Carmen MacDonald has been down studying in the U.S. so long now that when she's home for Christmas, her family teases her about her Yankee accent.
She doesn't mind. She's just glad to be back in Pictou County for a bit.
"It's really nice," she says. "I haven't been home since the summer."
MacDonald is studying at Westminster School where she plays on the school's field hockey and ice hockey teams. She has excelled in both versions of the sport and right now her team has a 7-0 record for the season.
It's been quite a year for the Bayview native. In March she helped Canada's Under-18 team defeat their American counterparts for gold at the U-18 Worlds. She was also invited to Canada's U-22 training camp.
"It was different," she says. "Their girls are a lot older at that age and they're really skilled and committed. It was fast."
That said she is proud to have been invited at such a young age.
But being famous has never been MacDonald's main objective.
"I just play because I love it," she said.
A goalie's role is unlike any other.
"It's a different position because you're part of a team but at the same time you have to focus on yourself and be in your own world," she said.
Her mother often asks her how she can't feel pressure in that type of situation.
Her answer is simple.
"I know what I'm doing and everything else doesn't matter at the moment," she said.
MacDonald has two goals in mind right now. Long-term is to make it to the Olympics. The other is to get her education through a hockey scholarship.
She's had plenty of offers for the latter goal, but has verbally committed to St. Lawrence University a smaller college in New York State.
"I really like the team," she says. "They're really open and nice and just accept you as soon as you get there."
As a small town girl she likes that it's in a smaller community.
"I just feel like it's a closer community and there's a better chance of knowing people on campus," she said.
Her plan right now is to study science.
She hopes that she can be a positive role model for young hockey players in Pictou County.
"I want them to realize anything can happen if they push themselves," she says. "It's all about trying out for the team you don't think you're going to make. You never know what's going to happen."