Archive for category Return to Canada

November 17, 2006 – Full Circle

Prior to my return from Japan to Canada, my parents had found an apartment for me. The apartment came with two sets of keys. Each of my parents took one set so they could have access to drop off my stuff.

My mom had given me her set of keys when she took me shopping yesterday, however my dad had forgotten to hand over his. Instead of making a trip into Winnipeg to drop them off, he gave them to his friend Randy who was coming to Winnipeg and would deliver them to me.

I arranged to meet Randy at the Second Cup coffee shop at the corner of River and Osborne, just down the street from my new apartment. I got there early and grabbed coffee and a window seat. As I was drinking my coffee, my friend Junk just happened to walk by the window. He noticed me, stopped, and came running into Second Cup to say hi.

Since my return to Canada 2 days earlier, I had been busy and jetlagged so I hadn’t yet reached out to any of my old friends. Junk was the last of my friends that I had seen when I moved to Japan. He had surprised me by coming to the airport to see me off when I left Canada 3 years ago. It was fitting that he was the first friend I saw when I came back to Canada; I felt like my travel had finally come full circle!

It was coincidental that Junk just happened to be walking by at the same time that I was in Second Cup. Even more coincidental was the fact that Junk and Triple D were sharing an apartment just down the street from my new place! I was happy to be living so close to some of my old friends; it truly felt like I had returned home.

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November 16, 2006 – I mailed my stuff to the wrong address!?

I woke up in the morning 9,000 km away from where I slept the day before, my brain still 14 hours ahead of local time. My plan for the day was to buy a bed, a computer, and unpack my apartment as much as possible.

After my experiences rebuilding a used computer in Japan, I decided to spend some of my teaching money on a brand new computer that I could plug in and use. I picked one up at Future Shop. The ease of our purchase prompted my mom to buy a new computer to replace her old, problematic one. Our commissioned salesman was a happy guy.

Our next stop was Best Sleep Center, where I picked out an incredibly comfortable queen sized mattress and box spring. We managed to arrange delivery for the next day. This was my first time ever picking out a mattress that someone else would be using – it was a bit stressful! I hope The Penpal likes what I chose.

When I was giving the address for bed delivery I suddenly realized that I had made a huge mistake: my street address is 395, but when I had mailed 5 boxes of stuff from Japan to Canada I had given my address as 359.

The 5 boxes represented the stuff I wanted to keep after 3 years of living in Japan. I had paid over $400 to ship it to the wrong address!! NOOOOOOOO!!

As soon as I got home I called Canada Post to explain my situation. Because of the delivery method I had chosen, I couldn’t officially change the delivery address. Canada Post said they would contact both the Winnipeg distribution and the local post office to let them know of the change, and hopefully someone would notice before attempting delivery. This was not at all reassuring.

Remember friends: when mailing all of your stuff back home, MAKE SURE YOU ARE MAILING IT TO THE CORRECT ADDRESS!!

(2018 Update 1) A few weeks later I received all of my boxes at the correct address. Thank you Canada Post!!

(2018 Update 2) After 10 years of use, a few adventures, and several unfortunate encounters with a barfy kid, we are finally going to replace the mattress. Otsukaresama mattress-san!

 

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November 15, 2006 part 3 – Hello Canada

After 3 years of living and working in Japan, flying home was pretty sad. Having said that, I would much rather be sad than airsick for 10 hours like the poor woman who sat next to me on my flight to Vancouver. It’s not really fair to say that she sat next to me: she spent most of the flight running to the bathroom. I felt bad for her, and thankful that I have never had serious problems on a flight.

A few hours away from Vancouver we flew into a huge storm that kept the plane bouncing. We were delayed on our landing as the storm was so bad that only one of the runways was open. I’m happy that we weren’t redirected to a different airport.

Unlike the flight to Vancouver, my flight to Winnipeg was quick and uneventful. Thanks to the wonders of international time zones, I arrived in Winnipeg about 15 minute before I left Japan. My parents and sister were waiting for me in the arrival area carrying a huge Canadian flag. It was good to be home!

My mom and sister had found an apartment for me before I came home, but since there was almost no furniture in it yet, I went back to my parents house for the evening. My parents live in the “city” of Portage la Prairie, about 70km west of Winnipeg. On the drive I got my first taste of reverse culture shock, fascinated by people driving on the right and the huge open spaces between cities. It’s going to take me a while to adjust!

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September 2, 2005 – Back to Japan

After spending two weeks in Canada to visit my sick sister, it was time to go back to Japan. Over the past few weeks, my sister’s condition had improved a lot. She was back at home and not needing daily supervision. I felt comfortable returning to Japan and not extending my ticket further.

My flight was first thing in the morning, so instead of driving in early from Portage la Prairie, my parents booked me in a hotel near the airport. I got up early and caught the airport shuttle from the hotel to start my long journey back to my Japan home. If everything works out, I might still be able to attend my coworker Angie’s farewell party in Mishima, 9085 km away.

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August 31, 2005 – Steak

My parent’s grilled steak tonight for dinner. I didn’t eat steak often when I lived in Canada, but eating a big, beefy steak in Japan would be a luxury beyond my teaching salary.

Mmmmm steak!

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August 30, 2005 – Amy!

Yesterday I spent the day watching TV at my parents’ house in Portage la Prairie, so I decided to get out of the house and drive to Winnipeg for shopping, a movie, and wings with the regular wing group.

After buying some clothes, I treated myself to sushi lunch at Sushi train. I have been back for over a week, and I was craving sushi. I was also interested in how Canadian sushi would compare after eating really amazing sushi in Japan for the past few years. The taste was pretty good, but the presentation was nowhere near Japanese standards.

Today’s movie was “40 Year old Virgin” which was hilarious. One of the most memorable scenes involved actor Steve Carrell actually getting his chest waxed, screaming in pain, and shouting obscenities. I am not a hairy person at all, but I still cringed! Ouch!

The last time I returned to Canada, I wrote about going out for wings and karaoke with the regular group. Amy, one of the regulars, was upset that I didn’t mention her by name in my blog post. I tried to explain to Amy that I rarely use names in my blog, but Amy was upset anyway. So Amy, here is your name in my blog. Amy Amy Amy Amy.

(2015 Update) Amy!

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August 29, 2005 – So many channels, nothing to watch

Today I took the day off and hung out at my parents’  house in Portage la Prairie. I decided to plant myself in front of the TV for a few hours.

There aren’t a lot of TV channels in Japan, so it was a culture shock to have hundreds of choices on my parents’ overloaded cable package. Even though there were lots of channels to choose from, most of them just show the same shows all day.

You don’t realize how little you will miss TV until you don’t watch it regularly.

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