Wordsworkinc's Weblog

Life, love and language

Two Years and Counting

The 14th January marked the end of our second year in Canada.  Time for some introspection as I look back at the 24 months which have flown past.

Moving countries was easier for us than for many who have taken the same route.  First of all, because we visited extensively, usually for 6 months at a time, between 2003 when we first applied for permanent residence and December 2008 when our application was finally accepted; and, secondly, because, by then, both of our daughters and our two grandsons were living in Calgary.

The only part of South Africa that I can truly say I have missed is the people, friends and family, whom I have had to leave behind.  But visits from a good friend in 2009 and both my sisters in 2010 helped to lessen any feeling of loss, and, of course, Facebook, Skype and emails keep everyone connected these days.   It also helps that I will be going back to visit this year and plan to do so every two years if possible, so the ties may be stretched but certainly haven’t been cut!

Meeting new people, making new friends, and getting involved in the different activities Canada has to offer has also helped.  Richard has re-written his Ham Radio exam and regularly meets with other radio aficionados.  I have found hiking companions who have become valued friends and joined a book and a writing club.  And, after a few fairly disastrous attempts at skiing, I have made snow shoeing my winter sport of choice.

I have grown to love Calgary and the surrounding countryside.  I love the prairies, where the grass and canola fields stretch endlessly under an ever changing sky. I love the mountains with their tree-clad sides and craggy, snow-covered summits.  I love the many parks, such as Nose Hill, Bowness, and Fish Creek which bring the wild countryside into the city. And I love the rivers and creeks which flow in and around Calgary.

The wild life might not be as varied as that of Africa but it is ever-present.  Moose, coyote, foxes and even bears have wandered in close proximity to our home and mule deer sleep in our yard in winter and dig through the snow to find the grass which sustains them.

Many of our visits were in winter so the snowy landscape was not unfamiliar to us.  Driving to work and back in the dark, however, when the snowplows’ valiant efforts have not been enough to clear the roads and black ice is an ever present threat, can, at best, be described as interesting, at worst, as a white-knuckled, clenched-teeth roller coaster ride.  For all that, I haven’t yet lost my delight at waking up to a snow covered landscape and still marvel at the sparkling crystals which sometimes dance in the air turning our garden into a fairyland.

But, strangely enough, it is sport which made me realize just how much I identify with my new country.  During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver I sat glued to the screen as Canada and America battled it out for the gold in ice hockey and celebrated with the same feeling of euphoria that I experienced when the Springboks triumphed over the Ozzies at rugby.  Similarly I mourned with the rest of the country when Russia overran our team in the Junior Championships during the third period.

Cale has now lived in Canada longer than he lived in South Africa and it won’t be too long before Asher can say the same.   Both of our grandsons speak with a Canadian accent and their memories of their home land have, I think, faded a little, as they haven’t been back in the 5 years they’ve lived here.  Richard and I will always have our South African accents and we lived too long in our motherland to ever be anything but African-Canadians.  Still we look forward to being able to apply for citizenship of this great country in another year and, more and more, Calgary is truly becoming our home.

January 16, 2011 - Posted by | Living in Canada | ,

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