Thursday, 28 July 2011

Oh Canada...

I miss my baby!!!

She is the other side of the world without me!! 
Miranda is staying with her Granny and Grandad (and by now, her Daddy as well) whilst I am in the middle of Canada, on a fact-finding mission and pseudo-job interview. We have actually have the very real possibility of making a new life out here and my mind is all over the place trying to process it all!

I reallly do not want Miranda to grow up in Darlington. There is just nothing there for us as a family; sure, we have some amazing friends and they are the only thing that has kept me sane and relatively contented for the past seven years. But, Darlington is scruffy and run down, the local council seem hellbent on making it worse, there are precious few job opportunities, certainly no graduate jobs. Starting a business here has proved almost impossible due to the total lack of support from the local authorities, and because everyone is broke and the location is so bad, I have too few customers having finally got my business open. The worst thing though, is the people who live around us. Chavs, basically. It's not really dangerous, but we get a lot of hassle - just being yelled at in the street and spat at, just because we dress differently or use long words or have jobs or ride tricycles or whatever else it is that offends these people so much. We've suffered petty vandalism, theft and general intimidation at the cafe as well, so it's not just our street being horrible. I hate it, it depresses me, and I don't want Miranda growing up in that sort of environment - to be bullied, effectively. I want her to be able to be exactly who she wants to be, without having to conform for fear of harrassment.

Yes, we could just move somewhere in the UK, but there are chavs in every town, and given our budget, I doubt we could afford to go anywhere that is chav-free. Of course, it also depends on jobs and opportunities and the housing market and so on and so forth. Whatever we do it's going to be stressful and expensive, so we thought sod it, WHY NOT EMIGRATE!?

Carl and I have been on about going to Canada for years anyway. He fell in love with the place when he cycled all the way across it, years ago before I met him. We went out together to Vancouver and Calgary and I loved it too, but of course, I only saw the touristy bits. But, in a bizarre series of events that are better explained on my coffee blog, I have a whiff of a job offer in Regina, Saskatchewan. So that is where I am.

The job is managing a brand new 'European-style' coffee shop and the owner seems just as daft as I am, given that he wants to employ me just on the basis of my British accent!! The cafe is lovely, (and huge) and it seems a great set-up. I can see myself having a lot of fun working there, and it won't be nearly as stressful as running my own place. That part is a very easy decision.

I have set myself the mission of exploring the rest of Regina as well this week, to see if I could imagine myself living out here with Carl and Miranda. That decision is going to be far harder. Most people's reactions, when I've told them this plan and then usually explained where on earth Regina is, think I am bonkers. Even the locals can't understand why anyone would WANT to move here given the choice. It really is in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the Prairies. I was trying desperately to see as much as I could out of the plane window when I flew in the other day, and just saw LOTS AND LOTS of wide open space, peculiarly regular square fields, tiny farm houses dotted about if I was lucky and the river snaking across the Nothingness. It was such as relief to finally see the city as we landed - you don't see it at all from the air until you are on top of it. It is huge (to British eyes) but it is certainly not hugely populated. There are about twice as many people here as there are in Darlington, but in what must be six times the space! Annoyingly, from my perspective, the spaces between places of interest are so vast, you have to drive, no one walks. I don't want to drive, especially since the trucks are all massive, everyone is on the wrong side of the road, and there are no roundabouts. I will bring my trike, that will freak people!! I ventured 'downtown' yesterday too, went to the only pedestrianized bit with a large shopping 'mall' in it. It was pleasant enough, but it was pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon in mid-summer. Everyone warns me about the freezing winters here too: -40c have been known, and the snow stays for months...

On the upside though, it is very pretty, very green and very spacious. The houses are lovely: all wooden bungalows on tree-lined streets. I did wonder why so many are single-storey, but as Carl pointed out, why build up, when you can build out? We found a 6 bed house with a garden and basement for not much more than we paid for our 2 bed semi in Darlington. Even in winter, I can imagine these streets still look nice covered in snow too. And the sky is clear, open and enormous - plenty of scope (geddit??) for Carl's astronomy. There are lots of parks throughout the town, and then the biggest area of parkland in the country, the Wascana park, with a massive lake and canoeing and the heritage centre and so on... Miranda will have lots of fun. The whole place does seem more geared towards children too. All the parks have kids' play areas, and even in the mall, there were shopping trollies in the shape of cars and trucks for children to ride around in. There's even a lakeside beach!

And no Chavs to be seen. I even found a Goth shop. YAY!!

After three days, I am very nearly sold on this idea. It is going to be a huge, huge upheaval I know. but I do believe it is the right thing to do. I just wish I could've brought my beautiful baby out here too, and Carl - he has to help in making this decision as well and I would feel far more confident about it all if he could see what I am seeing at the moment.

The other major factor to consider is how far away we will be from friends and family. I do trust my friends to stay in touch - I have friends all over the world and  this is hardly the first time I've done one of these insane trips anyway, and some friends are just as prone to disappearing as I am. It is my parents that I worry about. It is a very long flight which they hate anyway, (although they'd probably love the winter!!). They are already moaning about us taking Miranda away. They don't like her being four hours away in Darlington, let alone 15 hours away in Saskatchewan! I hope they understand why we want to do this though - I get the impression they do, underneath, but it will definitely be a huge wrench.

They have finally learnt to use Skype, so I have been trying to wave at the screen and see Miri on their webcam. She is getting doted on and spoilt rotten I think. Mum also reports that tooth #7 is on its way, so she's been a bit grumpy. Otherwise, she is coping very well not only without her Mummy, but also without Boob. Obviously I've had to stop breastfeeding this week but after 13 months, I think I did damn well with it, and she will be absolutely fine without it now. My boobs have gone huge and tender and rock hard though!! NOT NICE. I look like I've had really bad implants put it and they got so painfully full that I had to go express some milk in the toilet on the plane! Seems to be settling a bit today finally, but definitely NOT a pleasant experience. I made a point of locating a Big Bra shop in Regina yesterday, just in case they never go back to their original size....

So, I have a few more days of exploring, then I'll be reunited with my little family. And unless something goes wrong - I find Canadian chavs, or my visa gets refused or something, Miranda may well grow up Canadian, eh:?Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

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