I decided it was time to post an update on our Canadian adventure thus far.
We arrived safely in Winnipeg after many hours of flying. Let me just say that if you have little ones and need to fly a long distance the sky couch via air New Zealand is the best! Due to the sky couch Luna was able to sleep almost the entire flight to Vancouver, while Isaac and I took turns lying down for short rests. When we got to Vancouver our connection was so short we had to request assistance to catch our next flight. We were met at the gate with an inside car and two attendants who literally drove us through customs; even before pilots and stewardesses from our flight. Needless to say we had no trouble with customs which was fantastic. As we boarded our flight to Winnipeg I could not get over hearing all the familiar prairie accents. It was so funny to hear CND accents rather than Kiwi for a change.
|Luna enjoying Doc Mcstuffins on the plane|
Once we arrived in Winnipeg Luna was literally GLUED to the window taking in her first sight of snow. When we left the plane there was a small patch of ice in the connecting tunnel which I could not drag her away from. We made our way into the new flash Winnipeg airport and felt elated to finally be in our 2nd home. It was amazing to take in so many familiar and missed sights and smells. We were met at the luggage train by our dear friend Shayla...and after big hugs and excited greetings we all put on the winter gear that she had provided for us. I nearly cried seeing Luna in her snow suit. It was really special to finally see our kid dressed in winter gear. When we got outside Luna was IN LOVE with the snow. She spent the next several minutes in awe...walking through it, touching it and scooping it. She just could not get over it. It was so fun to experience that with her. In the end we pretty much had to throw her over our shoulders to get her in the car...ha! She has some canuck in her soul after all!
Luna's first snow encounter:
We spent the next few days with our good friends Shayla, Anthony and their kids Xavier and Aria. Luna quickly made friends with the kids and happily played and enjoyed their company. It was a perfect way for her to transition to Canada. The kids soon showed her the ropes of playing in snow. We were so excited to finally catch up with our close friends and it was very surreal to believe we were actually standing with them in person. We ate yummy food and were cared for with love as we recovered from our journey. The first morning we woke up to a beautiful snow fall which was magical. We later went for a walk, pulling Luna behind us in a sled. It was indescribable how happy we all felt to be back in Canada winter. I know that sounds strange but it was beautiful and fun all rolled into one. Luna was ecstatic to be in a sled for the first time and we could not stop exclaiming at how COLD it was for the first time in such a long time.
We then transitioned to our new home for the next six months. Its a lovely place, spacious and warm and suits us perfectly. It was also OVERWHELMING the kindness and generosity of our friends who had graciously donated literally everything for our new house set up. We were essentially drowning in stuff. Shayla, who headed this up is a wonder woman. Not only did she organize donations but filled our cupboards with food and toiletries. It was so honoring and made the transition so much easier. I love that woman...she is amazing! It was very fun to go through all our new goodies together. Luna was super excited at having new clothes, toys and a big girl bed! She quickly took to the house and our new way of life. We definitely experienced culture shock in the next few weeks as reality slowly settled in. I nearly had a panic attack in the grocery store as everything was new and so different. It was CRAZY to feel like a foreigner in my own country. I had no idea how much I had actually transitioned to the Kiwi way of life. It was an interesting discovery that Winnipeg was so familiar, yet I needed to figure everything out all over again.
Most of our culture shock centered around food. As you know, I am a bit of a health nerd...and could not get over all the crazy preservatives in EVERYTHING! It was hard to handle. I literally had to do several very long shops to finally nail down all the items we would buy on a regular basis. For example....the table salt has sugar in it; figure that one out. We also had to deal with Canadian bureaucracy culture, which drove us a bit mad but we have slowly adjusted to. You really do have to have every i dotted and every t crossed here or else. In comparison to NZ, banking, insurance the works, looks pretty different. It also was quite funny remembering having to wear so many layers of winter clothes! By the time I had myself and Luna dressed we were both ready for a nap! Thankfully it has become more second nature though I do look forward to not having to do winter gear with a giant belly. Not very fun I assure you.
Thankfully life has transitioned and once we got a lot of the resettling stuff sorted life started to make sense here again and a lot of the crazy culture shock diminished. We were able to source a great car for a good price and driving on the other side of the road has come naturally and easily to both Isaac and I. We still don't know how to deal with four way stops however...and don't even get me started on how Winnipegers merge...ha!
The best part of being here however was finally getting to see so many dear friends for the first time in ages. It was beyond special for me to have these special folk finally meet our daughter and know her. It is amazing how familiar everyone felt. It literally seemed as if we had just caught up a week ago and no time had passed. We also had the privilege of meeting many of our friends children and seeing their homes which was super special and wonderful for all of us. It is exciting to be here and to do life with these special folk.
My midwives are also wonderful, supportive ladies. I have four different women that I have seen over the course of being here and will be assisted by whoever is on call when the baby decides to show. The midwives have really enjoyed seeing my NZ literature and log book in comparison to how they practice in Canada. Though I still miss my fantastic NZ midwife, these ladies are equally generous and will be a great support when the time comes. I did have to conquer some fear over the medicate first, ask questions later approach in Canada, though this is slowly melting away as I become more familiar with the systems here. I am feeling very confident about the birth, and am excited to finally meet this baby. I am huge and ready to be done ha! Next weekend is my due date. Please pray for safe and natural delivery. Due to the kindness of my friends I am literally drowning in baby gear! Its amazing how well taken care of we are! Thanks guys!
|Not a great photo but you get the idea|
I am really enjoying the kindness of Winnipeg folk since being here. So many people are very courteous and thoughtful which is nice. I even had a lady pay for some of my groceries this week when I tried to put some back. Amazing.
Luna, Isaac and I have been thrilled by all the new animals to experience, squirrels being a crowd pleaser first and foremost. Luna and I went to the zoo and enjoyed seeing so many of the animals in real life that she has only seen in films. Caribou, wolves, polar bears, seals, arctic foxes, etc. It was very very meaningful for me to see these animals again. They stir something in me and it made me proud to be home.
It has been a time of many firsts. Luna's first try ice skating (which she loved). Both Isaac and Luna used the push chair to get around the rink as Isaac is also new to skating. Luna also adores tobogganing. Apparently when Isaac took her for the first time she went down the kid hill once, then raced up to the big kid hill and went tearing down over and over all by herself. She also had her first experience walking on a frozen river which was very surreal for her. She is making new friends and taking everything in stride. We are so proud of her. She did go through a period of adjustment and misses her cousins and friends and family in NZ; but thankfully has seemingly fully transitioned to living in Canada for the moment.
|Luna and her new friend Eve|
|First time on a frozen river|
Isaac is loving his job with Design Built, it is a perfect fit and an incredible company. The workshop he was supposed to start in was under repair, so for the last two months he has been working onsite building houses in the swirling snow. Thankfully he loves this experience as well as enjoying the crew he is working with. The winter has actually been delightfully mild (-15 to -4), with only a few -35 and -40 moments. This has been a huge blessing as its been so much easier for us to adjust from NZ level of cold. Aside from playing outside we have tried to get out into the city and really enjoy what it has to offer before baby enters our lives.
|Isaac off to work. A slight change in wardrobe compared to NZ|
Last weekend we attended Festival du Voyageur, which is a celebration of all things Canada and winter. It did my heart well as it was a culmination of everything I missed about Canada in one event. We had the pleasure of enjoying fresh maple syrup taffy (literally maple syrup poured into clean snow and hardened) which was a childhood memory of mine and tastes divine. They had beautiful snow sculptures, historical exhibits, music and even horse drawn sleigh rides. Winnipeg really excels at embracing and celebrating winter. There are so many ways to enjoy the season which makes it pass quickly.
On a whole it has been a great experience moving back to Winnipeg. Though we miss our NZ friends and family it is wonderful to reengage with Canadian life and kinfolk. We will keep you updated on our adventures. For the moment love to all our friends and family in NZ and Canada. We will post about our new daughter any day now!