Would you believe it. This week, we’ve been in Canada for 6 months. 6 whole months. Most of them spent in sub-zero temperatures and covered in snow and ice. I’d like to say that based on my blog last week proclaiming ‘the big thaw‘ had begun – oh, how wrong I was – which will serve me right for tempting fate. I’m now back to -7 with 30cm of snow falling over the last 48 hours, and very sore muscles spent shovelling it from the drive. Anyhow, I digress……
6 whole months. When I mentioned this to the kids, they all agreed that it felt more like 6 weeks, and I’ve got to say, I absolutely agree. Whatever ‘half a year’ feels like, it certainly doesn’t feel like we’ve been over in Canada that long already. And such a lot has happened in such a short space of time. A quick reflection on the half-year events and we mount up a heck of a list …..
- We spent the first 4 weeks in apartments and during that time not only viewed properties to buy, but offered, arranged finance, secured and moved into a property. Not bad going.
- Within the first week, the kids were enrolled in school and had recommenced their education. (If truth be told, they were all disappointed it happened so quickly …….. unlike me!!)
- Bought a Jeep which has been brilliant combatting the ice and snow. Oh, and have learnt rapidly how to drive and manoeuvre on such road surfaces too. I wouldn’t say I adopt a reckless approach, but I’ve certainly built up loads of confidence navigating the terrain. Plus my major KPI of ‘not having a road-accident’ seems to be a minor miracle but reassuringly unblemished!
- All our worldly possessions safely arrived after 8 weeks in a container from the UK. Even my 19-year cat made it across on a flight and settled in like the move was just next door (by the way, she’s still with us for those slightly nervous to enquire……)
- Learnt how to ice-skate – and equally, how to break a wrist. I’ve experienced the health-care system in Edmonton and whilst excellent, am hoping there’s no repeat visits.
- My oldest kid is competing in all manner of swimming competitions, and has even been away with her team for 4 days by herself. Is loving it, and has benefitted hugely already from the training and coaching support – plus new friends that she’s made along the way.
- Spent New Year’s tobogganing on a slope whilst watching fireworks go off – a fantastically memorable event.
- Had several glimpses of the ‘Northern Lights’ from our house so am holding out that a really vibrant display at some point will arise.
- Investigated Edmonton – been to the Zoo, Galaxyland, West Edmonton Mall (on many occasions), Farmers’ Markets, Strathcona shopping, visited ice sculpturing competitions, witnessed cross-country skiing, walked in the river valley (it truly is beautiful).
- Been educated in the art of living in a winter city – it’s all about the layers, getting out and doing stuff. Kids are enrolled into extra-curricular activities and we’ve got as busy a schedule here as we had at home.
- Sampled lots of cuisine from around the world, from the vast number of eateries, diners and restaurants dotted all across the city. With superb variety and an immense choice. Even discovered a couple of ‘Brit Fish ‘n’ Chip’ outlets too – so my craving for mushy peas has been met.
- Husband procured a ‘fat bike’ to add to a growing Canadian collection of bikes to supplement his UK ones. The grapevine informs me that there’s a potential Canadian biking trip on the horizon that’s in the planning stage with his ‘mates’. The annual brokering of the arrangements for his ‘holiday jaunt’ has commenced …..
- We’ve met – and made – some superb new friends who’ve helped enormously with getting us sorted and providing different experiences for us to enjoy and participate in.
And I’m sure there’s lots more I haven’t covered. The next 6 months should be equally exciting and enthralling. We’ve already got serious stuff planned – most notably,
- First on our list of places to visit will be Vancouver and hopefully, tick off some items on our bucket list (I haven’t forgotten!). Just a stones-throw away in the next province, it’s 2 hours on a plane and right on the coast. I still can’t get over the size and scale of this country.
- Both sets of grandparents are visiting over the summer months, both looking forward to seeing all the grandkids again and all experiencing Canada for the first time.
- All the kids completing their first school year in Canada and then getting 2 whole months off. They can’t wait.
- Finally seeing the warmth of the sun and experiencing beautiful summer weather! I’ve got plans to invest in a serious Bar-B-Q and sample some of this outdoor living that’s been promised!
I’ll keep you posted. 🙂