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Currently living the dream of moving to Toronto for 12 months for a Firefighter Exchange!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Off to the Cottage

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick note to say we are off to a Cottage on Loon Lake, Near Haliburton.  We will be out of contact until Wednesday at this stage.  We didn't really get up to much this week, mainly because Erin was too embarrassed to be seen around me.  We finished Bob's back patio on Tuesday, one of his neighbours said I look like a Raccoon.  When I meet people now the first thing I say is "How ya going, I broke my nose".  Yesterday Bob and his neighbour Candice took us for a bike ride down on lake shore about 45 mins to the West of his house.  There was an old Estate there that has been preserved by the City, it has a pet cemetry there with proper carved out headstones for all the pets that the family had over the years in the early 1900s.

Anyway we are supposed to be packing for the trip so I better help. Ha Ha Ha :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Canadian Wolverines

We visited Kingston, which is approximately 2.5hrs east of Toronto.  It was the venue of the International Rugby League match between the Canadian Wolverines and the USA Tomohawks.   Troy was recently selected as part of the run-on side for the Wolverines as a winger.   Here is a little amateur footage of the Wolverines trial match (to select the representative team):

Canadian Rugby League Trial game

The game was on Sunday lunchtime and the weather gods were very kind to us with a lovely sunny day - this brought a fairly decent crowd to watch the event.  Rugby League does not have a good following here in Canada.  Most people have never heard of it, let alone watched a game.  Some Canadian's are familiar with Rugby Union though.  USA have more experience than Canada as they have a fairly good competition with approximately 12 teams in the comp.  Canada is not so lucky, the game against USA on Sunday was the second game they had ever really played as a team (and Troy's first real game).

Troy played really well.  I was very glad he was not in the front line cause some of those USA boys were BIG BIG boys!   The Canadian crowd were groaning and gasping when the players were hitting - I don't think they are used to seeing such big body hits without the protective gear of the gridiron boys!   I was fairly amused to hear people talking in the stands about the game (they clearly have little idea of Rugby League, but nice of them to show up to support it!).  One guy was telling another guy that most games end up with a score line around 60! 

After a pretty average first half, USA had the lead with 22-4.  

I thought this was Troy making a break! but turns out it was another player on his team oops!!

After a much improved second half, the Canadian Wolverines had clawed their way back to 22-16!  With two minutes until full time, Troy got the ball and made an excellent run to gain some much needed metres.  Unfortunately, the forearm (swinging forearm, Troy tells me) from a USA tackler (third man in, the cheating pricks.., Troy tells me) smashed Troy across the bridge of his nose resulting in copious amounts of gushing blood and a broken nose!  He had to leave the field immediately in the final dying moments of the game.   Unfortunately, the Canadian Wolverines lost by six points. 

Here is a picture of Troy after he had reset his nose (himself).  He said it sounded like a really heavy crack:

The bleeding finally stopped after 2.5 hours!  This is how it looked then.

But then Troy sneezed and the blood started GUSHING again!  We had to stop the car and pull over to control the bleeding!  ewwwwww.

We got back to Toronto late Sunday night.   This is the sight I got when we woke up on Monday morning:
Needless to say, Troy is a little sore and sorry today!  Yvonne, please don't freak out - it's worse than it looks.  Ha ha ha.  Oh and he has hurt his wrist, but that doesn't look anywhere near as freaky as his face, so that's not important!

So it looks like Troy's modelling days are over.  He's not sure he has put his nose back in correctly, so we will see how it looks when the swelling goes down a little.

On a positive note, Ice Hockey starts tomorrow!  Let the fun begin!

The weather is really starting to get cool here.  It was 10 degrees until about 10am this morning.  The sun is still nice and warm though, so it's not too bad outside....it's just the chilly wind that rips through you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jack at school and Ottawa

Well Jack started school last Tuesday.  He is in Senior Kindegarden at Princess Margaret Junior School in the afternoon class which goes from 12.50 to 3.20pm.   Our neighbour told us to prepare ourselves for a multicultural school and described the first day a bit like a U.N. meeting.  He was right!  There are three kids in his class who don't even speak one word of english.  So far, Jack seems to enjoy it and has made a friend who "doesn't have white hair like me, he has black hair.  And he doesn't have skin like me, he has brown skin".  I have since discovered that his name is Selim and I think he is Somalian.  Jack said he is his best friend so that's great.   It will be a wonderful experience for Jack to socialise and learn in a multicultural environment.  Each day we ride our bikes to school for drop off and pick up.  It is a shame it is only a half day of school as are hoping Jack can enter the last term of grade one upon our return to Australia.  We have some concerns that 2.5hrs of schooling will not be enough to keep Jack at the level he needs to be, however his teacher is wonderful and understands our situation we will speak with her after a week or so to see how Jack is getting on.

On the weekend, we went to Ottawa (Canada's capital).  A firefighter friend named Pat recently returned from an Australian Exchange and invited Troy to participate in the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial March.  We travelled out to Ottawa on Friday afternoon for the weekend.   It is an absolutely gorgeous city with many old and historic buildings.   The architecture was breathtaking!

On Friday night, we ventured out to the markets and had dinner at an Irish Pub (one of about five Irish Pubs).   Earlier in the day our cabbie told us about a 'Light Show' at Parliament Hill that night.  So after dinner, we wandered back toward Parliament Hill to see this light show.  Well, one word.... WOW.  The light show was actually presented ON Parliament house.  It provided a lot of historic information and entertainment all about Canada.   The effects and music were so clever and we were captivated for the 30 minute show!
On Saturday, we ventured out to play tourists for the day.  After some more shopping, we visited the Canadian Gallery of Civilisation which is actually on the other side of the river in Quebec (one side of the river is Ontario).  That was pretty interesting and it had a great kids area with interactive displays for Jack to expel some energy!

We did a LOT of walking that day. 

This was one area which had Jack captivated!  The locks are used to allow boats to pass from one lake to another.  We got to see a small boat pass through a couple of these gates.  It is NOT a quick process but Jack was insistent..... things you do for kids :)
After an early dinner at a Scottish Pub (we had to even things up between the Irish and Scottish), we called it a night.  Troy went to meet Pat and the other Firefighters at the 'meet and greet' and  tried to fly the Aussie flag (so to speak) at the pub.  He has found a beer that he really likes here called "Moosehead".  I think it is because when you drink a few too many you feel like you have been hit with a Moosehead! 

On Sunday morning, the Memorial March took place at Parliament Hill.  Firefighters from all over Canada come to Ottawa each year to pay their respects to the firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty or as a result of a work-related illness (mainly cancer).
It was a very moving ceremony and something we will always remember.  We both commented on how it would be good if Australia had something like that.  Families and members of the public were able to participate and pay their respects for the work and dedication of the firefighters.
We drove home to Toronto late Sunday and took the scenic route through the country side.  We have come to dislike the highways, expressways and freeways.  Actually, we have grown a dislike to congested traffic areas in general!  We try to avoid it as much as possible and usually we have the luxury of having time on our side, so we go the slightly longer but more scenic and enjoyable route.  The countryside was lovely and we were able to see that some trees are starting to turn some beautiful shades of orange and red, so fall is just around the corner!  Jack slept most of the way, woke up and skulled a chocolate milk and then puked it all up!  ha ha what a memorable journey!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sorry it has been a while since we have shared our adventures with you.

As I mentioned in our last blog, we were invited for a swim and dinner at Bob's house (a Firey from Troy's hall).  His renovation and restoration of his home has so far taken him 9 years but who's counting?  It's worth it cause his home is just gorgeous.  He still has some further work to do, but he is now feeling much more optimistic about it as he has a new Aussie mate with heaps of time on his hands to help him!

Bob also has five cats and Jack and I had a heap of fun meeting them.  We took a bag of cat treats with us as an ice breaker.  We needn't have bothered, they are so friendly!  One cat named Peaches reminded me of our old cat Chad as he likes to spend his time doing a neighbourhood patrol.  He seems to be the Sheriff in town and all the humans should feel very thankful that he allows them to reside in his neighbourhood.

We went to the "Ex" which is similar to the Brisbane Ekka.  It was a great day.  We caught the "GO" train to the Ex and it has three level which impressed Jack.  He spent the majority of the day going on all the different rides (again, insisting on doing it all by himself).  There was a roller coaster that he asked to go on but he didn't meet the height requirement to go unattended.  So I bailed immediately (just looking at it made my head spin) so Troy was the lucky candidate!   We also saw a huge sandcastle building competition which was mind-blowing!!

The food was also great at the Ex and I was delighted to find.....a BEAVER TAIL stand!  Mmmm mmmmm.  Seriously, I think I am an addict.  Anyhow, after I ate a WHOLE beaver tail myself, I was feeling a tad lazy and mellow.  This didn't last long as the evil fat gods were lurking and plotting against me.  Troy had estimated that we had to catch the return train on time to ensure we would be back home in time for footy training.  So we wandered (ok I waddled) to the train station to see....our train arriving at our station and we were about three platforms away.  So Troy starts running like an olympic sprinter with Jack flung over his shoulder and I had no choice but to take a stand against the fat gods and sprint after him - up and down stairs mind you!!!  So then I discovered that a whole beaver tail is not so great just prior to a run.  :(  Fat gods win.

On Saturday, Troy played a trial game for selection into the Canadian Rugby League side.  He is still unsure what position he was supposed to be playing, but he had a good game and ended up a little sore and sorry for himself.  No injuries though (don't panic Yvonne)!  Thank god for the mouthguard though!  He found out yesterday that he has been selected into the Canadian Wolverines squad which will play against the USA on 17 September!  Trust Troy to get into a national team when he isn't really part of that nation!   It's a great achievement though considering he doesn't play rugby league and he was competing with others who have played both League and Union.  *sigh* I thought I was going to get a year off from patching up gravel rash and cuts.....He was concerned that his shirt was too tight, but I told him it was fine :)
The weather here has been really cold the past few days.  At times, it has been about 10-15 degrees during the daytime (eek) so I am starting to get a little concerned about what we have coming up.  Today was especially miserable but nothing stops Jack from having fun....