Three days of winter in Canada (and the first blog in English)

We are in Canada for a very nice long weekend visiting Teunis and his family in snowy weather. Quite a change in temperature from 29C with sun to -7C with snow. Oh well, we might as well have some real winter weather while in Canada, as these will be the only three days of winter for us this year. Winter has also come to the Netherlands this weekend and to the whole eastern part of the US with snow even in Texas and Atlanta. Very exceptional. In Florida we will have some ‘winter’ too this coming week with 19C during the day and 8C during the night. Very cold for Florida. We even put the heater on in the house. Luckily the cold will only last a few days and then temperatures will rise again to normal values 😎.

Very nice to be in Canada again! The last time we were here, we were still full of uncertainties about the coming weeks. It feels very good to have completed the six phases (mentioned in my first blog from across the ocean) in a more than satisfying way. Teunis has planned the weekend full with nice family-get-togethers. We fly in late on Thursday night, on a 2.5 hour flight from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto. We arrive in Waterloo at 2 am and Teunis is still awake, waiting for us. Very nice to see him again!! It is 3.30 am when we finally get to bed.

The main reason why I write this blog in English is because Teunis convinced me to do this! We discuss with him whether we would use this year to really improve our English, by writing this blog in English and quit speaking Dutch at home. ”Get rid of all the Dutch this year”. That will be good for our English, that’s for sure. Not so much for the girls as their English is quiet good and they are in an English speaking environment all day at school. More for Toine and me, since there are days that we hardly speak any English. This changed after I started my English lessons, and every day I bring home some things I learned and tell about them during dinner. All of a sudden writing this blog in correct English is not that easy, but it is a good exercise and this way my Canadian cousins are also able to read it 😉.

The days at Teunis’ appartment are, as always, nice and relaxing. We have lots of time for ourselves, do some homework and have nice talks with Teunis. The evenings are fully planned with nice family-get-togethers. Friday night at Teunis’ place with sushi and pizza for dinner and a pokergame after dinner for the guys. In total with 18 people (Teun, Helen & John with their 3 kids, Terry & Lynne with 4 of their 5 kids and 2 friends and us 4). We all really enjoy this evening, playing poker and having some nice talks. One of the proofs that Teunis is still mentally doing very well is that he easily wins the pokergame from the other 7 guys and raises his retirement assets with 110 CAD.

Saturday evening we have dinner at Helen & John’s with Terry and Lynn, Jack and Jackie and a number of kids. For dinner we have John’s famous beef dish, a giant piece of nicely marinated beef on the BBQ, as always delicious!! The 8 kids go out for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. Again a very nice evening with lots of family warmth of the Canadian family. Moments to cherish!! 👍

On Sunday we end this nice weekend with a brunch at Cora’s. After saying goodbye to everybody we drive to the airport and hand in our rental car. We were curious whether we could use our visa again for another 6 months entry. But that is not the case, we will keep the permision to stay until April 20. If we want to extend our stay we have to apply for it using the online extension process from within the US. Good to know. And now we are back ‘home’ in Florida after a 3 hour flight.

What about the beginning of the week before flying to Canada? Marinthe makes good progress playing tennis, playing an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon without pain. The physiotherapist is very content and next week she can start with two hours of tennis in the morning. So almost back to the normal schedule with only one hour less in the afternoon. Sooner than we had expected … let’s hope it stays that way.

Eline practices with the swim-team and decides to go for swimming and to quit with the try-out for lacrosse. Swimming is something she realy likes and in which she can easily improve herself. Also the group is very nice with lots of boys and girls her age she feels comfortable with.

There is also some Holiday Season activity this week. We buy lights and put them in the mast of our boat (we now look like the former Lopik radiomast). In this way we also contribute ‘some’ to all the Christmas decorations of our neighbourhood. Wednesdaynight we go to the Holiday Parade in Boca Raton and watch lots of school- and club cars/trucks driving by with Christmas decorations, proudly showing what their club is about. Very American, somehow not so common in the Netherlands to show pride about your school or club in this way.

Early Thursday morning Eline goes to the beach at sunrise to take pictures for her photography class and I go with her. She takes pictures of pouring water into a conch with the sea and sunrise behind it. Amazing how many people are already on the beach this early in the morning (6.45 am), watching the sunrise, jogging and walking in the coolness and freshness of the morning. Maybe we should do this more often?

Toine is rather busy this week with the the start up of a few work assignments. He finishes the first draft of his paper about IT transformation and some business colleagues will review it. Also  Teunis will help him in the correct use of English (some work to do here 😉). After this, he calibrates the boat autopilots during a sea-trial and services the outboard for the first time. He wonders how to get rid of the 10 old batteries. They are not broken, but not good enough for the boat. Well, just put them in your front garden, and the next day they are gone. Later we learned that these old batteries have a value of 10 US each, so somebody is rather happy with them 👍.

I really enjoy my English class. This week we talked about how to put persuasion into speech and writing. Every day I learn new words and new expressions and also more about the background of the other students. The remaining time I go to my gym classes and work on the HR website. Weeks are flying by!