The lost 8 years

Old Jun 2nd 2020, 12:34 pm
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Default The lost 8 years

I am posting this by way of an introduction. This is my first ever joining or posting of anything on a forum or social media of any kind, other than email, so I am a little nervous and it’s a bit of a long one ! (probably should have edited) Anyway, here goes…

I flew into Montreal on the evening of June 3rd 2012 with my husband. He had arrived here 6 months earlier to start his job on a TWP, but had to come back to the UK to get me. I was struggling…on my tod; long standing chronic fatigue and depression; packing all our belongings yet again, but this time for the biggest move of my life, to a place which wasn’t really of my choosing. The hubs had been out of work a while and I had no income, so when he got offered the position in Montreal, and they gave him just 2 weeks to get his arse over there, well, we just had to go for it. We came here with zero money behind us, having dropped off the property ladder before prices went mad (regrettable) and then we depleted the profit we had made from our last house sale whilst renting and bouts of unemployment. However, this did mean that, logistically, moving was simple.

I had been keen to emigrate to New Zealand or Australia, both of which I had enjoyed time in and had friends in, however, I had never been to Canada or had any great pull towards this country, let alone Quebec. Before arriving, I did zero research on the place, didn’t even look at pictures of Montreal, partly because I like to ‘discover’ places myself, but mainly because it was a done deal and I didn’t want anything putting me off.

We spent that incredibly hot first summer living in the top apartment of a typical and charming triplex on the Plateau, close to Mont Royal Ave. A great intro to Montreal, but the noise, heat, the strangeness and communication difficulties made everything a hard slog, particularly finding our next accommodation. (Also, we didn’t have a car for the first 14 months). So we ended up moving not far to a small, but new 1 bed/studio flat next to the Place des Spectacles (i.e. downtown festival central). This was a ridiculous move for someone like me who is super sensitive to noise and stress, BUT it was fun and Montreal is a very cool and attractive city with lots of free entertainment.

Downside is that I fell into a dark place, feeling a loss of identity, alienation and a sense of little control over my life. I went for years without conversation or speaking much at all with anyone other than my husband (and that relationship had hit an all time low). I gave up on improving my French knowing it would take too long to reach a point where I could have a satisfying, easy conversation and my declining mental health gave me zero motivation. I simply cannot understand what people say when they speak French and I got tired of being misunderstood whether I spoke English or French. Montreal was the worst for this. Where I live now, I have found the locals to be very gracious about speaking bits of English for me, so I am very grateful for that. I found myself speaking a slow awkward English to make it easier for others and started to lose my own language in the process.

Autumn 2013, we bought a small, problematic house with 2 acre garden and 7 acre woodlands in the Eastern Townships. This helped me feel more grounded and the lovely scenery in these parts really saved me. It is not dissimilar to Devon with its rolling hills, big rivers, pastoral and mixed woodland landscape, ferns and big rocks strewn around the fields. We have an amazing property, semi-rural with mountain (hill?) view and no neighbours overlooking, but it is still not peaceful or quiet enough for me and without the funds necessary to maintain and repair a place like this, it has turned out to be a massive drain on my time, energy and wellbeing.

Last year we became Canadian citizens. This made a huge difference to how I feel about my place here. (We got to vote for the first time here in the general election !) And, I made some Anglophone connections whilst scratching around for guarantor/referees for my passport application. Very excited about this, but the whole emigration and settling process has been ridiculously hard, every step like walking through thick mud. Still not there yet and there is definitely a sense of loss from it taking up too many of my years - I had other plans.

So this is the year for me to change my situation….to sell the house, head on over to Nova Scotia (easiest move from here and by the ocean) in our new campervan, exploring the Maine coastline on the way (first non-local travel in over a decade)….finally start our Canadian adventure ?….and then THIS ! (you know), jeopardising my newly acquired sense of hope. (Though we are fortunate not to have been otherwise affected by it over the past three months)

On a lighter note, I wanted to add the following re. my experience of living here:

Things that amuse or delight me:
  • Needing binoculars to see if we’ve got post
  • Hummingbirds ! Who’d a thought I could have the company of such exotic creatures in my garden…. in Canada ?!
  • The chorus of the Spring Peepers.
  • Fire flies - love sitting on our deck watching the light show of these shiny bottomed bugs at this time of year.
  • The big weather is ‘exciting’
  • The dry sense of humour of the Quebeccers round here, which comes through even in broken English.
  • Maple syrup - the proper stuff. I collected some from one of our trees and boiled it down one year and it was the most amazingly delicious substance I have ever tasted.
  • And of course the Fall Colours. I can’t fully convey how awesome this is. The intense and diverse, almost neon, colours which transform the landscape is like nothing I have seen before. It’s pure pleasure. We do a lot of driving around in the Autumn.
Things that irk or trouble me:
  • It’s hard to maintain a garden here when the critter life enjoys your flowering plants as much as you do. And our local climate limits planting options (zone 4b yawn)
  • Not knowing how much something is really going to cost you until you get to the till.
  • Drivers who sit on my arse, but won’t pass even when at the speed limit (or over) and with plenty of opportunity. (I’m getting that bumper sticker).
  • You thought you lived in the countryside but really you ended up in surburbia on steroids. (I think someone on here has made this comment before. So true.)
  • House gets covered in clouds of road dust, followed by, house gets covered in clouds of pollen dust.
  • Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too windy, and the scariest thunder storms ever.

I have been reading this forum since 2011 and appreciate the information, funnies and community it offers. I’m looking forward to joining in and hopefully make some connections in the Atlantic areas.

Now, I am going to celebrate finally getting social and finally posting my own Canniversary. (wine glugging emoji)
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 11:34 am
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Congratulations on navigating that bumpy road! Looks like you’ve finally found your feet and it’s your time to thrive in Canada!
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by Fer Canard View Post
I am posting this by way of an introduction. This is my first ever joining or posting of anything on a forum or social media of any kind, other than email, so I am a little nervous and it’s a bit of a long one ! (probably should have edited) Anyway, here goes…



I have been reading this forum since 2011 and appreciate the information, funnies and community it offers. I’m looking forward to joining in and hopefully make some connections in the Atlantic areas.

Now, I am going to celebrate finally getting social and finally posting my own Canniversary. (wine glugging emoji)
I'm so glad you didn't edit your post - what a fantastic introduction to yourself and your experiences!

You've certainly had 'challenges' (annoying euphemism for problems) but my goodness, what a great job you've done in overcoming them. Thanks for such a well written and inspiring post, I'm so glad you've become a poster as well as a reader
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Are you an iron duck or is that name a statement of how difficult it's been?

Fabulous read
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by crofty82 View Post
Congratulations on navigating that bumpy road! Looks like you’ve finally found your feet and it’s your time to thrive in Canada!
Thank you Crofty. Yes, it would be nice to replace the strive with thrive.

Like you, we could really have done without everything becoming so much more complicated and uncertain ahead of a big move. I hope you don’t have to wait too long to get here.

Last edited by Fer Canard; Jun 3rd 2020 at 9:58 pm.
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
I'm so glad you didn't edit your post - what a fantastic introduction to yourself and your experiences!

You've certainly had 'challenges' (annoying euphemism for problems) but my goodness, what a great job you've done in overcoming them. Thanks for such a well written and inspiring post, I'm so glad you've become a poster as well as a reader
Thank you SofS. Very kind of you. It was good to get all that out ! Probably wouldn’t want to read it on a phone, mind.
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Are you an iron duck or is that name a statement of how difficult it's been?

Fabulous read
Thanks Bristol. That made me laugh….
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Old Jun 3rd 2020, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by Fer Canard View Post
Thank you SofS. Very kind of you. It was good to get all that out ! Probably wouldn’t want to read it on a phone, mind.
Hey, my husband bought me a new laptop for my birthday, I can read for hours and hours now
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Old Jun 4th 2020, 1:00 am
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Congratulations, and good luck with the next 8 years! Great read and I can agree with a lot of your pros and cons, but the thunderstorms while spectacular cant really carry a candle to the impending Tornados I've experienced in the couple of years since I moved down to South Carolina! The pollen down here is something else too, but you win for Snow!
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Old Jun 5th 2020, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by iaink View Post
Congratulations, and good luck with the next 8 years! Great read and I can agree with a lot of your pros and cons, but the thunderstorms while spectacular cant really carry a candle to the impending Tornados I've experienced in the couple of years since I moved down to South Carolina! The pollen down here is something else too, but you win for Snow!
Thank you iank.

Tornados…crikey. Can’t be doing with the stress of that. Although, I do quite fancy the idea of living in the Carolinas for a bit.






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Old Jun 5th 2020, 11:39 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by Fer Canard View Post
Thank you iank.

Tornados…crikey. Can’t be doing with the stress of that. Although, I do quite fancy the idea of living in the Carolinas for a bit.
Fantastic opening post. I'm so glad that you fought through it, and are now looking ahead.

However, having a daughter who has lived in NS (near Halifax) for almost 21 years, and with us having visited that province quite regularly since 1970 before that .......... did no-one tell you that NS and NB and occasionally eastern PQ are at the northern end of Hurricane Alley???????

Hurricanes coming up the east coast of the US from the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Islands can basically take 1 of 3 paths ......... somewhat inland, straight up the coast and curving slightly to offshore, or straight out to the Atlantic.

Either of the first 2 can mean mms of rain and high winds, ranging in strength from Tropical Storm to Hurricane 1 and very rarely Hurricane 2.

It can be interesting!
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Old Jun 6th 2020, 11:41 am
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Thank you Scilly.

So, yes, I am well aware. For me, in my current situation, other factors carry more weight in this decision. It’s tricky. And, I would really like to be near the ocean again, so that is something I choose.




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Old Jun 6th 2020, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Originally Posted by Fer Canard View Post
Thank you Scilly.

So, yes, I am well aware. For me, in my current situation, other factors carry more weight in this decision. It’s tricky. And, I would really like to be near the ocean again, so that is something I choose.
I hoped that you were aware.

It was just that your response to iank read as though you were NOT aware of the weather patterns, or that some tornadoes can be spun off from hurricanes, although they are 2 very different phenomena.
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Old Jun 7th 2020, 2:30 am
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

What a lovely post...most enjoyable and joyful...and I know from experience that moving isn’t always a fun experience.

I too can add a Plus 1 for all of your pros and cons - every year I have ‘enough’ of the bloody winter, and then the magical little hummingbirds come back and make it all worthwhile!

Continue to find the positives
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Old Jun 7th 2020, 2:58 am
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Default Re: The lost 8 years

Millie ............... one of the signs here for us that there was a climate change or something happening was about 15 years ago when we began to see Anna's Hummingbirds around during the winter, instead of disappearing in fall until the following spring. People started to leave their hummingbird feeders out, which helped to keep them alive. Now it is most unusual not to see at least one around the house all year.

It's the swallows returning for me
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