Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What To Do Whilst Waiting On Services Canada...

We said some big farewells this week.
Firstly we said goodbye to our beloved fur babies. An incredibly enormous thanks to the Mollydagmade family for taking them on in all their glory.

And then it was farewell to the house. By this stage of the move, I have no emotional connection to the house, I just want it done with. But it's a lovely house, we'll miss the New England Honeyeaters and the kangaroo paws. We'll miss the high ceilings and floorboards, the walking distance to school and the lemon tree.

And now we're done with the house. Everything is packed away and we're officially living out of suitcases. We are still waiting on that elusive visa from Services Canada, bless them. Not! We are trying to call it a 'holiday'. Which generally translates as visiting the park, having coffee and watching Poppet on the monkey bars.

Remember these crazy things??!!

Poppet must have been in it for half an hour. Surprised we didn't see an unwelcome return of her croissant. She must be made of tougher stuff than us, though I dimly recall sitting in one for as long as I could take it just to see how dizzy I would be....
The park was followed by puzzles and colouring and general fluffing (drinking margheritas) about. 

All of which is very nice, but we just want to get on with it now.
Though Mrs Smiley-pants doesn't seem bothered today. I am eternally grateful for having such a glass-half-full kind of child in my life.

More news when we have some. For now we'll just keep soldiering on.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thank You For Being A Friend..

So, a lot of people tell me they don't know how I can handle the stress of this move. The packing and shifting, the uncertainty of dates etc. I thought I'd take a moment to share with you the 'friends' who've really made the difference over these past few weeks.

You'll need to listen to this as you scroll through the photos...


My human friends out there know exactly who they are and will always be cherished. 
Thank you.

 J. x

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The First Farewell.

This is my piano.

It was my grandmother's piano and is dated around 1905. Old, heavy and a little difficult to tune, it needs some new strings. But it is a part of me, another limb, even if I don't play it that often anymore. Whenever I had troubles as a child/teenager I would immerse myself in music and just play for hours. This big old friend got me through a lot of angst.
One of the challenges of relocating has always been what to do with it. It's not great to store a piano in a concrete box, so we've usually managed to find an accommodating family member. This time it is my brother's turn. 
Last Thursday was D-Day. The piano removalist was booked for 1pm and I tidied the room up and packed away most of the sheet music. I felt very emotional that day, preparing to say goodbye to an old friend.
In my mind, I had a blog post all prepared. With a melancholic air I would describe how I played all my favourite tunes from the past, including this...

And then I was going to take a photo of the truck as it took my friend away. Yes, I was feeling rather indulgent, perhaps the piano brings out the adolescent in me.
As it turned out, the piano guy was late. I rang him around 1.30 and he explained that he was held back with a client and wouldn't be able to make it until around 4. No problem.
At 4.30 I started to call him again, getting only his message bank for the next hour. You can imagine the last message I left for him. I never heard from him again. My fantasy of a romantic farewell to the piano was well and truly squashed!
Yesterday. Round 2.
I had found an alternative removalist through a friend. A lovely German guy named Boris. He was five minutes late and extremely apologetic for that. He whisked the piano away and I neglected to take a photo of the truck as it pulled out of the driveway. I didn't even stand on the porch and wave a hanky.
So, my friend is gone for now. I'm not as moved to tears as I was a week ago. When you're under the hammer you just can't predict how you will react in stressful situations. Sometimes it's a drama, and sometimes it's not. Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked! 
Apparently that's how I roll these days.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dear 3am..

I was just whiling away some time on Pinterest when I stumbled upon this...

via Pinterest

Sleep and I have never really been friends. I'm either lying awake at night thinking creative and/or stressful thoughts, or I have restless legs or I just don't feel tired enough. I certainly feel tired 'enough' most afternoons around 3pm.  Hmm, perhaps I've just been living on Canadian time all these years. Will let you know if our return to Toronto makes any difference.
My current 'solution' to sleeplessness is my Ipod, which will probably need to be surgically removed from me one day. I listen to books when sleep should be beckoning. My night-time faves are Stephen Fry, David Attenborough, and Simon Callow. Obviously I'm drawn to older male British voices. I get my audiobooks from Audible.com and am gathering quite a decent collection.
A few weeks ago I had some really crazy nightmares. I vaguely remember being chased by some nasty man, somewhere-or-other.
The Ipod had to come out in the middle of the night to calm my nerves. 
As it turns out, Poppet has developed her own cure for night terrors. She had a bad dream last night, around 3am, but seemed to re-settle quite well. (of course, I couldn`t get back to sleep!) This morning she drew this picture...

This is what she wrote...

"Go away from my dreems because I am scerd of you, thats why! I hate you! Good biy forever!!!!."

Bless her cotton/nylon socks. Poppet always has something new to teach me.


Friday, August 12, 2011

What's The Buzz, Tell Me What's A-Happening?

When do we arrive in Canada? Tell me what's a-happening?

Um, dunno really.

Things were starting to get juicy for a while there. The lawyer said we should expect to hear something from Canadian immigration this week, we moved most of Poppet's bedroom to her grandparents' house, more furniture went into storage, more boxes of "unnecessary" items were packed, digital scales borrowed from a friend, farewell events organised....

And then the darn wheels went and fell off!

The latest email from the lawyer (bless his cotton socks) is the Services Canada has indicated AT LEAST another two weeks of waiting for us. 
(Insert curse-word of choice here...)

What to say, what to say. 

via Pinterest

On the surface it just all seems too hard now. But we're too far gone to turn back. We have to keep on keeping on. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time etc.

For now that translates as a quiet weekend with NO packing or shifting or upheaval, we all need a break from that. Many cures for stress will be sought out and sampled. Right now I shall go for a very FAST walk and listen to some very LOUD music. I'll start with this one...

No doubt there'll be some sauv blanc later on. 

The best cure for stress is, of course, to talk about it all. Lovely coffee with friends, a chat in the playground, a phone call to mother. And now I have this new toy, the blog. Thanks to you all for listening to my sooking lately. Usually my complaints are directed at the weather, but my repertoire appears to be expanding. 
Stick with me, I'm sure there's a return to sunshine and craft and silly nonsense on it's way. 

Probably just when Poppet walks back through that door.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Love Your Funny Face...

What a busy week for Poppet. Lots of packing and shifting and catching up with family and friends.

All the changes and upheaval are starting to take a toll. She doesn't want to go to school in the mornings, just wants to stay by my side. My initial reaction has been to get cross and tell her she just has to go.

But yesterday, I took a moment to tell her I understood how she was feeling. I explained that I knew how scary and strange life is becoming but that the three of us are together and that's what matters most. I said that when you are worried the best thing is to keep busy. School is the best place for that.

She calmed down immediately and agreed to go. I little bit of empathy went a very long way!
When I picked her up, she was beaming. "Mummy, I had a great day today!"

I think we both learnt something this week. My little girl is growing up. Sniff.

"You fill the air with smiles For miles and miles and miles" George and Ira Gershwin.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Suspense Is...

Not quite killing me. But it's certainly a challenging time in the poppet household.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the expat process, I thought I'd explain our experience so far.

My husband's company offered him a transfer in May (though it took almost a month for an acceptable contract from them). At that point one's brain shifts into 'moving country' mode. I stopped the business, as you all know, and started planning and making lists. A few weeks later the immigration lawyer in Toronto got in touch with us and asked for various documents to aid their submission for the visa. Hubby had all of that ready to go (we've done this before) and sent it through immediately. Three weeks later the lawyer finally put the application into immigration.

By this point we have started to think about life in Toronto. We are scouring the internet for rental properties and looking at the cost of purchasing a car. We are sifting through our stuff, giving some to charity and friends and packing up a lot of the rest. My workshop begins to resemble the storage facility it is now and we are generally getting our 'skates' on.

However, the lawyer will only say that the application will take 4-8 weeks to process, and that he will follow it up at the 4 week mark. There is no way of tracking it, no way of knowing how long this will all take.

So we stop packing and sorting and try to just live again until we get closer to that 4 week date (next week). But all this waiting, inability to plan and complete lack of control is taking it's toll. As you know, I have been picking at the skin around my fingers and munching compulsively on carbs (certainly putting a stop to that!) and husband has bitten his nails to the quick. We are feeling very stressed and frustrated, days are just being ticked off the calendar as we count down to...what? Just because 4 weeks was mentioned doesn't mean anything will happen on that auspicious date. It could easily take another 4 weeks to hear back from immigration.

Or it could be a couple of days. I feel a bit like this...

Image from Pinterest.

Husband's employer asked him this week how quickly we will be able to travel after we get the nod from Canada, implying that less than a week would be their preference.

And now we will put our skates back on. After this weekend our house will consist of the absolute minimum of belongings and furniture. We will pack everything we can into the workshop so that we are able to fly on short notice.

We have found an amazing house in Toronto, but what do we do? We can't give an exact date to the landlord, so are now asking her to wait as well. The new school year starts at the beginning of September and Poppet can't be enrolled until we have a lease and we can't take a lease until we have a date and we can't get a date until...

We have been ready for months. But we are not in control of this one, 'they' are. We love you Canada, we really do, but your immigration process is crazy. We only want a temporary working visa, we're not emigrating. And guess what? Once we have the 'nod' from immigration we may be able to fly there. But upon arrival we have to go to immigration and line up for hours to get the paperwork stamped. Before we collect our luggage but after we've complete 30 plus hours of transit. Being part of the Commonwealth doesn't seem to simplify this process at all.

And then we will wait. Again. Who knows how long this will take. One day at a time is our mantra, but it's an enormous challenge to live like that.

Image from Pinterest.

Expatting is not for the faint hearted. Not remotely. This is a big bundle of stress and we haven't even left Australia yet. But there are so many wonderful experiences ahead of us. This we know. And this I will share with you all.

I just don't know when.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Mud Glorious Mud.

As you may be aware we escaped the stress of visa-waiting and spent the weekend at a farmstay. It rained a lot, but we were also blessed with enough sunshine to get out there and enjoy the animals.

We rounded up sheep, fed the emus and Poppet had a ride on the tractor. Lots of fun.

But I think the true highlight for my girl was the mud. Like most kids her age, she has a great passion for puddles. Living in Perth, puddles can be a rare thing so when Poppet sees a puddle she heads straight for the middle of it. Rightly so.

While Poppet likes her gumboots muddy, I prefer to keep mine clean. I think the emus thought they looked like birdseed, they kept pecking at them!

After we'd scraped away the mud we sat by the fire and gave Poppet her first taste of toasted marshmallows. Looks like they were a winner.

Good times.



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