I have been here a month today!!
I don’t know what is more weird, that we left Darlington a month ago, or that it has only been a month….
I feel like I am settling in. I met a friendly bloke today – or at least, Miranda met his daughter, so we had to chat while they dug holes in the sandpit. He (Jeff) was originally from Brisbane, but spent a long time in south west London, and has now been in Regina nine years. When I said I’d only been here a month, he said “God, you’re SO NEW!!” I liked that!
I am meeting a great many more ex-pats that I expected though. Saskatchewan is definitely not as remote as the stereotype dictates and Regina really is boom-town at the moment. I met a woman in the cafe originally from Surrey but now working in the school down the road; another from Bournemouth now working in the baby shop here, a bloke from Nottingham, the pest-control guy from Manchester, and another customer whose husband is from Redcar – I kid ye not!!! This morning I went to the first outdoor Farmer’s Market of the year (it hides indoors over the winter and I never noticed it). I bought some Proper Meat there for dinner tomorrow to make up for the vegetarianism at work, and the bloke on the stall turned out to be from Cumbria, complete with a flat cap!
As for Canadians though, I am meeting plenty, but I feel like I don’t get much of a chance to get to know them! Customers in the coffee house are fleeting as ever and known only by their drinks. There are the usual suspects: Dry-Capp woman, Steam-Cream Girl, Muffin-man, the Burrito Boys, and the woman who phones in her order and who I epically misheard on the phone the first time she rang, and shall now and forever be known as Miss Beaver. It is not the sort of place where I can use the name “Mrs Soya Milk” though (sorry Vicky!!!) because it doesn’t really narrow it down!!
The other staff are all a lot of fun and it would be great to go out with them and chat outside of a work environment because work is tiring and we all get grouchy ythere at some point. However, they are all younger than me, and only one has a kid, and even though I know they do go out together occasionally after work, I cannot join them for as long as I am on my own with Miri. Basically I am destined to have no social life here until Carl comes out here to babysit!!
That said, I am trying my hardest to Go Exploring and Socialising whenever I can. They are starting to recognise me in the pub now – if only because Miranda has made herself rather infamous there by painting her face with guacamole, dropping a pint glass and pulling her brick wagon around the place. I’ve also been down to the coffee house when I am not working to meet people on the other side of the bar! (sad I know, but also lazy since some visits have been prompted by my lack of incentive to cook my own dinner!). Today we went to “Tea Party with Tickle” at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Tickle is a metre-high very cute baby triceretops that kids can ride on, and she moves her head about and makes cute baby dinosaur noises. It was a fundraising do to help re-house a real dinosaur skeleton called Scotty. Miranda hated Tickle, but enjoyed everything else so it was good! We also went to Free Comic Day in the comic store, picked up some stuff and resisted the urge to buy cuddly Cthulus. Last week we went to the Zombie Awareness night, which was brilliant, tomorrow we’re off to a “vintage letter writing” group at the library and there is a Steampunk Art workshop coming up too. I do love that there are all these sort of very Annabelish events happening around here – and it does give me reasons to get out and about.
Just wandering around Regina still makes me very happy though. It’s pretty even when it is not sunny, I feel safe here, and like I can be myself much more easily. It is a very Canadian custom to be seen walking around town with a keep-cup – as in, your own reusuable coffee cup with a lid so you don’t have to waste the cardboard ones all the time. I applaud the idea, but despite my colossal coffee-drinking habits, I’ve never really needed to walk round with my coffee. I just drink it before I go out! But anyway, in an attempt to blend in, I bought this.