Likeminded People

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Last weekend I went to the final farewell event for this year's crop of exchange teachers. It was run by the Canadian League for Educational Exchange, or CLEE. The event was held at the Toronto District School Board offices in Scarborough... a very large and imposing architect-designed (read 'expensive-looking') building that makes it easy to understand why there might be a lack of resources in the actual schools. I suppose books and computers and other resources probably aren't that important as along as the administrators have somewhere nice to work.

Anyway, it was good to catch up with a lot of other teachers who have been here all year, swap a few stories and share a few photos. The folk from CLEE do a great job of running events and activities for the teachers on exchange, and we were involved in the very first trip to Quebec City back in January, and also to the Wanakita Weekend near Haliburton in February. We had a great time on those trips, and it helped us really start to soak up the Canadian lifestyle very early on and we're very glad we went on them.

I must admit that since those events we really haven't been very involved in the CLEE events, for two main reasons...

Firstly, as much as we enjoyed the company of the other Aussies (and Poms and Scots and Frogs) who are out here on exchange this year, we didn't travel 15,000km to hang out with other Australians. We decided way back before we even left Australia that we were coming to Canada to see and enjoy Canada and the Canadian people. There are some terrific Aussies here this year and I'm looking forward to catching up with some of them back in Australia where we can sit around over a few beers and tell our Canadian war stories, but the idea of hanging out with Australians during our time here in Canada just seemed a bit nonsensical to us.

The second, and perhaps more important reason is that we have made so many great Canadian friends here, we've been flat out just keeping up with them!

But, I do want to sincerely thank the folk from CLEE for the work they put into looking after the incoming exchangees each year. I know a lot of the 2006 exchangees have taken part in many of the CLEE events and had an absolute ball. We were very fortunate to have made so many friends here who all wanted to share "their Canada" with us, and we loved seeing the country through the eyes of those who live here. However, had we not been so readily accepted into our circle of Oakville friends I'm sure it would have been very reassuring to know that CLEE was there with a bunch of stuff for us to make sure we saw the very best of Canada.

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