Saturday, December 12, 2009

(2004) Settling in

December 2004

Dear Aunt Agatha,

We both passed our BC driving tests you'll be happy to hear. Although not half as happy as us! When you go in to take your test, they take your UK licence off you, and you don't get it back if you fail! So, just to be safe, Ali didn't book her test until I'd passed mine.

We have also made our second major purchase - a new car. We went for a Ford Expedition. Huge great thing by our standards, although I suspect it wouldn't be too out of place in the country lanes of St. Saviours, where vehicle size seems to be inversely proportional to road width. One of the reasons for something this big is pulling power. We plan to go camping, and eventually we plan to buy a trailer (that's 'caravan' to you English) so we decided to start off with a suitable vehicle.

I did say 'eventually'. Right now, with the proceeds of our house sale sitting in the bank in Guernsey, twenty or thirty thousand on a trailer seems like nothing, even after accounting for the balance to pay on our new house. But we know we have a lot of more important things to buy, and I'm sure there will be significant expenses that we haven't yet taken into account, plus we don't know how long it will take me to get a job. The scary thing is that we can easily gain or lose that kind of money just on exchange rate variations from one week to the next. Let's hope for a strong British pound for the next month or so!

Now we know where we will be living next year, we've registered Matthew into a pre-school in Sidney, and Megan into kindergarten at McTavish school. Ali researched a number of pre-schools in the area, and Matthew was immediately at home in this one which was pretty much the deciding factor.

For Megan, we'd toyed with the idea of French Immersion, but everyone we'd spoken to here said that the system was highly over-rated. Also, the nearest school offering French Immersion was ten kilometres away and had no bus service from our area. In the end, we felt that it was more important for our kids to mix with children from the neighbourhood. One thing we are worried about is her getting bored at school. Before we left Guernsey, she was already in full time schooling and her reading and writing was highly advanced. We've found that the Canadian system starts off a lot slower, so while Megan is happily writing whole paragraphs of full sentences in a journal each day, some of her peers are only just learning to write their own names.

We are now all set for our first Canadian Christmas. We've been steadily stocking up on gifts for the kids, and our landlady kindly lent us a box of decorations. On our regular visits from downtown up to the Peninsula, we've driven past a Christmas tree farm, so we went and got ourselves a real tree. We drove very carefully back down the highway with it tied to the roof of the car. We still had the rental vehicle at that time - you didn't think we'd risk scratching the new one, did you?

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