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  1. JennyVee

    Landing Story

    We've been in Canada for a week now, and still have to pinch ourselves when we realise that our four years of planning and persisting have paid off. Here's how the journey went for us: We left Cape Town at the end of October, and took a two-week trip in a camper van up to my folks in JHB. After another two weeks of blissful family time, my mom's church driver took us to the airport in a van. My dad followed in his own car to help us through baggage check, and my mom stayed at home. We agreed that it would be too much to say goodbye at the airport - this was a good move. We flew, with Lufthansa, out of OR Tambo at 8.30pm, and it was a bit crazy with the kiddos. They're usually asleep by 7pm, so they were both a little loopier than usual. The flight to Frankfurt was fine, but the tv screens were hazy and slow to respond which was a pain. I was pleasantly surprised at the legroom in the economy class, and we sat four across one of the middle row - my husband and I sandwiching the kids. In the end we gave them some Allergex and they slept a fair portion of the way. Frankfurt is a great airport for long layovers. We arrived at 6.30am and went through a hectic security check, then sat in a restaurant watching the sun rise, and contemplating our journey. When the kids could keep it together no longer we went to pick up some strollers (a free service at the airport) and headed to the showers. For 8 Euros we were able to freshen up in the spacious shower rooms (towels and soaps provided) and put our game faces on for the final leg of our trip. Next we found a spot in one of the many relaxation areas, and took turns pushing the kids to the various play areas around the airport. After a lunch of good beer and sausage, we boarded our flight to Calgary at 2.30pm. Flying for 9.5 hours and landing one hour later is hard, especially with kids. This time the Lufthansa flight was a code share on Canadian Air and the flight staff were the best. The airplane layout was different, so we sat three across next to the window, with my hubby across the aisle. We preferred this arrangement because our son had a window seat which was magic for him. The screens worked perfectly and we were comfortable all the way. Aside from our daughter screaming inconsolably for about three of the hours we were in the air, this flight was also fine. That being said, we're loathe to repeat the journey any time soon. Flying with small kids is pretty intense and we've aged in dog years since we left JHB. The flip side is that when you're trying to contain their tiny chaos, you don't have time to dwell on the massive life change you're undertaking. Our arrival in Calgary was uneventful, and actually a bit of an anticlimax. They processed us quickly, and were super friendly. There was no queue and the whole process took about 40 minutes. My mother-in-law and husband's aunt were there to meet us, so we were welcomed with cuddles and whisked off to our new temporary home in Chestermere. We feel incredibly grateful to land this way, and know that very few folks have the same comforts to step into. Our kids love the snow but are still adjusting to the time difference, so sleep is up and down. Fortunately Calgary is super sunny, which helps our circadian rhythms to recalibrate. The people we've met getting our health cards, SIN, and bank accounts sorted are all pathologically friendly and efficient. Chestermere has a busy community center, and we attended a drop-in kids playdate session this morning. We're feeling excited and overwhelmed. Heartbroken and optimistic. So just life, I guess. Thank you to those lovely forum peeps who have helped us on our way. If you're interested in the finer details of our journey, I've been blogging it here: http://unfoldingodyssey.com/.
  2. We are trying to decide where to stay in Canada as we do not have anywhere we must go and think we narrowed it down to Okanagan area or Vancouver Island (also included on our list was Braggs Creek and Canmore). Can anyone provide some pros/cons for both areas if you’ve maybe moved to the Island from Okanagan (or other way around) and say why? We’re flying over towards end of March and wanted to drive from Calgary to Vancouver Island but seems with the snow that time of year in the Rockies it might be risky given we have to get used to driving in CA and have 3 small kids. Any info or advice welcome!! Thanx 😃
  3. Hey everyone, Posting this here on behalf of my friend that is looking for a tenant for this condo. We rented it from her when we first moved to Calgary and stayed there for three months before we found a house to rent. Pros: Short walk to the Tuscany LRT station, it is the end of the LRT line so you are guaranteed a seat on the train which beats standing on a busy train. The condo is really nice and well looked after. The building is well run. The building has a small gym which you can use for free. 1 x undercover parking in a heated garage. 1 x parking permit to park a 2nd vehicle on the street outside the building. You can have a small pet. All snow removal etc is all taken care of. It's furnished, even with a gas braai. You only have to pay for electricity - about $40pm. Washing machine and tumble dryer in the apartment. Nice little dams and green space for walking close by. The landlord is awesome, she has been to SA so she "gets" us. We have now become friends, she is just really an awesome person. Cons: The location of the apartment in the building is above one of the garage doors so when your windows are open you can hear the garage opening and closing. Not a big deal in winter Condos have rules and you have to follow them. This condo building is strict so if you are a rule breaker - it's not for you. It is pretty small at 800 sq feet but if it's just 2 people it is fine. So if you are looking for a place, I think you could be happy there because we were. Also, she is flexible on the lease period and will probably accept 6 months minimum. If you contact her be sure to mention that you saw the ad here on SACanada. https://www.rentfaster.ca/calgary-apartment-for-rent/rocky-ridge/furnished-apartment-in-rocky-122252
  4. GrantM

    Disc (frisbee) Golf Calgary

    Hey everyone, So we decided to take an unplanned walk in Baker Park yesterday. We stumbled upon a disc golf course and after a bit of research I found that there are a couple courses and the majority of them are free to play. So you can pick up a cheap set of discs for $30 from Amazon and get out there and have some fun. I never managed to get out and try it in SA but I am really keen to give it a go. Would anyone else be keen? Some links: http://calgarydiscgolf.com/ http://www.albertadiscgolf.com/
  5. Alberta can be beautiful too... Oh and this is during this fall... a few weekends ago. Here's the view of Lake Louise on one of our hikes... The beautiful town of Banff. This was taken from the Cascade Gardens looking onto the main road...
  6. Robyn3

    Alberta Drivers

    Hi All, I have read all the topics surrounding obtaining an Alberta Drivers License but I have honestly confused myself with the whole process and just want to check on a few things. I arrived in Canada on vacation, and have ended up staying. Because I didn't plan to stay, I don't have an international drivers license or an RTMC letter. I should have my international drivers in the next few days (it's being posted from SA). For the RTMC letter, do I simple write to the RTMC and request my driving history? With regards to obtaining a drivers license in Alberta, do I have to convert my SA license within 3 months of landing in order to have my SA driving history count? After my knowledge test, am I correct in saying that I hand in my SA license and after approval (I read 2 weeks?) I will be allowed to do my road test? I feel like the drivers is the most difficult thing I've had to adjust to in Canada. All other things have gone smoothly, except for this I was actually driving for a few weeks on just my SA license, no international license, as I was told that was fine. Then yesterday I was told that it's illegal to drive in Alberta without an international license. So now I'm trying to wrap my head around everything. I have been in Calgary since 17 May, so my 3 months is up on 17 August. Would I need to have done the learners test by then? I read on the Alberta Service website that one can drive with an international license for one year? But if I did that, then my SA driving record wouldn't count as I'm over the 3 month mark? Any advice/help would be so appreciated!! Robyn
  7. Hi All, If there is anyone in the Calgary area that knows about any opportunities in IT Network support and desktop support or Helpdesk please do get into contact with me. petrus.lourens@gmail.com Regards, Petrus.
  8. My husband works for a lanscaping company he has been there for 7 years. They bring in workers every year from the Philippines. All the workers who have come in over the years now have PR and are settled here with their families. This year they have said they will happily bring people from South Africa. They have a company that does their work permits for them. They are full time year round jobs. There are two types skilled - with landscaping experience and unskilled with no landscaping experience. I will find out more details tomorrow but thought I would post something today. I know this won't be for everyone but thought there might be some people who would be interested. Message me if you would like more information. The company is called Foothills Lanscaping. http://www.foothillslandscaping.ca/
  9. Hi, The better half discovered this very funny yet inspiring letter on News24. I would assume the writer is from Calgary or Alberta at least. I had a bit of a giggle. http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Why-I-will-never-leave-Canada-20140805
  10. warney

    Another Newbie

    Hi Everyone, I've been reading all the latest on the forum for the past couple a days while waiting to be validated, and I just want to start by saying how awesome it is to see how united SAFAS really are. To find a forum like this is such a relief considering all the questions that are crashing through my brain. My wife Joleta and I (Warren) and our two amazing little kiddies, Skylah (2) and Aiden (10 months) are looking to relocate to Canada from Cape Town SA. We started the process in January (first checking out Oz, NZ and the UK... I also sent my CV off to a company in Dubai and I've had a potential job offer in Qatar), but we're really set on Canada. I checked out IXP visas (who phoned me nonstop), but thanks to a couple of good friends and an agent from CanadaAbroad who warned me about them, I was able to sidestep them and have a go at it myself. Using the information on CIC and Job Bank, I was able to find vacancies in my field of work and sent off my CV to about 10 companies (maybe more). I was amazed at the response. In the first week I had 3 responses (2 from Edmonton and 1 in Calgary) all wanting to do a skype interview. Anyway, long story short...I've had 2 follow up interviews and a job offer from the company in Calgary and they managed to secure a positive LMO. Now the real work starts...or so it seems. I’ve since then also been contacted by a company in Oakland. I've done a whole lot of reading, downloaded checklists and checked eligibility etc..., but I thought to check in with you first, since most of you have been through this already. - What is the best route going forward? Any tips? - Does my wife need to also secure a job or can she tag along as my spouse (what visa does she need to apply for - A Visitors Visa?). - Do we all need unabridged birth certificates (I know the kids do). - Will the new LMIA influence the positive LMO? - How much funds do I need to have in my account (do they want statements etc...we also own a house...well a part of it at least...we've paid off around R300k) Will that count in our favour? - How long does all of this take? Timeline? - Do I need to secure visitors driving permit and international driver’s license? - Are there any hidden costs? - How long before we can apply for PR? - Done a lot of research about Calgary and my employer says he grew up on the East Coast, but moving to Calgary was the best decision he ever made. What’s your opinion? - Anyone currently living in Durbanville that is looking to head over? My contact no: 0845608241, maybe we can hook up and chat. Thanks in advance for all the assistance. Super grateful!
  11. Our customers regularly inquire as to where they can find South African Beer and other drinks in Calgary. I have recently noticed a write-up in City Palate that Savanna is now available at Co-Op Wines and Spirits as well as Willow Park Wines and Spirits. Wouter Safari Meat Shops
  12. My partner and I are both looking for jobs in Calgary or further afield, but mainly Alberta, as we start the immigration process. I thought it might be worth posting it on here, to see if anyone is on the lookout. About us: - My partner is a .NET Computer Programmer with over 10 years industry experience, he is on the skilled shortage list. - I am a Graphic Designer, with a BA in Creative Brand Communication and over 5 years industry experience. We are both hard-working, committed and extremely passionate about our chosen careers, so we feel we would be top candidates for positions in both our fields. Please contact me if you need more info or if you know of someone who is looking for someone with our skills and experience. Thank you in advance.
  13. Sideline

    Cattery in Calgary

    Hi all, Ok next phase of planning: We are needing to bring the three feline fur coated kids with us when we leave. Two options. 1 - leave them behind in SA and fly them over once settled, where ever that may be. But finding a friend or family to look after them and they wont be at "home" could mean that they go missing or worse get knocked etc. Then we can look at boarding them in a cattery here in SA and sending them when we are settled. 2 - if we are going to do a cattery, why not just bring them over on the same flights or the next best flight to Calgary and stick them in a cattery there. I looked online and see there are maybe 2 places that seems fairly reasonable http://www.crosscreekcattery.ca/ and http://www.catkennelcalgary.com/ Now could anyone comment on either idea but mostly we would like to know if anyone has used a cattery in Calgary? The reason is we are landing in Calgary and want to explore Alberta for about 2 weeks before making a choice on Alberta or Ontario. So kitties need to be housed (and its gonna be a huge thing for the one male as he is a perpetual outdoor cat - has been for the last 9 years, he comes and goes although not far from home, all day long), for that time. Any other suggestions on cattery etc in Calgary area. They are friendly cats, the one rust colored ginger male being a little more nervous that the other two (brother and sister, tawny gingers). Thanks again for all your inputs.