Adjusting: A relearning.

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The snow has finally fallen, as we knew it would.  After nearly 4 years of snow-less living, it is time to face the reality of our Canadian roots again.

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We figured the best thing we could do to make the winter more bearable was to be prepared with the proper clothing (i.e. boots, coats, mittens, scarves, and touques).  Snow tires were also a must, and seem to be working great.

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Brushing ten inches of white stuff off of the car after the first major snowfall felt bizarre, yet vaguely familiar.

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So far, we’d say that the snow has been slightly more tolerable than expected, although we know that much colder days are ahead.

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On the bright side, shovelling turns out to be a great work out.  Who needs a gym membership when you can… clear your driveway?

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Other adjustments have included embracing my inner cowboy (or should I say cowgirl) in the city of Red Deer, where western roots run strong.  This past Friday, we had  “Western Day” at school- a day I would have been completely unequipped for if it weren’t for my good pal Heather who got me outfitted with all the necessary Western get-up.

Truck.

Massive trucks seem to be everywhere… and are especially annoying when they cut you off and spray slush all over your windshield in the process.

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The consumeristic nature of holidays has been a slight shock.  I remember how difficult it was to track down any Valentine’s Day candy in New Zealand as the date drew near.  Such is definitely not the case in Canada.  Something that’s become apparent to us is that Canadians are a people who like to celebrate.  Any occasion.  As soon as one holiday is over, stores are filled with decor, gifts, and edible goods for the next.  Don’t get me wrong- I do love a good celebratory occasion.  This is just something that I never really noticed about my own culture before.

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I am no longer getting lost in downtown Red Deer, which is a good sign. As the streets and avenues run opposite to the way they do in Edmonton, I found myself heading in the wrong direction often at the beginning, but I think I’ve got my bearings right now.

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It’s been interesting having to switch our vocabulary back to “Canadian.”   No major changes, just slight ones.  Referring to the “counter” instead of the “bench” and writing “mom” instead of “mum” are just a few of such vocabulary adjustments.  I suppose through learning to live in another society, you come to accept differences as part of life, sometimes even enriching, instead of positive or negative. I did, however, catch myself using the phrase “work do” in conversation someone this weekend.  There are probably some Kiwi expressions that will never leave us. 😉

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So perhaps there hasn’t been a ton to adjust to… The transition back to life in Canada has been more of a relearning of our own culture, and noticing more of the ways that we have changed while we’ve been gone.

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6 thoughts on “Adjusting: A relearning.

  1. Dear Mel what a beautiful blog. Did you treat yourself to Hunter boots my friend? If so than massive Hi-5 to you! I can relate to the consumer culture, it is a whole new level to NZ isn’t it? Mitchell and I are constantly feeling overwhelmed by it all.

    • I did indeed, Anna! Glad you approve. 😉 Being away for several years, I had completely forgotten what it was like around (any) holiday time here. Part of me is fascinated by it all, and the other part a bit unsure about how to respond. It is indeed a whole new level. Sending big hugs to the two of you. xx

  2. Beautifully written! What, so there are no “work do’s” here?? Being in NZ for a month was very similar in relearning the culture and appreciating the things I’d never thought about previously. I gather you are both feeling a lot more settled there. I envy that yet am very pleased.

    • I believe Canadians would refer to them as “staff parties” or “work functions”… Going away and coming back again does give you new eyes to notice things you didn’t before. Welcome back to Alberta, Christina! Looking forward to seeing you and Jesse again soon!

    • Thanks, Nanny!! We miss you!! How are you keeping? Warm, I hope! Would love to catch up with you over a cup of tea right about now! Wished we lived closer so we could do that. Love you, Nan! Your comments are always so much appreciated. xx

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