Undoubtedly, this year is about all aspects of growing. It is my first year at university, and also in Canada. For the first time I left my family’s shelter to a strange country and to accept new culture. Thanks to Nanmo, it was easier for me to adapt to the learning mode here. Now I would like to share part of my first-year life in Mississauga. 

Fortunately, I rent an apartment with my friend, Kerensa. Our landlord equipped us with complete furniture and even bought basic food for us in advance, such as noodles and vegetables, so we did not sleep on the floor on the first night. During this year, I have become a great cook. Before I came to Canada, I only learnt the basic skills of cooking, and so did Kerensa. Since we did not want to order take-out or eat out frequently, we cooked every meal by ourselves. From simple “stir-fried greens” to some classic Shanghai dishes (sweet and sour pork), and then to a large pot stew (dapanji), and even homemade desserts (GATEAU BASQUE), we went from rookie to chef. Our friends who came to our apartment all gave big praise. Now I am looking forward to cooking the new dishes for my family when I return to China.

Kerensa and I tend to socialize casually, so we only know about five or six friends so far. Honestly, I was quite comfortable with such a “narrow” social circle. We would celebrate birthdays together, watch movies on projectors with curtains closed, exchange newly developed recipes with friends who lived in the same building and had perfect cooking skills, and take multiple-style photos. Speaking of friends, I think chatting is a good way to relieve pressure. We all have went through periods of anxiety, irritability, worry or depression, especially before a final or when we struggled with major choice. Once I was struggled in an important essay that TA asked me to revise the thesis statement constantly and I could never come up with a satisfying one. Meanwhile, my previous scores were not ideal, so I was worried that I could not meet the requirements of the major. At first, I kept to myself, searching for information and drawing inspiration all the time. Kerensa found my depressed state, and I confided my anxiety. She helped me think outside the box and unconsciously, we talked for a long time. When I came back to the essay, I felt enlightened and more energetic. There have been many late-night chats with her or other online friends. The topics weren’t always about study, but also included career plans, life visions, relationships, family, movies and books or even debate on odd topics. I think the best thing about conversation is that it’s usually not purposeful. Instead of holding the goal of “I have to get something out of the conversation”, we should just enjoy the process of relaxation, and the mood will stretch out unconsciously. I also keep in close contact with my family and friends in China. Every month, I will send videos to share my life with my family members. We also see each other through wechat video chatting and spent New Year’s Eve together. My friends and I kept sharing any updates and funny stories in our schools, especially during their period of isolation. I believe that if you want to maintain communication with your country, you don’t need to do it deliberately, but do it sincerely. Since we can’t meet each other at any time, we should care more about each other.

Half of the happiness here came from friends and the other half is from sunsets. It’s hard to see a sunset in Shanghai, let alone a beautiful one. I didn’t know sunsets have so many colors until I came here. Rainbows not only appeared after rain, but also at sunset. Every evening, we would look out of the window and yell, “What a beautiful sunset today!” and take photos with our cameras. As the Little Prince said, one loves the sunset when one is lonely, but I love it at every moment. It was too cold, too dry and too windy here, but I don’t think it matters because of the beautiful sunsets. 

Fascinating sights also abounded in downtown. I have only been there twice, but it was impressive enough. AGO was too big to finish, and there were few people so it was easier to be immersed. I found many old people in the gallery, and you can always see a sense of grace and indifference that defeats the years. I like Matthew Wong’s works best, which showed the loneliness and tranquility of blue incisively and vividly. After understanding his life, I fell into his inner world with his works, feeling depression, loneliness, sorrowness and other unspeakable feelings. At the gate of AGO, we met a gentleman holding dried flowers, waiting for a girl in the wind. Hope that wellbeing will always meet with romantic people. Last week, we came to Queen Street and further felt the freedom and casualty of downtown. Graffiti in everywhere, colorful stores, children and dogs who came for spring outing and the joyful buskers were all the signatures of spring.

I mentioned only a few about learning because I believe life is more important than grades. Study is definitely important, but life is not only to write endless assignments, finish endless readings, and review endless exams. We won’t be in the school for the rest of the life, but we will always in life, and learning how to live the life we want. If you feel messed up, try to talk with your friends, family, and nature. 

Happiness is like glass, usually never noticed, but it has always been there.