Fiedorek siblings return after four year stay in Canada

The Fiedoreks enjoyed the winter activities and nature surrounding them in Calgary.

Courtesy of Ryan Fiedorek

The Fiedoreks enjoyed the winter activities and nature surrounding them in Calgary.

Abigail Poag, Staff Writer

After four years of calling colored pencils “pencil crayons,” taking public transportation everywhere and seeing mountains outside their school windows, the Fiedorek siblings returned home to Houston from Calgary, Alberta.

Ryan, a junior, and Sarah, a freshman, moved to Canada following their sixth and fourth grade years at St. John’s, respectively. Their father’s job took them to the relatively small city of Calgary (population 1.27 million), which contrasted with the busy metropolis they left behind.

“There was a much better sense of community between everybody because it was a much smaller city,” Sarah said.

The Fiedoreks enjoyed the natural beauty and distinct seasons of Calgary as well as the accessibility of activities like sledding and skiing in a city surrounded by mountains.

“There was a lot of snow, but it was never really bad snow. It never kept us inside,” Sarah said. “I loved the natural element. We had these gorgeous aspen trees all over the city that changed color every year.”

Canadian and American school systems are nearly identical. According to Sarah, the major adjustment was getting used to a new environment and new classmates.

Living thousands of miles from Houston also made it difficult to communicate with childhood friends. At an age when Sarah did not have access to texting or social media yet, keeping in touch with friends required more effort than simply posting a status update.

“When you’re that young, it’s so hard to stay in touch because you can’t just drive up or fly to see them,” said freshman Natalie Brown.

The Fiedoreks moved their belongings back to Houston this summer. Despite this daunting task, Sarah viewed the situation in a positive light.

“When we first got here, we didn’t have any stuff. We were all sleeping on air mattresses, and it took several days just to get stuff into place in rooms and beds put together.” Sarah said. “It was kind of fun, in a weird way.”

The Fiedoreks have adjusted to resuming their education at SJS, which is a slightly different version of the school they previously attended.

“There are new buildings, new staff and new people,” Ryan said. “The style is a lot different with Da Vincis and all that stuff. I never had that before.”

The siblings originally feared falling behind due to the slightly slower Canadian curriculum, but they noted that the transition has been smooth.

“It’s nice coming in freshman year while everybody else is figuring out how things work as well,” Sarah said. “It’s been a little hard, but I think I’m getting used to it now.”