Last week was our one-year anniversary since we arrived in Canada. I thought I might do a bit of a blog post about my thoughts on our first year as I am trying to distract myself. You see someone is coming to inspect something in our apartment and I have been told this will happen between the hours of 9 and 12, they will be accompanied by one of the security guards in our building so if I don’t answer the door they will just let themselves in, naturally this means an alarm clock has gone off in my bowels and I need to use the toilet as it always does under circumstance like this. The minute I go to the bathroom they will knock at the door, I won’t hear it and I will be in the bathroom only to have that awkward moment with them in my lounge room having let themselves in as I come out of the bathroom.
Murphy’s bloody law!
Anyway, where was I? Our 1 year anniversary since our arrival ….
I’m not sure if I have mentioned it on the blog before but I was actually conceived in Canada. That’s right! My Aussie mum and dad immigrated to Canada back in the day and lived and worked in Vancouver. At the 11th hour and pregnant with myself, my mum decided that she wanted to be near family and back in Australia to raise a family. They returned and I was born in Australia. I often wonder if I was destined to live in Canada?
Where did the last 12 months go? Boy, has it flown past at lightning speed, it really does feel like we arrived yesterday. We celebrated the milestone by going to the place we went for dinner when we first arrived. Severely jet lagged we walked into the first place that was still open and the closest to our short term apartment. A dodgy burrito place. So we revisited for the 1st time since our arrival last week for dinner and we won’t be going back on our 2nd anniversary.
It is a shame because I have found the food and choices in Toronto amazing. It is an incredibly multicultural city so you can pretty much find anything and everything. Living where we live we are also spoilt for choice with a ridiculous amount of restaurants within walking distance from our apartment. We would need to eat out daily in order to try every single one and even then it would take a lifetime to complete and I’m talking about those within a 20-minute walking radius.
We have all embraced Beaver Tails and Poutine.
As food is probably the thing I spend most of my waking hours thinking about I was a little nervous about what would be on offer in a country that is frozen for many months of the year. Despite numerous visits to North America over the years, I had never really shopped and cooked here so wondered if everything got shipped in from elsewhere, especially due to the weather. It turns out that some things do, for example, Bananas but they are imported from countries that know a thing or two about bananas, like Central and South America. Avocados are imported from Mexico or California. I mean I know it’s shitty for the environment shipping food around the world but those local economies rely on it and boy oh boy do they taste good. I saw a TV show that went into detail about how and what stage they pick and ship the fruit and the perfect transit conditions and temperature so that something like an avocado arrives in Canada fresh but not overripe. Touchwood I have yet to buy an avocado and open it and not find it looking like this:
In Australia, I had pretty much stopped buying them because 9 out of 10 times they looked like this:
Perhaps the head of the Avocado Growers in Australia needs to jump on a plane to Mexico and bring back a few seeds in the hope of replicating the creamy and tasty avocados.
Just a suggestion.
Same can be said about the tomatoes. I can’t begin to even describe the taste of the tomatoes over summer, especially the local Ontario tomatoes but in one word …. flavour! In Australia, tomatoes had gone from something always added to our shopping trolley each week to rarely as they tasted crap and often soggy or floury. It wasn’t like I was lacking in fruit and vegetable buying skills either. Who knows? Perhaps the good stuff in Australia is getting exported?!?
Even the humble potato here is packed full of flavour, especially those grown on Prince Edward Island.
Many of the seasonal fruits like Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Peaches, Apples and Pumpkins are grown just outside Toronto so within a 1 hour you drive we have been able to buy farm fresh and pick your own. After a lifetime of eating apples that have probably been sitting in cold storage for years nothing tasted better than biting into a Cortland apple, I picked off the tree myself.
We do miss tropical fruits, especially mangoes. Here they are small, a weird colour, shrivelled up looking and don’t even smell like a mango. I’m not even sure where they are imported from but they don’t look appealing at all.
I consulted with the other 2 about this and The Canadian is very happy about being back in the land of ice hockey. He has more than made up for his 15-year departure from Canada in his first 12 months.
The 9-year-old likes our walks to and from school, and no longer having to go to before and after school care, the long summer break, the fact he never gets homework compared to Australia. He thought Halloween “was way better” and he likes the different seasons. He especially likes the colour change on the trees.
I agree with him! We have now watched the full year of seasons and my favourite is Autumn (or fall as we say in these parts). Having come from two seasons in Brisbane, Australia – Hot and Hotter, living in different in seasons is one of the highlights for me.
You are excited for the new season to begin then just as you are starting to get over the heat of summer or the cold of winter, BAM! another season starts to roll in and with it new activities, new seasonal food, pulling out and swapping clothes in your wardrobe, new sport (the ice hockey season really is the 5th and longest season in Canada) and you embrace it.
We survived our first winter and even though it was milder than usual we are hoping for more snow this winter so we can ski on the weekends.
For me part of the reason for moving was lifestyle.
Excuse my french but I just felt “fucked”
Just like the Documentary Fat, Sick and nearly dead. I was super stressed, unhealthy, not very happy and not living where I wanted to be. I had high blood pressure and generally felt like shit. After many a discussion with The Canadian, it was decided that some pretty radical changes needed and we re-evaluated what was important to us.
It was decided a roof over our heads, food in our belly, each other and time together doing fun stuff. We had got sick of both working like dogs so we could accumulate stuff that wasn’t necessarily making us happy. Our circumstances required that we both work and had outsourced many a task in the running of our household including childcare from when the 9-year-old was 6 months old. More and more was getting outsourced. We purchased more stuff that we didn’t need, we had more food wastage as we shopped for food each week only to then throw it away and get takeaway. Working hours got longer and time together less. How much is enough?
We are living small and yet living large. Our move was also about seeing how we would go living in an apartment in the middle of a busy city with a kid. We love it!!! It has worked for us. Our overheads are lower and this means more money for travel and entertainment, our weekends and evenings are free without an endless list of jobs that need doing around the house, no one has to remember to take the bins out to the street, the pool, gym, party room, cinema and bbq’s are ours to use but maintained by someone else. Sure we share them with others but it’s all good because very rarely are other people using them when we want to.
I no longer nag ….. well not as much.
I take care of all things domestic so come the weekend we don’t have a single job to do around the apartment. It’s all play.
We have gone from 2 cars to 1 and drum roll, please …………..
I haven’t driven a car in over a year!
You have read that correct, and no, I didn’t lose my license.
I walk, I walk everywhere!
I have a fat bit and it tells me just how far I have gone (or haven’t gone) every day. It guilts me into taking it for a walk. Here is the thing with all that walking. When we first arrived I lost weight, I mean obviously when you go from nothing to something it is going to come off but then it stopped coming off and then went back on. I blame Summer. It arrived and with the 9-year-old off school for 2 months, I no longer did my daily walk to and from school. Summer was also hot, like all kind of record-breaking hot. It was the kind of heat that I just want to sit in an air-conditioned room hot. We ate out ALOT and then the weight went back on.
Thanks to my very supportive husband taking one for the team and being the sole breadwinner it has allowed me to take the time to see the right people and work on getting my head and health back on track.
It’s working, I have lost 6kg’s and hope to lose much more, I have dumped mid-week drinking that had become more of a habit than anything else. I noticed as I started to pull food out of the fridge to start cooking meals, the bottle of wine was also part of the routine. I noticed it was getting rarer that an alcohol-free day happened. The habit has been broken and drinking has become a social thing when out with friends. I’m not on a diet but I’m eating smaller portions. I have learnt that my body and blood pressure get off on not 10,000 steps a day but 20,000 and at least 10,000 of them need to be Cardio.
I have gone from loathing exercise to only moderately loathing it. If the weather is ok I will not go to the gym but go for a long walk. I head off in different directions and every day I see something new. If the weather is shitty, I will use the gym in our building. I hate the gym. Always have and I always will. I end up watching cooking shows on the treadmill at the gym. I just end up torturing myself even more.
My blood pressure is sitting at 124/84 and my medication has been reduced to a low dose blood pressure medication. My specialist suspects after my next visit with more improvement I might be able to become medication free.
My head is in a really good space. I found it interesting that when you remove stress from your life the stress in your head doesn’t just turn off overnight. It has taken time, much longer than I thought. We are all so different, we all cope with it in different ways. Some better than others. These days I’m so 100% stress-free, I feel great.
We have travelled, ALOT! The thing is though we have not been on a plane since the flight we arrived 1 year ago. With so much in our backyard it has all been done by car. We have been to Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Vermont, New York State, Martha’s Vineyard, Cleveland, Lake Placid and numerous weekends away within Ontario and day trips.
The 9-year-old thinks we are torturing him by making go on these car trips.
I think our move was meant to be, from the minute we made the decision to make the move to Canada everything has fallen into place. I asked The Canadian and the-9-year-old and none of us has any regrets.
We miss family and friends but have had a couple of visitors and with facetime and social media, it just feels like everyone is down the road.
We have made a few friends and even have some Aussie mates that are doing a couple of years in Toronto. (Hi Linda)
It feels like home!
In saying that all the weird things I have blogged about over the last 12 months still drive me nuts LOL
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