ZA_TP2017

Arrived Calgary

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ZA_TP2017

Good day folks, we landed happy and safely in Calgary on Friday the 29th. I will share my experience as much as I can with you all so hopefully you can get an idea of what to expect. Our firts experience of Canada was at the airport at the immigration office. I've read on other posts how helpful and nice they are to new comers but maybe the officials was just tired by the time we came as they  only asked for our copies of PR docs and our detailed goods to follow list (2 copies). We received a one paged print document with a contact number that we should phone to give the address for the PR cards to be delivered and that we should get our SIN numbers at a service center as they don't do it there (or so we were told when we asked). They never asked for our proof of funds.

My cousin got us from the airport and we experienced a very dark white and gloomy view as we driven to her home. I don't know if it was the very long flight or the not so pleasant entry into Canada but I went to bed feeling negative about this new country.

Next morning we awoke early due to jetlag so we unpacked and waited until just before 9 for it to become light outside to see how it looks and can I just say WOW. It is really a lovely view looking out at the crisp white snow on the houses. We helped my cousin to clear the driveway of snow, the snow was very fluffy so it went quick. Calgary is experiencing very cold weather at the moment a whopping -27 degrees Celsius. We weren't out there too long but didn't found it as cold as we thought. In fact we tested our SA gear outside. Sorry for men reading this next part as I am going to discuss clothes which is a NB thing in my life :) I have a Cape Union jacket which has the inner fleece and outer wind and water resistant part which works perfect so I'm not going to buy a winter coat here as that one works great. Underneath the coat I just wear a spaghetti strap/racer back top with a long sleeve top like the ones you get at Mr Price in all the different colors. For short trips outside like going to the shops normal jeans or leggings are plenty enough to be able to cover up. I also has a Cape Union Mart beanie which works well as well for longer times outside. I wear scarves as well outside to pull over my nose if it gets very chilly. The 2 things I feel that you wont get good enough quality in SA is snow boots and proper mittens. With good boots you can also just wear normal socks. 

Pricing on boots that I looked at range between CAD100 to CAD200 we went to Marks for boots but I decided against a very nice pair as I didnt want to fork out CAD170 on boots but when we got home I researched that boots and Marks online website had an online clearance sale so bought it for CAD120 :) or actually CAD120+tax! I keep forgetting nothing is the final price as they dont show the tax in their prices.

We went to RBC to open up accounts and it went quite smoothly however we were told we can only get a credit card once we start working so will wait for that one.

We are now busy looking at cellphone plans and jeez are they a bit overpriced. Data is very expensive here and also they have things like local minutes (as in you can only phone in the same town/area code) so watch out for those limitations. 

As it is still holiday mode and public holiday tomorrow it makes everything a bit slower so we can only go and do our SIN numbers and cellphone contracts on Tuesday. We will then start looking at buying a car.

Hope you all have a great new year, ours is still in a few hours only :)

 

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OutOfSa

Welcome to Canada :D

You certainly chose an extremely "bad" time to arrive... It's a pity that the immigration officer was grumpy - the very cold weather seems to put people in a bad mood.   Also, I often try to remember when people disappoint me that perhaps it's just not their day.

Anyway, I think it's totally normal to feel bummed when you arrive - you just gave up your whole life and moved to what will soon seem like an alien planet.  It's going to take time to understand these people and to be understood by them.  Even your cousin might take time to get used to.  My brother was here for 14 years before I arrived and he was different, in a Canadian way.  He's still different 5 years later, as probably am I.  

Arriving in the dead of winter (well almost) is a hard thing to do - especially from Secunda heat - mind you, at least the air will be fresh here - my memories of Secunda and the Vaal Triangle are smog and black soot - especially Vanderbijlpark (hmm took some thinking to try and spell that !).

You need to give yourselves time to adapt.  If you expect too much and expect everyone to be wonderful, you'll set yourself up for a huge disappointment.   These are just people after all, they have good days and bad day.  Houses are different, driving, cars, money, contracts....etc are all different. 

Somehow you have to find a way to look at life in a new way, in the way you wanted it to be when you began filling out those papers to leave SA.  You need to look at the blue sky, and the sun on the snow and listen to the crunch as you walk and be glad that you can walk without fear.  Look at the funny "robots" - all horizontal - learn to drive on the right and not die of fright the first time you go up the street the wrong way - especially if there is an island. 

Try tobogganing - wear the right warm close (that makes snow fun and not horrible.)  Make snowballs and throw them at each other and try to laugh at each other and yourselves.  Drink Tim Hortans in the snow !

The rewards you are looking for are not going to present right now, but the hurts will be happy to jump right in, in the form of homesickness, job fear, crappy bosses and just reality.  Each is a part of the learning to survive in Canada.  

The real rewards come in time.   If you have / plan to have kids.  There is more for them to do here than there ever was in SA, even with SA private schools and mega bucks.  There are things the kids learn and do at school that will surprise you and warm you heart.  As they grow, opportunities by the zillion will be at their finger tips, they just need to pick and choose.  Your life will improve too, things will get easier and more "normal".  

So, my advise is to hang in there and try to see the bright side of things, remember why you left and think what you can have if you persevere.  Don't let that gloom cloud your heart of spoil your relationship (because it will take a good few swings at it.)  Soon winter will be gone and spring and summer will come, and then fall again .... and around and around we go....

I hope you guys succeed and manage to find a happy place.  I promise it will be worth it.  Try and remember that when the dark moments loom, as they will.... 

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Mervin

Welcome. If we can help with work or anything, let us know. 

 

Plus happy new year!!

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Nettie
13 hours ago, ZA_TP2017 said:

We are now busy looking at cellphone plans and jeez are they a bit overpriced. Data is very expensive here and also they have things like local minutes (as in you can only phone in the same town/area code) so watch out for those limitations. 

 

Welcome to Canada! Just a response to this, if I may.  I've never signed any contract. I've been with Koodo and am now with Public Mobile, which seems to be the best value for money. I would suggest get something pre-paid and take your time to investigate all the plans available.

Good job with the online shopping! I do the same thing.

Enjoy!

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Gary van der Westhuizen

@ZA_TP2017 Welcome! I think RBC works differently all over, as we got credit cards from RBC immediately in Toronto. I know another Saffer in your neck of the woods, PM if you want, I can share their contact details. 

As far as "unfriendly" immigration officers go, they seem to be like that all over the world. We had a similar experience, but when we went to Service Ontario, it went better. Immigration officers have to be strict, as they deal with a lot in a day. 

All the best with your journey! 

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Mervin

If you're having problems with banking let me know. We can get you a credit card and free banking for your first year. I can also help with other great offers. Check out ATB Financial. 

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MaryJane

Warm welcome to Canada, even though at the moment, it may not feel like it.

It's always nice to hear the stories of the newly landed, it provides a bit of a nostalgia for us old timers.

I'm glad you've got your priorities straight. Clothes are essential! Can't be doing anything else if you don't have the right gear to go out in this cold weather.

I'd agree with OOSA to take everything in for now, the good and the bad. Don't worry too much if you are having "bad" or "gloomy" days. I've had some of those during the first few weeks, even years. Culture shock and uncertainty will do that to you at times. The feeling will soon dissipate and be replaced as normalcy creeps into your life.

Good luck with the rest of what lies ahead. I'm sure we'll be hearing some wonderful stories about those too.

Some good things to remember: is that even in the cold, you have some great views in Calgary. You only need to look out and up. ^_^

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M-N

Welcome to Calgary aka Cow Town! 

You definitely arrived during the coldest time so far.  Which part of the city are you in? 

A few things to remember : apply for your health card asap at your nearest registry.  

You need to go to Service Canada to apply for your SIN number. Just google maps the nearest one. 

I second looking into Public Mobile, Koodoo or Freedom.  I'm with public mobile and pay about $40 pm month (I took the 90 day package) you can build your own online and you can use your own phone.  

I would totally get more jackets. Look at Winners or Marshalls. They usually sell good ones discounted. 

Good luck settling in and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. :) 

 

 

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ZA_TP2017

Thank you for the warm welcomes and advice everyone, we really appreciate it, it is good to know that it is maybe not just us with some sad days in between the good days, I know if we were to share our feelings with family and friends they wouldn't understand and just tell us to go back to SA...with the weather warming up a bit for the rest of the week we can go out hopefully and explore a bit and maybe try some tobogganing :). We are currently north of Calgary in South Airdrie which doesn't really have the awesome public transport system as in the rest of Calgary, but staying for free at my cousin so we are definitely not complaining of not being so mobile yet.

@Nettie & @M-Nthanks for the advice on Public Mobile there are so many different company options one doesn't always know where or what to look for my mistake really should have known to come and ask this forum :) , I see we can get sim cards at Walmart for $10 and the rest you can do online so very easy without having to do a 2 year contract. And being able to add a Canadian cellphone number in our job applications will be really great.

@Mervin thank you will send you a PM about ATB.

Today we can go get our SIN numbers and hopefully our health cards, I've read we needed a proof of address for the health cards so maybe we should wait for the bank debit cards to arrive in the mail to use that as a possible proof of address.

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Nettie
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ZA_TP2017 said:

 

@Nettie & @M-Nthanks for the advice on Public Mobile there are so many different company options one doesn't always know where or what to look for my mistake really should have known to come and ask this forum :) , I see we can get sim cards at Walmart for $10 and the rest you can do online so very easy without having to do a 2 year contract. And being able to add a Canadian cellphone number in our job applications will be really great.

 

If you initially have issues with online credit card payments (if you don't have a Canadian credit card yet), you can buy Public Mobile vouchers and put in the code online.  I found them at a local drug store. To find where you can buy it, click on this link, scroll down and put in your postal code. (I don't work for them and don't benefit in any way by posting this link). https://publicmobile.ca/en/pe/how-to-pay

You are right, you definitely need a local cell phone number. Best of luck with your busy day today!

Edited by Nettie
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Nettie
58 minutes ago, ZA_TP2017 said:

 

@Nettie & @M-Nthanks for the advice on Public Mobile there are so many different company options one doesn't always know where or what to look for my mistake really should have known to come and ask this forum :) , I see we can get sim cards at Walmart for $10 and the rest you can do online so very easy without having to do a 2 year contract. And being able to add a Canadian cellphone number in our job applications will be really great.

 

If you initially have issues with online credit card payments (if you don't have a Canadian credit card yet), you can buy Public Mobile vouchers and put in the code online.  I found them at a local drug store. To find where you can buy it, click on this link, scroll down and put in your postal code. (I don't work for them and don't benefit in any way by posting this link). https://publicmobile.ca/en/pe/how-to-pay

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Hennie vdB

Welcome, now get used to calling your beanie a "touque"!

For boots and clothes, always check out your closest Value Village first! I got some nice nearly-new winter boots for both me and my wife for $25.00 and $30.00. My wife filled her whole clothes cupboard with items priced between $4 and $20, and then we got it on one of their 50% sale days as well!

All the best with the job hunt.

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Nettie
12 minutes ago, Hennie Calgary said:

For boots and clothes, always check out your closest Value Village first! I got some nice nearly-new winter boots for both me and my wife for $25.00 and $30.00. My wife filled her whole clothes cupboard with items priced between $4 and $20, and then we got it on one of their 50% sale days as well!

Yes, excellent suggestion. I have a jacket that was $3.

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ZA_TP2017

Oh wow how time flies. 

We got our SIN numbers a few weeks back and boy to compare that quick and friendly experience with going to SA home affairs really made us appreciate our new country :)  There were a couple of other things as well that we noticed over the last few weeks which is now missing from our lives...and we are great-full for it, like that constant worry/ fear when you go to bed at night that someone will break into your house; there are no beggars at a robot trying to manipulate you by keeping their children out in the sun all day or trying to wash you car window with dirty water; there is no such thing as a car guard; I no longer feel as though I have to clutch and secure my purse when going to a mall; people can actually stand in a correct queue and if someone tries to cut others will comment and that person goes to the back of the line; there is so much SPACE here between roads and sidewalks and no-one up in your personal space when you stand in line at the grocery store. People stop about a mile away to wait for you to cross, no Taxis that will run you over when you try and cross over a pedestrian crossing. I am sure there are a few more of these that I will pick up in due time.

We got the PublicMobile card and bought a voucher which worked perfectly for us to not have to go on a contract so soon. I went to Value Village and with enough snooping around (the place is massive) I got two additional jackets for about a R100 each :). We also went to Cross Iron Mills which is an outlet mall and boy do I like it there :) we bought our basic ski jacket, pants and gloves there and last weekend we went for our first ski lessons.  It is an adrenaline rush sport and so much fun,  a bit pricey but I see there are a few groupons to make it a bit cheaper to go ski in the mountains. A few forum members mentioned to also have some fun/travel in the beginning so we decided to go skiing.

After our credit cards came through in the mail we went to the registry office and got our Alberta Health Cards and a week later we received the cards in the mail.

We bought a secondhand vehicle a Kuga nogals :) but here it is called an Escape and hopefully it doesn't light on fire :) and it took some searching around to get an insurance company to take into account our SA driving experience and history. In terms of how the process we went and viewed/ test drive the vehicle and paid a small holding deposit for the vehicle. Went home and we started phoning around for insurance then when we got one, printed out the insurance stuff we received electronically we went to the registry office and got a licence pate number (note you do need some proof of address so worth waiting for the bank cards in the mail before starting the process). The next day we had to go to the bank and get a bank drafted cheque to pay the balance for the vehicle (different than what we know in SA as we couldn't transfer big amounts like that electronically to the dealership).

We also had to phone and confirm our address for the PR cards so now we can wait the 60-90 days for it to be delivered.

Our next big item of business is getting our drivers licences, will do it one at a time as we might need to hand in our SA licences when we pass our learners. Driving around is not so difficult but we are still going to take a few driving lessons to hopefully make sure we get the full class 5 licence the first time.

The weather is absolutely lovely now, we go for a walk most days and just enjoy the fresh air and lovely scenery. The country feels less strange to us now that we start to get to know the roads, the shops and the people.

 

 

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GerdaT
On 12/31/2017 at 6:08 PM, ZA_TP2017 said:

:) I have a Cape Union jacket which has the inner fleece and outer wind and water resistant part which works perfect so I'm not going to buy a winter coat here as that one works great.

 

I also bought a KWay jacket at Cape Union Mart for my son before we left. He's 13 so I bought the adult jacket with the lowest temp rating. It has the fleece and a separate waterproof jacket on top. He can wear them separate or together - and it has worked perfectly so far. We were planning to buy him a proper Canada-proof jacket as soon as he gets cold - but he is still warm enough. And he has been outside in -35 degrees C this winter! 

I bought my daughter (6) the girls KWay jacket. But that one didn't last long. Perhaps it's due to only being 1 layer?

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ZA_TP2017

So another couple of weeks later and both me and hubby have jobs starting next month, we are extremely thankful to get our foot in the door :) 

My husband passed both his learners and after 2 weeks he did the full licence which he also passed. He went for two lessons and it really help as they show the typical routes and minor things that one can miss by just reading up. I also did my learners so now I have to wait about 2 weeks to get the GDL exemption before I can book for my drivers licence.

Then on bad side both our photographs were rejected for our PR Cards today, received the notice via email so we went to Staples to re-take them and then to Canada Post to re-submit. Hopefully it wont completely re-start the 61 wait days now.

 

 

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