Category Archives: Canada

Kittie and the bad s-word, brainwashing and medical exams

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Now, we all know we shouldn’t swear, and a lot of time has passed since the last entry I possibly entertained you with. Say it did or I will cry and that ain’t pretty for anyone. Everyone that knows me knows that I am very prone to swearing. Pretty much every other word is something your grandma wouldn’t want to hear and the contents of my ramblings are highly questionable at best. Yesterday I used one that made even me want to wash out my mouth with soap: S-N-O-W.

All of you that live in not-snowy areas get that stupid shimmer in your eyes when you hear that word, you think about romantic walks and snow angels, building snowmen (if you start singing that song from Frozen now get the hell out and never come back to my blog), sleigh rides wrapped up in warm blankets and quite possibly snowboarding. Here’s a dose of reality for you: getting stuck in your own freaking driveway, snow up your neck, snow in your boots, cold and wet feet, frozen fingers, car doors that refuse to open, having to plug in the car every night, having to unplug the car every morning when the stupid plug is frozen, moronic drivers almost ending your life instead of theirs, slushy roads, tracks in the snow all around town so deep you feel like you’re driving a lowrider and that make left turns virtually impossible, snow removal meaning they first push all the snow to THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Who needs left turns anyway.

Still think it’s romantic? You’re hopeless.

Off to more interesting news. We’re permanent residents now, have been for almost a year. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. We had to drive down to the border (there was snow everywhere too) because our work permits didn’t allow for a seamless affair. So, down we went. I had just worked a ten hour shift outside in thirty below weather because I’m insane like that, and after a mere twele hours we were there. We had been told beforehand that we needed to inform the US border people that we didn’t intend to enter the country, so we did. They took our passports and had us park the car.

My exact thoughts at that moment: oh, shit.

After nearly ten years I know my husband. I know what happens with him and governement officials and such. Never, ever a good combination. So they had us declare everything we had in the car. Meat? Ten eggs benny sandwiches with bacon. Fruits? Four apples. Tobacco? Twelve cigarettes, can I have one now please. They asked for our license plate number (which we had to check) and the colour (they said color) of my van. Husband said black but it’s MIDNIGHT STEEL or some other bull. They got a dog to walk all over the hood of my van, and through it. I hope they let him have one of my sandwiches, they were awesome. After half an hour they let us go. They escorted us around the building so we wouldn’t drive off into the sunset and into the States (which I wouldn’t do anyway. Not with my family in tow, at least.).

Canadian border. Again, why did I let my husband drive? How long have you been in America? -About half an hour. Do you have cash over 10.000 on you? -I wish. At that point she wrote something on our immigration papers and I swore to the God I don’t believe in I would desecrate the next best flag and strangle my husband with it if his warped sense of homour (humor) would cost us our papers.

Anyway. Ten minutes before it was our turn to speak to a Canadian Immigration Officer. The CIO as we called him. Around us disgruntled truck drivers with missing permits, and all sorts of travellers. I felt instantly superior because we were almost half Canadians now. We were home. He asked us a few last questions regarding our paperwork, answers which at that point we had to give so many times it was sort of boring. We weren’t lying about anything so I wasn’t worried at all. Meanwhile the Canadian side searched our car with a K9, again I hope he got a sandwich out of it. I swear they put our stuff back in the bags after that the other side had left out. I love these people.

Finally the guy looked up at us, after his colleague had returned without any drugs. He smiled and said “Welcome to Canada.” I half expected him to repeat it in French, but he was busy explaining to us where we could obtain a MSP (Medical Service Plan) with our care cards, social insurance and other documents. Dude. We’ve been living here for over a year, not getting all these things by this point would have been against the law. But since some people get their PR before they come to the country I guess they just have to have their programs.

Elated, at least I was, we drove off with screeching tires, only to stop at the rest stop two minutes away. I needed nicotine and phoned relatives quickly to let them know we were alright and didn’t get arrested (you never know, with the way we look… SUSPICIOUS). I think I also updated my status on Facebook.

That’s how we became PRs. And I swear we have been brainwashed. Last time my house was decked out in skulls, all black furniture, the works. Now I have skulls too, but with antlers attached. My husband is wearing Wranglers, so am I, we each own boots and a hat. We go to the rodeo every year and our next big project is buying 100-some acres out of town to start a little farm. Us. Tattooed, pierced, listening to metal. But Eric Church ainèt bad, and really, Jeff FoxworthyÉ SO funny. Yep. Totally brainwashed. Our friend is really proud of us though. She knew we would come around. Five years ago my husband teased her about her camo hat, now he has one himself. Is there a thing like metal-rednecks?

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Don’t stop believing

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Yes, this title was brought to you by a Journey song, I hope they will sue me and take away my credit card. Before that I was allowed to listen to Kansas and even though I really wanted to write I HAD TO dance around and sing a little. On a few washers and dryers waiting to be picked up. Using a mop as a mic. I totally blame the heat.

Anywho.

NEWSFLASH: Four flights, umpteen hours flying with a headstrong 5-year old? Are not fun. But we did spend some extra money for decent meals so on our 12h flight from Frankfurt to Calgary we weren’t only served first but I got awesome vegetarian stuff (couscous salad with chickpeas? FRESH FRUIT and real cutlery. Not plastic.) and my kid had all kinds of things arranged to look like smiley faces and all. That is the only positive thing I could say about the flight with the German airline.

Then we arrived in Canada and once again it was like being shoved into an alternate universe. PEOPLE WERE FRIENDLY. A dude (playing a dude disguised…. sorry, wrong story) helped me carry our two carry on bags stuffed with important things (cameras, external hard drives, CDs, random memorabilia, a flannel blanket and tons of toys and that was just MY bag), the young police officer that unfortunately didn’t want to marry me on the spot ( I was just grateful for finally getting somewhere, seriously) and didn’t even want to see the letter from my husband allowing me to travel with our son alone and said so many nice things about my hair. “It’s really pink, eh.” MARRY ME NOW YOU SMART, SMART MAN.

Ahem. Then: Immigration. I dreaded that place. Last time? I waited for 3 hours. This time? 3 minutes I spent trying to console a young lady from the States who thought they thought she was an illegal immigrant. The officer seemed slightly unfriendly but she probably had German ancestors. I had all my paperwork in one place, which pleased her greatly and anyway, my husband had already been in the country and gotten his work permit so she just gave me my open permit and waved us on to the next place where I was allowed to pay 150 bucks for my permit.

THEN the fun part began. Picking up our three humongous bags, dragging them and the kid through customs just to find that the Air Canada check in was right in front of the doors. Let me declare my undying love and gratitude for Warren who not only welcomed me back after hearing my ghastly story but also was just his friendly self and helped me with the bags and all. The two hours we had to wait for our flight to leave were spent in yet another security check and hanging out with firefighters that sadly didn’t look like the guys from the calendars. It was way too hot for flannel, too, which made me sort of sad but there was camo all around. Paired with flip-flops.

When it was time to board our flight we could go first because little child (by then he was almost sleeping anyway) and THEY DROVE US TO THE PLANE! You know those awesome little cars they have at airports? I always wanted to be on one, can cross that off my bucket list now. Our seats were in the very first row and our flight attendant was every nerdy girl’s wet dream. And so, so good with kids. And witty. And… yes, I was tired and just happy about every friendly and helpful face, but the guy was really nice and funny. And we were also allowed to remain on the plane while we stopped in Edmonton.

When we finally arrived in Grande Prairie it was almost midnight and I really almost walked past the husband because he had shaved and lost a few pounds. He blames the absence of my good cooking, that sneaky bastard.

Anywho. He managed to obtain a little fourwheeler for our son and they spent all of last week working on it after hours, yesterday we took it to our friend’s farm and the boy rode around on it for hours on end, only stopping to feed the gigantic wolf mutts or to get a quick snack and a drink.

I have been busy harvesting rhubarb previous tenants have planted and making all kinds of fun things with it. If I wasn’t cleaning like a maniac or sanding down our old furniture. A few years ago I was convinced that all our furniture had to be black and glossy. I probably knew how bored I’d be a few years down the road, without internet or cable. So, my fingers hurt, they are stained a reddish pink and I accidentally sanded down a few fingers when I was tired.

But I also got my SIN card today and will receive my ID and license shortly. I have worked my first day at the SPCA, walked a few dogs and socialized the cats and all of it without taking any animals home. I might however stat breaking in some of our friend’s horses. Maybe I’ll even keep one if things go well. Now it is 9PM here and I am really tired. There is bread to be baked and whole pigs to be bought because a few things haven’t changed: Canadians still don’t know how to bake, make sausage or beer. That’s next on my list!