for the person in the stage with a lot of people watching, but it was easy because I’m not a shy person. Then when each person was nominated the winner I had to take them to the correct place to get the photo taken. After this I helped to carry some flowers from the stage. I also made some friends, people were very patient and kind with me. I loved helping with this event!

Lots of kisses,

Gabi.

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In september 8 I had the fall orientation in the Chateau Louis Hotel, in Edmonton, where i met all the Exchange students in the district. There is in total this year 13 exchange students, most of them from Europe: Mona (Germany), Claudio (Italy), Amelie (Áustria), Petter (Finland), Isabel (Netherlands), Andreas (Denmark), Julia (Poland), Charles (Belgium), Moa (Sweden), Robin (France), Ploy (Thailand), Jan (Czech Republic) and me. I’m the only one from South America. In the beginning it was being hard to talk and understand English (most of the time when people talk very fast or use lots of slangs or different words) and I realized how good the other exchange students were speaking and understanding the language, so for some instant I felt bad but then I stopped to think and in Brazil people don’t speak in English, even in the “English classes” (where we learn grammar) most of the time they teach us in Portuguese, so for this reason I was doing pretty good actually. During the weekend we learned a lot of things, including how to be a good exchange student and embassador (homesick, cultural chock among another things), we had the opportunity to have some rebounds there (Sarah and Reina, they were in Argentina and Thailand) and it was very nice because they really know what is being an exchange student and how difficult it can be sometimes. We also had our counselors there, so we did a lot of speech’s with them, about our goals and about some things that can help us during our year. We did some activities together with everybody: zumba class where we danced (I loved, brazilians love dancing), we had a group dynamic where we had to build a tower with pasta and put a marshmallow in the top, and my group was very bad to be honest, we couldn’t build but we had a lot of fun together thinking and trying, we had a fun activity with our counselors: we had to take them with their eyes closed in a room with a lot of people where they couldn’t touch anyone, and we also had a volunteer work making blankets for homeless people. On Saturday we went to a neon bowling (everybody had to use white clothes) and I ate my first poutine in Canada with Moa. My team was Moa, Petter, Sarah and I, and I can’t remember who won, I just know it wasn’t me, I’m so bad hahaha. It’s incredible how in just one wekeend I can learn so much about people, about myself, different countries and culture and realize how Brazil is different from their countries and from Canada. During this days we danced, talked with each other, we switched our pins and business cards, we had lots of fun together and finally after this weekend we were already a big international family. They’re all amazing people, everybody is very nice and kind, excellent exchange students and I’m sad for being far from some of them. I miss u guys so much! I’m couldn’t feel more glad for had met you.

Lots of kisses,

Gabi.

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Have already been 1 month that I'm here in this wonderful place and I couldn't be more grateful for all that I'm experiencing. It has been an incredible month, Canada is an extraordinary country with extremely nice and friendly people. I've done a lot of things in just 31 days, it's just unbelievable: I went to the West Edmonton Mall twice, to the movie theatre, I traveled to Banff, Sicamous, Radium and Revelstoke with my host parents, I rode a mountain coaster, I tried wakeboard, I went to the Fringe Festival and I watched 3 plays, I did almost 25km of canoeing and 6 more kilometers hiking with flip-flops on the train tracks (after this I almost couldn't feel my feet), I did mountain biking and picnic, I went to Fort Edmonton with my host brother, I went to a block party, to a farm, a birthday, and a wedding, I ate poutine and my first s'more, among several other things. I also had a fall orientation with the other exchange students from my district at the Chateau Louis Hotel in Edmonton, and it was really cool to meet everyone and get in touch with various cultures. They are all amazing people and I'm very happy to have met them, now we are a big family. We also went to a neon bowling and we had a learning weekend with the Rotary District 5370, our advisors and some rebounds. My classes have already started and I'm enjoying it a lot, I've already made friends, I've joined 3 clubs and I'll start playing sports. This semester I'm taking: social studies, math, chemistry and food studies. I've been to some meetings at my rotary club and it's a lot of fun, the people are very welcoming and funny. I want to thank my parents first, Junior and Adriana, for providing me all this, I want them to know that I couldn't be happier to accomplish one of my biggest dreams and it's being incredible. I want to thank my host Family, Marianne, Erica, Evan, Bren and Rob for giving me a home and welcomed me so well, you are already my family. I want to thank my counsellor Charlene, my host Rotary Club (Rotary Club of St. Albert) and the rotary of my district (Rotary District 5370) for welcoming me this year as their inbound exchange student, it's a privilege to be part of such a wonderful Rotary. I want to thank my Rotary club sponsor, Rotary Club de Garça Real, and my district in Brazil, Rotary District 4510, for believing in me and supporting me on this journey. And I want to thank finally all the people I met in the first month, everybody who talked to me, welcomed me, helped me, the friends I made, the exchange students, everyone who made my dream possible and what they are doing for my year be the best year ever. My sincere thanks! Canada, you are my second home.

Lots of kisses,

Gabriela.

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My first trip in Canada was extremely fun. My host parentd took me to Banff, in Alberta, and to some places in British Columbia. We left St.Albert and drove 1 hour when we stopped to go to the bathroom, then we went to Calgary to stock up the car and then to Banff. When we were on the road and started to see the mountains I was simply impressed, it is very beautiful and surreal, it looks like a painting. In Banff we had lunch, walked around the city, saw some shops and took lots of pictures. It is a simply wonderful place and I hope to have the opportunity to return someday. We then went to Brisco (BC), where we would sleep in a cabin in the mountains, but we stopped before at Radium Hot Springs for dinner. The cabin was beautiful, it looked like movie, and in the morning at next day, when I went out to see the scenery I was enchanted: mountain on all sides, and this is something I had never seen in my entire life. We went to Ravelstoke where we did a mountain coaster (very cool but very scary, I loved) and then to Sicamous where we went on a boat, I did wakeboard and we swam in the lake. After a long day of travel we had ice cream and then headed back to Brisco. The next day we woke up and we did canoeing in a river, and then comes the first funny situation of my exchange: during the canoeing, after almost 20km canoeing (5 hours), the weather began to get bad and we were not able to move in the water, so we had to go out and walk another 6km along the train track, and I was in flip-flops! It was an extremely tiring day, when I got home I took a hot bath but even then I could not feel my foot. Despite the situation, it was great fun, I loved it. We then returned the next day to St.Albert, and on the way back we stopped at a provincial park to see a waterfall called Takkakaw Falls and in a lake called Abraham Lake. In the total trip there were almost 1,000km of travel. Thank you Marianne and Robin for giving me such an amazing trip! If you are interested in seeing the video about the trip in my Youtube Chanel the link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZiZCsY8qes&t=239s


Lots of kisses,

Gabriela.

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I left my city in Brazil on August 17 at 11 am, and finally arrived in Edmonton on August 18 at 6:30 p.m. There were almost 30 hours of travel in total, with 3 flights, 2 connections (Toronto and Winnipeg) and 8 hours and 30 minutes of waiting. I was extremely tired and anxious. At the airport my host Family was waiting for me, along with the outbound counselor (Jeri) and the president of my host Rotary club (Laszlo). They were extremely nice, they gave me pins and my host sister made a welcome poster that I loved (thanks Erica). When we arrived home (in Saint Albert) they made dinner, we talked for a while and I went to sleep. In the morning at the next day we had an amazing breakfast with bacon, pancakes, fruits.. and we went to another city for a wedding. Although I was exhausted it was a lot of fun (my host brother Evan taught me a very famous dance). Because my host sister Erica was going to Netherlands for her exchange I stayed 2 days at Laszlo's home so my host Family coud finish arranging things. I was very sad to have to say goodbye to her. During the week I did several things: my host mom took me to see the West Edmonton Mall (biggest shopping mall in America and one of the largest in the world), we bought my school supplies, we went to David's tea, I saw the solar eclipse, I ate my first s'more, I walked in a park of my city, I went to a football game, I went to the fringe festival where I watched 3 plays, I made dragonboat, I went to an Italian festival and to the botanic park at St.Albert, I did mountain biking and picnic, I got my first Blizzard, my counsellor Charlene took me to get supper and I had my first Rotary meeting which was amazing: everyone is extremely friendly and funny. In the first moment English has being a bit hard for me. I often don't understand what people are talking about, they speak very fast or use a lot of slang, but I think in a few months I'll be better (I hope). I think it's because I'm not used to it and I have never been in a situation where I had to speak another language all the time. But I'm very happy, my first week was amazing, my host family received me very well, they are being amazing people with me and they are always making me feel at home.. I hope all my exchange year could be great as this week was.

Lots of kisses,

Gabriela.

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Hi guys, how are you? My name is Gabriela Belini, I'm 17 years old and I'm from Brazil. I'll tell you a little bit about me, my family, my city and other things so that you can know me a little bit better. Again, my name is Gabriela but normally people call me Gabi. I have younger sisters, 12 years old, and they are twins: Luisa and Bruna. My dad owns his own mechanic shop and he's the most incredible man I know. He is funny and has a huge heart. My mom is an English teacher and she is the most beautiful and sweet woman in the whole world. I feel like the luckiest person to have such a wonderful family. I live in a small town in the countryside of the state of São Paulo, called Garça and that has about 45,000 inhabitants. I’m an rotary exchange student and I’m currently living in the town of St.Albert, in the province of Alberta, Canada. My sponsored Rotary is the “Rotary Club de Garça Real” in the district 4510, and my host Rotary Club is the Rotary Club of St. Albert in the district 5370. My school here in Canada is called Paul Kane and it's pretty big, sometimes I get lost. I really enjoy reading books, dancing, listening musics, hanging out with friends, practicing sports mainly swimming (in Brazil I used to be part of the swimming team of my city) and soccer. I love talking in public and the dream of my life is to travel the whole world. My biggest dream until 2 months ago, before arriving in Canada, was to do an exchange, and I couldn’t be happier to be doing it right now. I have a big desire to know all the places in the world, to get in touch and learn new cultures and languages , to create new worldviews and to help people. I want to make of my life a huge cultural baggage. This lasts 2 months that I’ve been here in Canada were the 2 most amazing months in my whole life and I created this blog to share with my friends, my host families, Rotarians (and many other people who are interested) all that I’m experiencing in this simply incredible place. I hope you like it!

Lots of kisses,

Gabriela.

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