Oh, Canada!

Canadians are people that say "ôt" for "out", "abôt" for "about" and, more importantly, if you bump into them, they will apologise. "How I met your mother" was indeed a good introductory course, the people here couldn't be any friendlier. I'll elaborate further. On my way from Toronto's airport to Waterloo, I boarded a bus which required exact change. I explained the driver I had just landed and had only a $20 bill on me. He waved me in, "say what, I'll let you get in, maybe you can find some change with another guest or, worst case, you get this changed at the end terminal". I had barely managed to get my luggage inside and settled into a seat, a passenger approaches me, asking "hey, I heard you need some change... can I help you with that? How much you need change for?".

A few days later, I took a shuttle from our Institute to the main campus (IQC is located quite far out, so either you drive, or take the complimentary university shuttle from the Research Park to the main central campus). I explained the girl driving where I wanted to go, a few blocks away from the shuttle's designated drop-off point. "If you want, I can drive you ôt, otherwise it's a long wôlk there". Wow, they really say that.
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The first week was filled with, well, first week chores. Registering, signing paperwork, getting acquainted with the group and its different research topics, and, mostly, scouting for a room, as my accommodations here are only temporary. I have some visits lined up for the coming days, keep your fingers crossed.

What else can I say? The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is a top-notch research facility focused on both experimental and theoretical aspects of quantum information-relevant tasks. The atmosphere seems really nice; staff is friendly; and rumours have it, there's even a table tennis table somewhere :) . Unfortunately, the espresso machine broke down two days after I arrived (hmm.. is there a correlation?), and the regular coffee they offer is... americano, to put it in mild terms. There's also free food (!) three times a week during seminars/colloquia which are held at lunchtime, and numerous social events to foster contact between researchers.
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Precisely aiming to network with my fellow peers, I joined the weekly basketball game held Friday evenings in the court which is set in the Institute's parking lot. Sure, I hadn't played since high school, but figured I could at least run back and forth in the field and eventually have some fun. Our team took a beating, and I developed two huge blisters in both feet - apparently, if you're going to be running and jumping around for two hours, proper footwear is required. Duly noted for next week...

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