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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Canada, eh?

My time in New York was at an end, which meant that it was time to embark on my new life in Canada. Getting up to go to the airport was tough enough. Having slightly over-indulged the night before, I was very bleary eyed when trying to ensure that I packed my last bits and pieces before I left the hostel. As of right now, I haven't discovered that I am missing anything important but time will tell! I made my way to Port Authority Bus Terminal at 7am, hoping that the new backpack I'd bought held enough to ensure that my suitcase wasn't overweight again. Arrived at the airport way too early but hadn't been able to predict how long it would take but I'd rather be early than late! Suitcase wasn't overweight, thank feck and I had no issues getting through security.

When I was eventually permitted to board the plane, I found it was one of those smaller aircraft. Only 12 rows, 4 seats deep. For someone who is not generally that comfortable with flying, it was not the nicest sight for me to behold. Once we got in the air however, I was enthralled by the view out the window of New York and New Jersey. The pilot did claim at one stage that we were flying over Niagara Falls. I couldn't see anything but I might have been looking out the wrong side....

And so we touched down in Toronto. My eyes were nearly falling out of my head I was so tired. But I knew I still had to get through Immigration so I was hoping I didn't look as out of it as I felt. If Tracy hadn't been lying about putting notes about me being a terrorist on my booking then I knew I would need all my wits about me. Obviously, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have realised that any indications that I was a terrorist would have been picked up by the US Border Patrol people. I got through the first the customs section easy enough. I even managed to elicit a bit of a giggle from the officer, I had an email that Gillian had sent me with her address on it in case they asked me where I was going to be staying in Canada. Gillian had written it all out and then added at the end 'Make sure to give them the full address. you can't just say Gillian's house. There are a lot more people in Canada than in Ireland'. Then it was on to the Immigration Officer to be issued with my work permit, which went off without a hitch. The lovely man even left out all restrictions on my permit so I could study full time if I want to, work in the medical industry, work with children or the elderly. Endless possibilities!!

I got my suitcase and headed through to the arrivals lounge. I was very disappointed that Gillian was not waiting with balloons and a sign with my name on it. However, Delta Airlines had managed to get me to Toronto 45 minutes earlier than planned so I had about 20 minutes of awkward standing around, trying to bring my bags out for a cigarette. When I spotted Gillian, it was like long lost relatives being reunited. You'd never know that it had only been 6 months since we'd seen each other, and we had probably been speaking every day since she had left Ireland. It was so nice to catch up face to face though! Her mother, dear Rosalind Plummer, was arriving in from Vancouver also so we waited for her. I was a little nervous; I'd never met her before and was going to be staying in her house while I got myself sorted out. I needn't have been, obviously. She's as sweet and welcoming as Gillian is.

They brought me back to the family home (which is LOVELY), where I got to meet her dog, Mac. Most of you know how I feel about animals but this one has a bit of a special place in my heart. He looks just like Shadow from Homeward Bound and isn't an overeager puppy that slobbers on you or humps your leg. I was showed to my room and around a beautiful house that has what looks like a library in almost every room. What's the first book I go for to read? 'Rachel's Holiday' by Marian Keyes......still fantastic so don't feel guilty. Her father, David, then arrived home from work with her twin sister Kate and all of a sudden, I am swept up as part of this family, having dinner and a few glasses of wine. I barely had time to realise that I wasn't in Ireland or even New York anymore.

Moral of the Story - if you're coming to Canada, make sure to stay with Gillian and her family. You won't regret it, I'm probably never going to leave.......

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