Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

So you just landed...and you hate it here. What now?

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Druce

Great posts people, great read, a must for everyone thats still on their way

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Helanie

AWESOME INGRID! ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! :ilikeit::ilikeit::ilikeit::ilikeit: Going to read this over and over and over when the honeymoon phase goes over and we are faced with the reality of living in Canada! :hug:

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M-N

Thank you very much Sideline, Shawman, Canuck Nick, Chris G, Anelle, amongst others. I wasn't trying to distill everything down to race. It was truly a genuine question for which I needed answers, and I got the answers. It's near-impossible to do anything here is SA without seeing (or hearing) things in race-tinted glasses - and I'm sick of it. In SA you cannot imagine a certain things being done in a different way, and the perspective of those in Canada has been most useful and welcome in assisting me get the right frame of reference. I thank you again and wish to assure the skeptics that I wasn't trying to be controversial or "funny".

I think it's a valid question and a concern, especially if it's something you're exposed to on a daily basis. It's not perfect here but I believe it's a lot better. People either mind their own business and live in their own enclosed communities, or they mingle and mix with the other residents. That's an attitude that's completely reliant on the individual.

You do get your occasional racial spats (mostly relating to news paper articles) but it's mickey mouse compared to what we're used to, lol, somehow they still seem to make it sound polite, true Canadian-style :whistling: .

Off the above topic:

To get back to Ingrid's post. It's important that we clear up the misconceptions (positive and negative) that we may have of Canada or any other place for that matter. The world is a big place but people's perceptions aren't, we learn from what we see on TV or read in the papers. You'll find that some of those pre-conceived notions you have of North Americans are completely true and some are just utter nonsense.

From my personal experience I find that many things frustrate me about Canadians and Canada just as many things about South Africans and South Africa frustrated me. It's just the level of frustration that differs and my ability to shrug it off and move on. In SA's case I moved on...that's why I'm here...in Canada's case, I think I'm quite happy where I am and have no immediate intention of moving on unless I am forced to do so... :whistling:

Life is what you make of it and the ability to adapt to change comes from your ability to handle change...

Edited by M-N
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Lizelle

I fully agree with ENGinCT on this one. Canadians like to think of themselves as non-racist, and I think in terms of what we think about it (as a BLACK-WHITE thing) they are probably not far off. BUT, racism against the First Nations are rife and well documented. But, I think for us as Saffers, in general it is not something that you have to concern yourself with

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Cathy K

There will always be actions and counter actions all over the world. An attitude of "woe is me" can become tiresome, even for the most accommodating. The Afrikaans saying: “kla met ‘n witbrood onder die arm” comes to mind.

There are too many examples of people who excel, against the most trying odds.

We are also, like Anelle, a bi-racial family. Ruby is East Indian and of Sikh descent. We have yet to experience any discrimination in Canada. Ruby is one of the most popular girls in her class and in her school, in part because of her own nature.

One of her best friends is First Nation, coming from one of the wealthiest and well connected families around. They are leaders, well educated, world travellers and priveleged. Unfortunately a constant victim mindset can challenge any friendship.

I experienced many of the feelings that Ingrid describes. The most intense one was loss. It soon became evident that I lost something very special: my roots. A part of me never left South Africa.Growing new roots took a very long time.

Charlene was our mentor because she came to Canada a few years before us. Settling in wasn’t a problem. Accepting that is was permanent, was.

In time we became proud Canadians. We realise that the country that we loved, is no more. Fortunately our memories will always remain intact.

Edited by Cathy K
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Lizelle

The Afrikaans saying: “kla met ‘n witbrood onder die arm” comes to mind.

Ha, Cathy, I've never heard that one, but I love it :)

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Thank you Ingrid. I think it's important not to sugarcoat anything that's waiting for people planning to move to Canada.

There will be difficult days but with a sense of humor anyone can survive.

Yes, I agree - and the important thing is to know beforehand these things/feelings/emotions/reactions will come up in most, if not all of us, and to realise it is ok, normal and part of the letting go of and becoming part of processes.

Humour is essential! :lol:

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Guest

Yes, I agree - and the important thing is to know beforehand these things/feelings/emotions/reactions will come up in most, if not all of us, and to realise it is ok, normal and part of the letting go of and becoming part of processes.

Humour is essential! :lol:

'' Laughter is food for the soul '' - Natures remedy; take as many times per day as required during the settling in process! :D

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Jules

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!!!

May I ask one (potentially controversial) question: how is racism in Canada? I mean, if a person of colour was to reach out to a person who is not of colour, should they, generally speaking, expect assistance? AskingForAFriend *wink*wink*

I hate to stereotype because you get all kinds of people in each country but overall I find Canadians to be far less race focused compared to South Africans.
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eminembattlez

I hate to stereotype because you get all kinds of people in each country but overall I find Canadians to be far less race focused compared to South Africans.

Thanks Jules. That is indeed a breath of fresh air!

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MomOfTwo

It's been over a year and I can still not imagine myself living here I just don't feel like we fit in at all. We use to always make friends so quickly and establish relationships within months if not weeks but people here are just not interested and that is the cold hard truth in MY experience. I am sure OTHto reaERS feels different but Im talking about my own experience. You meet lots of moms and couples and they know you are new but no one would make the move of saying, hey why don't u guys come over for dinner or a bbq or whatever. Social life is just not the same and not having family here it is a HUGE issue.

That begin said, this country runs well. Seriously. Canadians might complain but if you are from SA you CAN NOT complain. I mean, you get money for having kids to support....how awesome is that. I mean, there is lots of reasons why this place is a GOOD country but I am just not feeling like it is the RIGHT country for me....BUT now keep in mind ive only been here a year so this post is gooooooood to read.

BUT i have a question for all of you that is settled and love it here....Did you feel as strong as me that this is not the place for you as well? And then changed your minds after a few years? I want to leave but I also want to stay ....because WHAT IF I LOVE IT HERE in a few years. I know this is possible I guess Im just so depressed as a newcomer that I don't see clearly.

As for the Race question...I am so sick and tired that everything is about race in SA, read the News24 comments, even if they talk about Spring and all the flowers blooming, the comments will turn into a racial discussion blaming each other for why the flowers are not blooming in their neighborhood......it's constantly about Race. Here its like a breath of fresh clean no racial discussion air. No one sees color. Im sure there is issues but for the whole year of being here it never came up and I never ever have to think about it. My kids don't call a black child a black kid he calls the kid the one with the blue tshirt ....how awesome is that....he doesn't call a white kid amongst other races the white kid he calls him the kid with the yellow tshirt. This is how life should be and I wish South Africans in SA could all learn from the Canadian ways.

I also feel very safe in this place. So when I want to pack my bag and leave I think that without a passport for my kids...they might end up being forced one day to go back home and look over their shoulder all the time living behind huge walls with security all over. Nee dankie.

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M-N

It's been over a year and I can still not imagine myself living here I just don't feel like we fit in at all. We use to always make friends so quickly and establish relationships within months if not weeks but people here are just not interested and that is the cold hard truth in MY experience. I am sure OTHto reaERS feels different but Im talking about my own experience. You meet lots of moms and couples and they know you are new but no one would make the move of saying, hey why don't u guys come over for dinner or a bbq or whatever. Social life is just not the same and not having family here it is a HUGE issue.

That begin said, this country runs well. Seriously. Canadians might complain but if you are from SA you CAN NOT complain. I mean, you get money for having kids to support....how awesome is that. I mean, there is lots of reasons why this place is a GOOD country but I am just not feeling like it is the RIGHT country for me....BUT now keep in mind ive only been here a year so this post is gooooooood to read.

BUT i have a question for all of you that is settled and love it here....Did you feel as strong as me that this is not the place for you as well? And then changed your minds after a few years? I want to leave but I also want to stay ....because WHAT IF I LOVE IT HERE in a few years. I know this is possible I guess Im just so depressed as a newcomer that I don't see clearly.

As for the Race question...I am so sick and tired that everything is about race in SA, read the News24 comments, even if they talk about Spring and all the flowers blooming, the comments will turn into a racial discussion blaming each other for why the flowers are not blooming in their neighborhood......it's constantly about Race. Here its like a breath of fresh clean no racial discussion air. No one sees color. Im sure there is issues but for the whole year of being here it never came up and I never ever have to think about it. My kids don't call a black child a black kid he calls the kid the one with the blue tshirt ....how awesome is that....he doesn't call a white kid amongst other races the white kid he calls him the kid with the yellow tshirt. This is how life should be and I wish South Africans in SA could all learn from the Canadian ways.

I also feel very safe in this place. So when I want to pack my bag and leave I think that without a passport for my kids...they might end up being forced one day to go back home and look over their shoulder all the time living behind huge walls with security all over. Nee dankie.

^ This right here. I think the older you get the more difficult it is to make friends. People are already established and they have their Cliques....it's not easy, I get what you're saying. I'm lucky enough to have a friend here that I went to primary school with and we have become pretty close... we also made some friends with people at the office and I've met some awesome people, no wait, family from the forum. New Canadians, meeting them randomly, not so much. Also, we don't have kids so we also don't have the "mommy's" club to fall back onto. Luckily though we are very reserved people so it's not so much of a big deal to us...

I like you attitude, that's the sign of a winner. Never giving up. Look at the bigger picture. I know things will get better. It's a matter of attitude and perseverance. Have you thought of making a yummy SA dish to take to a playgroup, entice the mommies and then tell them about the wonderful foods we have and invite them over for dinner? Food is a great friendship starter. We hosted a lot of dinner parties when we moved into our condo and I only made SA-type food.

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Cathy K

I can't stress volunteering too much. Doing a Fun Walk for some or other charity is a good start. The Terry Fox run is happening soon. There is not a school or community that is not taking part.

http://www.runguides.com/toronto/event/terry-fox-run-toronto

http://www.wherevent.com/detail/The-Terry-Fox-Terry-Fox-Run-2015-Oakville(2)

Our neighbour's precious little girl has muscular-dystrophy and we try to help with fundraising for the local branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Also look here.

https://www.facebook.com/South-Africans-in-Mississauga-Oakville-and-Burlington-120443091310342/timeline/

We volunteered at Ruby's elementary school. Sometimes they needed extra transport. We did baking for special events, helped to organise an International Day. At church I helped serving tea after the service.

I know it's hard making friends. Right in the beginning Pierre was in Super Store when he heard an older couple speaking Afrikaans. He followed them for a minute or two and realised they were looking for marmite:

"Julle sal dit nie by die konfyt rak kry nie. Gaan soek daar anderkant tussen die bottels suurdeeg. Hierdie Kanadese sien net die Yeast Extract op die botteltjie,"

We have been friends for more than fourteen years. :lol:

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Guest

Hey Mom of Two.

AshB and I are new residents of Oakville as well. Fancy meeting for a cup of coffee sometime?

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MomOfTwo

^ This right here. I think the older you get the more difficult it is to make friends. People are already established and they have their Cliques....it's not easy, I get what you're saying. I'm lucky enough to have a friend here that I went to primary school with and we have become pretty close... we also made some friends with people at the office and I've met some awesome people, no wait, family from the forum. New Canadians, meeting them randomly, not so much. Also, we don't have kids so we also don't have the "mommy's" club to fall back onto. Luckily though we are very reserved people so it's not so much of a big deal to us...

I like you attitude, that's the sign of a winner. Never giving up. Look at the bigger picture. I know things will get better. It's a matter of attitude and perseverance. Have you thought of making a yummy SA dish to take to a playgroup, entice the mommies and then tell them about the wonderful foods we have and invite them over for dinner? Food is a great friendship starter. We hosted a lot of dinner parties when we moved into our condo and I only made SA-type food.

I can't cook to save my life lol.

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MomOfTwo

Hey Mom of Two.

AshB and I are new residents of Oakville as well. Fancy meeting for a cup of coffee sometime?

Sent you a pm

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OutOfSa

We are 3 years in and still find it hard to meet people - Canadians are so careful of saying the wrong thing - eg that wicked word "RACE" that they'd rather say nothing at all. So it seems safer to remain disconnected from other people - especially if they have a different accent.

They can be mildly curious, but they soon move on. It seems to require a huge effort and some good luck to break into a circle. As above, you need to get involved in something that provides a basis on which to build a relationship.

Toronto is a big city, and it's in a furious hurry. Sadly, people here are not the stereotypical "friendly" country bumpkins - they are aggressive go-getters. So woe-betide you should you get in their way!

Don't underestimate just how different you are to local people - you see yourself as being the same, but I can assure you that innocent comments you make, the use of certain words (and the context thereof) makes you foreign and not as likable as you'd think. After 3 years here I chat with people with whom I work, and they tell me how many times I offended them or said things incorrectly (in the early days) - and I had no clue!

I expect that I have changed dramatically and probably would not recognise my self if I could flip back and forth in a time warp.

As for Canada being well run, that is an under statement - it's amazingly well run ! Yes warts aplenty, but it still works really well, even if Justin "is just not ready !"

Hang in there, wise thoughts about your kids and their prospective citizenship - SA has little to offer our generation of kids. My girls are almost out of high school (well one is!) and I cannot help but feel privileged and amazed by how much opportunity they have ahead of them. While my pals in SA have little choice - even straight A's wont get you into SA med schools - and you want to know why, because you may just be the wrong.....er, dare I say the c-word? (I mean, righting the wrongs of the past, you know, penalising kids that were born after apartheid ended.)

It does get easier with time, I wish I had a real close friend too, but so far I have not met that person. Mostly, it's my own fault as I work 12 hrs a day, but just like finding a partner, sooner or later my path will cross with a like-minded person. If nothing else, working here has shown me that people are people, they are similar, but not the same. Things simmer under the surface, and stereo types do surface from time to time, but mostly people are politely tolerant. What is a person to think when the crimes on the news are committed primarily by stereotypical people ? Who's killing who? What face on the TV is wanted in connection with the death of.....? Do people on this forum really believe that Canadians don't notice their .....er faces?.. - THINK AGAIN! Sadly, if the cap fits.....I personally have my doubts about people that refuse to notice diversity - 'the people protest too much, me thinks....'

People in SA are ROUGH!. It's easier to meet and befriend a rough person than it is to make friends with a highly guarded individual. Also, in SA, most people immediately have the failing SA government, crime and race in common. That's an excellent ice-breaker. (Shared concerns). Nothing like that here, except the Liberals.

Hang in there, if not for yourself, for your kids - they will thank you one day. It's a bigger gift than all the money in the world could ever buy. And just remember - here you may keep them close as they grow up, in SA, many will emigrate - leaving you behind to shed-your-load, shoot your gun and fetch water in a bucket, while Malema gets thrown out of parliament yet again, and the world laughs for a moment and then forgets the broken world that is somewhere else, and all the suffering there is in Africa, - you know that huge country, with lots of flies.

Edited by OutOfSa
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Tracey22

We make many sacrifices for our children. Emigration is one of those sacrifices - we leave everything we know, are familiar with and love for a brighter future for the children. The gift you are giving your kids cannot be measured, and the cost is enormous and cannot be counted.

Hang in there. This is a long term sacrifice that will pay off. Your children will have a future in a country that values the life of a human, and values the contributions we all make. The kids can grow up free of racial prejudice and racial hatred.

After 4 years, only now am I starting to make friends.

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Lizelle

Yip. We've been here 5 years and I have 1 Canadian friend. I have found Canadians slightly unwilling to invite for bbq's and stuff, it is something that you have to initiate. Now, if you are anything like me and an introvert, that is a daunting thought. I find using the children sometimes helps :) find someone that the kids get along with and that you get along with and invite them over for a bbq (or just buy pre-made stuff and invite them for lunch :) )

As for the kids, I was speaking to an old class-mate of mine who also live in Canada, saying that my kids now have Canadian and NZ citizenship. I don't believe they will ever quite understand just the enormity of the gift that that is, and in a way I am happy that that is part of the gift that I am giving them. They grow up with the world open to them. It is an amazing thing.

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MaryJane

I can't cook to save my life lol.

MomOfTwo, you sound like my kind of gal. :lol: We'd have to get together and talk about how to get away with murder in the kitchen....LOL.

I was thinking of you a few weeks ago because of a similar post you wrote a long while back. I seem to recall you mentioned moving from Oakville.

The truth is....you are right. It is harder to make friends as an adult. I lamented the same thing just after my first year here in Canada. I wanted to make friends so....where are my homies?

I knew how to make friends (and I'm pretty sure you know it too since you talk about looking for mommies and the likes). I needed to find kindred spirits. I ticked all the boxes, crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's. The funny thing was that although I wanted to make friends when I met people, joined "groups"/"cliques", not everyone I met really needed one (more). And so there lies the problem. Knocked myself for a bit of a loop there.

Took another couple of months to analyse relationships, feel depressed, eat my sorrows, sort myself out and try again.

The bigger truth was....that I wasn't quite ready (maybe not friend material yet) at the time. I had all this SH*** going on in my head that was hectic to connect to, you know? Maybe I was trying too hard and was driving them away rather than attracting them?

The even bigger truth was....that you have to put yourself out there to get something back. Be ready for unrequited friendship requests. And I was probably just not doing that. Or I was just not doing it right.

I reached out and met a couple more of new people recently that's slowly changing my mindset. Maybe this time, it's me that's changed. I don't know. I'm going in this thing knowing that if we become lasting friends.....good for us. If we're just friends for these phases in our lives....well, no harm done, I've just expanded my circle a bit.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Like any relationship, friendship takes time to grow and nourish.

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AnelleR2008

We have been here for 7 years (today, actually :D ) and we are settled and have friends. It took time, but we got there. I think it is easier to make friends in South Africa because we all share a common cultural background (South African), we have a similar sense of humour, we usually just "get" each other, we are united on being outraged about the goverment. We "belong". AND we see the world in a certain way because we've lived in an unsafe society.

Here are the things that have helped me (and although I'm not shy, I'm introverted)
1. Volunteer
2. Join a group or preferably more than one (church -and some of the smaller groups within the church -, camera club, sewing class, cooking class :D :D :D, volunteers at school, etc. etc. etc.)
3. Invite other people over or to meet at a park/go for a hike/whatever. Don't wait for them to invite you. Yes, they know you are new BUT they also already have their circle of friends, take the initiative and break into that circle.
4. Keep at it.

I think if your kids are in school, you can invite a child over for a play date and mention to the mom that you would love for her to stay, too.

It takes time to make friends and find your feet.

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Cathy K

MJ: "We'd have to get together and talk about how to get away with murder in the kitchen....LOL."

Easy! Just remember Erma Bombeck's advice. Put a pot on the stove, Pop some oil and onions in it and sit back with a well deserved glass of wine. The onion aroma will make the rest of the family think that you're cooking up a storm! :whistling:

All those pre-packed fresh and frozen stuff in the supermarkets make home cooking easy. By a cooked roast. Add some of those veggies in special plastic bags that you just have to steam in the bag in the microwave. Get some pre-washed salad greens. and you're done. Half hour at the most.

We may never find friends to replace those that we left behind. Pierre and I always hoped that our best friends - for more than fifty-five years - would come to Canada for a visit. Then she had a stroke that wasn't recognised as such. My friend now has advanced dementia, doesn't know her own family nor does she remember us.

Luckily we and our neighbours became casual friends. We exchange Christmas gifts, watch each others gardens when one of us travel, and sometimes have tea together.

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Jules

Mom of two I've written here several times about my wife and her experience. She cried every single day for the first year. In year two she cried every other day. I had to hide her passport away! She REALLY wanted to go back to Cape Town. It took her years and years to find her feet but today she will not move back to SA.

As for making friends. I would suggest that you consider joining a local church (or synagogue or mosque depending on religious viewpoint). Most churches are very welcoming and they have lots of groups, activities and programs running. Once you get plugged in you will grow your social and spiritual life. Win win.

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Melaniek

Ash and Werner, we are in Georgetown not far from you. Maybe we should organise to watch one of the rugby world cup games together. Would love to meet some of these awesome prople on the forum!

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Guest

Ash and Werner, we are in Georgetown not far from you. Maybe we should organise to watch one of the rugby world cup games together. Would love to meet some of these awesome prople on the forum!

Sounds great. I will send you a PM.

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