Hellooo, I’m baaack! And happy new year everyone!
Now happily reporting live from the other side of the Americas, from the land of Ice and Snow! Seriously, what a contrast.
ALERTS IN EFFECT
Extreme Cold Warning
Issued at 16:19 Friday 05 January 2018
A prolonged period of very cold wind chills is expected.
An Arctic ridge of high pressure continues to bring cold temperatures and brisk northwesterly winds to Southwestern Ontario. Windchill values are expected to drop this evening and overnight to values of minus 30 to minus 35.
Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.
A lot has happened in the months that I haven’t written here. It was a very stressful few months, a very difficult time for my family (more for the parents, than the kids, thank God), but also a lot of happy and wonderful things happened. We witnessed once again that it is in the most difficult times that the true nature of our family and friends reveal itself. The people that matter the most are really there to help, and the help sometimes comes from family (sadly not always), sometimes from very dear friends (that are like family to us), and sometimes even strangers! I thank God for surrounding us with such wonderful people.
I stayed in Brazil with the children at my in-laws that I love, and tried to maintain some sort of normalcy (walking to school every morning with them, teaching languages in the evening), while D had traveled ahead to Canada looking for a job, a car, a room to stay temporarily until we came, and a house for us to move in at the end of November. Not having any job in sight, not knowing where we would live, was extremely difficult, but the hardest for D and I was… to be apart. In our 14 years of marriage we had never been apart for longer than 10 days (last year when I traveled to Buenos-Aire because abuela died). Two whole months apart was necessary and ultimately we knew we would be together in the end, but I also realized how much we support one another on a daily basis. There were days I would definitely have appreciated his shoulder to cry on!
To add to this stressful situation, we’ve had to deal with a dishonest (Brazilian) moving company (GINTER — absolutely NOT recommended).
Before considering the move we had looked carefully at our savings and calculated how much would cost the plane tickets for the whole family (including the two cats and their paperwork), how much “extra” we had to spend on the move. Was is worth it to contact a moving company, or would we take the bare necessities in our suitcases? Our decision came down to the fact that even if we sold all our furniture (and we did), even if I sold and gave away most of my books (I did too. Can you imagine how heartbreaking that was?), we still had a lot of tools (the digital piano, my sewing machine, and D’s power tools) that would cost a lot to buy again “on the other side” even if we bought these things used. Plus, there are all the little things that are of no monetary value but remind you of a person, a moment, a time in your life.
So, after we made the decision to spend half our savings to have our most important stuff and memories shipped to Canada, they came to our house and packed our things. Shortly after, while they had our shipment ready at the port, they sent us the very salty bill that was the double of what was originally agreed! THE DOUBLE!!! So, when we realized that we simply didn’t have the money, we cried (well, mostly I did), we panicked, and decided that we would simply abandon everything! Let the crooks keep our junk!
Unfortunately we later learned that in order to abandon the shipment, we actually had to pay a very hefty fine (half the prize of the entire move – the amount we originally planned to pay) to the port authorities, because our container was already waiting at the port and wasn’t under the moving company’s responsibility anymore.
We didn’t know what to do. We lost a lot of sleep. I cried a lot. We prayed on our knees. (In all my life, I can’t remember if I ever prayed so much in my knees).
At the time it happened, I was at my in-law’s and when I told them what was happening and what we had decided to do, they said that it simply couldn’t happen. They would help us, they would help us with their savings, we could not lose everything like that. Not only did they open their house to us, fed us, helped me to take care of the kids, but they were going to lend us money?!! I felt the love. ❤
At the same time in Canada, our Russian friends Y&A (friends that are like family) helped us tremendously by connecting D to a Chinese friend, then a friend of a friend (strangers), and that’s how in the matter of a couple of weeks my husband first found a room to rent for October, then a house to rent for us when we arrived in November, then bought a car (from our friends who were about to change their car), and finally found a job! Our friends also showered us with gifts, all the electronics (computers, tablets, cell phone) that we needed (because after 5 years in Brazil, all our electronics had greatly suffered with the heat and dust)…
I am still an emotional wreck when I think about all this. Amazed and thankful.
Our things finally arrived here on December 29. All had been nicely packaged and arrived in great shape. The Canadian moving company that was taking care of the Canadian part of the move (The MI Group — highly recommended), comparatively, did an awesome job of communicating with us every single step of the way.
We had a very simple un-decorated Christmas this year. It brought me back to our arrival in Brazil, 5 years ago, when we spent our first Christmas in an empty house that was leaking from the roof, in a very noisy street corner where it was difficult to sleep at night, and constant sticky heat and humidity (our move took 7 months to arrive then). We felt so lost then. This year was similar in the sense that we only had the essential (a roof above our head and heating in the house), and the most important (each other, our family together), but we did not feel lost, no.
We felt that after a strange 5-year long Brazilian chapter of our lives, we are finally back home in Canada.