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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Canada for real

We loved our new (old) log home and our new neighbors and really enjoyed Lillehammer as a nearby town for shopping and work. Little did we know that all this would change again within a couple of years.

It was in 2001, when Bea came home from work telling me that the company she worked for were in dire financial straits and that they talked about having Bea transferred to a different office some 30 miles away. As they had not offered her compensation for the 60miles drive, the idea of having to put up with those costs were not enticing, to say the least.
So I racked my brain what to do. One afternoon an idea popped up. I gathered Bea’s professional data and put her entire resume on a Canadian job website. Maybe there was a chance….

At 4.30pm Bea got home and plopped down on the couch, tired from endless phone calls and the intensity of work. Then we heard the phone ring. I took it and heard an english speaking voice asking to speak with my wife. The phone call came from a travel agency in Cold Lake, Alberta. Bea was so perplexed (she had no idea what I had done during the afternoon) that she had difficulties gathering up her english.

Well, the travel agency was looking for an experienced agent to lead the office. After a few more phone calls over the next days we decided to give it a try and booked a flight in September 2001.
Cutting the story short, it turned out to be a great trip and the employer was willing to wait until we had received a permanent stay and work permit. While we were in Cold Lake the infamous attack on the WTC in new York happened. All flights were grounded for days to come, so our return was delayed with 4 days.

Straight after getting back to Norway we started the process of getting our immigration permit. We hired an immigration consultant in Vancouver who was very efficient in compiling all the necessary papers, making sure nothing would be missing. After only 6 months we received our immigration permits. It was almost unreal that I would be going to Canada for good, After 35 years of waiting I would set foot onto Canadian soil as a resident.
We sold our lovely home,and our cars in may 2002, I built a wooden transport crate were we stowed all our beloved belongings, but only those worth of being taken along. The crate was shipped to Oslo, from where it got onto a freighter and shipped across the Atlantic ocean and through the Panama Canal, ending up in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I had been in Canada in February, bought an old car and drove up to Cold Lake to have a look at the real estate market, and found a 4-plex which I made arrangements to take possession of in June. We bought another house unseen from Norway with possession on May 30 our planned arrival in Cold Lake.

We had booked a one-way flight via London, UK and landed in Calgary on may 30 2002. When passing through immigration the officer was wondering about why we had different surnames, indicating his doubts about whether we were married. We informed him that actually may 30 was our WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. The officer shot out of his chair and extended his hand congatulating us with the words: WELCOME TO CANADA. At that time we hadn’t received the permit on paper yet, but it must have been on his computer screen that our immigration was in fact legal.

From Calgary we took a Greyhound bus via Edmonton to Cold Lake.and were met by our real estate agent. She brought us to our new home and since there was no furniture in the house she had remembered to bring an air mattress to sleep on the first night. We inflated the mattress and fell aleep immediately. After 30 minutes I noticed that the mattress had an air leak. We slept that very first night on the hard carpet!
Two weeks later the official papers arrived pr. courier from our consultant in Vancouver. At the same day we got a phone call saying that our moving crate had arrived in Vancouver.

We were about to settle in for good.

Tomorrow: On the Road again

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