The Five-Month Update

This Wednesday edition of Maple Mondays is brought to you by a broken router. Being without internet in this day and age is a form of torture, I’m certain. First world problems and all that, but seriously, the internet has become such an important part of my work and daily life. Being cut off from it is not fun, but that’s exactly where I found myself on Monday.


We’ve officially been living here in Canada for five months. It’s insane how time just sprints away from us.

Adapting to the culture and life here has been much easier than it was in Germany. That’s not surprising at all, since there is no language barrier. Add the fact that South Africa used to be a British colony way back when, and you shouldn’t be surprised that SA and Canada actually share a lot of customs and traditions. Sure, the American influence is obvious too, but we grew up on American TV, so many of the customs and traditions are at least partially known to us.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I forgot how often we got sick when we first moved to Germany. It’s the same now. Every virus or bacteria and their grandmothers want to get to know us, so each time a new germ goes around Kayla’s school, all of us get infected. Experience teaches me that we’ll be more or less immune by next season, but for now, the constant illness sucks. Kayla is actually home with me today with one of these bugs. Yay.

The weather has been turning, which is awesome. Sunshine and blue skies are so welcome after a long winter (made longer by the fact that our last summer was so cold and rainy). This seasonal depression thing is real. As you can imagine, I wanted to cry last week when we had a centimetre of snow. In fact, I may have cried.

But, If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve been pretty depressed on the whole. This has nothing to do with Canada, per se, but I do believe the stress surrounding the whole immigration thing is to blame. I didn’t really address the way I felt when we moved to Germany, but I feel that I owe it to myself and everyone who reads my blog for advice on immigration to be open about these things. To myself, because acknowledging is the first step and all that, and to you so you’ll know what to expect.

You see, during the process of immigration, there are a lot of little things happening on the sidelines, but you can’t focus on any of those. It’s press on or lose your place in the immigration queue, and nobody is willing to risk that when you’ve shoved so much cash at the process.

Then, one day when you’re done with the medical exams and the stacks of paperwork, you have other stuff to worry about. Where the hell are we going to live and work? And when you’ve established that, another issue pops up, then another. They always do. You have no choice but to shove down the emotions and get the work done, and you promise yourself everything will be okay when you get there.

Of course, when you get there offers challenges of its own. I’ve written about all of this before if you want to check that out (here and here).

The point is, when you arrive, you’ll be submerged in a sea of paperwork again. And again, there will be stuff going down on the sidelines. For example, Jan got a job in Canada before we actually arrived – a huge relief when you’re in the process. But when we got here, we found out that the company that had offered him the job wasn’t real. As in, it didn’t exist. Despite all of the research we’d done on the place, we realised that the company just wanted to use Jan to get a tender, while offering him a fraction of the job’s real compensation. This caused extreme stress in our home for a while, until he ended up getting a real job offer from a real company.

I realise now that we haven’t actually dealt with any of that stress, or the other stressful events that went with the entire immigration process. Heck, even some of the stress that went hand-in-hand with our experiences in Germany. We were just racing ahead of all of it, moving all the stuff we couldn’t deal with at the time behind us and just going onwards. We’ve come to a halt now, with no more forms to fill out or anything pressing to do, and it’s like the stress has finally caught up, just to crash into us.

I explained to a friend the other day that Canada isn’t to blame for any of this – it’s been amazing here – but the fact that we’ve moved across the world means we’re tired, and exhaustion tends to leave you more vulnerable than usual.

Also, this time around Jan and I are both experiencing this depression at the same time. In Germany, we went through the down periods at different stages, so we could help each other navigate the murkiness. This time, we just both want to sit around and wallow. It’s strange.

Again, experience allows me to believe that these feelings will pass. Probably like a kidney stone, but they will pass. And I’m hoping that if you’re in the same boat as me, I can give you that hope too.

I know applying this advice to yourself is difficult – I struggle with it daily – but be kind to yourself. My brilliant friend Tallulah always says that you can’t draw from an empty well, it needs to be refilled first. At this stage, I’m trying to refill the well. (By the way, do remember her special discount on book covers if you use this code!)

Have a good one.



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