Clare is a quaint French region on the tip of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is home of the Acadians, Université Sainte-Anne and of course; it is my home away from home. Even after travelling to Tokyo, Dubai and Paris, Clare is the place I will always look forward to coming back to the most. The delectable traditional dish, Rappure, seafood galore and breathtaking country surrounded by the water of the Baie Sainte Marie are just a couple of bonuses of spending time in this region of rich French culture and history. The people are, by far, the most welcoming, patient, happy and downright pee-your-pants kind of laughing group I have ever met. It seems people just want to feed me delicious home-made food and make me laugh, while teaching me their language. How could I not love it!?
Even though it may take 20 minutes (at least) to get a bottle of wine or loaf of bread, the drive is never a drag; the constant glitter of the surrounding Baie never ceases to put one’s mind at rest and in a state of content and peace. By the way, if you do trek out to get a bottle of wine, don’t forget your ID… Even though everybody knows the name of the neighbour’s sister’s child’s best friend’s dog AND their birthday, they will still ask for your ID and inspect it cautiously, every time (Probably while asking how the last party went)!
But wait, Samara, you are not from NS! Why Clare? Well, as previously mentioned, it is home to Université Sainte-Anne, a small, French university. But Samara, since when do you speak French? Well since 2009, since I did my first five-week Spring session of complete immersion. Yes. Complete immersion. Five weeks. No English (calling home does not count). Party? French. Eating? French. 3am in the morning? French. Grocery store? Yepp, French too. I even dreamt in French. After these five weeks I fell in love. The campus, the community, the people….the entire atmosphere was something I did not want to give up. So three years, two more spring sessions (including one I worked as camp-counsellor) and a semester in regular program later, here I am. (As one of my closest friends here would say, “Single, bilingual and ready to mingle!”) I also learned how to function with only about three to four hours of sleep a night, which really comes in handy!
It’s a hard feeling to explain, and I don’t want to get to corny on you all here, but after you leave Clare you don’t just come back to friends, you come back to a family. I know there will always be places to stay when I come to visit, arms open for hugs and a hot meal waiting, whether a week, a month or even a year passes. I have made friends for life, the kinds of friends you may only talk to once a month but once back together it seems like no time has passed. That is Clare. So now that my school here is coming to an end, thanks to everyone here, school coffee and cafeteria ladies, my camp counsellors when I went here, teachers and amazing people from Clare who made it an amazing experience!