When I lived in London I was close friends with 3 Canadians, two from Winnipeg, MB, and one from Sault Se Marie, Ont. One of which I in fact lived with for a year. So I had a pretty good head start to what to expect when moving to Canada.
I had already learnt that I was to take out the trash, and to stop off for gas and to carry a back pack. I had a vague idea of the difference between a loonie and a toonie and that Poutine was in fact life and you do not question what is so great about cheese and gravy on fries.
Before my move to Canada I was warned of a few things:
- Canada is really, really big, and flights are super expensive
- Cell phone bills are incredibly expensive compared to UK
- Justin Trudeau is just a pretty face
Do not admit I was a fan of Nickelback
However, after nearly 18 months of living in Canada, I don’t think there was anyone that could have warned me for what was to come of moving to a mountain town of 4000 people from a city of over 8 million people.
Even though I am now very settled in Invermere and cannot imagine moving back to the city, I do often enjoy looking at the contrast between the two styles of living, and have most fun telling my tales to my friends and family back home.
I have worked in hospitality for all of my adult life, and I thought I had seen it all before I moved to Invermere. My town of 4000 people, well this increases to over 60,000 in the Summer months. Yes you read that right. Within a month you can walk down the street and see tumble weed rolling (not a metaphor, I actually saw this) to feeling like you are at a London street market.
You go from begging your boss for more shifts to your boss begging you to work more shifts. You work shifts where you are constantly cut and counting pennies to working shifts where you feel like you could make it rain with the amount of tips you leave work with.
I knew that skiing and snowboarding were major Canadian Sports, however no one told me that Golf is a treasured past time. Not only am I surrounded by Golf Courses, I live next to one of the Top Listed in all of North America! Still not tried it though, me allowed to hit a ball with a club, that’s just a liability.
The Four Seasons
In the UK, we don’t seem to really have 4 seasons, we just seem to have warm humid weather, or cold rainy weather and not much in between. So as you can imagine to my surprise on experiencing the Canadian Four Seasons. (I mean the 4 seasons as living in a Mountain Valley)
The cold and snow, I was fully prepared for when moving here. So prepared in fact that I didn’t even pack Summer clothes. So when Summer hit, 30+ Celsius daily, every damn day , I was a tad surprised.
I feel like I am taking a risk everyday just by living here. If it is not wild fire warnings in the Summer, its Avalanche and flood warnings in the Spring, or ice and snow warnings in Winter, and even still having wildfire warnings in the fall.
There is a short time period you can all go and sit around a fire from when the snow has melted to when the fire ban comes in place. When the snow has melted you just see a wave on plaid shirts and guitars running to trucks to have tailgate parties.
Yes we have bears, deer, elk and moose, and the cougars were a tad scary, but I am not talking about them. I am talking about the mosquitoes. The goddamn mosquitoes are the bane of my life.
While I was already suffering from the worst hay fever of my life, (who knew I would be allergic to Canada eh?) I was allergic to the mosquitoes. Well not the mosquitoes, more the bites that I get. Not only am I bitten but the bites themselves react so I look like I have some disease that parents move their kids away from me when I pass them in the street.
I have at least 20 bites on my body at anyone time, bug spray repellent and bite cream are staples in my hand bag along with me wearing a very stylish mosquito bracelet.
So even though I am covered in bites, sweltering in heat and the fire ban going, I would not have it any other way.