Repatriation – The Driving Question

Well, after being back in Canada for almost three months, I have come to the conclusion that all countries have their quirks and silly regulations.  Being overseas for almost 8 years, and butting our heads against numerous road blocks, I think we had developed a rose-coloured-glasses view of our home and native land.

Well, just so you know, it AIN’T SO!

It was no trouble renting a place to live, sorting out bank accounts, and even finding a job.  No problem renting a vehicle, getting used to actually understanding the people around you (most of the time). Not a hitch at all to re-activate our old health-care numbers. Nary a delay or question regarding clearing our goods through customs.

No – the big problem was driving – or rather the acquiring of licences and purchasing – or rather register – of vehicles.

Buying the truck was easy – have money, no problem.  But we couldn’t register it without a valid Alberta drivers licence……… and you can only have one if you live here, which is why we had to begin at square one.

Bring all the papers to the registry office – including our apartment lease to prove that we do live here.  OK – firstly, the photocopies of our Kuwaiti licences bear no weight at all – you need the physical card, which of course, we had relinquished in Oman. “We could get a letter of verification from the Department of Transportation in Kuwait – but we all know how long that would take – and then it would have to be signed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, and the Kuwait Embassy in Canada.  No – not an option.

Next problem – we need our Norwegian licences translated – and they don’t have anyone on their approved list for Norwegian.  Luckily, there is a Norwegian Consulate here in Calgary.  It only took two weeks to get the translations – while our shiny new paid-for truck languished at the dealer ship.

OK – now David is OK to swap his licences (Omani and Norwegian) for an Alberta one, as without counting the Kuwait experience, he still had less than a three-gap in accepted experience…… he has his licence…. and his truck.

I was not so lucky.  My Alberta licence expired a earlier, so I had to do both the written text, and the driving test as well.  We had done an extensive driving test in Norway which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I wasn’t worried about that, but did havea few twinges of being stymied by trick questions on the written knowledge test.

Boy – was I wrong.  The written test (done on a computer) was easy.  And the driving test consisted of being treated like a 16-year-old moron for half an hour.  I passed the test, and got my licence, but an still reeling from the demoralizing experience.

Non-the-less, we are here, and pretty well everything is now in place – and we are glad to be back near family again, in spite of Canada’s somewhat silly rules.

Posted in O Canada | 7 Comments

Here it comes….. Samhain 2014

Here it comes….. Samhain 2014.

 

Here is an article from a fellow blogger on the origins of Halloween…… some pretty interesting  information.

 

Hope you enjoy it.

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Patriotism…..

……is a  funny thing. I realized that at the football game last night.

After living overseas for almost 8 years, and only flying back for month-long holidays and a mad scramble to visit family and friends, I felt more like a citizen of the world. Canada was where I was born, and it definitely has many advantages over a lot of other countries, but… did I really want to live there?

I remember the first time I went overseas, during my university years.  I went to the UK with a choir, and as well as singing in several music festivals, we toured all over England, northern Wales, Scotland and even spent a couple of nights in Dublin.

Our first concert was in the small Welsh village of Hope, not far from Chester – and also very close to the festival town of Llangollen, where we competed.  Our conductor was Welsh, and he had taught in Hope.

To close our concert, we sang “O Canada” – and then the audience stood as one, and treated us to the national anthem of Wales. Shivers ran down our spines as we sang – they doubled when those proud Welsh thundered back in such amazing voice and harmony.  It was quite moving to sing our song in another land.

I also remember the choir breaking into song with “Something To Sing About” as we landed back in Canada on our return home.

So…. back to last night.  Flags waving, a stadium of over 30,000 football fans following the soloist in “O Canada”…….. we get half way through, and all of a sudden there are tears in my eyes, and my throat is too choked up with emotion to sing the rest.

Yes – I am Canadian – proud to be, and happy to be back in my native land.

Posted in O Canada, Travels | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Hi, Remember me?

Hello.

I have been definitely incommunicado for a long time. Life takes twists and turns that one does not expect. Even if you somewhat expect the new direction, the daily living out of the change can be overwhelming.

We have wandered again…………. And are now back in Canada. We arrived in Calgary September 2, after traveling three quarters of the way around the world.

We are in the process of setting our new direction, probably working here on Canada. We are temporarily in a small furnished apartment in southern Calgary, close to all amenities, including a huge quilt shop.

Getting used to be able to read all the signs and understand the store clerks. Living on the 10th floor………never done that before either.

We loved through three days of unseasonable snow here.

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Our air shipment arrived at the door this morning, containing all of our warm clothing…… now the weather has turned nice again. But it also contains my sewing machine, and a few projects. I am really excited about this.

I have found a twice-a-week Tai Chi class to go to, and with it some people to talk to. And our gorgeous granddaughter live here too.

Time will tell just where we will end up, in Calgary, grande Prairie, Estevan, or some where farther afield.

But life is good, I am back, and still have lots of stories to tell of my adventures in far away lands.

Posted in O Canada | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Afternoon Swim

At the local regional park on Last Mountain Lake, they have lane swimming after lunch. Today, Brenda and I final made it there.

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No photos of us in action, but it was wonderful. I did 32 laps and even some front crawl, which I find really tiring. The water was the perfect temperature for it.

I was so happy, considering that it is a year since I last did anything but play in the water.

We will be leaving tomorrow, do this is a one-time shot. Sure wish I could do this every day!

Posted in Into Eastern Russia | 2 Comments

Why …………….

Are these tiny traffic sign posted in the ditch by the highway in Saskatchewan?

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I know, but do you?

Posted in Into Eastern Russia | 8 Comments

At The Zombie Race

We spent Fathers Day in Devon, Alberta, just south of Edmonton. And of all thing to to on a fine summer day, we found ourselves at a Zombie Race.

David’s cousin’s wife runs Marriot Fitness in Devon, and she does a lot of fund raising for good causes. This one was for the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, and wow! Does she ever do things right! This was their third Zombie Race. Lots of good clean (well! pretty muddy) fun and exercise and lots of laughs.

We weren’t quite sure what a Zombie Race was. It is basically a fun race through obstacles, where there are zombies popping out at you and trying to steal ribbons from your belt as you sneak by them. I think if you lost all your ribbons you are officially dead, but here, you just kept on running.

We arrived just a bit before it began, and there were the Zombies….. Some were university students, but lots were just adults and children who showed up in costume to take part.

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Tons of gross make up, and some very gruesome mask -

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Three zombies did a dance for us. One little girl who had been terrified of the zombies last year dressed up as one this time.

There were lots of the contestants who were also in costumes – here is one t-shirt I particularly liked.

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There was a family race, a children’s race, and then an adult race of 4 kilometres, which entailed going down by the river, and running up the bank, as well as climbing up the hill out of the park and sliding down a water slide made of three tarps, and lubricated generously by a hose on a water.

Here are some photos of the race, including crawling through the worm pit, swinging over the water (or not), and the end of the yellow tunnel.

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And to top off a fine morning, here is David’s Dad, dancing with a zombie.

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A morning of good clean but slimy and muddy fun.

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