I arrived in Canada on 27th July 2009 and as I prepare to leave on 27th May 2010, here are some thoughts on my time here.
I was disappointed. I arrived full of hope and optimism. I desperately wanted snow and lots of it. Like most Aussies I’m obsessed by the stuff. To say I was disappointed by the lack of snow during winter would be an understatement of epic proportions. My expectations were high, and the results were low. I did love the freezing cold -18C days and still wrapped up and went out walking. But I feel cheated by the lack of snow. My colleagues thank me for being a snow jinx and keeping it away this winter.
I got healthier. Spending the first half of 2009 either on a plane or in a hotel was not good for me. That’s one of the reasons why I agreed to relocate – it gave me the chance for a little stability. I couldn’t have the kind of involvement I wanted in the project if I was based in the UK. So I’m leaving Canada much fitter and healthier than I arrived.
I discovered iPhoneography. I’d been taking endless photo’s using the iPhone 3GS before I arrived in Canada, but I only discovered how fantastic the iPhone photography apps were when I spent dark, cold winter evenings searching through Flickr. During my time in Canada I have taken very few regular iPhone pictures. Most have been taken using many of the amazing iPhone photography apps.
I got jealous. I’m an ocean closer to the US than I was in the UK but my jealousy over the iPad availability seemed much worse here in Canada. I suspect it’s because the US is just across the border, so tantalisingly close. After devising Plans A, B, C and D, I eventually reverted to Plan A: purchase iPad in US on a work visit. Even that wasn’t easy as stocks were low and iPads hard to come by. But I got one, and love it.
I discovered silk long johns. (and other winter essentials) Long-Johns: so light you don’t even know you have them on, but oh so necessary in the depths of winter. I also fell in love with Columbia winter jackets. So light, fluffy, warm and practical. I bought a white Columbia coat and a black Columbia coat, and a black coat from another brand, and a grey coat. I guess I fell in love with winter coats. I don’t recall using an umbrella during winter either. Bonus points for that.
I saw Niagara Falls – twice. I went once in spring and once in winter and both times it was just awesome. I could sit and watch the water flowing over the falls all day. I thought winter was phenomenal with the frozen vegetation on the waters edge making the falls even more spectacular.
I figured out the Canadian accent. It’s all in the way “out” is pronounced, eh! I can now tell a Canadian accent from a US one and I think I learnt how to pronounce Mississauga and Etobicoke. I think!
I worked hard. The reason I came to Canada was work, and I worked hard. My Canadian colleagues were amazing and gave it everything they had and more. The project was a brilliant success and I’m glad I could help.
Now I’m looking forward to getting back to my apartment and spending the summer sipping Pimms on the patio.
Thank you Canada, it’s been great.