Happy Anniversary

I am the woman that rocked a leather jacket with her backless lace wedding dress. He is the man who cracks off the most insane puns and dad jokes without missing a beat. We are unique. Together we are the perfect pair.

They say that the first year of marriage is always the most difficult. Although my husband and I have faced many obstacles together, I didn’t find our first year of marriage to be that tough. Maybe it was the leather. Maybe it was the constant stream of laughs.

We faced a lot. My immigration and permanent residency. His ongoing co-parenting (or lack thereof) BS. My necessary job change. Vehicle breakdowns. The death of my grandfather and of my piece of crap mother. Unexpectedly reworking an already tight budget and moving. Loss of friends. A crazy work season. It. Was. A. Lot.

We never fought though. We’ve had ample discussions, learning experiences, and struggles, but we’ve never had an actual fight. Some may think that’s a bad thing, but I think it’s amazing. I’m moved by the amount that we communicate. Neither of us are perfect by any means, but we are certainly perfect for each other.

I adore our marriage. We still go on dates. He opens doors for me. I tickle him every night. We spend quality time with one another. We help each other with household chores. We grocery shop together. He’s my best friend and my biggest cheerleader in life. The support that we have for one another is breathtaking.

Getting married didn’t change our relationship, it just removed some of the barriers of our circumstance. I know of a lot of couples that once they tied the knot, everything changed. I’m thankful that my husband is my rock and a constant in my life. He lets me dance to the beat of my own drum, but makes sure to help me be grounded when I need it. I’ve never experienced such an amazing soul.

Thanks for the amazing year babe! I look forward to growing old with you. Happy Anniversary ❤️

Happy Canadaversary

Exactly one year ago, my dog and I came to Canada. Mold in my home displaced me, so I ended up moving to be with my husband before we anticipated. How have I been the past year?

Well let’s see. I married my best friend, became a stepmother, and now have an awesome family. I got my permanent residency. Per my last post, I’ve found that I don’t mean as much to some people as I thought. It’s a lot colder here. I’ve been treated like absolute shit by my stepchildren’s mother. I’ve been treated incredibly by everyone else. I had a horrible job, then got a really great one. I’m a lot less stressed. I’m healthy and happy. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown as a person.

Canada looks good on me. I’m thankful that I had the ability to pack it all up to be able to be with my husband so that we could have a new life together. Happy Camadaversary. It’ll be nice growing old here.

Exposure

I love my job.

I get to come in contacted with people from ALL over the world. I’ve met people from Greece, India, Egypt, Russia, and everywhere in between.

Recently I met a couple from, where I assume was, Saudi Arabia. They came into our storefront, the husband wearing jeans and a nice t-shirt, the wife donning a black Niqab, fully covering all but her eyes. Before really speaking, I tried to feel out the situation and vibe. My only experience with anyone from Saudi Arabia was in the US and in passing. They were very standoffish and reserved there, but I feel it was with good reason. There, anyone who looks like they’re from the Middle East are heavily discriminated against. Canada is a different story. Here, this couple was pleasant and friendly. Maybe they hadn’t been subjected to the same hatred, or maybe they didn’t carry that burden with them if they had been.

For the services they needed, they asked if it would be okay to lock the door. This is not uncommon for some clients, so I naturally obliged. The husband blocked the glass from any potential pass-byers as his wife slowly began to remove her headdress. I felt oddly honored to be a part of this moment. I don’t know much about the culture, but I do know that modesty is extremely important to them. There’s a weird sort of platonic intimacy in a moment like that.

We exchanged some small talk, laughing and enjoying the exchange. I asked if it would be okay if I asked a few questions, hopeful to not sound rude, but explaining that I was genuinely curious. They said of course. It was a perfect learning opportunity for me, and they seemed happy to answer my curiosities. I did wonder if the woman felt perhaps vulnerable or exposed removing her headdress in public, albeit that I closed the office for them, but I didn’t dare to ask because I felt it was a little too personal in a way. I was, however, able to get an answer to a question I’ve always been curious about…

“In the summer, is it overly warm to wear such garments?!” The woman kindly smiled and let out a small chuckle. I know I probably sounded like a typical dumb American, but I’ve always wondered. She explained that even though she also wears a full outfit underneath, the fabric is very breathable and not uncomfortable at all. She also noted that it provides religious and spiritual comfort as well. My curiosities were finally satisfied.

Canada is amazing. The US likes to try to have this reputation of being a melting pot of different cultures, but it’s still a truly racist country. I know there is racism everywhere, but at least here it’s not so blatant and wide spread. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to so many walks of life and to learn so much about others.

At Peace

As I lay here next to my husband, listening to him breathe as he sleeps, I’m finally at peace. The last couple of months have been exhausting.

Back in April, I started a new job that I ended up hating. Well, it wasn’t the job itself, but was the culture in the office. I was surrounded by constant negativity and it was draining. The only good thing that came out of that place was meeting a woman who quickly became a very close friend. I ended up quitting with no notice, per the suggestions of a confidant. That made way for dialogues to open up about the culture and to hopefully make some lasting changes there. Thankfully, I start training at a new job tomorrow that I could see myself retiring from. I can’t wait!! The pay won’t be as good, but at least I’ll enjoy the position and the company.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I travelled a couple hours north. Why? Because I landed as a permanent resident of Canada! Everything went by fairly quick and was relatively painless. This past week I received my PR card in the mail, which will make travels easier. Though I had no concerns about our applications, I feel relieved. After almost 2 years of a long distance relationship, it’s comforting that I don’t have to ever be apart from my husband unless we are traveling by choice. Everything feels finalized and in order, like the puzzle pieces have fit together.

And finally, we had my stepchildren for almost two weeks straight for part of their summer break. It, for the most part, was amazing. But any time they saw or talked to their mother, the chaos reset and the kids spent that day (and sometimes part of the next) fighting with each other. I have no idea why it causes it, but I wish it wouldn’t happen or cause so much disruption. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to travel like we originally planned, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. The kids have otherwise been shuffled around from camp to camp, traveled, and have been extremely busy. They hadn’t really had time to just wind down and relax. So that’s exactly what we did outside of local family trips to the park and lake. We planned lots of fun things at home like board games, painting sessions, and did things as a family. We even did a theater night at home that they absolutely loved! My oldest stepson did not want to leave, which broke my heart. Every time he has to go, he grows more and more bitter about it. So many things with him remind me of myself when I was his age, navigating my own parent’s divorce. I don’t want that for him. It’ll lead to resentment when he’s older, and I truly don’t want that for his mother either. He’s a smart kid and even though he’s a few months shy of 8, he’s already figured so many things out about the dynamics of what’s going on. And I have no idea how to protect him from being bitter. I just try to do what my step mom did and just be loving and supportive. I listen. I think that’s the biggest thing… I listen.

I look forward to having the time to blog again. And I’m thankful for being able to feel like I can breathe again.

Fresh Air

There’s something amazing about Canada. I lived in, what I would consider, a fairly clean small city in the US for over a decade. We had plenty of farms and green space outside out of city’s center. While it has its fair share of rush hour, there are plenty of green spaces to unplug and get back to your roots. I was born and raised by the coast, growing up with my toes in the sand with waves crashing by.

Neither hold a candle to Canada.

I haven’t explored as much as I’d like to, but I’ve found myself spending a little more time outdoors here. From my first visit to Canada in BC to simply parks around town in here in SK. The best I can describe is it just smells different here. It feels clean. It feels different.

I find myself spending more time with the great outdoors here. Be it meeting with friends for a barbeque or taking the kids on park-sided adventures or simply walking the dog. It’s nice. It’s relaxing. Unplugging and being in nature has been a fantastic stress relief too.

Where’s your favorite place outdoors?

New Friends

I’ve slacked on my blog. My new job is sucking the life out of me. (More on that later.)

But at my new job, I’ve made an unexpected friend. We’d seen each other in passing and exchanged a couple of hellos here and there. I found that she was here from Europe so I asked about her immigration process. Turned out that we applied around the same time and through the same avenues. Ahah! Common ground!

Making friends as an adult is difficult. We are stuck in a society where social media is more important than actual interaction. We’re more concerned by what we portray online than our real relationships with others. Naturally I was a little nervous.

A couple of lunches together, and we’ve hit it off. Granted, there are differences between us having lived in different parts of the world, but we’re both kind hearted nerds who hate our jobs. Both are gamers, thinks quite a bit alike, both are dog people, and we have some similar hobbies.

I shared a story about how when I get upset my husband just hands me our dog. Later in the afternoon, after getting upset about some drama at work, my new friend pulls out her phone, thumbs to a photo of her dog, and hands it to me. I laughed so hard I nearly cried. I felt special. I keep up with my two best friends via social media, texting, the occasional card, etc, but sometimes nothing beats just some face to face interaction. (Even as an introvert.)

Totally looking forward to tomorrow’s “double date,” as my husband and I meet up with her and her wife, all kids and dogs in tow. Going for a stroll in the park and letting the kids & dogs run around like crazy while having some adult time is going to be great. Here’s to hoping the weather holds out!

$57.02

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks. My reaction to snow mold turned into a full blown sinus infection. I tried everything up my sleeve: inhalers, nasal sprays, OTC meds, humidifiers, changing the settings on our air exchange, I’ve drank my weight in hot tea, numerous eucalyptus baths. Everything. I finally waved white flag and opted to see a doctor.

The next time my American friends are faced with thought of universal healthcare, I want you to think of $57.02 USD. ($76.12 CAD.)

That would have been my out of pocket cost over the weekend if I had zero medical coverage for seeing a PHYSICIAN, not a PA or a RN, but an actual doctor, AND for the cost of my two prescriptions, all combined. That’s it. (For reference, you’ll spend $89-119 at the Kroger Little Clinic to see a RN or LPN, then another $12 and $58 for the prescriptions at Kroger.)

So how was it? Surprisingly not bad. I went to the walk in clinic close to our home. I had a piece of paper stating who I was, my chief complaints, and apologized because it hurt to speak out lout. The gentleman took my information, wrote my name down, told me it’d be a 2 hour wait to be seen, but that I was welcome to leave and come back. Also, it would be $35 for my exam because my Canadian health card was not in my possession yet, but that I could most likely submit that for reimbursement. I picked up a few things from the store and came back later. When I came back, there was still a small wait. Once I got back to the exam room, I still wanted another 25-30 minutes. I wasn’t seen by a nurse beforehand. There was no tech taking my vitals. The doctor walked in and he did all of that himself. We had a quick chat. I understood the wait. Even though this was a walk-in clinic and this doctor was obviously flooded with patients and a thousand things going on at once, he actually took his time and listened. As an EMT, it’s surprising when I feel heard. He confirmed my suspicion of allergy induced sinus infection.

Now here’s the part that surprised me. Due to being from out of the country, not currently working yet, and my health card is still on the way, he had the courtesy to ask about my financial status, albeit in a gentle and professional way. He explained that for what I’m going through, he has a preference of what to prescribe, but that even the generic was a little expensive, and that if I couldn’t afford it or if the cost wasn’t offset by our prescription coverage, he’d give me something different that should at least help. Thankfully our coverage is pretty good and covered most of the cost. But even without coverage, it would have been about $24 CAD / $18 USD here, as opposed to the $58 USD in the states. Regardless, I had the means to cover the cost, but I loved that he had the mind to ask.

I know a lot of people that equate “free” and universal healthcare to socialism. Prior to coming to Canada, I didn’t have enough information to have an opinion. Now that I’m here? I hope the US adopts this system. Sure it might take a little longer to get care for some things (like the hangnail you called 911 for at 4am,) but it’s a fantastic system!