It's Almost at the end and starting over time


Sideline

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Waking up this morning held a double edged sword of feelings.

Christmas has passed, Boxing Day (day of Goodwill in new SA terms) was the get over stuffing your face with food and drink day by doing what? Stuffing your face with leftovers and more drink :-p

Now it's the few days of madness to try and get the ultimate New Years party arranged, or find a party/invite you can attend without all the hassle of buying and preparing yet more food...

So why a double edge sword you may be wondering?

Waking up this morning it suddenly dawned on us, in 6 weeks time we will land in Canada and start a new adventure in life. OMG how time flies.

A year ago our lives changed drastically and for the better when our son was born. Then we had to settle into and get used to all the new routines and prepare and plan in between diaper changes, feeding schedules, sleep patterns and every other new experience the joy of our lives has given us. Yet we have never looked back or been happier.

So now 13 months odd later our entire lives will change yet again for the better and exciting times lie ahead. It's exciting to think about and it's terrifying to think what still needs to be finished off in that very small time frame. We moved our landing forward by almost a month for logistical and other practical reasons, yet still it's a bitter sweet moment to realize the time is upon us.

Thankfully a lot of packing has been done, still some to do and finalize the shipment dates etc, yet still you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff still needing doing.

We hope to try and account our weekly progress in this post, as we seem to have lost our packing up and preparing one. However maybe a condensed 6 week before and hopefully a few weeks and months after account of our move will remind us of the emotions, reasons, dreams, thoughts and plans we need when those days of sorrow hit in our new home.

Thus our diary starts from this point on.

Edited by Sideline
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So to summarize the past 3.5 or so years. Like any good diary we start at the beginning or near enough the point of making a choice.

March 2010 - the turning point for us. A single couple on a week-end getaway to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

A rather sobering wake up at 2am with an armed robbery, attempted murder and emotional scaring that to this day is difficult to fully get over. There is just no way to convey or express what a gun shoved under your throat and pressed with malice against your temple does to your life. It certainly changes you in so many ways it's hard to explain. This at a private game lodge in the middle of no where. The other "beautiful side" of that life altering experience, having to be put on a course of precautionary ARV's. To this day either of us will randomly have nightmares or cold sweat episodes.

April 2010 - a few days after the life and game changer experience. An attempted house breaking, at our sanctuary and family home, while we were inside the house. Calling our armed response company at the time and the police. Suspects fled without gaining entrance, thankfully, however a major added layer of emotional turmoil based on the experience 3 days earlier. The security company shows up and after chatting to them we find out an interesting yet very unsettling fact. An armed response company carrying NO weapons, why? The company is not licensed to carry weapons and the reaction officer is not allowed to carry his personal firearm for work related duties! Sobering to say the least. You better believe we changed companies the very same day and installed upgraded state of the art security systems at huge expense, and all just to feel safer.

Enough was enough. Having never conceived the idea of being racist and having being tolerant of all cultures, mostly due to numerous travels and interacting with varied and interesting people through out the world, we suddenly found ourselves looking over our shoulder, every face in a shopping mall was a reminder of those *******(censored) that had changed our outlook of a country we loved. We could not sleep for months after these episodes.

For years we had chatted about living elsewhere for a few years to get a new experience, life a different life and so forth. The dreams of any young and ambitious couple at one stage or another we guess. We researched high and low, spoke to numerous people, friends and expats we knew. Ultimately we chose Canada, note because we knew anyone that had ever gone there or even anyone that could tell us much about the place, except a few holidays etc. strangely enough our biggest reason for the choice was because of our cats! Yes it's true. Canada has a no quarantine requirement for pets, so long as they are inoculated and upto date with rabies shots etc. and we couldn't bare the thought of a 6 month quarantine for our "children".

Then came membership to this great forum and what has become in a sense a surrogate extended family. Initially we did the FSW application just to get things started (May 2010) after all we were still in research mode and had a trillion unanswered questions. And besides we could always withdraw the application if need be. After vast amounts of reading, research, countless new member questions answered here we got a text saying the application had been assessed and approved for processing, it was being sent to Pretoria.

Then the great choice to LSD or not? We were due for a holiday anyway and usually heading east over the December period we decided to head north west. December 2010 we did an LSD trip to Canada, with two reasons. One being purposefully in the colder climate to see what this was about. Oh boy did we find out what it means going from +36 to landing in -15. Nothing, and we mean nothing can prepare you for that first blast of freezing cold air that literally sucks the breath from your lungs when you walk out of an airport building. Yet it was the most invigorating thing we could have ever imagined, and that trip just got better and better with each day that passed in Canada.

The second reason for the LSD trip was to know if this was what we really wanted. We had until the end of January 2011 to submit our final supporting documents to Pretoria for the file. To shorten the story, we handed those documents in within hours of landing back in SA.

Then came the very very very very very very, you get the picture, long wait for the next step, any step in the application. Compared to the new system of FSW, we went through what seems like a life time of waiting. More documents, more information needed. New police clearances required and on and on it went. Until finally in June 2012 we received that almost final yet most exciting brown envelope. Request for medicals. Only problem, we found out that we were also expecting a baby! So we requested a stay in submitting them to Pretoria, and they granted until end January 2013 to submit new updated application form to include the baby and pay the new fees etc. also new medical requests would need to be sent. So more waiting.....

Baby arrived, healthy and we were happy. Suddenly all the selfish personal reasons we had for leaving SA changed. The choice to leave that was about our experiences and hatred that had set into out hearts dissolved. Suddenly the reasons for leaving became about our baby and his future. Nothing else mattered. Family were hoping and praying that because baby had come we would abandon our 3 years of wanting to leave. Sorry for them, but the reason to leave became a greater priority for us. Yet we were torn between two worlds.

We submitted all the updated information and got the new medicals, requests for passports and visas issued in April 2013. We could officially leave and our dreams and planning and waiting suddenly ended with a enormous positive result. Yet we were still torn between two choices. We knew deep down that we would never abandon the opportunity to get to Canada, yet we knew we needed to be selfish one more time. We chose to delay the landing as long as possible, and more research and reading we settled on early 2014 to land.

The choice to do this was to allow ourselves time to settle with the baby, get used to him and within an environment we at least knew. Also allowing family time to bond with him and at the very least be allowed time to get to know him. Many refer to this as a support system and in a sense maybe it is. We have always been a fiercely independent couple and family politics has never been high on our list of priorities. However just the knowledge that at least they are there if needed is comforting enough and that we guess is that support system, along with the familiarity of your surrounding, the shopping, life and living conditions, where medical care can be sought and so forth. The "security" we all live with I guess. The familiarity of the known and routine that is second nature.

Yet the time has come and we now move forward with the plan as started almost 4 years ago. It's time to abandon our security blanket and bid fair well to our abusive partner (wonderful post by OutOfSA).

This diary will continue again as information is remembered and experiences pour from thought to paper (well digital format anyway).

Edited by Sideline
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Wow Sideline, I'm so terribly sorry at what has happened to you guys...

But I can say, confidently, that after what you've had to deal with since early 2010 and with the very thorough planning and preparations you've shared on here over the last couple of years, your landing and settling in Canada should be quite manageable.

Enjoy the last few weeks. Make very sure you spend a little time (even half an hour) with EVERYONE you care about, 'cos some you will never see again.

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Enjoy those last few weeks with your loved ones and friends, they go by so quickly!


You have made the correct choice for your son and family, Canada has so much to offer.


Keep well and I look forward to reading about your progress.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Today we wake up to a surreal and again bitter sweet moment in our transformation and relocation plans.

- this song by Ladysmith Black Mambaso - homeless kind of describes the feeling.

Today our family home transferred out of our names and into the new owners. Going from asset rich and cash poor to cash rich and asset void is a strange feeling. Although it is part of the steps in the process of moving it still is a strange feeling.

The last of our small "cannot pack till we move items" packing happens today and then the final cleanup. We are not the kind of people to just "move out and be damned". We have repainted the entire house, both inside and out. The garden is manicured and left in outstanding condition. The floors and cupboards will be scrubbed and cleaned. Basically we hand over a house in as near perfect condition as almost brand new to the new owners. All maintenance has been done, tap washers (o-rings in US terms) are replaced, plumbing and drains disinfected and cleaned. If only everyone would hand over a house in this condition. We remember when we moved in what a pig sty we got and would never in our wildest imaginations give a house to anyone in that condition.

Along with this feeling of the end is now nearing, we have just under two weeks before we depart. Time to shack up with family for 10 or so days and hopefully kick back and just chill out and have time to really just do the final checklists for the great move. Other than that we have no plans what so ever as our businesses are officially closed and we are free agents, for the time being.

So if anyone knows of employers looking for HR professionals in Calgary or surrounds (well anywhere actually) drop us a PM. Canadian HRM course completed and passed summa cum-laude (with distinction) and also a strong legal, labour and compliance background. We are available for interviews via skype or in person very soon.

We do have numerous follow ups to get to when we arrive, but no concrete employment as yet.

Strange mindset shift to get back into, going from business owner/employer to that of the employee again. Yet we do what is needed to make life successful in our new country of residence.

Thus till next we update our record of moving and relocating.

Edited by Sideline
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Best of luck. Millions have emigrated before and millions will follow. Many success stories exist so there's no reason why you can't succeed either.

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Wow, remember meeting the two of you in the most hideous weather conditions on your LSD trip (nothing much has changed weather-wise here in Toronto, wind chill of -22 today) but boy are you guys in a different place! New baby since we met, new country and new life just days away! How unbelievably exciting. Make the most of your last few days in SA, safe travels and soft landings in Calgary, you are now living what was once just a dream! Wishing you the best of everything for your new life in Canada. Please stay present on the Forum, we look forward to sharing your adventure!

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Good luck on your last 2 weeks. just soak it in., and before you know it, you will be in canada, trying to sort out the myriad of legal stuff - health cards, SIN, drivers licences etc.

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Part 2 of your journey is just beginning. Remember to bring your letter of clean driving record from your local auto insurer. Double check with SABC that they cancelled your TV licence. I sent them a letter before we left but they were still sending me reminders a year after we had left.

Good luck

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Part 2 of your journey is just beginning. Remember to bring your letter of clean driving record from your local auto insurer. Double check with SABC that they cancelled your TV licence. I sent them a letter before we left but they were still sending me reminders a year after we had left.

Good luck

Done and done.

RTMC letter received in person with my full drivers history (I forgot i had been driving so many decades hee hee) and we got a letter from the insurer stating the claim number, date of claim and the reason for claim. 4 claims in 9 years (3 of them for windshield damage from road debris) and 1 for attempted theft (nice way of saying armed robbery and hi-jacking).....

Do I need more details than this? The windshield I can explain and the attempted theft I can explain (insurance letter doesn't specify the actual reason just a 2 word description)

To everyone else, thanks for your fantastic Input.

Linda, wow yes that day does bring back many memories and like to say, dream to reality with a few kinks and extras included. All good though.

Edited by Sideline
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Welcome to Canada! You're in for a wild and crazy ride, but what an adventure! It will have it's highs and it's lows, for sure. Know that you have come to a truly great country. When you feel down (and at times you will) remember why you came. Good luck, eh!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well we finally made it. Landing in Calgary via a 34 hour plane journey, and little man was absolutely brilliant. Not an ounce of worries or troubles from him. He took it all in stride and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and all the people on the planes and airports we went through, he had a lot of fun and excitement.

Landing in Calgary at 20h36 on a Friday night the pilot says the temperature is -13 without the wind chill factor, expect it to feel like -20. So I pipe up to the cabin crew member with a "balmy warm winters evening then" ( considering they have had -21and lower recently.) funny the Canadians don't see any humor in that.....

Off to customs to clear through and then to baggage claim for luggage and the off to the activation BCSA side to do landing. You get these visions of gigantic towering customs officials staring down at you making every effort to intimidate you, yet the exact opposite was true.

Landing and activating PR was so simple it wasn't even worth getting excited about, even though the butterflies are flying kamikaze style around your stomach. The guys were super efficient and so helpful it was fantastic. But then again being the only people to land and activate that evening also helped as the guys were very jovial and excited to be doing something for a change. Of course then you are now excited as the PR is real. It's captured you are officially welcomed home and thanked for choosing Canada as your new home. What a proud moment to be alive.

Of course the next step is the goods to follow list, and that was just as easy. But being prepared with the right documents, in spreadsheet form, categorized and cross referenced to the main goods list helped the ease of making the officials life that much easier to complete the procedure. The person that side was also extremely happy to work with and in under 5 min we were done, rubber stamped form to get to customs and clear you good when they arrive, and as we chose to fly everything over that should be here early next week, and out to meet some super friends at arrivals.

The next few hours we were catching up and chatting away until we realize it's after midnight Calgary time and probably 48 hours since we had any decent sleep (excluding little man as he was still on SA time and power napped at all the right times) Of course we head to bed only to realize we had not sorted out little mans bottles and stuff we would need when he awoke again, so while friends slept we spent another 1 hour or so doing prep work, unpacking luggage to get the stuff needed to feed little one and when we got to bed officially, it was babies wake up time in SA. Plenty of fun at tis stage of shear exhaustion, Finally we got about 2 hours sleep, after being up for over 50 hours by now, before the sun was up and we had to be on Canada time zone.

We made it through the day and now it's 10pm Saturday night and bed time. Hopefully babies clock in on Canadian time so we can get a few more hours sleep tonight.

Of course a massive thank you to our very dear friends who open up their hearts and home to allow us what must be the softest landing we could ever have imagined. These guys have gone beyond all measures to make our first day and more so brilliant and memorable. We have more and more to be grateful for in this magnificent country.

Updates to follow as soon as we get the time and energy. So much still to do with landing, going to get SIN numbers, bank accounts health systems registrations and so on. Of course government departments don't work on week-ends.... Well I guess we need a few hours off to just unwind and catch up on life.

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Well done Sideline, best of luck for the next few weeks!

:ilikeit:

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Welcome! In time your journey will become an inspiration for those that follow. You have given some expert advice throughout.

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Greayt stuff Sideline!! I am so happy for you guys! Thanks for posting and good luck with all the 'admin'.

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where do you find time to post?? I've emigrated and I've had babies, but never both together and I still felt too overwhelmed to touch a keyboard. thanks for the news. it's great that you're here. The little man is going to love it here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to all, been away for a bit. Well not away but busy setting up the paperwork side of life in Canada.

We have attended to SIN applications, and we are now officially part of the Canadian sinner club, ha ha ha.

We also got our health cards done. In Alberta you are covered immediately, so that's a bonus. However we had a real interesting guy help us the first time. I think his lunch hour consists of a long green roll out back.....

He managed to register everyone on the system but when he issued temp cards, The two cards were exactly the same person but different birth dates. My wife's name in place of baby. Querying this he is "like no because the baby is so young they give a card for moms name and it's for him. On the system they will see it from the number ".......

Ok what do we know, sounds weird but whatever. We get the official cards a few days later and the same thing, but the baby is under female gender. Not being happy we call Alberta health care contact center to enquire, and they are shocked. It definitely is wrong and needs immediate fixing. So off we goto the registration office again and see someone else. They are amused and shocked at the same time. Thankfully nothing to serious to fix but still frustrating.

Next is banking, that was so easy it was not even worth mentioning. Got an account, credit cards and other things we wanted setup immediately. And best of all it was working by the time we left the bank. Temp cards issued and the real cards arrive two days later in the mail.

And off to hunting for a car, we have the use and loan of our friends car and it makes a massive difference being able to get around, but still it's not your own so you want to make sure you drive extra careful.

Dropped into a few places, came across too many "honest joes" trying to do us a favour and then some, cause we new to Canada. We not that gullible and continue looking.

By pure accident we take a wrong turn and land up on a dealers lot. I was just wanting to make a turn to head back after missing an on ramp to the freeway. So I decide to take a look anyway. Walk around and see some good looking vehicles and by now know the years and aprox values so don't bother with the unaffordable ones. A sales guy come out and asks what the heck I'm walking about outside at -15 for. We go inside to amuse him and warm up a little. We sit and explain what we want and so forth and he tickles the keyboard to see what's available. He goes through a list and I see a car I like, but I looked at it, and looked again and actually looked a third time.

I said I want to see that one and test drive it? OK he says, puts temp plates on it we go outside, I am loving the look of the car so he hands the keys to me and says he has things to do. I can drive it to where ever and when I'm done just come back. WOW, I'm amazed at the honesty and trust of people here. We test drive the car and about 45 min later come back. I am in love with this car, but being from SA I am skeptical. There has to be a catch. Every other car we had seen and driven was same price but had well over 100,000 km or more on the clock and fair condition.

This baby is practically brand new. So we ask about it and he shows us a car proof (a full history on the car in Canada) and it's spotless. Nothing to show and nothing wrong with the car. It's 100% genuine.

Of course in Canada you need insurance to buy a car and that was just as easy. We called a broker recommended to us by our friends and give the cars details, year, model, odometer reading and so forth. Then we forward drivers history and insurance claims etc.

Broker calls me back and says NO WAY, you sure about this? Yes we are. So they work out a quote in minutes and bang, we get insurance at one hell of a good rate. About 1/3 the rate most other places had asked us. A little over 100CND$ a month and it's full comprehensive plus liability insurance, top of the range/best you can get in Alberta. Included is even content insurance for our goods in a house we will rent. So for under 1200CND$ a year we have the best insurance we can get in Alberta for car, life and content insurance. That's hell of a cheap let me tell you. We were quoted up to 4x that with less than half the stuff we got in this policy by other places.

By now you must be wondering what this deal was on a car.

It's a 2010 Dodge Caliber with only 25,000km on the clock. It doesn't have a scratch dent or scuff mark anywhere. The carpets and seats and interior look as if they have never been used. It comes with a years unlimited km warrantee, brand new tires, full bumper to bumper agents service etc. The best of all, the final all in price including registration and licensing (you usually have to do that yourself) was just over 11,000CND$.

I don't know about anyone else but to me that is a phenomenal purchase. We are thrilled with the car and it's paid for so we owe no one a cent on it, and well under budget too.

More news to come in a short while, but a quick add on with details to follow. We needed to take little man to a clinic for some meds as he got sick for the first time in 14 months of his life. Met with the doc and we now have a family doctor as well, quite a rare thing for new immigrants we are told. Seems we are blessed in many ways.

Edited by Sideline
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Awesome deal! May we ask what insurance company? (if its not a secret, eh)

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Hey, welcome!!!!! Seems like you guys are settling in nicely after such a LONG wait to finally get here :ilikeit:

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