Niagara Falls… in Love

Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by Niagara Falls. To me, it expressed the untouchable, the vast remote, the unthinkable grandness. Being in Bucharest, Romania, Niagara was to me, as a kid, one of those locations I would ‘someday’, maybe, probably, visit, although not very likely. I have a couple more on the list, Hawaii and Rio de Janeiro for instance. It was between these destinations and the moon for me, same level of possibility in my mind.

So having been, seen, experienced Niagara Falls this past weekend was to me a dream-catching exercise. As unbelievable and astonishing as any other dreams in the ‘someday’ category.

It all started on the highway, of course๐Ÿ˜€. I took hundreds of photos, of which I can only post a few. Everything inspired me, even the road sign to Niagara, I just couldn’t believe I was actually there to photograph it.

Once we got there, the first thing we did was not to go see the Falls, although I was so desperate to! What I’ve learned in all of these years of being a mother is PATIENCE! Because of course we absolutely needed to go to the fun park and go through a maze there, before actually seeing the Falls. Duh, me!๐Ÿ˜‰

So I waited and participated and was totally rewarded for that! The funny thing is the most powerful feelings I had were those ON THE WAY to the falls, not actually getting to see it. Because the water makes such an impressively loud noise, of course, you can hear it long before you get to see it, so the excitement of the encounter grows with every step you take! And that is a feeling I love, I was wowing and ‘oh my god’-ing on the way there, just to finally say “there you are!” when we got the first glimpse of it! I can definitely say my first meeting with Niagara Falls was an act of falling in love with it. It’s all on my face๐Ÿ˜‚.

I could hardly part from it that evening, but again, we just had to go to the fun park, and so we did. The good thing about it is that parents can actually do stuff with the kids, you get attraction packages of all sorts that keep you in the discovery mode, even as an adult. The play, the fun fair, the Sky-wheel๐Ÿ˜, everything is for families together, which definitely kept me in the ‘childhood dreams come true mode’.

There pics are all from the Sky Wheel, great view of the Falls.

Saturday was The Day! There’s loads of options to visit and experience the Falls and we took a few, of course.

The first one was the boat trip not TO the Falls, but actually IN it! ๐Ÿ‘ I still get goose bumps thinking about it, both because of the thrill and the cold I experiencedโœŒ! It was absolutely amazing getting so close to the Falls, that’s when I realized how powerful and infinite it is and how lucky I was to just be there and stare at it! That moment it was just me breathing and staring at the water falling and howling. No matter how I tried to photograph it, I didn’t manage to capture the feeling, I guess that’s down to professional photographers.

This one up is the American part of Niagara Falls.

This is the Canadian one, the Horse Shoe.

Here you can see them both, the American one to the left and the Horse Shoe behind these nice guys in the pic. ๐Ÿ˜˜

The other one we took was a trip called Journey Behind the Falls. Which is exactly this, a tunnel behind it which makes you get even closer and, well, more wet, which didn’t matter anymore.๐Ÿค˜

I have to say, the marketing is perfect everywhere you go and they do make the most out of it business-wise. They take photos of you before you visit each attraction and you can buy them on your way out.๐Ÿ˜‰ The souvenir shops are strategically placed on the way in and out of the attraction, as well as some restaurants. But what they don’t do is cross the line of common sense. All of the marketing and selling is done in specific places, not just anywhere and everywhere. It’s a place you can visit and it’s also a place where you can meditate, especially in the evenings when there are less people taking selfies with the Falls๐Ÿ˜ฏ.

This rainbow wasn’t part of the marketing, though. But could be. ๐Ÿ˜€

A great place to meditate is another one we went to, called the White Water Walk – it’s a walk on a wooden path right next to the river. It’s so wild and it was left like that on purpose. What they tell you before you get down (with an elevator๐Ÿ˜) is to take your time and enjoy and push the button to call the elevator when you’re done. I re-discovered the expression ‘take your time’ and appreciate it so much, because we usually want to manage it, not take it. Taking your time sounds so great, freeing and empowering all of a sudden!

The evening was reserved for a perfect experience: dinner๐Ÿ˜€. NO, I’m not going to post any food photos, simply because I didn’t take any, not interested๐Ÿ˜‰. What I did photograph was the view. We went to Skylon Tower, which has observation decks and a rotating restaurant on the top floor! Well, the rotating part was the floor, so we got to move and admire the scenery while eating. One rotation in one hour, so we didn’t get sick.๐Ÿค“ But there, it did pay off!

The Sunday was reserved for a water park – which didn’t impress us, because we’ve been to Therme in Bucharest, and no water park compares to that! But the kids were happy, so we were too๐Ÿ––.

I couldn’t go home before saying goodbye, so we took another short trip to the Falls, and more pics, of course.

I left feeling so fully charged by the whole experience and I still have images of it rolling in my head and feelings of it going up and down, especially as I’m writing about it. I know that nothing I can write about it can describe the intensity of the experience. And I know it’s different for everyone, but to me it was a dream I caught. Or actually not caught, but lived fully, I let it out in the world again because it’s such a beautiful dream to dream.โค

My reality wake-up call was the highway storm. I’ve seen storms before, but not driven through them. It was rain buckets falling and wind fury blowing. It was the moment I took a picture of that, that I realized we were on our way back home.

Dream on!๐Ÿ˜˜โค๐Ÿ‘

Steps and roots

It’s funny how, in order to get roots, we need to take steps. Keep moving to feel grounded. I guess it’s the direction we move in that matters.

Am sitting at Sugar Beach Park, contemplating on my latest interview. 

And again I am struck that I hardly remember what I said. Whenever I find myself talking about learning, I go into flow mode and can hardly stop thinking about it even hours after the interview is finished.

Well, I am now witnessing a scandal on the beach, not sure what the problem is, but there’s a guy mad that another guy trespassed his property. Police are here, they’re so cool about the whole thing. I heard so many ‘f’ words directed at the police officers that I couldn’t think were either possible or allowed. I mean they’re the police, for God’s sake. But the guy is so angry, that he has no problem using the word against them in each sentence. And they’re handling it quite well, keeping their cool and totally controlling the situation. The guy apparently works for MI5, or so he just said. Anyway, so much for my contemplation, I guess my interview suddenly just went all fine.๐Ÿ˜€

Continuing on our adventure, as Lia spoils me rotten these days, we took a day for us girls and went to the hairdresser’s. Just us, catching up and really getting into the Canadian daily life๐Ÿ˜‚.

On an administrative note, we also got our health cards, which we had to wait three months before actually applying for. It was, as I already expect by now, easy to do, went to Service Ontario, applied and got the temp ones already. That made it possible for us to look for a family doctor to register for. And so, on our way back from Service Ontario, we saw a family clinic and thought to go and register there. To our surprise, the clinic was newly opened last week. And we were the first patients! When we first heard it, we thought we were the first patients for the day, only to find out we were the first ones ever there. Some things are just like that for us, it’s these moments when I feel like we truly are welcome here๐Ÿ˜€. 

Wait, there’s more. We talked to the doctor and she asked us where we’re from. When we said Romania, she said her daughter studies there. We found out she’s studying medicine in Bucharest. I mean, what were the odds! Us coming here, being the first patients to our first doctor whose daughter studies in Bucharest. This is a true story. So there, what more can I say, the universe is with us and vice versa. ๐Ÿ˜€

Coincidences, I think, are those signs that tell you you’re on the right track. Or even if it’s not that, they make you feel good and give you a boost of energy and confidence that keeps you going for the day and gives you a fresh perspective on things. We get into routine quite easily, I found, and coincidences are some short moments that take us out of the routine, at least for a while.

Talking about daily moments, our weekends are now full, because we go out all the time. So many parks to discover and enjoy. Most of the time, in spite of the kids, who want to stay indoor for the usual drill – tablets, phones, computer… Tough luck!

But once we’re out, we’re good.๐Ÿ˜€ By the way, these are not his sunglasses and this is not his usual expression, he improvises.๐Ÿ˜‰

On my way to this beach I’m reporting from๐Ÿ˜€, I passed by this fountain. Couldn’t help to take a pic. Look closely, you’ll understand why I had to take it, it’s just so funny.๐Ÿ˜€

With this in mind, and before it starts to rain, I leave you with the pic of the CN Tower that I took this morning. It fascinates me, I think. Same as the lake.

Peace, love & coincidences. โœŒ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s whyย 

Couldn’t help to take some pics on my run this morning, and so I can now explain why running in the park, as opposed to a treadmill, can be even more addictive. That’s why:

There, I think my ‘that’s why I like it here’ is getting more obvious each day. And I don’t need the words to describe it, just need to notice what’s around me. And take pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰. 

Now, the star of the day is this next photo. Which is not in the park I’ve been to, but Laurentiu photographed it at some point today. And it is in a park. 

Guessed what it is? It’s a LIBRARY in a PARK. Yes! You go, borrow a book, sit on a bench, read it, put it pack, go home. Brilliant or what?

That’s why!๐Ÿ‘

Three months

Remembered today, probably not accidentally, that it’s been three months since we closed the door to our flat back in Bucharest. Yes, I said goodbye to it, I admit it, I mean out loud I did.

And what a ride. Being able to write about it was the kind of therapy for me that would release my anxiety and make me feel connected to everyone I thought, at that point, I had left behind. Well, I haven’t. Everyone is still there, most importantly in their own lives, but also in the memories we share and the ones we’ll have anew someday when we see each other again. I mean we have to admit, it’s usually the close distance that may keep friends from seeing each others for a long time, being busy with life in the meantime, and having that idea, in the back of your mind, that, hey, they’re here, we can meet anytime. Everyone is still ‘here’ for me, just that the ‘here’ is now in my heart and mind. Just so you know and we get this straight๐Ÿ˜€.

On another computer-related note, I had a draft. I had it, I know it, because I had written many short (ok, very short) impressions about stuff that I would put in a longer blog. Ha! I’m so naive sometimes and what better day to admit it than the first of June. My draft has vanished. Gone. Deleted. Or maybe I should worry that I ever believed I wrote it. Anyway, the thing is…

Most of my activity has been split between house-keeping and interview going. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slave here and no way am I going to get into the gender chores discussion, I’m already tired of it. Vacuuming is not about gender, as neither is parenting for that matter. For me, the cleaning stuff, and all the rest associated with it, was a way of hiding from what I wanted to do and so badly procrastinated! I’m good, yep, I’ll say that! I would do anything that keeps me away from all of the planning I have in mind, all of the reading I wanted to do. I managed to make myself a schedule I would follow and I would also be my own supervisor. It works, with the exception of times when I need to clarify what I’m thinking, or otherwise ideas would make my head burst.

Now, all this also happened because I went to a lot of interviews.

On my way to an interview, I gather all feelings and thoughts coming and going, while headphones are plugged in and there’s Pink telling me to ‘Try try try’… It’s funny how you see things differently depending on what you have in mind. I see the whole interview process with so many eyes and senses I never knew I had ๐Ÿ‘. I’m obviously a bit stressed, at the same time I enjoy the process of talking to people from different companies and industries, and going to different companies for that matter.

I also found I quite enjoy the ride as well. I mean, the fact that it takes me about one hour to go to Toronto gives me time and space to sit down on the bus, read and listen to music or simply admire the view. One thing I’ve kept since childhood is that I still love looking out the window when I’m on a bus, train, plane, whatever. You can tell there were no smart phones when I was a child๐Ÿ˜€. And I kinda kept the habit to this day and I enjoy it so much; it’s these moments that make me realize it’s all happening live, it’s not a recording or a rehearsal and I can either go with the flow and enjoy it or wait for a re-take that will not come.

I take pictures, to, you know, document it. 

So then, I decide to make it a great experience, because I get to meet new people and discuss ideas about what I used to do, which brings back nice memories. And also about what I still like doing, and that is learn and share it. I also cannot help but notice the entire interviewing process, the questions, how they are formulated, what the interviewer is trying to get by asking that question, I try to guess how many interviews they’ve had before me and how tired they are. And sometimes, I let myself in the flow of the discussion and that feels great. In a guide for going to interviews I’d say ‘do your homework before the interview, but don’t go there for an exam, go there for the discussion and make some memorable minutes of your life out of it’. Feels good.

Another great thing I did was get certified as a ‘Professional Coach Practitioner’, which meant – you guessed – going to a course on coaching. It was one of the many I’d been to (without mentioning the ones I designed๐Ÿ˜€), but for me they’re never enough๐Ÿค“. So I loved every minute of it. Again, going there for me was two-fold, on the one hand, the course itself and the info, the discussions, the ideas; then, how the course was delivered, and wondering, out of professional habit, how I would have done it. I said two, but there were actually three aspects of it, the third one being networking. Now, networking is usually a tough word that not many people digest. Because it’s working to build your net, right? Such a ‘spidery’ comparison, but it’s true. What I found was, if networking is not done just for the sake of it, but because it draws together people with similar passions and interests, there’s not much ‘working’ left, it becomes fun. I’ll put this in a course soon.:)

Selfie at the course, so I remember๐Ÿ˜€.

I also took these pics on the way there, as I found out there’s a Trump tower in Toronto, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And a Google office and an old Town Hall. 

So, now that my thirst for learning has been so fully addressed, I feel good. And I like it here. I think I’m addicted to learning, just as I’m addicted to running. Both activities are tiring at some point, but they both give me my happy hormones๐Ÿ˜.

Talking about happy, did I ever mention I love school here?

Lia meditates. Why? Because first thing at school in the morning, before they start their classes, they meditate. Their home teacher taught them how to breathe and focus on the breathing. She had me at “mom, I’ll go to sleep now, because I’d like to meditate first”. I didn’t cry, I just took a deep breath and jumped for joy on the inside. Perfect! Now I have company๐Ÿ‘!

Rares got a diploma for good character from school. Not that I want to brag about it. BUT ๐Ÿ˜€, he got it because of how he is, not because of something he’s done. And that’s a huge difference! He got it because he is ‘caring’ and ‘compassionate’ and ‘collaborative’ and ‘inclusive’. So when he got home with it I was, you know, ecstatic, while he was so very much himself: cool and chill and unimpressed. ‘I didn’t do anything, mom, they just gave it to me’. And yes, that’s when I finally got to say what I love saying over and over again: ‘Well, you got it for WHO you ARE, not for WHAT you DID, and that’s what’s so great about it.’

And because it’s 1 June today and some parts of the world celebrate International Children’s Day, I end my post here, wishing all of us kids out there to go for diplomas that celebrate who their are, for L’Oreal’s sake, ‘because we’re worth it!’



Meetings with the unexpected

Chapter 1 – The Beach

I thought the half-marathon experience would be hard to top. I took my time recovering from the muscle pain with some more running on the treadmill and more mouse clicking applying to jobs. It all worked perfectly, I have to (somewhat sarcastically) admit, since my muscles are now nicely aligned again, while my career is still waiting in some corner, most probably observing me some more.

Anyway, I was wrong. The unexpected truly works in mysterious ways (‘work’ here being a key word, ahem).ย  Because it makes way for the most amazing experiences when you least expect them. This is how an invitation to a barbecue on a Saturday afternoon can lead to having a great-hippie-freedom-all-around evening on the same day. Lake Ontario and I have started to befriend since the very first time I laid my eyes on it. What I did not realize is it can have such wildly wonderful beaches. We ended up on one of these beaches on Saturday evening, and I could not believe the similarity I found with the Romanian ones by the sea, especially 2 Mai, of course. And here’s how I got the home feeling again, due to the never-go-wrong combination of waves, sand and fire. I could spend whole nights before a fire on a beach, the mere sound of these two elements combined is enough for me to instantly fall in a trance. The kind of trance that leaves me full of great energy and courage and connection to those important questions in life: who am I, why am I? And also the kind of trance that makes me superficial enough to be able to confidently say “I don’t know, ‘and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’, I will always have the sound of waves and fire” and that’s as good of an answer as anything else.

I could go on rambling forever, since writing about it takes me right back there and then, to all the times I stood on the beach, between the sea, the stars and the fire. But I will share some of the photos we took instead, so I can selfishly revisit this post later on, I admit.

Chapter 2 – The Presents
Mother’s Day is all I really have to say to make this one obvious, not unexpected. In my defense, this was the first Mother’s Day celebrated on the 14th of May. Back in Romania it was all nicely wrapped on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day + Mother’s Day, two in one special offer. Now here, I find Mother’s Day is very special, it’s the day when kids serve their mothers breakfast in bed (not my case this year, but wait till next year, haha), when the family goes out for either brunch or lunch or when mothers have some nice time-out at a spa together with their mothers or daughters or lady-friends. My translation is: no cooking and self-caring day for moms. Hallelujah!

Anyway, I got my cards and drawings from my kids, which I obviously loved and which, unexpectedly, made me burst into laughter. No, not all of them.

This one because it’s the billionth time I am convinced Lia is a true artist, be it simply because she is able to give such a beautiful rendition of me. I always look great in her drawings and I always wish her drawings were photos, because then I’d look the same in real life. Well, never mind, what made me laugh is that she can best picture me with my unicorn t-shirt (I have one that says the exact words in her drawing). What can I say, mother’s daughter, she gets impressed with fantastic characters.

She also writes perfect letters and makes perfect self – portraits. ๐Ÿ˜˜

Ma premiere carte en francais!!๐Ÿ˜€

And this one because, well, it was supposed to be in French. And Rares, in his infinite stand-up-comedy style, fills it in with ‘I don’t speak French, so Happy Mother’s Day!’, in Romanian. Laughing as I write.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Chapter 3 – The Question

One of the reasons I’m having fun almost daily is due to diversity. And probably because I observe it, can’t help it, but I realized having a background in learning makes me constantly observe and instantly give a learning meaning to almost everything I experience. Good, bad, don’t know, but can’t help it.

One of the daily walks is to Lia’s school, either morning or afternoon, we take turns (as we are responsible parents ๐Ÿ˜‰). The school is very close to where we live and so we usually walk by more or less the same parents and children every day.

I was on my way back from the school when I hear a boy asking:

‘Where are you from?’

I looked around, shocked, as adults usually are when children address them questions out of the blue. By the way, why are adults so dazzled by children initiating conversations with them? Is it because we don’t take children too seriously, we don’t think they are ‘mature’ enough to start a conversation, are we patronizing them by default?

On topic, again, after the few seconds I needed to recover and realize he was actually talking to me, I dumbly say:


‘Where are you from?’

‘Oh, I’m from Romania.’

‘Hm, I see.’

He was a bit disappointed in saying that, and he frowned. Which disturbed me even more and now made me curious enough to ask:


‘Because your language is similar to ours.’

And here his tone of voice was that of an almost upset young man. Which eventually made me ask the most logical question of all:

‘Where are you from?’

‘I’m from Poland’ he said, turned around and away.

Well that made my day! I was so incredibly surprised and amused, that I could not stop displaying a full smile on my face, thinking ‘only in Canada’ can you experience this just like that, out of the blue, on your way from school. It was an almost childhood experience for me in Life 2.0.

Unexpected, I’ll be waiting for you some more.โค




Half-marathons are for sightseeing :)

It was my best running experience so far! Well, it was mostly downhill, and that counts!:). Apart from the cold and some wind, it was all perfect, and it looks like I prefer running in cold weather.

I realized it’s not just the running part, it’s the sightseeing part of it that makes me love running. It’s not just me moving my feet until I can’t tell if they still move or not. It’s the road, the buildings, the people, the city, their stories combined. It’s such a crazy-happy-enthusiastic energy all around. It’s as if you could hear all the stories that have never been told, about a past that’s still there hoping to get noticed. It’s such a contrast between the effort and the joy existing simultaneously inside the same person.

And I loved the cheers!

Police officers managing traffic and also encouraging the runners: ‘well done guys, good job!’ One police officer was applauding us. And they had work to do. Because traffic was not blocked, there was us, running on one side of the road, and the cars driving on the other. Police officers at crossroads were great, they were chatting with the drivers and giving them clear instructions and waiting for one runner pack to pass so they could then allow some of the cars to quickly drive in between. It’s unbelievable, but it worked!

Two ladies wearing pink feathers and tutu’s, cheering the runners. One runner tells them:

‘love the outfits, girls!’

‘well, we don’t get to wear tutu’s otherwise, so thanks for giving us the opportunity!’

One guy approaching me, towards the end of the run, asking me:

‘how many photos did you take’?

‘usually about 200 of them’ was my answer

‘wow, ’cause I saw you all the way, that’s cool, good luck!’

And, yes, I took about 200 photos on the way. I will post only a few here.:)

Right before the start:

Houses and people that told stories.

And then, feelings of all sorts.

I cried at the end of the race, I realize now I ran a dream of mine: yes, we’re here, living, breathing, running:), enjoying every day because, hey: someday is today :).

Two months after becoming a permanent resident – flooded

The last couple of days here have been rainy to say the least. Many parts of many cities are flooded, with authorities being very active and involved and saying ‘we need to be responsible and make sure people are safe’. Strike one for me. Not blaming the weather, the people, the moms and dads and kids or whoever or whatever else. No one blames anyone, everybody is working towards solutions and the number one word is people’s safety. 

Strike two for me was this:

Lia’s school organized an international food night, which meant, of course, parents and kids were invited to bring food representative for their countries and cultures. We brought pancakes and mentioned they were ‘crepes style’, which is more similar to the French crepes than the American pancakes. ๐Ÿ˜€ 

First thing in the hallway was this poster above with the values tought daily. They melted my heart and made me so tearful I could start crying right there. I guess I’d longed to see them written down somewhere all along. Not sure what happened, but I could suddenly have a millisecond glimpse of my subconscious being happy.

I had no idea there was more to come. After we tasted the foods displayed, we could go to the book fair organized in the school (where I felt so good going through all sorts of titles and having trouble choosing only three). 

We then visited the classroom, where the kids had created boardgames. For the math class. Well, yes. Maths can be something called ‘math games’. They worked in teams to invent boardgames, make the rules, paint the boards and create question cards. And that’s how you learn multiplications. You roll the dice, pick a card, answer the question and move forward (or backward, if you didn’t get the right answer). I will not comment on that because it’s my dream come true.

The French lab. French cafe music in the background, posters and quotes on the walls. Bingo games on the tables, so kids learn the numbers in French, while playing, well, Bingo. The quotes? I found them inspirational for me, too. Happy tears again.

‘Criticism may disappoint you, but never let it stop you.’

Talking about inclusion, on our way out we found other posters, welcoming kids to school. One of them was in Romanian. 

Emotional flood right before getting out and heading back home, in the rain. โค

PS: There are dim chances that the rain stops on Sunday when I run the half marathon, it will be a personal record of my coldest one so far, with a max of 5 degrees on the day, the morning will probably be around zero?!๐Ÿ˜‰


Week 8 – no more suitcases and one rainbow

I unpacked this week. As much as I had anticipated this moment, I couldn’t figure out how it would actually feel. I so wanted to take our stuff out and put it somewhere nice, and then when I finally did, it was with the Bucharest-feel included. So it was a sweet & sour mix, Romanian flavoured all the way. I found myself remembering the moment we packed, the chaos associated with it, but also the events some of the clothes had been worn at, which of course started to then make me associate any object I’d find with a life event that brought up memories and feelings of what-have-we-done-and-what-for. Unpacking proved to be a trip down Memory Lane, which was good, because I do miss home. I even dreamt I went to the market and found Romanian watermelon.๐Ÿ˜€

Which takes me to our next stop at a Polish supermarket, that also has a fresh groceries market and where you can find a lot of the stuff we found back home, including: Eugenia, edelflower and lemon syrup, Borsec mineral water ๐Ÿ‘, Bulgarian cheese (the thing with cheese here is that it’s either the Feta or cedar – type cheese, which makes cheese pasta a bit impossible to cook,  so I’m now saved!), Teddy juice and Hungarian salami๐Ÿ˜€. Never realized how much I missed seeing stuff that was familiar to the eye and taste buds. This is how, going to a Polish supermarket made me feel like home, again. So my theory of what pulls the heart strings is backed by yet another fact. Once the senses are happy, you get the ‘home’ feeling. Plus, with the very little Polish I remember from university, I felt I was travelling back in time, back to my Uni days and exchange student camps in Cracow! Memories are alive, they just need an opportunity to show themselves.๐Ÿ˜€

And so, with such a roller coaster ride of feelings and memories and senses, there came the rainbow. A real one. The spring storm that followed the Polish supermarket visit seemed to know what I was thinking. So to make me celebrate, it ended and made room for a perfectly arched rainbow. To remind me where I was, why and that rainbows here are the same rainbows I knew as a child. They bring home right at our doorstep, anywhere we may be. Or, rather, at our ‘windowstep’.

Selling Daffodil pins tomorow, to raise money for the Cancer Society research, ahead of my half-marathon for them next Sunday. Never did that before, so fingers crossed for another first – time experience!โœŒ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ‘

Week 7 – Easter break and everything I didn’t write about this week

Easter break was not a break!

We moved on 15 April, which was the day before Easter and also the busiest day ever. Realized that having as little as our four big and four small suitcases plus the stuff we had bought from Ikea the previous week, still meant a whole lot of stuff. People do gather loads and loads of stuff over a lifetime and half of it over the span of a few months๐Ÿ˜€. And what better moment to realize it than when moving to a new place.

That Saturday was so busy and the carrying and buying and arranging things meant a full day training for the half-marathon, by the way๐Ÿ˜‰. At some point we didn’t even have enough hands at the Ikea store to carry everything we bought, which was the basics such as beds, mattresses, carpets, desks and some kitchenware. Thinking back, I think we were heroes and fully deserve that title. Couldn’t help it but think it was a good way to spend that Saturday before Easter, all trials and tribulations included. Oh, and in the midst of it all, my Easter brain was telling me: ‘paint some eggs, it’s Easter tomorrow’. And so I did, helped by Lia, which was a good thing to wake up to the next morning. Here’s proof (paint was brought all the way from Romania, yes, in one of those ‘four by four’ suitcases of ours๐Ÿ˜€ – somehow I couldn’t betray Easter, it’s decisively a huge root to Life 1.0, carrying it over to this life, too).

Easter Sunday was something else! We were invited to spend it with a Canadian family in Toronto, and it was the most amazing trip to take in North-American Easter tradition. With an atmosphere of calm and coziness, great food and customs, it was the all-American dinner, the one I’d only seen in movies – prayer at the beginning, then passing the bowls of green peas, mashed potatoes and special bread mix from one to another, clockwise, so we don’t get lost on the way. Heavenly cooked turkey and baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top – you have to try it to believe it. Great stories that for us were fascinating and I felt I was absorbing it all with the awe and the ‘tell me more’ feeling I got when I was a kid and heard life stories from my parents or grand parents. It was the ‘madeleine’ smell in Proust’ famous novel all over again to me:), which is a bit odd, in a way, because I re-lived all the familiarity of childhood in a setting that normally would have nothing to do with it, a thousand miles away from home. So that’s why they say home is where the heart is, because there’s little things such as smells and stories that pull the heart strings.โค

On our way to the Easter dinner, waiting for the subway.

The week after Easter they call it the Week of Light. It was. It’s Sunday now and looking back I realize the things we’ve been through, again. It’s probably putting your mind in constant observation mode that does the trick, but honestly, we did a lot.

The kids re-started school – in new schools. Tough. I admit. I wouldn’t have wanted this for them, another change in such a short time, but then life happens and brings in the unexpected, sometimes the inconvenient, but it’s still life. They like it at the new schools, but lack the enthusiasm of the first ones, probably because the first ones were the all-new experience here in Canada, or maybe because they had already made friends there and got to like some of the teachers or simply got used to the routine there. The schools close to our home are good, but smaller, have different rules and routines and people.๐Ÿ˜‰

We also took some driving lessons this week, we had the road test on Friday – and passed to the full license, not the intermediate one, to save the suspense. The fact that the majority of cars here are automatic made me, curiously enough, more anxious than relieved, I guess it was because of the novelty. And so I realized even though I am (or think I am) a person open to new experiences – starting a new life among them – the novelty can still make me anxious. You just can’t ‘get used’ to the unknown, it just keeps being as exciting and stressful and scary sometimes, all over again.

Friday was all exams for me, by the way, I also had a job interview in the afternoon, the first face-to-face one, I’ve had a couple more by phone so far. This one was obviously different and the drive test in the morning (and inherently its result) helped me emotionally prepare for the interview. So going through stressful situation number 1 in the morning made me feel less stress during stressful situation number 2 on the afternoon of the same day. Stress combats stress, in other words, yet another proof to that! The interview went well, I would hire me;). I also had to pass a test, which made me feel good, just like at work, this one was easy, excels to do and emails to send, but it felt good, although a bit weird, it was too easy for the kind of questions I got at the interview. I liked the vibe of people there, I would be happy to work there for sure. Well, at this point in life, I would be happy to work, full stop.

We went to the lake yesterday. We see it from our window, so we just had to go closer and see it better. It was a nice walk in a very touristic area – looked similar to the Romanian seaside – and the lake is so big it was more of a sea to me. 

Threw some rocks in the water, a classic move. ๐Ÿ˜€

We fed some geese, they were so friendly because everyone was feeding them – we had some crackers with us and treated them a couple, until we got that look of ‘ok, so that’s it, not feeding us anymore?’

The small poster on the right was so funny to me, zoom in and see what I mean.๐Ÿ˜€

And to end a week of light, the most amazing thing happened. We were walking down the street in that same area near the lake when I got a call. It was a friend of a friend, whom we’d never met before, we just knew about them from our friend in Romania. She was calling to say ‘I saw you walking past us down the street and thought it was you because I’ve been checking your blog from time to time. I didn’t get to call you until now, if you turn your head you can see me’. And so I turned my head, completely blown up by this phone call and saw her and her family behind us on the sidewalk. And thought ‘wow’! It’s a small world, after all, as the song goes. What were the chances of meeting someone you’ve never met before, by complete accident, close to one big lake in one big country, connected by a friend in Romania, a phone number and a blog.
I won’t have a conclusion, the week went so well I’m almost afraid to conclude to anything. Or maybe it’s just me seeing mostly the good stuff which definitely took over some of the bad stuff, such as services. Some of them, at least.

One example for the fun of it: If you order something by courier, just sayin’, you expect it delivered at home, by courier, right? Well, if you’re not at home when they deliver, tough luck. Go get it at the post office. And don’t think you can possibly know when they do or even plan to do the home delivery, they don’t call or text or email you or anything of the sort. They just show up at your door. You live in a flat? You didn’t provide a buzz number? Tough luck, too, post office will be waiting for you, too. And if the main reason you ordered it to be delivered by courier was because the item was too big to carry and you don’t have  a car, well, then the real fun begins! Cars are ok, but, hey, buses are bigger, right?:)

Peace, love and a great week, y’all!โœŒ๐Ÿ‘โค๐Ÿ˜˜

Week 6 – Wed, ย 12 April – Grateful

My guess is the first time the word ‘grateful’ was put down on paper, it was misspelled. I think it was supposed to be ‘great full’. Full of great – feelings, perceptions, happiness, love, joy – full of all the great things in our life. What a great thing that a word that’s probably been misspelled can mean so much, in spite of the error! Such beauty in errors, right? Such beauty in the fact that errors stop being errors when they get so much, deep, meaning. 

Anyway, great-full is how I feel now. We’ve signed the lease papers today and seeing our names on that agreement fascinated me in an almost mystical way. Almost, because I realized it was joy that I felt, the joy of accomplishing something we’ve long dreamt for. Accomplishing a dream is not something we notice every day. Because it may well be that we accomplish one dream at a time more often that we allow ourselves the time to make note of the actual accomplishment. So I’ve allowed myself the space, in between the signatures on so many papers, to feel, enjoy and live the joy of doing that. Of actually being there and realizing what we were doing. 

As of today, we’re no longer ‘homeless’. ๐Ÿ˜€

I also realized ‘homeless’ is also not just a word, it’s as much a feeling as it is a state of mind. And no longer being homeless is part of the process of belonging. Because ‘belonging’, on the other hand, is not just a state of mind, it’s a full, long-term process. Early stages for us, but today’s step was big. And warm, and full of great!๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s all, not much, yet fulfilling.