It is an evening like no other. The cold wind snaps at my ankles as I run to my car. The only thing on my mind is getting warm. I glance behind me to ensure that the Panama crew is following, the last thing I need is for them to get lost in the Kamloops wilderness. “How on earth would I explain that,” I mutter to myself as I press the button to unlock the car. I jump and slide the key into the ignition. The car begins to purr as cold air blasts from the vents. My Panama crew also known as Marycarmen, Luis, Jesus and Madeline burst into the car voices high with excitement, rich with their native tongue. In unison they thank me for brining them on the nature walk and I chuckle a response, “No worries” followed by “bleeeehhhhh uuuuuuuppp!!” The car erupts in laughter. Poor Luis.


Now to get the joke one would have to be taken back to the beginning of the adventure. A few days prior, on a Wednesday, I had asked my international student, Marycarmen, if she would like to go on a nighttime nature walk with my biology class. Knowing her love of nature and walks I felt it would be an excellent opportunity for her to see Kamloops in a different way. She joyfully jumped at the opportunity, excited for the experience and the prospect of practicing her English with the group. The following day Marycarmen asked if she could bring a friend to the walk. Happily I said “sure”, as I felt it was going to be a great time for them.


When the day finally arrived Marycarmen and I hopped into my car and went to pick up her friend. When we arrived at her friend’s house, however three people popped out and piled into my car. Word had travelled through Marycarmen’s class about the great adventure walk and these three did not want to be left out. Thankfully I had room to fit them all and we went on our way.


As we drove through the vacant streets of upper Aberdeen towards TRU, it began to snow. This was something that none of them had seen before and the group was mesmerized at the site. Wanting to give them a true Canadian Kamloops experience of winter I opted to stop for hot chocolate and Tim Bits at the local Tim Horton’s. The group gobbled up the squishy round delights and sipped on their hot chocolate as we pulled into the TRU parking lot. We waited in the car for everyone to arrive, heat blasting as music hummed in the background. Suddenly I catch Luis’s gaze in my review mirror, he looked green. Marycarmen follows my gaze as Spanish words flow from her mouth. Madeline and Jesus begin to laugh hysterically as Marycarmen yells “Rapido!!! Rapido!!!!! Rapido!!!!” Jesus flings the car door open and Luis flies out of the car, laughing with a bag in his hand. Confused on what is going on I ask, “Is he okay?” Jesus is now on the ground laughing as Marycarmen proclaims “Pork and beans….Pork and beans,” shaking her head. Luis staggers to the front of the car bag to his mouth, head low, body bent at the hips. He then beings to heave, blowing chunks of rusty brown beans into the clear plastic bag. Oh the horror! It is like a train wreck and I cannot look away. He is lit up from the glare of my car headlights as he laughs between heaves. Poor Luis. His Canadian adventure has turned into a lesson of what not to eat and I will never look at pork and beans the same way again.



** All that being said I would also like to comment that the crew had a great time out in the wilderness with the class. They were able to frolic in the snow and experience, first hand, the bitter cold of a winters night. Little do they realize it only gets colder from here!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA…… *****