On the 24th of May

19 Jun

we became Permanent Residents of Canada. The days beforehand had been full of organising paperwork, time off school and time off work for Michael, so the subsequent sense of occasion and excitement took me by surprise.  We arrived at the office downtown to meet with an Immigration officer, clutching all the necessary documentation, and took our seats in the waiting room with another man from the Philippines.  We were then shown into a boardroom, with fabulous revolving chairs, and the Immigration woman spoke to us about our rights and responsibilities as new Canadian Permanent Residents.  The kids immediately started trying to outperform each other as whirligigs on the seats, detracting somewhat from the seriousness of the subject matter.  We nodded and smiled and I surreptitiously whizzed the chair that Rebecca was in, cutting short her cries of “Faster! Faster!”.  We shot loaded glares across the table at the other children, quelling their protests with the universal parental look of  “You’re in So. Much. Trouble. when we get out of here”.  After the talk, we signed on the dotted line and exited the building feeling that a milestone had been passed.  We changed our Health Card numbers and our Social Insurance Numbers, and now we need to wait another three years to apply for citizenship.  We have been so lucky in our application process, and that fact that we came to Saskatchewan as part of their Provincial Nominee Program; it’s taken just over fourteen months from the job offer to becoming permanent residents.

The weather has been generally gorgeous, with an unusual three-day spell of rain last week, which isn’t what we’ve become accustomed to; it was funny how quickly all the Irish started moaning about it, as if we had never experienced this phenomenon before.  The kids went on their school tours, with Nicholas going to the PotashCorp Children’s Festival; a five-day event that takes place on the banks of the river beside the Delta Bessborough Hotel.

http://www.potashcorpchildrensfestival.com/

Rebecca and I went to it on the same day, and the sun split the stones.  There were various children’s shows, art tents, storytelling tents, play areas, science tents, and a tent where we could dig for fossils.  Rebecca and I were making prints in the Art Tent, when Nicholas barrelled into me, clutching me with one hand and brandishing a bag full of ancient treasures in the other.  I know that a lot of children go through the rocks/sticks/shells obsession and emerge unscathed after a while, but Nicholas is still happiest when sorting through his myriad collection of “stuff”, or “playing” with the caterpillars/spiders/ladybugs that he catches and re-homes in his bug-house.  Tragically, he didn’t realise that the roof of the house has holes in it, and sadly, his parents were also negligent in their insect care, and the caterpillars went to a watery grave during last week’s washout.  I cannot even describe the ensuing trauma and tears.  We removed the corpses and he eventually recovered, only to be reminded of his loss yesterday when his friend appeared with his bughouse; two beautiful cocoons resided within.    It’s at times like this that I remember why I will NEVER have a pet in the house.

Here’s the pair of them at the Festival:

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In other news of the month, Jay, Nikki, Kelly, James and Jo Ann all kindly offered up a Friday night to work the last six shifts of Bingo with me.  Jo Ann and Kelly sold scratch cards, I worked behind the counter selling the Bingo sheets, and Jay, Nikki and James ran around in fetching pink bibs, selling tickets to people holding up a BALLS sign.

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They got to pick a bakery item as payment, and so a couple of Sundays ago, they all came over for home-made cinnamon buns, banoffe, lemon cheesecake and blaas (the Waterford specialty roll).  Gerry provided mini-bruschettas, and Connie mournfully regarded the gluten-heavy table, and stuck to her homemade corn bread.  Sugar levels were fairly high for the evening, and everyone went home with a doggie-bag for lunch the next day.

School’s out next Wednesday, and the children went off on a school trip to one of Saskatoon’s outdoor pools this morning.  There are four outdoor pools, one with a huge waterslide, and we haven’t visited any of them yet, so I can’t wait to hear how the morning went.

http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/Community%20Services/LeisureServices/Summer%20Facilities/Pages/OutdoorPools.aspx

 Rebecca had her playschool end-of-year party yesterday, and was transformed into a gorgeous butterfly for the day. Isabel also had a party evening with the Girl Guides, and made her Guiding promise for next year.

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ImageButterfly wings

There’s a free summer camp starting in the school in July, and the children get to do games, art, crafts and activities; they also fill the mini-pool beside the school every day so the kids can paddle and swim.  It’s running seven days a week this year 🙂

http://www.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/Community%20Services/LeisureServices/Summer%20Facilities/Pages/Playgrounds.aspx

We’re expecting visitors in a couple of weeks; my sister Liz, brother-in-law Eddie and their three children are flying into Saskatoon for two weeks, and I can’t wait.  The children don’t know anything about it, and so I’ll bring them out to the airport that morning under the pretence of collecting a parcel.  It’ll be great to see their faces when they walk through the Arrivals gate.  I’m really looking forward to showing them around and spending the fortnight together; the goodbyes will be horrible though.  I can’t believe it will be almost a year since we’ve seen them; children grow up a lot in the space of year!

2 Responses to “On the 24th of May”

  1. Alan June 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    I love your blog. Welcome to Saskatchewan! I live in Regina but I love Saskatoon too, so much to do and a very beautiful city. I love the fact that you get your kids involved in so many activities. I used to live in Edmonton (this is not a comment on Edmonton, It is a beautiful city too), and I remember one day there were two little kids sitting on the sidewalk with their faces in their hands. I asked what was wrong and they said that they were bored. I couldn’t figure it out, it was a bright sunny warm day with so many possibilities. I asked why they were bored. They said that there was nothing on tv. I felt very sad for them because I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, without running water or electricity and I was never bored. So much to do: skating on the frozen river in winter, making bows and arrows in he summer, playing cops and robbers, curling, hockey, softball, poetry contests, Christmas concerts,Halloween, walking in puddles in the spring rain, eating wild berries and floating down the river on an inner tube on a hot summer’s day. This is only a small example of the the things that I used to do, free of charge, but I think what I had, and what those children in Edmonton lacked, was imagintation. That is why I applaud yout efforts in encouraging your children’s imagination. I am sure that when they grow up, that they will we more the wiser for it.

    Éirinn go Brách

    • cibnr July 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks, Alan! We find the amount of activities here for the kids to do is almost overwhelming 🙂 There is so much to do, and funding is available for most of it. Two of the boys want to play hockey in the fall, so that will be a whole new experience for us all. We’re hoping to make it to the Science Museum in Regina one of these weekends – would you recommend it?

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