The longer you think about it the crazier it feels. Bob has crossed the ocean on a boat. Just because we wanted him to join us on our adventure. Now that we are here, so far away from home it suddenly feels like something very big. We now feel how far and how long he has traveled on the boat to come here and how special that is. Because we will longer go in circles around it, Bob has arrived in Canada and everything is still in one piece and all is still in it.
I have no idea what we have told about the reason that only Jap went to pick up, so here it comes: when booking the flights to Canada we wanted to go directly to Halifax since Bob would get to land there. But the tickets to Halifax were quite pricey. We investigated why and found out that the flight from Amsterdam to Toronto was almost the same price as from Toronto to Halifax, which feels a bit ridiculous. So we decided to find a workway near Toronto and find out from there how we could get to Halifax in a different cheaper way. At first, we thought of a bus or train, but also those were quite pricey. Hitchhiking was also a possibility, also because we have never done that and had enough time, however, we decided against it because of the cold in Canada. But then we saw that you can fly from Toronto to Halifax starting from 30 euros as long as you don’t take luggage. Flying both to Halifax without baggage and picking up the baggage in Toronto was an option, but Jap said quite quickly that he also thought it a challenge to do it alone. So that was that only Jap went on an adventure. And although Jap wanted the solo adventure, Lon also got her own solo adventure. Jap flew from the airport 2 hours away from the family’s house and his flight was at 6:45 am so he had to be there at 4:45 am. But exactly for that morning, all kinds of warnings for bad weather were given and Lon also had to drive back the two hours. So we decided to leave earlier and we left at 00:30 in the night so that we could be pretty sure that Lon would be back before the bad weather would hit. However Lon was still scared of the drive, she almost literally saw bears on the road. Because Emma and Patrick not only gave all sorts of tips on what I had to do in the event of bad weather but also warned me that the wildlife is most active at night and that you should be hyper-alert to big animals on the road. In addition, Lon was afraid to fall asleep behind the wheel as we would be driving all night … As I said, Jap got an adventure but Lon also got her portion. But everything went well. The bad weather showed up much later in the afternoon instead of the morning and I saw 2 deer, a rabbit, and a raccoon on the road but nobody was hit or fell asleep so that was perfect. But as soon as I crawled into bed again in the morning at 5 o’clock in bed, the solo adventure of Jap had already lasted long enough. Everything is so boring and uncomfortable without him. Although I was very happy that I wasn’t alone but cozy with the family as a distraction.
Ok, Lon had dropped me off at the airport and we had said our goodbyes. It felt really weird leaving without Lon, especially for something as big as picking up Bob and I will miss her on the way. But somewhere, I felt like an adventure on my own and that’s how it felt like an adventure. The airport where Lon had dropped me was very small and that day only four planes would leave the airport and of which the mine was the first. Besides the security guard, there were only 2 other people at the airport and the desk for checking in would not go open for some time. I just hoped that the 2 hours earlier we left were enough for Lon to come home before there would be problems with the weather on the road. I decided to make myself comfortable on the benches of the airport and just close my eyes. In the meantime, one by one the employees of the airport arrived. Normally, I expect the airport to continue for 24 hours a day, but that was different here. After having had some sleep and listened to music, the counter staff arrived and I could check-in. The online check-in didn’t go as expected so I hoped they could check me in here without difficulty. Fortunately, this was the case, but after I had received my boarding pass, the employee told me that the security to the departure hall was not yet open and I had to wait some more. I made myself comfortable again and closed my eyes once again. Because it was such a small airport everything went very fast, when I opened my eyes again I went through security quickly and I could also start boarding soon thereafter. In the meantime, Lon had already let me know that she had come home safely. The plane was almost empty and I had the entire row for myself. On the plane, I just continued sleeping and within no time I was at Halifax airport. Because I didn’t have any real luggage, only a backpack with bare essentials, I quickly stood outside of the airport. The first task was to arrange an appointment with our forwarder, she would meet me at the customs office, she could meet me there shortly and I arranged an uber to the office. The area here is very different from in Toronto, much more mountainous and with beautiful trees along the road. It was only a relatively short ride and so I was a little too early for the appointment. It was rather cold outside, so I decided to walk a bit so that I could stay warm and of course to get a coffee and a donut haha. You could put together the donut with different toppings and it was still nice and warm when I got it. The forwarder was very nice and handed me the papers I needed and took me through the process once more. She also told that a lot of people have shipped their vans lately, especially because it is possible again. She also told that since she did this job she had only heard of damage to a bus after shipping. That was a relief because we both remain pretty stressed about the conditions we will find our Bob in. Hopefully, our van is not the second in her career. At customs, I had to answer several questions and my papers were stamped. Although everything went very quickly and smoothly, it was already almost noon and the forwarder had told me that they had a lunch break at the harbor between 12 and 1 hour and I could not pick up the van at that time. With an uber, I would arrive at the port just afternoon, so I decided to save some money and walk to the harbor, also because the weather was wonderful. It was an hour’s walk and it was nice to move after all the time hanging around at the airport and on the plane. It was a wonderful walk and I enjoyed the sun on my skin. When I was almost at the harbor I could catch a glimpse of Bob and I immediately got goosebumps. It was so strange to see that bus from us suddenly here in Canada. I realized what kind of trip was waiting for us, what adventures we would experience. At that moment everything came together and a realization came over me. It was such a shame that I could not share that moment with Lon, even though she will have that sensation herself when I arrive with Bob at the family. With a somewhat firmer pace, I walked the last meters to the harbor. At the entrance, I had to take my vest and I got a visitor’s pass, after which a gentleman rode me towards the next office. Along the way, I could have a closer look at Bob and I saw that the side door stood on a crack and … f^&$ … I didn’t see the red t-lock that we had on our towbar. You can always see it from far away, but I didn’t see him sitting on it .. my stress level immediately shot through the roof. At the office, I had to show the papers to customs and I had to wait outside while they were going to verify with customs if Bob could be released. Outside while waiting, which seemed to last a few hours, all the possible scenarios shot through my mind. “They have emptied the bus, they just stole all our stuff. You see nothing is left in the van anymore. Hmm but perhaps the customs has done this to view the contents of the van. But then they had called because according to the papers of Seabridge we were allowed to lock everything and take the keys. Aah people come on, I want to know if everything is good with Bob”. Probably it took at most a minute or 5 but for me, that was even too long. Finally, someone came out and if I was allowed to inspect the bus. I immediately saw that they placed stickers over all doors as a seal, which reassured me somewhat, and when I opened the back doors everything was still in its place and a wave of relief came over me. They neatly removed the towbar from the van and nothing had been destroyed or disappeared, probably the customs had to check the content. After a few laps around the van to inspect it, I declared that everything was fine and nothing was broken, after which I was allowed to take Bob. Immediately, I called Lon to tell him the good news, pff what a relief. After putting all the fuses in their place and having taken all the most necessary stuff from the back, I went on my way. The first stop was the supermarket. I needed to get used to driving on the Canadian roads with Bob. After shopping, I went looking for a place to fill the gas tank that I had bought at the supermarket. When all this was arranged I went on my way, towards Lon. That afternoon I drove 3 hours to a truck stop where I would spend the night. Here a Dutch trucker came to chat with me, with such a license plate it is clear that you are not from around. He already lived in Canada for about 16 years and drove the same route to America every time. He gave me a couple of tips, like do not park directly in between truckers, because most just leave their truck running to keep their cargo cool or themselves warm./ And how you can recognize ice rain (as long as the water still flows on your side mirror everything is fine). Unfortunately, the gas tank turned out to be too big for the space we had and I could not immediately install it. So, it was therefore fast food instead of homemade meals. That night it would be -10 and I felt it, I rarely had it so cold in the van and I had the heater running in the middle of the night for a while to get warm again. But I survived it and the rest of the two days consisted of 10-hour drives, calling Lon at every rest stop, and a lot of audiobooks. On Friday, 2.5 days after I had picked up Bob, I was back at Lon and the family. I was pooped from all driving, but I was super happy that Lon, I, and Bob were together again.
In the last few days, we made sure that we and Bob were ready for the real adventure that was coming. Furthermore, Lon had been sewing a lot to repair or remake clothing that they did not have the time to repair and we did a lot of cooking and baking. We trained a lot with the dog and we continued cleaning the sheds. Especially with those last two, we had made a lot of progress. The barn was for the most part cleaner and more organized. And in the beginning, Moona was very scared of us and always got stressed when we gave her too much attention. But in the end, Lon was mainly her safe haven and she had her learn all kinds of tricks such as: sit, down, roll, paw up, making figure 8’s between her legs, and jumping on her lap with her front legs as Lon pathed on her legs and most importantly, don’t pull at the line while walking. Furthermore, the children enjoyed watching and participating in training Moona, this also ensured that the children got a lot more of a bond with the dog and started playing with her by themselves. Isn’t that fantastic?
One evening we wanted to go to their workshop of Patrick together with Patrick to see how he made the countertop. However, two beautiful large deer stood in the garden before we stepped into the car. They are a lot bigger than the ones we know from back home and they have a beautiful long white tail!
Something else we did that week and what was a highlight of our stay at the family was going on a visit to Jeanet, Patrick’s mother. We had seen her briefly when she came to visit and she always said we had to come by to see her house. Patrick and his brother built that years ago, a so-called strawbale house for her. And polite as we are, we said that if we could we would like to come, however, we didn’t see the necessity of it. But one morning Patrick asked if we wanted to go to his mother with him because his mother kept asking him when he would bring us for a visit. Jap and I didn’t expect anything from it until we drove down the driveway. I don’t know how I can write this without it sounding strange, you should have been there. But once Jap and I were in we looked at each other with both tears in our eyes. We felt and thought the same. This is our dream house. This is exactly our dream house. We didn’t though of a house of straw bales but the layout, the spaces, the decor, the location, and the atmosphere was just spot on. Although it is the house of Jeanet and not from us and it is in Canada, that’s the only thing that wasn’t right. It was nice to be in that house and it surprised us completely. We have also talked a lot with Jeanet and got a statue of a buffalo from her. Jeanet saves everything that has to do with buffalos because this animal inspires her, the buffalo is in the culture of native Americans the protector of the north and stands for: wisdom, gratitude, abundance, and prayer. We said goodbye to her after our visit because we didn’t know if we would see her after that. But that week she came by two or three more times, she lives only 45 minutes away, and it was very nice to see her a few times more. We meeting her. We ended our time at the farm on a high note. We went to a music concert and made a campfire with hot dogs and marshmallows. We had a fantastic time at the fam Portmann and we are very grateful to them that they have received us warmly in their family. It was everything we had hoped for and more. We will miss the fun conversations, the children, and the chaos in the house. We really won’t copy everything but the love and freedom they give their children cannot be anything else than very inspiring.
Lots of love,
Jap and Lon
Spendings of the Week
Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700
|What/Where||Cost [CAD (€)*]|
|Eating out||25,60 (€ 18,72)|
|Groceries||142,16 (€ 103,94)|
|Diesel||490,28 (€ 358,47)|
|Other||221,79 (€ 162,16)|
|Total||879,83 (€ 643,29)|
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