Thursday, 25 June 2009

Been and gone

Back from my flying visit.
It was fantastic! Great feel to Montreal - the people and shops all very continental and, thank god, english speaking. Even the flights were relatively nutter-free - just one French guy coming back who seemed to have a some sort of toilet problem judging by the number of times he went, but he didn't talk to me much which was a relief. Helped, of course, by me avoiding all eye contatct and jamming my headphones in as soon as I sat down.
We saw houses and schools while I was there. Houses - we loved 2 and have made an offer on our No.1. Which has been accepted. BUT. It now all depends on Quebec's strange financing system to come through for us. Schools - well they largely depended on the quality of the person showing me around. At the first one it was some hapless bag lady, second an ageing hippy and third (and least weird) a limping 80's throw-back. We chose his school but because it is closest to where we want to live more than anything else. I conveyed girls' current schooling as very strict, Catholic girls school. They all rolled their eyes and said 'well it's very different here. We' laid back.' Yeah, horizontal.
So - another step closer to the big adventure. Next 2 weeks will tell if we get the dream house!

Monday, 15 June 2009

the preview

So I'm off to Montreal the day after tomorrow (wasn't that a film with lots of snow!)to do a recce. I have my list of things to pack and do before I go, and to do when I get there. Immigration sounds a bit scary for someone who freaks out at a Council Tax bill but I am assured it's OK. I have my itinerary for when I get there - schools and houses to view. I even have my list of things to do tomorrow to make sure kids and dogs OK.
So....where is my list of things to avoid whilst travelling long distances? I'm a novice after all and I'm pretty good at avoiding queues, annoying people and other such irritations on my own turf but I am starting to worry about those that may view a seat next to me for 7 hours to be licence to tell me personal details which I just don't care about. I'm pretty good at small talk for a short while but the mix of time, height and turbulence don't mix well with me so add to that 7 hours of talking to a probably utterly uninteresting stranger and I may just die.
My itinerary is very organised,however I'm on my own (with strangers) again. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, mainly because it will be less than a 7 hour stretch so I'm less likely to die, and they will be helping me - or so I hope. They will show me potential houses to buy and schools to view. They may even think that I have strong views about either of these things so they may even be enthusiastic. Not sure how long that will last when I let them know I just want a decent school and a decent house - low aspirations are the way forward when emigrating at short notice, or you're stuffed. Being picky is the realm of those who have been planning on emigrating for years - not 6 weeks.
I think I'm also looking forward to getting the feel for Montreal, and Quebec in general ( I'm loath to say Canada as I understand Quebec is a country within Canada). I've seen photos, some recently from Stuart, though his pictures of a disused railway didn't inspire much enthusiasm. The trouble with pictures is that you don't get the smell, the detail, the people. Most importantly I want this week to act as a switch - switching me off from work, tasks, England.
Oh, and sex with my husband will be quite nice too.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Stage 3 - on my own

My husband has now moved to an apartment in Montreal. 5 weeks from 'I think you might be right for this job' to packing his bags. Incidentally that was fun - the perfect opportunity to rid him of shite clothes he has a fondness for as there isn't room in his case. And now we've discovered the mixed blessing that is Skype. Great! We can talk for free. Crap! We have a 5 hour difference and it keeps hanging up.
So now it's really real. He's there. I'm here. He's in a scary new country where French looms heavily. I'm in Newcastle where packing and sorting are my constant nag.
But most of all....I'm on my own (well with 4 kids and 3 dogs) but on my own in terms of responsibility. Don't get me wrong - I can do responsibility. What I struggle with are details and deadlines, both of which are fairly important when emigrating. I'm still working and trying to tie things up there and seem interested at the same time. I'm methodically avoiding doing all the jobs that need doing in the house. I have a 15 year old daughter for god's sake - surely that's enough to keep me occupied full time!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Stage 2 - writing lists

It's a rare and special thing to meet someone who loves a list as much as I do. List writing is a really important method used to remember things, prioritise, and procrastinate. Not good with the timescale we have - Stuart leaving the country 4 weeks after accepting the job, me selling the house, 2 cars and packing our lives up, sorting schools, divesting ourselves of the million ties we have here (yes we remembered to cancel the milk)and would you believe it? I found a special person who loves lists as much as I do. My husband's are shorter, more punchy and short term. Mine are more detailed with priorities, target dates, etc. The combined result is that we've written endless lists and actually done about 10% of the things on them. Furthermore, I have honed my list writing by insisting that once I've crossed off a couple of things (usually the easiest and least important) I need to rewrite it neatly from scratch. Endless time wasting made into an art.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Stage 1 - deciding to go

This post is a catch up of events over the last 5 weeks. 5 weeks ago today I was unaware that my life and that of my family was about to be given a dose of 'oh my god'. 5 weeks ago today I was blissfully unaware how much it costs to transport 3 dogs from Newcastle to Canada. 5 weeks ago today I thought my biggest challenge this year was to get fit (again). 5 weeks ago today I was relatively sane - though some would argue.
In essence, my artful husband was head hunted for a job in Geneva or Montreal. He said he'd consider forward a week and he's got the job. In Montreal. We decide very quickly, and with adventure in our hearts, to accept. Bloody hell! Who does mental stuff like that? I've lived no more than 3 miles away from my mother and most of my siblings for ever. I've lived in this house for nearly 16 years. But we looked at each other and thought, bugger it. Stuart is free work-wise to go wherever and I could happily not complete another pointless Excel spreadsheet to monitor god knows what to justify someone's existence. And anyway - why think through these things too much? I've learned that despite considering all possible aspects of a decision it can still end up a shite choice - so go with the gut is my motto.
So - we have decided to go. The decision, I was soon to learn, is the easiest part of going.