Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My life in Canada (January 2008 - May 2008)

January 2008 - May 2008:

Let me start where we left off. We had a wonderful Christmas. We spent the day at Michael’s parents place where we had a wonderful dinner. We usually go to their place after lunch and stay until about 9:00PM. By the afternoon it actually started snowing, so we did have a white Christmas. It didn’t snow very much, but enough to cover the ground and make everything look white and like Christmas. Michael and I were off between Christmas and New Year and we enjoyed ourselves just being together going out here and there, do some shopping or just take it easy. We had a wonderful time. On the 2nd Christmas Day (Dec. 26) we have "Boxing Day" over here. On this day all the stores are open all day and most things are on sale for 50% to 75% off. Usually we buy some clothes, shoes and groceries. Some people line up to get electronics for a very cheap price. But we usually don’t feel like standing in line for this as you have to be waiting at 5:00AM if you want the good stuff...that just seems a little too early. We do shop on this day every year, we never miss it as we always like to find some good deals.Well, we had enough winter as well so far. We had a couple of snowfalls in December which disappeared pretty quickly. We had quite some snow in January which stuck around for a while, but the most of it we got in February. In the beginning of February we had about 25cm (10 inches) of snow and a few days later we had another 25cm (10cm), this was gone within a week. Then half of February we had another snowfall of about 50cm (almost 2 feet) which stayed around for about 2 weeks. This is great for our local mountains as they had tons of snow since half of November and it’s even colder up there so they get more snow than we do down here. They had a great season as the snow kept on falling until half of April on top of the mountains. At this moment the local mountains still have about 5 meters (16 feet) of snow, so the skiing/snowboarding season isn't over yet. We even had a snow fall on March 28, but it was gone by the end of the day. This is really unusual to get snow that late in the season, the flowers are blooming by then already and spring has set in. I guess global warming is the cause of this crazy weather.I finally finished my nursing course as well. I did my preceptorship (practicum) in Burnaby Hospital which is about 15 minutes driving from our place and it was really good. I had to work 14 shifts in total as they are shifts of 12 hours. I had to work 4 days in a row, 3 day shifts from 7:30am until 7:30pm and 1 night shift from 7:30pm until 7:30am. After those 4 shifts I was off for 4 or 5 days. I had to take care of 4 patients and you do everything for these patients, you wash them, you do all the medications as well as intravenous therapy and much more. I learned a lot and I am happy that I had this experience. The nurse I had to work with 1 on 1 for my 14 shifts was great and so helpful. Now that I am finished I still have to do the national nursing exam which is not until October (it’s only 3 times a year). In the meantime I started working full time again at the same place where I have been for the past 3 years. I am not sure if I will go back to hospital nursing or not, I haven't made up my mind yet. I like my present job and I will continue here for now.

Some snow photos from around our place

On a lighter note I can tell you that we will be going to Mara Lake again this summer where we meet up with some of our family. This is always fun as we stay in a cabin near the lake where we can just relax and enjoy ourselves. This area is kind of like Spain to Europe, a very dry and quite hot place in the summer with temperatures around 30 C or even more. There is a beach and we can cool off in the lake which is nice to swim in. Besides that we are going to Europe as well for about 4 weeks. The main reason is to visit my mother, but of course we also want to travel around a little. We’ll do a bunch of day trips in the area, but we also want to take a short holiday in 1 place and take my mom along so she can have a little holiday as well. We have chosen Switzerland as our destination because my mom, my husband and myself have never been there. I have been there once but that was for skiing in the winter, summer time is always different. We’ll be staying in a lovely chalet in the Interlaken area for about 12 days and visit the surrounding area. We will be staying at this beautiful vactions home near Interlaken. We look forward to it! We hope to visit the Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald with a trip to First from where we walk to the Bachalpsee, The Niederhorn, The Shilthorn, Kandersteg and the beautiful area around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. That's our plan anyway, once we get there we will decide what we will do and when. It's hard to plan everyday ahead of time because you don't know what the weather will be like. So, we have a list of things we definitely want to see so we have time to see the most important things. I am still talking to my mom on the phone every week and we call at least once a week but usually it's twice a week. It's a great way to keep in touch and it makes us feel like we are not that far away from each other.Michael and I are still going strong, our love for each other grows stronger and stronger everyday and we are so happy together. It's nice to be with someone that loves you, that's your best friend and someone who understands everything. I am so greatful to have found someone like Michael, he is the best for me. Michael and I enjoy going out now and then to enjoy the beautiful scenery around here. I still enjoy taking photos and you will see that I update my photo albums frequently with new photos. Further we have been to Burnaby Mountain a few more times and we finally made it out to Steveston Village which is a wonderful place near the Vancouver International Airport. Steveston is a small fishing village by the water where you can buy fresh salmon, other fish and fresh shrimp. It's wonderful place and we enjoyed a lovely walk here as at Terra Nova Park ichmond from where you can see the planes take off from the Airport.

Some photos from our visit to Steveston & Terra Nova Park

May 2008 has been quite exciting so far. I had some great news from one of my girlfriends who I met online a few years ago. She is from The Netherlands and we met through a website about immigrating to Canada. Her and her boyfriend at the time had thoughts of moving to Canada and she wanted to get to know some people that lived in Canada already that are from The Netherlands or Belgium. We got along quite fine on msn messenger and in October 2005 they were coming for a holiday to West Canada. They wanted to get an idea about this area and see if they would want to move here. I helped them out with an interesting route and gave them some tips on what to visit. Since they were coming all the way out here they would find it interesting to meet up and talk about life in Canada. We met at White Spot in New Westminster, a nice restaurant not too far away from us. Ineke and Sandor (that's their names) brought us some presents to say thank you for helping them to put a travel route together. I got these cute Dutch Cloggy's that look like wooden shoes, but they are soft slippers. They bought some Belgian beer for Michael and a pretty calendar for us as well. That was so nice of them. We enjoyed ourselves at dinner and we talked and talked. We got along so well which was really nice.Their plans of immigrating to Canada had been put away for the moment due to several reasons. Ineke and Sandor got married in June 2006, they bought a lovely house and continued their life together without any plans to move to Canada. But then in 2008 Sandor travelled to Vancouver a few times for his work with Phillips and I guess they likes what they saw and they offered him a job for a year at Phillips in Burnaby. This means that both of them would be able to move to Canada on a temporary work visa. Phillips would arrange everything for them. They would be able to live in a house in Greater Vancouver as they were going to bring their 4 Jack Russels. Sandor arrived here in April already, but Ineke didn't arrive until the beginning of May. Of course this would be an opportunity for me to see Ineke more frequently. I was looking forward to that very much as we hadn't seen each other for 2 and a half years. We met at our place and then we went for lunch at the White Spot where we met for the first time in 2005. We chatted about so many things and had a good time. It was so good to see her and to be able to talk in person.

We also did some shopping in the mall and went to Burnaby Mountain afterwards to enjoy a few nice views. Sadly enough it was a little too cloudy and you couldn't see as much as you would on a clear and sunny day. After that we went back to my place for a cup of tea and then she went home. We would try to meet up again next week, but the day after it was such a nice day with more sunshine and I was anxious to see her 4 doggies. I got in touch with Ineke and suggested we could go to Buntzen Lake since the weather was so nice. Buntzen Lake is a wonderful place to enjoy a walk and dogs are allowed over there as well. Ineke thought that it was a good idea since the weather was so nice. She decided that she would take only 2 doggies at once as it would be too much to take all 4. I would meet her at her place and then we would leave from there to Buntzen Lake. I went to her place just after lunch and as I got out of the car the doggies came running for me already. What a happy bunch they were and they were so happy to welcome me. We took Dax and Bella to Buntzen Lake. Dax is a real active and quite hyper dog so full of energy, but he's a sweetie. I walked with Bella and what a darling she was, so calm and sweet. She liked to sniff around along the trail, but was easy to walk. Dax on the other hand wanted to see everything he could close up and he was running about a lot. I think he is a very curious dog, but he obbeys which is good. We spent almost 2 hours at Buntzen Lake and walked a nice trail through the forest. After that we went back to Ineke's place for a drink and a rest. The other two dogs, Max and Pink, were so happy to see us again. We sat in the sofa for a while and Bella sat on my lap for quite some time. She seemed to enjoy that and liked to cuddle. She stole my heart and so far she's my favourite out of the bunch. But they are all so sweet and all so cute! Well, that was it for that day. I would have to go to work again for the next 4 days, so we'll probably try to meet up again next week at some point. The weather is supposed to get much sunnier and warmer by next week. So, we'll see if they're going to be right?

The doggy squad was so happy to greet me at Ineke's place (photo by Ineke)...(the dog's names from the left: Bella, Max, Pink, Dax)

Ineke with Dax and Bella at Buntzen Lake

Bella and Dax on a hiking trail at Buntzen Lake (photo by Ineke)

Please see my next post "My life in Canada (June 2008) for the rest of the story!


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