WE MADE IT!!!!
We are finally actually here, all legitimate with work permits stapled in to our passports, an apartment to call our own and even a Canadian ‘cell phone’ number. Tis Official!!
This post may be a little incoherant because I am still so tired. This is Day 3 and it is still MANIC. Carl is lying on the floor SNORING which is slowly driving me nuts but at least he’s not doing it actually in the bed!
This time, the 7hr time difference really did take it out of us. Our second (internal) flight was delayed for a while at Calgary, so we actually arrived at the Regina youth hostel at 1am rather than the 11pm we were hoping for. 1am of course felt like 8am UK time, and we hadn’t really slept all that ‘night’. Miri was very good on the plane though, and despite waking up enough to help us eat nachos and a steak sandwich at around 2am UK time, she slept the whole way. So when we got to the hostel, she woke us up at 4am thinking it was lunchtime! This meant we had to endure the First Day Madness with little more than 3 hours sleep!!
We were very fortunate that the apartment we were hoping for was actually available for our second night here. It is above the coffee house, so perfect for Miri and I as there is no commute to work!! The flat – sorry, ‘apartment’ is lovely – only one bedroom, but it is far bigger than I was imagining. All open plan with solid wood flooring, a massive bathroom with a bath with feet on it, a good sized newish kitchen and plenty of built in shelves. It also has steps up the back and a balcony, so we don’t have to traipse through the cafe to get ‘home’. The only thing it really lacks is furniture!! We couldn’t bring anything with us, so Emma and Dalton had to lend us an airbed and since then, we’ve had to frantically go buy furniture!
Buying furniture has been the general occupation so far though. Despite Carl’s total lack of sleep the first day, Emma insisted that he drive her home in her car – this huge 4 x4 automatic hybrid thing, with a computerised dashboard and keyless ignition, built in sat nav and even a camera out the back that automatically appears on the screen when you put it in reverse!! It took a good ten minutes to figure out even how to start the engine!! Carl survived the experience, even driving this thing on the wrong side of the road, in a city he didn’t know, in the dark, whilst jet lagged. As a reward almost, Emma has handed over her keys to him so we have her car for the week! This has already proved very useful because the idea of lugging a new sofa to the apartment on a bus was not very appealing… We are definitely being Looked After, and (if you are reading this, Emma!) we are eternally grateful! Despite having a car big enough to buy Big Things though, the incentive is not enough to outweigh the desire to spoil Miranda senseless. We went out looking for a sofa and/or a bed. We came back with a ride-on zebra for Miri and a food mixer for The Ugly Cake Company (it was $8!).
On Thrsday it was 18 degrees and we were sweating in the car. On Friday it rained all day. And today we woke up to snow and “lows of -13C”. Even despite this unnatural flux, Regina is still a pretty place to be, especially this neighbourhood. Within 3 blocks in either direction of the coffee shop are Groovy Mamas baby shop (full of slings and knitted booties and other funky Earth Mother type devices), a live music venue, a handmade shoe shop, a decent pub, ‘Retrovise’ vintage clothing, a secondhand book shop, a designer stationery shop, ‘Dessart Sweets’ Icecream parlour and a bakery that smells gorgeous. Even better, within spitting distance almost, is Cathedral Day Care where Miri could go to nursery, – brightly coloured signs outside, big playground and sandpit out the back, and evidence of Finger Painting indoors. C$540 a month! (£300?). Gotta go back on Tuesday when they reopen and see if there is a place for her.
All in all, it really is a world away from Darlington!! I spent all last week doing Sentimental Lasts – last swimming session, last lemon-top in Redcar, last trip to the park in Darlington etc. This week is all Exciting Firsts – first drive on the right, first Walmart trip (not sommat to be proud of!) first locally brewed beer, first latte made in the coffee shop, first meal cooked at (new) home with Dollarama kitchen utensils, and first bath for Miri in the new, huge tub.
It is all completely exhausting; things like getting my Social Insurance number sorted, trying to get my Canadian driving licence, opening a bank account here are all daunting, and I am nervous as hell about doing my first shift at the coffee house!!! But at the same time it is all mind bogglingly exciting. I am really happy for the first time in ages, and despite the obvious stresses and tiredness, just being here is an incredible relief. I am naively forming the opinion that the hard bit is over now. We’re here. It’s all good!!