Kitcat

Our landing story - Calgary, October 2019

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Kitcat

It's been a long and winding road for our family over the last two years, but we are so excited to share that we are finally in Canada!

Here is a run down of our landing experience in Calgary - hope it helps those still on their way.

We flew with KLM from Cape Town to Calgary, with a short stop over in Amsterdam, with our twin five year olds and soooo much luggage, so we were very grateful to fly via the quickest route. We were pretty stressed about the long flights ahead with two little ones, but they were such little troopers and were so excited to go on the big airplane. We bought them each special "Elsa" earphones, which we presented to them at the airport and they were so happy to have their own tv to watch cartoons to their hearts content. I also packed in some colouring books and bought them each a magnetic sketch pad and little white board to draw on, and this kept them busy for quite a while. Thankfully, they both slept really well on the plane - in fact, on the first flight my one daughter was so exhausted that she fell asleep while the plane was taxiing, and only woke up seven hours later.

We landed in Calgary at 13:30 to a beautiful sunny day of 3 degrees. It was a surreal experience touching down in Canada and we both felt quite emotional - it was so exciting seeing that "Welcome to Canada" sign. By this stage the kids were totally over the journey and so tired and grumpy, but we still had to get through customs and immigration. The admin was actually such a breeze and I had stressed about it all for nothing. There are machines where each passenger scans their passport and ticks a bunch of boxes for their landing card - so lovely that this is all automated instead of having to try find a pen and fill in documents. Then you go through the passport control who sends you to section E to activate your visa. I sat in this queue with the kids while my husband went to collect the luggage, which amazingly came through in about ten minutes - and he arranged a porter with a huge trolley to help us. Fortunately there were only about three people ahead of us in the queue for immigration and we were in and out of there in about half an hour. We had our goods accompanying and goods to follow list on hand, which was the only document requested by the officer - he didn't even ask about proof of funds, medications or jewellery etc. - all the random things I'd been stressing about. And then he said "Welcome, you are now permanent residents of Canada" - WOW - that felt good!

Since stepping out of the airport we have been completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the South African and Namibian community in Calgary - from the lady who offered to fetch us from the airport, to the couple who has given us accommodation for the first few days, to the others who have taken us shopping, given us lifts, and even invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. We have just been inundated with love and support, and it has just been amazing. We look forward to paying this forward one day.

Calgary is a great city - clean, great transport, friendly and welcoming. Everything is sooooo BIG - from the cars to the roads and the shops, the sky even feels so much bigger. It's quite overwhelming going into a supermarket and seeing all the different options. Driving on the other side of the road has been interesting and I keep going to the wrong side of the car haha. 

We've managed to sort out most of our admin such as SIN numbers, phones and bank accounts, pretty easily without much fuss, and next up is to sort out our health insurance and a rental, and of course the daunting task of finding work. We have really enjoyed exploring Calgary - the kids loved taking the train into town - and we're hoping to take a drive out to Banff this coming week.

Overall, we have had such a pleasant experience and we're very grateful to have had such a "soft" landing.

We are so excited to see what life has in stall for us in Canada.

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Kitches

Hi @Kitcat i’ve been following your journey for a few months now. When I saw your post now I was so happy and excited for you. I’m glad you’re having such a great experience! Congrats on finally arriving. Good luck with all your plans forward.

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Nelline

So happy for you!

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Jean-Claude

What a great read @Kitcat! Absolutely ecstatic for you considering the wait you have been through, and good luck for the adventure going forward!  

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Clay1204

Good luck and all of the best

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Felicity

Welcome to Canada Kitcat!!  Reading your post brought back many memories!  We've been here for 5 years now and I love it!  My husband came ahead of us (by 5 months) and I followed with our 6 children.  It was crazy but we did it!  We've adapted to life here and have come to love four distinct seasons, Christmas in winter, Thanksgiving and long summer holidays!

I hope you enjoy settling in.  Enjoy the newness of everything - in a short while it will all be 'normal' to you, which is great too, but I really enjoyed taking everything in when we first arrived.

 

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M-N

Welcome to Cowtown! Calgary is an awesome city! 

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iTee23

Awesomeness... wishing you all the best.

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Jules

I love reading these landing stories. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. 

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Hendie

I agree @Jules, it's refreshing to read the excitement of new arrivals. You tend to forget how exciting it was and how everything was new. All the best @Kitcat, Calgary is a beautiful city.

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