SeaQuest

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

We were 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 had 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 had planned the weekend full with nice family-get-togethers. We flew in late on Thursday night, on a 2.5 hour flight from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto. We arrived in Waterloo at 2 am and Teunis was still awake, waiting for us. Very nice to see him again!! It is 3.30 am when we finally got to bed.

The main reason why I write this blog in English is because Teunis convinced me to do this! We discussed 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’ apartment were, as always, nice and relaxing. We had lots of time for ourselves, did some homework and had nice talks with Teunis. The evenings were 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 enjoyed 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 won the pokergame from the other 7 guys and raised his retirement assets with 110 CAD.

Saturday evening we had dinner at Helen & John’s with Terry and Lynn, Jack and Jackie and a number of kids. For dinner we had John’s famous beef dish, a giant piece of nicely marinated beef on the BBQ, as always delicious!! The 8 kids went 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 ended this nice weekend with a brunch at Cora’s. After saying goodbye to everybody we drove to the airport and turned 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 made good progress playing tennis, playing an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon without pain. The physiotherapist was 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 practiced with the swim-team and decided 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 was also some Holiday Season activity this week. We bought 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 went to the Holiday Parade in Boca Raton and watched 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 went to the beach at sunrise to take pictures for her photography class and I went with her. She took 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 was rather busy this week with the the start up of a few work assignments. He finished 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 calibrated the boat autopilots during a sea-trial and serviced the outboard for the first time. He wondered 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 went to my gym classes and worked on the HR website. Weeks are flying by!