Posts Tagged ‘driving’

I almost can cannot handle it…….

It had been months of preparation and finally the truck had been packed up with all our worldly possessions. You could not squeeze another toothbrush into the back of the neatly tessellated boxes. We had managed to downsize somewhat and I felt relieved that the loot had reduced to a more manageable amount. I waved at the already familiar truck driver as he rounded the corner. He had a good 40 hours of driving ahead of him across Canada. Did I ever realise how big this place was before we got here?

Another box to add to the pile....

Another box to add to the pile….


I have been waiting for this moment……..

The relief was tangible and I felt the stress just tumble off my shoulders. Now all that was left was to organise Josh’s travels and the 2 cars. The vehicles were fetched that evening by 2 flatbed trucks. The drivers walked around the 2 clean immaculate passengers. Even ‘they’ had been prepared for their trip to the west coast! The drivers strutted around and rubbed at the dust marks on the body work. But I knew these 2 beauties were ready and scratchless and could be winched into place. From there they would be driven into a carrier and securely tied down. Our pool table was going to be slide in alongside the cars. Another thing to tick off the ‘to do’ list!

My Highlander graciously takes up her position....

My Highlander graciously takes up her position….

It is good to be alive round about now…..

At 5am the next morning Josh was collected. He gingerly jumped into his crate and settled down on his familiar soft blanket. He looked across at me knowingly. I assured him ‘that the trip was shorter this time round.’ The last of my packing was done. What a relief! The next few days would be spent with family and friends. It was bitter sweet to say goodbye. I suppose the reality of what you have meant to people and what they have meant to you only really hits home when you leave. I was very honoured and touched by the outpouring of emotion. I am so grateful to them for being part of my life over these last 5 years. We hope that Vancouver will be on their favourite list of vacation spots in the near future.

I think I have finally found my Hallelujah….

The call came in at the airport that the truck in which are cars were traveling had met with an accident. No one was hurt fortunately….. except the cars! In true Canadian fashion a moose had walked out across the road and the truck had swerved to avoid it. What are the chances? Oh well, they are after all, just vehicles. I will be most grateful if the second truck gets to us safely. Hopefully no moose migration is imminent over the next few days.

The culprit.....

The culprit…..

Somehow I fancy a little red low- slung number. On second thoughts maybe an orange one……we are after all empty nesters with no ‘real’ responsibilities!

I could get used to this……

My beloved garden pots have certainly seen a bit of the world....

My beloved garden pots have certainly seen a bit of the world….


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With a little love and some tenderness we will walk upon the water and we will rise above the mess….

A peel of laughter resonates from the car as I slip and catch myself just in time. The ice is thick in the driveway and each walk to the bottom is a trip of concentration and careful placement of my new snow boots. Designer…… ‘nogal’ with very becoming soles as thick as tractor tyres. I would not say that they are the most flattering pair of shoes in my repertoire. But this is Canada and we adapt or die!

A stormy day at the lake...

A stormy day at the lake…

With some peace and some harmony…..

There is an audience inside the car. They are appreciating my performance while I negotiate the driveway….of course I am trying to have a conversation as well. It just does not work for me! I hate to admit that I cannot do 2 things at once. There is no place for those who feel they are just too feminine or just too gracious either. Soon enough the ice gets you and before you know it, you are flat on your rear. What a great leveler this weather can be!


I have a hand for you….. 

I passed my ‘snow squall driving test’ the other evening which left me bursting with pride. I need to set the scene for you……. The sun had already set (not that we see it that often at the moment.) It was a blustery evening and the snow was drifting all over the road. The temperatures were nearing minus 30 and I was traveling an unfamiliar route. Suddenly I realized that I had taken a wrong turning. It was time for the infamous U-turn. I put the flicker on and just did it! Some kind soul waited patiently for me to perform my act of dexterity. The turning circle in our vehicle is somewhat under developed. This is purely my observation. Need I say then that this fact caused me to mount an ice heap! It was purely a design flaw. I stopped and regained my composure. By this stage quite a queue had formed. They politely waited for me to perform another antic. I had to get off this mound of snow and ice! After a few manouvers, which I will refrain from expounding upon, I drove off the icy mountain. Thanks goodness for the 4-wheel capabilities and the snow button.….whatever that does.

 We are treated to a Canadian sunset!

We are treated to a Canadian sunset!

I want to love you the best that I can……

And so we battle on through yet another Canadian winter……our third. It is apparently the worst recorded since 1986. I am pleased though as I can officially say that we DO know what it really feels like ‘to be cold.’ No longer will I have to endure the words: “Just you wait till February hits you.” We are grateful to the local knowledge that is graciously shared and this has equipped us to cope with most eventualities. Although I think I need to get a bit more detail on how to dismount an ice heap.

Can I say that I have done it and have the T-shirt?

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We all dread the call that comes in the early hours of the morning when there is bad news from home and today was one of those days. It got me thinking about the things that I write about in my blog. So far I have tried to be positive and hopefully sometimes amusing, when I relate stories about the customs we have tried to absorb, the places we have seen and the new friends we have made. But today I feel like putting down on paper the reality of what it feels like to be far away from the people that you love.


Firstly there is the feeling of guilt: One feels guilty that you cannot be there for the people that still need you. I have tried to be supportive at a distance but it does not make up for my absence. I think that what people must realize that I am needed here in Canada too, I know it is primarily as cook and bottle washer for the men in my life but know that if I was not here, settling in would be much harder for them. There is a continual feeling of being torn between my commitments here with my family and those that I have left behind in South Africa.


Secondly there are feelings of loneliness and newness: There are plenty of people here, South African and locals, that have stretched out their hands in kindness towards us and for that I am grateful. We have had to have instruction on how to close up a house for winter which entails the draining of pipes, covering of external structures and the carrying in of all garden pots to name a few. Our garage looks like a tip! But it does not take away the fact that you have not walked a long road with these people and they do not know your essence yet. Where ever you go you are exposed to this whole new culture from the types of food to way you are supposed to drive. Everything is a new experience! Maybe I am showing my age but my brain goes into overload some days with this whole newness that surrounds me. I still have not mastered the driving here and have failed my first attempt at the test so I am back on my bicycle.


Thirdly there are the scared feelings: These are usually present in the early hours of the morning when you lie awake and think things through. There are the worry thoughts on: What will I do if I don’t manage to get my license? Will Philip be safe when he has to journey into Pakistan? Will David settle into the Canadian school system? Will Bryan find a job that suits him? Will I be able to fill my day with meaningful deeds?


Fourthly there are the feelings of loss: Besides the deep loss of the closeness of my loved ones, I feel a great sense of loss with the sudden termination of my career as a teacher. I miss the feeling of making a difference in children’s lives. I miss the adventure of each day being with my classes and I miss the wonder on their faces as I impart new facts or experiences to them.


So this blog has been all about me and my feelings but as any good psychologist will tell you, that you need to work through all of these feelings to get to the other side. So I apologise for making you endure this sorry tale today but I know that it takes bravery to say it like it is and it takes bravery to do what we have done as a family….. scoop ourselves up from our comfortable life in SA and to venture into the unknown. So you will still get the ‘other type’ of blog but know that there is an element of sadness and that it is not all milk and honey on the other side but hopefully these experiences will enrich our lives and ultimately make us better people.

Fall at the bottom of our garden



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The first signs of autumn are beginning to show as a squirrel darts about in his pursuit of the plumpest acorn. He is one of the residents that frequent the woodland at the bottom of the garden along with the skunk and family of raccoons. As the squirrel scuttles about preparing for the eminent cold he often taunts Josh with a sideways glance which drives him wild but he confidently carries on with his business mindful of the canine warrior above him on the deck.The odd leaf flutters down from the forest of elms and maples which display their first hint of bronze. It is certainly a reminder from nature that we are about to experience our first Fall.

There have been so many firsts for us, as with any big change into another culture, some have been easy to adapt to and others quite frightening. Driving on the wrong side of the road has been one of my daunting experiences and now that I have reprogrammed the brain I have to pass the drivers license!Thirty years of driving has ensconced a few bad habits which have to be eradicated before I can pass yet again. When that day comes I am going to enjoy my independence as I have had to resort to flying down the road on my bicycle for the proverbial pint of milk and loaf of bread.

The nights are getting colder and we lit our first fire last night and even though it is a pseudo one with play- play logs and a gas flame, it was a heartening experience. It will certainly give off a warm glow when the big freeze hits us. Another bit of warmth was created outside on the patio over the weekend as we had our first braai in our new home. We stocked up with some boerewors from the local South African butcher and a bottle or two of Roodeberg and were joined by our new Canadian friends. We do not want to fall into the trap of being ‘when we s’ but man does a braai en ‘n glasie rooiwyn taste good!

So while the weather still holds we will be lighting up that fire and savouring the flavours and remembering our South African friends and family and trying to keep a smile on our faces as we endure the life of a newbie in Oakville, Canada.

The newcommers to the block



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