And now, I interrupt this recounting in order to bring you Celine, singer/blogger from our choir:
I have to say that I really enjoyed this trip- so many oppurtunities to learn about our predecessors and the people who built the foundation to Canadian culture as we know it today. In BC, where I usually am, I really do have to say that there is a lack of history beyond the past century or so (although our vivid aboriginal culture serves to fill in for that). In Nova Scotia there is such an abundance of stories artifacts, relics of the past- each time I stepped into a new historic site, whether it be a beautiful church to sing in at Lunenburg or a rather grim reminder of the deportation of the Acadian people such as the black cross, I really felt a connection to the people from the past who stepped where I was stepping. Now of course, there’s all of this amazing history, but I can’t forget to elaborate on the people of the present- namely all of my chorister friends, both from CSMA and AVHC, who I joined during this spectacular trip. The integration of past and present into this exchange really left so many fond memories that I will keep with me for the years to come.
And now here’s Jan. Jan has been on a SEVEC exchange before- when we exchanged with Guelph Youth Singers. So he’s experienced!
This trip has truly been an amazing experience for me. Two years ago, when the Children’s Choir exchanged with the Guelph Choir, I had an awesome time. I connected with peers, participated in several attractions, and visited many places of historic significance. This year though, on our tour to Nova Scotia, it has been an extraordinary adventure. Every day was jam-packed, whether we were visiting Grand Pré and singing the same hymn that had been sung there several hundred years ago, or singing “Bluenose” at the Bluenose 2 in Lunenberg. Everyday was a new adventure with its own share of surprises, education, and fun. Since I had experience in an exchange like this before, I was prepared for the trip, yet Nova Scotia’s glory still struck me with awe. This year I also really connected with my peers, discussing our experiences and opinions on certain historical sites. I also finally understand what this saying “Nova Scotian Hospitality” means. My host family was extremely generous and caring. I feel that a nicer week could not be achievable when you live with such amazing and kind people. I don’t know whether it is the open fields, the warm and close community, or the natural beauties, like Peggy’s Cove, but there is something about Nova Scotia that really doesn’t want to make you leave. This brings me to my final point. On this trip, many close and great friendships were made, leaving many people in tears when it was time for us to leave, and possibly never see each other again. It is a great feeling to know that the friendships you have created have become so strong so fast, that people are saddened at your departure. I would like to personally thank SEVEC and our wonderful choir directors for organizing this exchange, as well as my wonderful parents, for funding my trip. I can say for sure that on this exchange I have made some life-long friends and will keep the memories made here forever.
Okay I have to take a few moments here to dab at my teary eyes and blow my nose.
Your children–our singers– have been nothing short of AMAZING this whole trip. There has been zero whining, absolutely no complaining, lots of offers to help with stuff, lots of demonstrations of their responsibility. Honestly, I feel like we could take this group anywhere in the world, and they would be grounded ambassadors. Coming home after such a trip is always challenging. “Re-entry” I call it. Getting back to routines, but feeling like “on the inside” we’ve changed so much as people–matured, gained confidence, independence and life experiences–but “on the outside”, our lives are the same. Same chores around the house, same school work, same people asking us to do stuff. It can feel a bit rocky after such intensity and novelty to get back to our usual lives.
I have to mention our truly A++ chaperone team! They anticipated problems like they had super powers, and took actions to make sure all went smoothly. They were just the right mix of nurturers, advocates, serious-about-the-rules-keepers, medical attendants, videographers, surrogate parents and collaborators on the decision-making. They all treat your children with such respect and gentle kindness, while teaching valuable life lessons about what happens when you leave your stuff unattended! Hahaha I can’t say we didn’t play a few “head games” – some of our choristers were white-faced and panicked when they thought their stuff had been stolen. Luckily, it was always just us that were the “thieves”.
It really does take a village to raise a child, and I feel like your children are in a wonderful “village” here in the choir. So lots of gratitude to Heather, Sunni, Taco, and our excellent piano accompanist, Barry!!!