A day of many firsts

My first day on campus was also my first day in Vancouver, and in Canada. Coming from Salvador, Brazil, my trip took around 24 hours with layovers in two cities. I was sleep deprived, but too excited to be starting a new life in my dream school to even blink.

My first day on campus was also the first day for many international kids who were part of JumpStart. The airport was packed and I waited for three hours to get my student visa. When I finally left, I was greeted by Orientation Leaders surrounded by other eager first years. We all got on a bus and were soon on our way to UBC. I didn’t see the city as we went past, instead I saw the glittering of the buildings, the greens and yellows of unfamiliar trees, and a jet blue sea that looked like someone poured ink into and forgot to stir. When they dropped us off, my only thought was are you sure? It seems a bit empty.

My first day on campus I carried two suitcases, a carry-on bag, a backpack and a purse which contained my entire life as I had known it. I organized my small dorm room, which fit everything I owned and still somehow had space remaining. Was my world so contained that it really fit into those four old walls? I kept my windows open - I still do - because I wanted to let a little of the outside in.

My first day on campus I met an old friend and made many new ones I never saw again. It was jumble of emotions, tiredness, and confusion. I had to open a bank account, get a phone number, figure out the internet (or lack thereof) in my room, understand the dinning hall, and learn how to sort my trash. And in the end of all this mess, I found peace in the one thing that was familiar to me. Down at wreck beach, a little colder than what I was used to, and much later than then I would have expected, the sun set in a ball of orange fire that stained my skin with light. I still carry that energy around as a reminder of the reason I opened myself to this university.

My first day on campus I went to bed knowing I had found a place to belong away from home.