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We belong to two queens!

Almost 9 years ago we arrived in Canada with two suitcases where we had packed the  essentials for a potential move to Canada. Two sets of lined, two sets of cutlery, two fancy plates (Mågestel) wrapped in my navy towel, two breakfast bowls wrapped in Adrian’s light blue towel. Even the towels are still in use. Neither new nor fancy but to this day they do their job well. All our new Canadian towels are in neutral colors – you always forget who is using which (yes, I have a towel thing – I like to know that it is only my butt that is being dried by my towel ;-)), however; when the navy and the light blue are in use we know which towel belongs to whom.

9 years later we have accumulated so much more stuff (too much really ;-)). A good mix of Danish and Canadian art and culture. And we have produced a fine young kid who is born as a dual citizen and now his parents have joined him as dual citizens too. September 25, 2018 Adrian and I became dual citizens – Canadian and Danish. We now belong to two queens!

I remember our arrival day in Canada like it was yesterday. We were booked on a mini-bus from Toronto to London, ON. It was the last week of November. Chilly but no snow. I saw skiing hills (bumps) on the way but besides that it was pretty boring (the trip from Toronto to London is amongst the most boring drives in Canada; maybe in the world). We arrived at a very nice hotel. Paid by Adrians new company. We went out to find dinner and saw the street closed for a parade. People were sitting on lawn chairs by the curb. The Christmas parade would be coming by shortly we were told. We waited for ½ hour while more people took their seats but we were hungry and decided to find some food. As we had eaten the parade finally started. I remember not knowing what to think – blaming it on jetlag. Firstly, it was still only November and secondly well, parades have grown on me after experiencing Canada Day 😉

The next morning we set out to explore the city – to get to know the neighborhoods and to find a place to live. We had looked on Kijiji and scribbled down some rental addresses without making appointments. We put on our fall clothes and did what we knew as Danes: With no bikes we were walking! We thought that would help us getting to know the neighborhoods and helping the jetlag to disappear. And this was the moment that almost made me now want to leave. Right there. That moment we turned the wrong way on Dundas street……. (Everyone knowing London will be smiling a knowing smile now).

People begging for money, homeless shelters and people screaming at us for no reason (or was it that obvious that we were from out of town ;-)). We walked for an hour without speaking a word only nodding at rental houses and passing by quickly shaking our heads silently agreeing that we were not going to live there.

A lot of streets in London (as in a lot of newer cities in North America) are straight as an arrow and making perfect squares with the crossing streets making us only turn twice to be heading back and as we walked parallel with Dundas walking towards Old North the houses started changing and so did our mood. I remember thinking – okay, so it is not only a crack selling town. Our mood lightened as we saw a house with a first floor rental apartment. We called and the owner was home and we absolutely loved it. We had landed our feet in Old North in London, ON (we did walk another 5-10 km looking at a few more rentals but we knew Victoria Street was our new home).

Renting a car the next day for a two hour drive to Ikea, Toronto where we bought the cheapest bed frame (which we still have), the almost smallest dinner table and the cheapest coffee table and duvets (who knew that the Danish duvet covers have a different size than the Canadians). We wanted to save our money for travelling or maybe we were scared that we would decide to move back again quickly. If I had known we would still be here 8+ years later I would have gone for the more expensive stuff – cause we are still stuck with the ugly bed frame (the dinner table is now our yard table ;-)).

We had four great years in London, ON. We left with happy memories, a beautiful son and a red Ford Escape. Next stop was Montreal. We still love living here for better and worse… This French city is as charming at it is annoying. However, the diversity is amazing and this diversity is what makes Canada great. Canada might have the most beautiful nature in the world. From beaches to mountains to waterfalls and bears this country has it all. However, the most beautiful about Canada is its people. This thanking, inviting and strong people have the biggest hearts in the world. Canada welcomes everybody who wants to live here peacefully. Canada believes in the greatness of diversity.

Thank you Canada for welcoming us two Danes into your midst. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of a democracy again. Thank you for being great, Canada.

Inspired on the plane

My quote of the day:”you meet inspiring people when you least expect it”. I am sure someone else said that before me however, it is still true.

As most of you know I returned home to Canada from Denmark a few days ago. After Alexander and I spend 14 lovely days in Denmark we tried out Swiss Air for the first time on our return flight. Boarding in Zurich I promised Alexander the window seat on row 35. As we walked down the aisle my smile faded as I saw who was sitting in our row by the aisle. 3 seats on each side of the plane and 4 in the middle. As we reached row 35 I put on a fake smile and politely told the gentleman that we had the seats beside him. With difficulties he got up. He was a much shorter person than me but probably weighed almost twice as much. Sitting down again the movement had exhorted him and he breathed heavily.   I cozied up with my son and sighed with the thought of 7.5 hours in the plane with no space for my shoulders – only if I leaned on my son’s seat.

However, as many times before I quickly realized that this gentleman was a true inspiration and throughout our conversation he almost made me cry but not for the reasons many of you might think – I really didn’t mind my seat at all – on the contrary!

He was 70 years old and lost his wife to cancer a year ago. He had been married to her for almost 35 years and she was the love of his life. He asked her to marry her or maybe she asked him – they always argued about that. However, after only 6 weeks of dating they got engaged and married 3 months later.

The way he talked about his wife and how she had always been his rock and how she was the bravest person he had ever known. And how it was unfair that she got lung cancer as he had been the one smoking before he met her (she made him stop on their first date). And how she had hold on to life to be at their son’s wedding but died 2 weeks later. And how he had never looked at another woman while he was married because he didn’t have to because he married his soul mate.

He is from Montreal – fully bilingual corporate lawyer.  He still works and didn’t like flying cause he wasn’t able to get online and work!!! He told me that he loves his phone (who said 15 year old?) which is true as he turned it on as soon as we touched ground in Montreal and was talking to someone within 2 minutes. Recently he got a new family doctor (who is gorgeous) and she talked him into starting exercising. So now he has a personal trainer that he sees daily (when not away for business) every morning at 6am. Wauw. And his goal is to weigh the same as he did when he got married.

A few months ago he went to the hospital for some testing and he learned that an old girl friend of his (before his wife) had had her retirement party from the hospital a few days ago. So he googled her and found out about LinkedIn and contacted her. And now they are dating. He was concerned about what his kids would say (he is so proud of those kids: One is a pediatrician at a hospital in US and the other also lives in US and has his own successful film producing company. They both married awesome people and are very good friends with each other and their spouses and they have grandkids). However, his daughter said that as long as he was happy and that he didn’t expect her to love her like her mother then she was fine with it.

Anyways, I got to know a lot more – he didn’t sound or look 70. A waitress recently wanted to seat him at the bar next to a gorgeous 35 year old as she knew she was single however, he refused as he said that he was flattered that the waitress obviously thought he was much younger but he kids are that age so instead he said:

“I don’t want to move on, I want to move forward”.

And yes, I also managed to color with Alexander and watch 2 movies. Those flight are just so freaking long 🙂