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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Santa Claus Parade & my tough husband

We woke on Sunday morning to see snow lightly falling outside.  Now you may be all thinking, "oh how lovely on a lazy Sunday morning!"  Well, if we could stay inside with warm coffees, leisurely reading the newspaper and watching DVD's all day we would also agree.  However, the annual Santa Claus Parade was taking place downtown at midday.  So after taking an hour to actually get adequately dressed to go outside, we cross the road to take the bus to the subway station and then off we go downtown. 

Now before I go on, I need to paint the picture for all those Aussies who don't really know what it's like to live in a cold climate.  Firstly, the key to keeping warm is layers of clothing.   After a week of 'layering' each day, I was fed up with the amount of washing I had to do.  My brain was automatically programmed from living in a hot climate that you do not re-use your clothing.  I then realised that you can get more than one wear out of some of the layers.  If you are wearing five layers, you can reuse layers 2,3,4. Needless to say, my washing volume has decreased significantly. 

Also, it takes AGES to get out the door.  Literally!  In Townsville, you just chuck on a pair of thongs and off you go.  In a cold climate, you have to layer, layer, layer, coat, beanie (they call them toques here), mittens/gloves, scarf, socks, socks again, boots...you get the picture.  So we have to factor that in whenever we go anywhere.  
Another thing is something I will be saying in my sleep before too long, "where are your mittens?.....put your beanie back on.....no you cannot take your boots off"  sheesh. 

It is hard to imagine that it gets colder here.  It is so so so so so cold when you stand still in one spot for a period of time.  The key is to keep on moving.

Anyhow, off we go to the Santa Claus Parade.  It is HUGE and takes hours and hours for all the floats to go by.  It was certainly a sight to see - the amount of detail in the floats were amazing.  The marching bands were great as well.  Unfortunately, we could not outlast the cold and had to call it a day before the big man showed up.  Jack was not upset about missing out on seeing Santa, so that goes to show how cold he was.  We came home and Troy had the chills.  I had asked him when we were leaving for the parade if he wanted to wear the ski jacket and he scoffed...instead he wore a windcheater type jacket.  When do men learn that their wives know best???  After five minutes in the house, this is where I found him:

He was laying on top of one of the heating vents in the house and barricaded himself in and under a blanket as well!   So he is definitely not as tough as he may seem.  Yes he plays football and hockey etc but here is the proof that deep down he is soft!  

Troy has been battling a sore wrist now for weeks.  He hurt it a while ago playing footy and it has just never really improved.  I asked him if he wants to get it x-rayed and he said that it would probably be a good idea as it is likely broken or had been broken.  I told him that if he gets it x-rayed, it means that he needs to realise that IF it is broken that will mean it will need to be set in plaster.  A look of horror on his face....I then explained that there is no point in getting it x-rayed if he was not prepared to have it treated IF it was broken.  His look of horror then turned into a look of concentration and pondering.  After a moment, he asked if they could put a cast on it that he would sometimes take off to play sport?  WHAT??!!!???   For such an intelligent person, he really says some stupid things sometimes!   Result:  No x-ray.   Untreated broken wrist to go with is untreated broken nose.  Canada certainly kicks butt.  When he is eighty years old and battling his osteo-arthritis in his wrist and nose, he can fondly remember his Canadian Adventure.

Everyday is a new day here and we are still seeing and living new and different things.  We are so lucky to be living a completely different lifestyle in such a beautiful place.  Things are certainly different to what we are used to, but we love that our life has been turned upside down and we get to try something new!  Living in a cold climate is actually quite nice - warm snug fires, hot drinks, DVD nights, crisp air!   Although Troy nearly had an aneurysm last week when it was about four degrees and he was cold....he realised I had one of the windows open a bit to let some fresh air in!  ha ha.  I can't help it, a girl needs a bit of fresh air when she lives with two boys.

Take care everyone and we miss you all xxxxx

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More goals!!!

Well, now that I can control the puck a little better and know a little bit more about where to position myself, a have scored a few more goals!!!!YAY!!! The other factor is that I have been playing in the forward line a lot more as I have been invited to play with the Hydrunks in a tournament in February next year as a wing man, not in defence where up until now I have been playing.  They reckon I will get snapped too much in defence.  I also had a go at a proper game, with a ref, instead of just pickup hockey where there is no ref.  I scored twice in that game, nothing pretty though, just in the right place at the right time.

I think I am going to have to start up a league when I get home, cause I don't know what I am going to do without Hockey back in Australia.

Didn't get up to much this week, Erin went shopping today with Candice and saved us sooooo much money on a leather jacket........GOD!!!! I took Jack ice skating and he can at least stand up by himself after falling and he can also skate the full length of the rink without holding on, so it shouldn't take too long before he can out skate Erin haha.......no, Erin goes alright.

Jack got his first blister today, he was not impressed that he had to stop skating 'cause of this thing.

Jack skated away from me and then tried to turn around and fell over and then I was told kindly that taking photos is not allowed due to other kids being around.  Which is the first time I have come across that since we have been here.  It just seams that is the way of the future everywhere....EY!  I think I will turn fully mental if the world continues on this path though!!!!!
Santa Clause parade tomorrow and they will not stop me taking photos there......ha! Even if they put me on the naughty list!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fog, Mexican Night and Mandarin Dinner

The weather has been strange lately.  Our friends here tell us that it is warmer than what it  normally is at this time of the year.  We enjoyed some lovely days this week, with maximums around the 12degrees.  Glorious sunshine and no wind makes me want to go outside and sing!

However, on Thursday and Friday we experienced some really strange fog.  Quite thick and pretty much lingered all day.  The air felt quite warm, but we could see our breath when we spoke.  Jack continues to giggle hilariously whenever he sees his breath in the air!  The fog got much thicker at night of course.   This photo was taken mid-morning.

On Saturday night, we hosted a Mexican Night and our friends Barbie, Brian, Lovenia and Andrew all came over with their kids.  Everyone bought a plate of Mexican cuisine and we had a wonderful feast!  The kids had a great time and protested when the night ended at about 11pm! 

On Sunday, Bob and Candace came over for afternoon to sample one of my apple pies that I made.  Candace showed me how to make her pastry but I had to do the filling all by myself.  We consumed half the pie with some tea (cup of tea, not dinner) and it was a lovely relaxed afternoon. 
Bob invited us to a restaurant for dinner called the Mandarin.  He explained that it is a buffet style place that is very popular.  It was amazing!  The range of food to choose from was endless.  They had everything from Asian to pizza to roast beef to lamb to salads!  And the dessert section was gigantic and Dad and Graeme would have been in heaven.
They also had a fish pond area in the foyer which was home to some koi fish.  The fish had amazing colouring and were just beautiful.

Temperatures are going to get colder later in the week, I think one of the days is expected to have a high of about 3degrees.  We are very lucky that the Cossarini house is very warm with an excellent heating system!  No doubt the Cossarinis are starting to experience the heat back home, although we have heard that it has been quite rainy lately. 

Time is certainly flying by.  We are already starting to make plans for the remaining time here in Toronto.  We have plans for every month between now and July and that doesn't even include everything we want to see and do while we are here.  We had intentions of doing some travel in the US but it seems that we will not even get through the parts of Canada that are on our list!  It has been such a wonderful experience so far.  We have met some amazing people, with hearts as big as their lakes!  Our friends have welcomed us with open arms and shown us such generosity and kindness.   Everyone says, "the experience is what you make it" but I think this is more appropriate, "the experience is made from the wonderful people around you". 

Bye for now xxxxx

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some more observations about Canada

1)  School zones here at 40km/h, 24hrs a day, 7days a week, 365days per year!  Doesn't matter if it is a weekend or summer hols or 11pm at night, you still have to do the 40km/h

2)  When someone invites you over for "tea", they don't mean dinner.  They mean a cup of tea.  Most people call dinner, supper.  I feel really country calling it supper.

3)  Toronto has the best rubbish collection service.  You get three bins - a mini green wheelie for all compostable stuff like vege scraps, serviettes etc.  They have a recycle bin and a normal rubbish bin.  But they also have collections for any electronic equipment, garden waste etc.  Actually you can pretty much put anything on your front footpath and it will be disposed of.  A bit like Kelso in Townsville, except it's not the neighbours taking your stuff!

4)  Soup is consumed heaps here so your blood does not freeze in your veins in winter.  It acts like anti-freeze but tastes better than the regular anti-freeze.  Anyhow, whenever you buy soup at a cafe or something, they always give you salada/premium biscuits with it.  I have learnt that Canadians use the 'saltine crackers' like we use bread - they crumble it all up over the top of the soup and then eat it.  Kinda like crunchy croutons...but different. 

5)  People do not do the speed limit anywhere here.  And if you are wearing a Toronto Fire Service T-shirt and get pulled over for speeding, you just get a caution :) Thanks officer!

6)  Drivers here LOVE to use the horn!  They are very impatient when the light turns green, they expect you to floor it even if there is a stationary car in front of you, otherwise you get beeped.  We are seriously lucky that Troy does not have a gun licence.

7)  It is socially acceptable to wear your jarmies to the store at any hour of the day.

8)  You have to pay for plastic bags EVERYWHERE.

9)  The public school system here does free sight and hearing tests as well as dental checks.

10)  Tim Hortons is the Canadian coffee sensation.  Their stores are everywhere here in Canada.  It is so so so so cheap as well and I think that is why Canadians seem to hate Starbucks.  We bought a large coffee, a softdrink, an apple juice, a bagel and a breakfast muffin and it cost $6!  Bargain.

11)  Softdrink here is really cheap - a can of coke is $1, plus tax of course....oh and you don't even have to put it in the fridge, you can leave it outside and save the electricity.

12)  There is no cottee's cordial here.  Actually there is no cordial concentrate here at all, only juice concentrates which are frozen ... weirdos!

13)  Canadian kids drink HEAPS of juice!  There are so many juice varieties it's mind blowing.

14)  Vitamin D is added into a lot of drinks here, mainly cause you will freeze to death if you go outside during the months of Dec - Mar.

15)  The schooling curriculum seems to be ahead/advanced.

16)  If we order any takeaway thru drive through, we have a Forrest Gump moment every time.  People don't seem to understand Troy and so we always end up with a surprise order every time.  Like Forrest Gump says, you never know what you're gonna get.

17)  Apparently, it is not cold here.  If we say, geez it's cold....we will get one of the two following reactions:  a) hysterical laughter or b) "just wait".

18)  I tried a new Canadian sensation called a "flutter-nutter".  It is a sandwich with peanut butter and this marshmallow fluff stuff on it.  Sounds gross and the fluff stuff tastes gross on it's own, but all together....mmmmm divine.

19)  Canadians kick arse on Aussies with desserts.  Period.  No arguing.  Seriously.

20)  Aussies kick arse on Canadians with wine making.  Period.  No arguing.  Mega-seriously.

We found a UK food stand at the Royal Winter Fair on the weekend and bought some 'real meat pies and sausage rolls'.  You can't buy a pie or sausage roll over here so I was happy to see the UK stand.  However, we were very disappointed and so now I am going to make the real Aussie meat pies and sausage rolls!  I will even do a batch for Troy to take into work on Monday. 
I will let you know how they turn out!

Autumn Leaves and Frosty Grass

First of all, it took six weeks but I finally scored a goal in Hockey!!!!! YAY!!!! A few weeks ago someone told me I had a nice single axle pirouette into the flying sit spin... I thought that was nice of him to give me a compliment to boost my spirits.

Most of October we have been overtaken by leaves. The ground is covered and still you look up at the trees and they don't even look like they have dropped any leaves....Far out!! We are just waiting for one more tree to drop its leaves so we can do a final clean up. I hope this happens soon because it's not getting any warmer here.
If we have to go anywhere in the mornings now, we have to scrape ice off the windshields and windows first!!!! and the grass gets a white coat of frost on it.  The last 2 days though have warmed up to 10 degrees and I have been comfortable wearing 2 Tshirts and jeans. But if your in the shade and there is wind it is a different story.

We had to move our clocks back an hour the other night.  They have day light savings time here from March until November.  So now when it is 6am here, it is 9pm in Townsville.
We had dinner at Pat and Melissa's Sunday for a catch up and before that we had a look around at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.  It is mainly agricultural with people showing their cattle and horses etc.  Jack managed to find a pile of shit and then stand right in it.....and then thought he probably should inspect his shoe by touching it and then later when he got sick of walking wanted me to carry him....I'm like, "keep your feet away from me", "get your dirty shoes off of me".

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snow, St Jacobs, and Halloween

Wow, so Halloween is a big thing here in Canada! On the Friday before Halloween all the kids at Jacks school got dressed up and had a parade to show off all their costumes. The temperature was down to about 5 degrees but there was also a Northerly wind which made it uncomfortable, So the lion costume wasn't going to be warm enough for Jack so we dressed him up as Batman over the top of his ski jacket.

The parade was chaos at its best, classes of kids walking in any direction they see fit in one big conga line, Erin reckons that Jack's teacher did a head count about 7 times throughout the parade.  The teachers get right into the spirit and dress up too.

 This is Emma from over ^^ the road

Jack wouldn't look at us, he just wanted to make sure he didn't get lost.

Later on Friday we were taken by Candice to a party store where you could get any imaginable item you could think of regarding Halloween. The first thing we saw was a man walking around with a aluminium beer can impaled in his forehead with fake blood and scars on his head.  Jack just stopped and stared and then asked if that man was real or was he a robot??  The look of horror was priceless, I wish we got a photo but we didn't, we did however get a photo of some random who was getting a full body makeup of an Avatar like the movie.
 After the store we went around the streets looking at peoples Halloween decorations, some people get right into it like this one below.

On Saturday, Bob took us out to St Jacobs for a looksies.  This town is known for its local market and the Mennonite community(similar to Armish people) Horse and carts, and no electricity are still used by some of the Mennonites, others are not so fanatical and will drive 2010 Dodge Ram pickup trucks but they will still dress the same as the others???? Why they are like that I don't fully understand but it is a religious thing and it is almost like a protest against the modernisation of the world.

Modern wheels for comfort is allowed.......apparently!!

Jack was happy to see a cat who would actually come up to him, and he spent a good half hour watching this train go around and through a shop.

Sunday was Halloween and around 10am in the morning it snowed!!!

I tried telling the boys at work and they wouldn't believe me until someone else came back and told them it started snowing on them aswell.......GOD!!! I wouldn't lie about these things!!
Jack and I carved our first Halloween pumpkin while Erin was at the cat shelter.
Then we got ready to go trick or treating.  It was f-f-freeking f-f-freezing that night.  Jack thought all his Christmas's had come at once.  We went a block over to meet up with Jim and Helen's grandkids and their neighbours kids and we went from there around the block and then back home.  Jack had his bag filled up pretty quick.  There was one house who had a man with a mask on and Jack wouldn't go up to him for lollies....too scary!!
Erin dressed up as herself....haha.  I didn't dress up but I was the frozen aussie guy by the end of the night.....Fark me!!

 Jack was in too much of a hurry to wait around for photos!!
 Try getting a bunch of kids to stop for a photo on Halloween.....It's not easy
The fruits of Jack's labour!