So … just so we’re all clear and on the same page: I’ve moved back to Canada.
We found out we’d be leaving Thailand some time back in October and had about 2 months to work it out. It’s been madness and there’s been a great deal of heartache with having to leave my friends there, my scholarship daughter, the wonderful school, and the amazing lifestyle the opportunity had afforded us while in Thailand. … I wonder if I could file a complaint with my husband’s company and tell them I need compensation to keep up the lifestyle with which I’ve grown accustomed to?! 😉 But, in this market, I think it’s just good Husbandy still has work so I shall maybe need to keep my mouth shut.
ANYWAYS, so I’m back in Canada now. Life has been loco for a while but I’m working hard to just take it one day at a time and to roll with the punches and not take things too seriously. I thought I’d write a blog about some of my observations since returning home after a short 3 years away.
1. The people here are huge, both tall and wide.
2. The cars are all the same colours essentially: differing shades of grey, black, and white. So boring.
3. There is S O M U C H S P A C E !!
4. When you even approach the crosswalk, motorists stop. Even if you hadn’t intended to cross the street, motorists stop.
5. Country music. I didn’t miss that.
6. When you phone people, they’re on the same time zone again! But this doesn’t work for your friends you had to leave. 😦
7. It’s easier landing back on this end than moving that way. There’s a cocoon here to catch you and wind you up with love and assistance.
8. You need more stuff in Canada.
9. It’s SO EXPENSIVE in Canada. You want a hamburger in a restaurant? $18.
You want a bottle of water? $3.
I’m in sticker shock for food items, but also for the cost of monthly living: bills, fuel, insurance, kids activities … it adds up quick and it HURTS. (Did I mention I think the company should give us a type of expat alimony?!)
10. Welcome to bagging your own groceries and pumping your own fuel.
11. EVERYONE wants tips.
12. People routinely check and discusses the weather. The weather here can swing by 10+ degrees from day to day, or even morning to afternoon. The forecast can have a nice number but it doesn’t account for potentially bone-chilling winds.
13. I have to clean my own toilets. Having household help in Thailand is pretty common and it’s expected if you’re an expat.
14. (So far) the Thai food isn’t. Yes, that was a complete sentence. It claims to be Thai, but it most certainly is not. It lacks flavour, heat, and even texture. Hey, I get it, we’re in Canada! But, just don’t say it’s Thai food because it feels crumby to surprise my husband by taking him to dinner at a Thai restaurant and have to look at his face fall with disappointment at the first bite.
15. Did I mention we moved back in the middle of winter? There’s a bit of a shock to that. We’re from here and we knew what we were getting into, and Alberta is MUCH milder than Saskatchewan was. BUT, but, but, but, my kiddos’ skin is really suffering. Between the temperature switches of being outside and then inside, having cold and wet cloth touch their skin until the cloth dries if they’ve been playing outside, the incredibly dry air, the very hard water, and the chlorine added to the water supply, they’re covered in angry red patches of painful and itchy skin. I have to chase after them constantly to slather them head to toe with body lotion, and routinely put a thick vaseline-like concoction on their faces multiple times a day to help heal spots that pop up within hours. Everyone here is shriveling up from how dry it is and nobody seems to know about it.
16. My hair. I can straighten it and it stays that way.
17. My kids have discovered the electrostatic. They revel is dragging their socks across the carpet and chasing each other (and often times, me) to deliver a good ZAP!
18. Hockey. Hockey, hockey, hockey. It’s a hockey culture. You probably play. If you do not play, you understand that you are at the mercy of others’ schedules that are at the mercy of hockey practices, games, and tournaments. New friend? Great – but we can’t play until hockey season is over. LOL For real.
19. Vegan food is pretty easy to come by. This is good because it’s convenient but also bad as it’s much easier to be a Fat Vegan. 😉
20. People here maybe aren’t as friendly. I haven’t decided yet. It may have been because I was in an expat community before, but arriving here, nobody cares that we’re new. Nobody wants to know how you’re doing with the move, what they can do to help you integrate into the community, when they can have your family over to visit and have the kids play. So far, except of course from people we already knew and call friends/family, nobody has extended a hand or a welcome. Don’t feel too badly for us though, as I’m obnoxiously nice and friendly when it comes to my kids getting a sense of belonging so I’ll make it happen. Oh they’ll be my friends … whether they like it or not! Hahah!
Alright, I made it to 20. I’m sure there are many more and/or will be more but I’ll stop there for the time being.
Now for me to keep on trucking! Our sea shipment should arrive in Canada this week. We’re still not sure how long it will take to get through customs, to be transported to Alberta, or to set up time with the movers on this end. But I’m sure it will insanity when it happens. Stay tuned …