… is very nearly done!
We have here exactly one week. What a weird, weird thought!!
We both have a mental To Do list which gets added to more often than we achieve anything from it, it seems. However, having a pause, a good coffee and a natter with friendly people and a ‘check-in’ with the Parents on Skype gave us the opportunity to take stock of what we have managed to do in such a short, insane week. We’ve actually done very well.
I have a Canadian bank account. I also have a SIN – social insurance number. Both these were up there in the High Priority list, as with them, I can now get paid!! Both were alarmingly simple to achieve as well, considering the hassles getting the work permit!
We have an almost-fully furnished apartment. That is, we bought a new bed and a new dining table, bought second hand bedding, a rug and toys for Miri, and acquired a sofa and a coffee table from our new friend Tamara. The kitchen still needs crockery and utensils and a microwave, but otherwise we can sleep, sit, cook and eat relatively comfortably.
Carl is comfortable with driving Humunga-Cars on the wrong side of the road now.
Miranda has a place at day care! That took a bit of finding and didn’t end up being as cheap as we’d hoped. However, it is a special Reggio Emilia (sounds like a cheese to me??) – approach nursery, and the owner seems lovely and very enthusiastic. It is also located less than a minute’s walk away from here and Miri didn’t want to leave when we took her there this morning for a visit!! This isn’t the same one as I mentioned in the last post – sadly that one didn’t have any spaces available. But this one is equally nearby and had places available for Miri’s age group, so it’s all worked out rather well! I am NOT looking forward to her starting there though – think she’ll love it, but I am going to miss her and worry about her like crazy!
Miranda and I made the first Canadian UglyCake the other day. It was very successful considering the total lack of bakeware and equipment.
All this, I feel, is not bad for a week’s adventuring.
We are also slowly exploring more of the neighbourhood, and the more we find, the more we like it here. The wonderful, positive things include SUNSHINE. It seems like it’s always sunny, even when there’s snow. Everyday is clear and (at the moment) crisp and beautiful, and there is none of that depressing, constant greyness that pervades the UK for at least 9 months of the year. Grey, miserable weather makes me feel grey and miserable too. Here, I can be achingly cold but still irrepressibly cheerful, just because it’s sunny and it’s not Darlington.
I do just feel far better in myself in terms of general well-being. I have not had any problems getting to sleep at night since we got here. I am not anxious, I don’t feel tired during the day much, and my hair has stopped getting greasy a mere two hours after I wash it. I am able to grow my fingernails. I have noticed a bit of a change in Carl too – he seems more confident and a bit more outgoing than usual. Miranda has just taken everything in her stride as usual, and doesn’t appear to be missing “home” at all – everything is new and exciting to explore!
Everyone here is very friendly too. We are a bit of an oddity with our “weird but cute” accents, and I’ve been asked several times “why Regina?”! But random strangers strike up conversations in the coffee shop, people say hello when they pass you in the street, and the humunga-cars stop to let you cross, even if you are no where near a pedestrian crossing sign. It is, at times, unnerving for British sensibilities. Least ways, it is not going to be too difficult to find friends here I think.
The only negatives so far have just been money-related. Food seems to cost several times more than it does at home, and I really resent it. Everything seems to come in bulk quantities, with no option but to buy Big and shop infrequently. I did not really need to buy 12 loo rolls at once, (for nearly $10!!!) and I really do not appreciate paying over $6.50 for a small block of pretty non-interesting cheese!! Food prices were a bit of an unpleasant shock, it has to be said.
Taxes are driving me up the wall too – we’ve made plenty of visits to the “Dollar-and-twelves-cents-arama” store, where everything costs one dollar – plus tax. WHY cannot they just add in to the price they display? Why does a $9.99 coat for Miranda actually cost $10.41? And why do I have to spend $22 to get a $20 top up for my phone?!
Finally, (WOE is ME!) Beer is also pricey, buit worst of all, they are very, very strict about it. You cannot buy alcohol in supermarkets; instead we had to traipse up to an off license. I did this epic mission yesterday, spent just under $30 and pulled a muscle carting 6 beers in bottles and a bottle of wine all the way home. Even more annoyingly, a lot of bars wont let Miranda in – I suppose so we don’t try and feed her booze??? Daft, and anti-social!! Bring back the UK’s badly planned, pathetic excuse for alcohol regulations!! please!
Otherwise, all is glorious. And now I am sooooooo tired, I can’t keep my eyes open. So, night night folks!