You can count on me like 1, 2, 3 – I’ll be there

Heart

I’ve got some absolutely amazing friends.  The most really, truly, wonderful and thoughtful people you could ever wish to have the pleasure of knowing.  And for massive life changing experiences, it makes it all the more apparent that it’s those people who are around you that make the world of difference.  In our move overseas, I’ve always thought that the hard bit is not what you take with you that matters , it’s those we leave behind which we’ll miss the most – and I’m banking on them coming to visit us too.  I’ve got some gems of friends that have been behind me, supporting me , and just ‘there’ as we’ve been going through this major upheaval and life change.

Over the past few weeks, it’s a tough process trying to get everything in place for such a move.  Staying optimistic and positive when the reality is ‘you’re not quite sure how it’s all going to work’ has been a challenge – but I’m sure it will and pieces will slot into place in their own due time.  What’s astounded me is the kindness and thoughtfulness of friends around me – willing to give their time, effort and skill to assisting in whatever way possible.  This has ranged from crawling into attics, all the hidden places ‘stuff’ just resides and helping me get it all out and sorted; doing the jobs that I’ve just put up with like fixing electrical sockets which I’ve previously had to ‘tap’ to make the light come on, getting new brackets on the wardrobes so the doors don’t fall back open – all the things I’ve just got into a habit of accepting over the years.  My laptop which has been whirring and struggling for breath with the volumes of data and files that I hold, now has a new lease of life and with a complete system reboot, I’m hoping keeps it going (and me going!) over the pond.  My house is now up ‘for let’ and our cars which I absolutely loved, have been sold with friends offering their vehicles in a bid to keep me mobile until we go.  Beautiful jackets and fantastic boots have been given to the girls (and are now in their suitcases ready), plus lovely cards and supportive messages from others who have been through similar experiences in life.

It’s certainly made life easier, and supported by a detailed gantt chart and constantly updated spreadsheet (those who know me well will be smiling ruefully at this point …), there’s now a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  I must say at the moment, I’ll be glad to be actually on the plane and able to concentrate on the life ahead rather than sorting out the one we’re leaving temporarily behind for a while.

The Story

It goes to show, that when the chips are down, you can count on your friends to see you through and never has a truer word been spoken than over the last few weeks.
The reassuring and great thing is that whilst there’s a huge physical distance and clear 7 hours time difference , the sheer brilliance of social media these days means we can still stay in touch, be accessible & ‘there’.
I can’t wait to share all our escapades and adventures – the trials and tribulations of life overseas and the day to day realities that this will bring. I’m hoping by doing so, it keeps the strong connection with those back home , plus creates new friends and contacts in our new home and life over there.

I’m looking forward to hearing about complaints with the English weather and the traffic chaos, sighs of relief on a Friday night that the working week is over, and what’s cooking for tea and the ingredients being used.  Keep them coming – and they’ll make me smile and remember home.

There’s a brilliant song by Bruno Mars that sums my friends up completely and if you’ve not come across it, just check it out on ‘You Tube’ …

You can count on me like 1 2 3
I’ll be there
And I know when I need it I can count on you like 4 3 2
And you’ll be there
Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do … oh yeah 🙂

First impressions count

Canada flag

First impressions count for a lot. They form an instant view and opinion about a place, a person, an activity, a thought process. Arriving in a new place for the first time and knowing that this is where we’ll be living when we relocate, adds an extra dimension to those ‘first impressions’.

How would I describe the first view of Canada during our drive from the airport into the city of Edmonton?

–  Green.
–  Flat.
–  Vibrant.
–  Spaciously huge.

On the drive into Edmonton from the airport, it’s extremely flat. And I mean – flat. Noticeably so. Especially when you’re someone like me who was brought up surrounded by the northern hills of England and where even moving to Cheshire which has a reputation for being on the ‘plains’ – was considered with a degree of hesitation due to it’s flatness!  But even in Cheshire there are ups and downs.

Well, in Edmonton there is no other word to describe the terrain as being anything other than ‘flat’. Immensely so. They don’t describe it as being on the ‘plains’ lightly. It’s only when you approach the hugely wide Saskatchewan river does the terrain start to incline and not until you are virtually on top of ‘downtown’ Edmonton, do you see a slight ‘hill’ into the city centre.  It’s beautiful and the city skyline with it’s few skyscrapers stands out on the horizon looking impressive.  Whilst the vast majority of buildings are ‘new’ compared to English standards, there is a wonderful selection of hugely modern skyscrapers with their mirrored glass windows, pyramid designs, coupled with beautiful architectural buildings which clearly have strong historical links to the past and how the city has developed.

From top left: Downtown Edmonton, Fort Edmonto...

From top left: Downtown Edmonton, Fort Edmonton Park, Legislature Building, Law Courts, Rexall Place, High Level Bridge, Muttart Conservatory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And it’s green.  The amount of parkland, trees, leisure areas, grass and space to explore is amazing. The sheer number of play opportunities, playgrounds, climbing frames meant we had to resist the temptation offered every few minutes from stopping the car and allowing the kids to explore and play otherwise we wouldn’t get any orientation done!  Suffice to say, the kids are overwhelmed with the number of play areas and leisure activities and can’t wait to start sampling the delights!  The range of trees – and especially conifers and spruces, was delightful – I can just imagine what it must look like in the wintertime, and can’t wait to see the difference just a few months from now will make.

It’s vibrant, with lots going on – certainly in the city – and the colours and signs just remind me of our trips to America.  Just about to start in the next few days is the Edmonton Fringe Festival, which is compared to that held in August each year in Edinburgh.  Arts and cultural events and activities feature significantly and we should be in the ideal position to sample some of the offerings and delights.

Finally, it’s spacious – in all manners of the word.  Even at ‘rush hour’, it doesn’t equate in any shape and form to the miles upon miles of standing traffic we’re used to in England, and even the busiest volume of traffic on the roads is more akin to early morning (and I mean between the hours of 2 – 5am) in the UK.  I’m going to love this!  Getting around is so accessible and easy.  The grid system has everything on a ‘streets and avenue’ system so it’s quick to navigate and circumvent around the city and surrounding areas. Then there’s the food with huge portions across such a vast range of culinary delights.  I’m going to need to create ‘space’ to be able to do all the food justice!

4 instant impressions of Canada within the first 24 hours.

Here’s to the next 14 days …. 🙂