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jonathan.b

Canadian nuances (Part 2) – Worshipping the sun

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jonathan.b

I arrived in a miserable, rain swept country. In the first four months I was stuck in a job I took out of sheer desperation. I woke up in the dark, left on the bus at dawn, and watched the lethargic sun rise out of the horizon. I worked in a hardware store all day. Often on my lunch hour I had to wade through the angry rain and the frigid air into the toasty Tim Hortons a block away. Sometimes a single slurp of coffee and the sugary bite of a doughnut can kindle a little more life in your eyes.

After six months I began to realize the reason Canadians love their coffee. It feels like a weapon in the cold weather. A swig of magic potion to banish the evil spirits swirling in the wind. I quickly started to figure out that using coffee shops as landmarks helps you learn the layout of a city. Another thing I figured out...winter was miserable.

Some say that hindsight is perfect sight. Looking back at myself in the first Vancouver winter, part of me thought “Oh sh*t, this is forever.” I'm now writing this in my second winter and the fondest memories I have were sitting outside in the sun on my lunch break. I remember my step mother sending invisible prayers into the sky, asking the sun to come back. Ok, she wasn't actually praying, although I could feel the urgency in her voice whenever she spoke of it.

For some reason I denied missing the sun at first. Perhaps, I felt stress from too many other areas in my life. Now that the sea of stress is slowing down to a trickle, I can process more of the details that were so bewildering to me in the beginning. I can be a little more honest with myself at the same time. Ladies and Genitals, here it is...I crave the sun.

Allow me to rewind the storyline a little... I'm from Durban, South Africa. For those unfamiliar with the place it has amazing weather. The sun is as plentiful there as the rain is in Vancouver. It's not the safest city in the country, but if you took away the crime it's very close to being a warm, balmy, idyllic one. You have very warm and wet summers, and cool dry winters. The summers were way too hot and humid for me, but one thing I now realize is the sun was always around.

The sun (in South Africa) felt like an angry mother-in-law. In comparison the sun in British Columbia feels like an excitable nephew. In Durban if you stayed outside for too long in summer you'd often get burnt, maybe even garner a few blisters in the process. In Vancouver you stay out too long...the most you'll get is a bigger smile on your face.

My advice to other immigrants can be summed up in three words...it gets better. It really does. In my second winter I no longer feel hopeless because I now have the radiant memories of summer swimming inside me. I have fantasies of lying in the sun, soaking it up again. While I write this and have multiple sun-fuelled braingasms, I'm reminded of a memory...

It happened last summer. Having just arrived home from work I took the graphic novel I had been reading and took a short walk to the local park, about 5 minutes away. Once there I sat in the balmy sun and read for a bit. It turns out my brain was too weary to read a great deal, so I closed my book and lay down on the grass. I closed my eyes and began to listen to the fragments of chatter all around me. It seemed like I lost track of time after a while. It must've been about an hour I was lying there. What stuck me afterwards was that “half sleepy half calm” feeling that seeps down into your bones. Some memories are worth listening to, this is one of them.

Blog post: http://wp.me/p7AHk-tF

Edited by jonathan.b
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MaryJane

Cool writing.... ^_^

I think your posts are still under the wrong heading....I might move both of them to Journals rather. This post certainly has that feel....

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jonathan.b

Thanks I appreciate the compliment.

It's up to you where you want to move them. You're the boss :whistling:

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AnelleR2008

Hi from a fellow Durbanite (at least for most of my life :D )!

I remember the first winter we had here was SO hard for me, for the same reason: Well, not the rain, but the cold and feeling that it won't ever end!

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Raquel

I totally agree with MJ! You have an awesome talent of writing that keeps the reader reading! As I read, I thought to myself, wow this guy really knows how to capture what he wants to say on a piece of paper! :D

Maybe it's time to consider a career change?! :D

Edited by Raquel
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jonathan.b

I totally agree with MJ! You have an awesome talent of writing that keeps the reader reading! As I read, I thought to myself, wow this guy really knows how to capture what he wants to say on a piece of paper! :D

Maybe it's time to consider a career change?! :D

Thank you Raquel for your kind words. I'd love to have a career in writing.

Trouble is most of my experience lies in IT. Many companies won't employ a guy who says he's great at writing and only has a blog to show for it.

Hi from a fellow Durbanite (at least for most of my life :D )!

I remember the first winter we had here was SO hard for me, for the same reason: Well, not the rain, but the cold and feeling that it won't ever end!

Good to see another Durbanite! ^_^ I didn't notice the other day you were also from Durban. Man oh man...I can't tell you how much I miss having a good bunny chow!

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Guest

Agree with my fellow forumites Jonathan, you have a natural talent for writing. Keep it coming!

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jonathan.b

Thanks Lawrence!

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MaryJane

Thank you Raquel for your kind words. I'd love to have a career in writing.

Trouble is most of my experience lies in IT. Many companies won't employ a guy who says he's great at writing and only has a blog to show for it.

It ain't over till the fat lady sings.... :lol: Build the blog, get a following, who knows? You can then be the IT guy who's passionate about writing, got a thriving blog to show for it, and got millions of fans to prove it. ;)

There was once a girl who had a dream of being a writer.... Grew up, got sucked into reality, learnt that writing was a passion that doesn't pay the bills and needed to be more practical in life, became an accountant instead.... Continued to pine for writing, started a blog, figured she wasn't really a good writer, closed the blog and gave up on the dream.... Many years later, saw an ad to write technical stuff, sparked something deep within her soul, applied to write a 10-pager about marketing strategies, got the gig, started writing technical chapters for wannabe accountants... Started writing multiple choice Q&As, started writing case study Q&As, enjoyed putting accounting students through hell with Qs, realized that she loved more than just the writing, that it was actually many other things like accounting, teaching, educating, making a difference, this all had to come together... And finally, with the meeting of all these passions, she lived happily ever after until the next writing gig... :)

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Raquel

Oh my MJ! So it's you we need to be hating on for those accounting questions that no one knows how to answer?!?! :P

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MaryJane

Oh my MJ! So it's you we need to be hating on for those accounting questions that no one knows how to answer?!?! :P

Shhh......It wasn't me.... :P;)

Just to clarify.... the girl does not write for SAICA...lol....

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Hennie van

Yep,that first season. I have a colleague from Peru (also sunny and hot country), who arrived in Calgary in summer, and he could not understand why everyone in Calgary had this unnatural obsession with restaurants and pubs which had outside patios. However, the next Spring, he was the first one out on the patio! Fully converted.

Proves again the old truth: You first have to lose something before you really appreciate it.

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jonathan.b

Agreed Hennie! Sometimes losing something is the biggest lesson we can be taught...

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jonathan.b

It ain't over till the fat lady sings.... :lol: Build the blog, get a following, who knows? You can then be the IT guy who's passionate about writing, got a thriving blog to show for it, and got millions of fans to prove it. ;)

There was once a girl who had a dream of being a writer.... Grew up, got sucked into reality, learnt that writing was a passion that doesn't pay the bills and needed to be more practical in life, became an accountant instead.... Continued to pine for writing, started a blog, figured she wasn't really a good writer, closed the blog and gave up on the dream.... Many years later, saw an ad to write technical stuff, sparked something deep within her soul, applied to write a 10-pager about marketing strategies, got the gig, started writing technical chapters for wannabe accountants... Started writing multiple choice Q&As, started writing case study Q&As, enjoyed putting accounting students through hell with Qs, realized that she loved more than just the writing, that it was actually many other things like accounting, teaching, educating, making a difference, this all had to come together... And finally, with the meeting of all these passions, she lived happily ever after until the next writing gig... :)

MaryJane, you've got me intrigued. Is chance you could tell me who this person is? Sometimes talking to someone with similar struggles makes a difference.

If you're unable to tell me it's no biggie. Although I really do appreciate the advice and encouragement. Thank you :rolleyes:

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Sideline

MaryJane, you've got me intrigued. Is chance you could tell me who this person is? Sometimes talking to someone with similar struggles makes a difference.

If you're unable to tell me it's no biggie. Although I really do appreciate the advice and encouragement. Thank you :rolleyes:

My guess would be its only the author of that short story, miss MJ herself :)
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Raquel

My guess would be its only the author of that short story, miss MJ herself :)

Agreed! :P

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OutOfSa

For me that's why I prefer the "cold" Toronto winters, it *usually* does not rain.... This year it has not really snowed, but rained a lot. The rain would have been snow, but El Nino broke the weather.

I noticed that I hated it when it was cold and it rained.

It needs to snow - there's nothing quite like falling snow, followed by warm sunny skies.

You get something for your winter, not just bastardised summer.

Yes in winter I leave in the dark and come home in the dark, but in Summer, I play until 10PM in the sun & twilight. Compromises.....

Edited by OutOfSa

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