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December 2017
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One year on

I meant to write this a few weeks ago, but given we’ve just celebrate the fact that we have been in Canada for over a year now, I thought now was a good opportunity. Last night we had a party for the friends we have made over the past year who have made us so welcome, it is something that we still can’t quite get over and it has really helped us settle in. I think it should be officially recorded that Canadians are really nice people. No wonder Canada is still up there in the top four of the best countries to live in according to the United Nations.

The year has been full of new experiences and challenges. The girls have loved school, struggled with learning french at times, but loved their friends and the atmosphere in the school. Lots of new purchases including a canoe, skis, and snowshoes, soon to be supplemented by curling shoes for Jo (I hope she wins tonight – first steps to the Olympics). We got good memories, swimming in lakes, Millie catching her first fish, Sophie learning to ride her bike, our first river trip in our canoe, snow shoeing in the forests, smothering everything in Maple syrup at a sugar shack, and so much more.

So one year down, and hopefully at least two more to go. It’s made us think a bit about what we would like to do, should we stay or should we go (back to the UK)? Jo always said let’s get  through the first winter and then decide, well our second winter is on it’s way. I’ll digress a little here, because right now the trees are magnificent, the autumnal shades of yellow, red, gold, brown, and orange are everywhere, couple that with bright blue skies and you can’t beat it. Right now running through the arboretum is the best way to keep sane, when the pressures of work threaten to get you down. So, winter’s coming, the birds are flying south, and you might not believe it but we (and I include Jo in that) are actually looking forward to the snow and ice and cold again – does that sound mad? We’ve had the first few snowflakes, and the girls are skating each week as they learn their ringuette, and yes winter is to be embraced.   Soon the toboggans and skis will be out and the snow shoes will follow – I can’t wait. We’ve cleaned out the garage, stowed the canoe and the bikes, next it will collecting the leaves and then halloween then snow!

So should we stay or go? We’re both agreed that Canada is a great place and it is Canada and our new friends that are keeping us here. Right now, after a run in the Arboretum, I stop at the car, and stretch looking up at  tree shining like gold in the sun against the clear blue sky and that in itself is a reason to love Canada. We could both give up the job tomorrow given the chance. As far as our work goes, we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, kopping the flack for just about everything, regardless of whether we are to blame or not. I really feel for some of the team here in Montreal, who are doing an incredible job in the circumstances. So give us a different project, and it would be hard to resist the attraction of Canada for a good number of years. Obviously nothing is certain right now, given the experience on this project it’s difficult to see Arup seeking much more work in Quebec, but the Toronto office is growing, there’s talk of an office in Vancouver, or there could even be life outside of Arup. Maybe we’ll explore the implications of staying when we get the time. If we stay in Montreal, we still have a lot of work to do as far as learning french goes. There’s no doubt we are getting better, but it is slow, and we’re struggling to find time to practise speaking in French. I was told this week in one of my classes that my passive knowledge was good, I can read it but I’m still hunting for words when I speak. I need to improve my active knowledge which can only come with speaking and more practise and more vocab used every day.

2 comments to One year on

  • Angela Hill

    Where did those 12 months go Doug! Still sounds fabulous and my money is on you staying….sorry the project is such a headache though. Give my best to Jo – still loving the blogs!

  • Kim Blackmore

    Whatever your choice we wish you well but let it be know us Blackmore/Daveys REALLY MISS YOU ALL!!!!!!!

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