June 7th, last kisses to my parents, “Don’t worry, Canadian people are very nice, I will call you often, I’m coming back in September etc etc”. We all know how goodbyes are: it’s hard to say goodbye, but you are so excited for your adventure coming that you just can’t stop thinking about a hundred things.
“How is the city going to look like?”
“Will I like my new life here?”
“How is the food going to be?” (yes, that’s a very French question)
After some wonderful airplane meals, 2 flights, 3 hours of delay & 2 Canadian Immigration Officers, here I am, walking on Canadian ground.
“It’s so cold” is the first thing I said when walking out from the airport. Yes, it was a nice June evening, approximately 16°C. But when I left home (from my little village in the South of France), it was 27°C at the same time at night. I just lost 10° in a few hours. And I never experienced 27°C more than 7 times in Calgary this summer.
Here is the story of my Canadian life.
As you would probably have noticed it, my body doesn’t have the same experience of temperatures than yours. 15°C IS cold for me. It’s a French Fall temperature. Or a March temperature (I see you smiling reading this, I know I’m not ready for a Winter here). But, not even talking about temperatures, hey, Calgary, what was all this rain all summer long? What was this chilly wind in the morning, coupled with the rain? Why did I need GLOVES to bike to work in the middle of JULY?
Talking about biking, I have to say that biking in Calgary was my favourite moment of the day. How can people be so respectful of bikes, passing them with more than a meter of distance, respecting the stops signs… And these bike paths, everywhere, in the middle of downtown! Calgary is a very bike-friendly city (and if you don’t trust me, just try to find bike pathways in Marseille on Google. Yes, it doesn’t exist) and it is a pleasure to discover the city & its parks on a bike.
Another wonderful thing about Calgary: its parks. How can such a big city have so many parks, and even downtown! If you want to escape the roaring of the city, just go to Eau Claire Park, or Lindsay Park! You can enjoy watching little bunnies jumping around, some squirrels trying to steal food from a magpie… I will miss my morning biking to work and enjoying all this wildlife taking place under my eyes.
Concerning my work, I learned a lot. A LOT. On me, on the non-profit sector, on French culture (oh yeah). Working with the Cerebral Palsy Kids & Families gave me sense of fulfilment. I was busy all summer, working on a diversity of missions, knowing I was doing it to “Light up a Child’s Life”. Yes, all my summer, I worked to make life easier for families & kids living with cerebral palsy, and that is my dream job. Working for a purpose. Working to help others. Working to make others happy. And to do that, I had several different missions: doing fundraising prospects (and oh my god how generous are the Canadian), looking for grants (I am amazed by the number of companies offering community grants), and working on the social media platforms; among other missions. I gained so much professional skills in one summer that I will never be thankful enough for Cerebral Palsy Kids & Families.
It enlightened me on who us, French people are. I’m French & I will always like my culture. But, I felt way more comfortable in my life in Calgary than in France. Canadian people are respectful, polite, kindly, understanding, welcoming and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, French people are not terrible persons, buuuut the mentality in Canada is in general more positive and more friendly.
However, yes here it comes, Canada is missing a few things that only France can be proud of.
Baguette – Cheese- Wine and Croissant.
Yes, you can find it here. But 3 to 4 times more expensive than in France, and not as good, I’m sorry. I appreciate the effort and it tastes good (/okay), but it just doesn’t taste like at home! I did try local food, especially during Stampede time, but… How to say that… “Deep fried” food is not really my cup of tea (if you allow me the joke!).
Even if my culinary needs were not fully satisfied, I still had an amazing time. There is so much more I want to talk about, but it would require a few more pages and you’re probably done with the complaints of a Frenchy about Calgary’s weather or the Canadian’s baguettes!
I had an amazing time in Canada, and this is thanks to you, Canadian people, and thanks to Cerebral Palsy Kids & Families. They deserve all your love and your support.