Why I will never leave Canada
Every now and then, I get an e-mail or a face book notification to the affect; “why I will never leave South Africa.” What follows is normally a tourist brochure or video, or sometimes some photos from professional and non professional photographers about the life and times of South Africa. The essence of the information is normally a written, photographic or video of the beautiful scenery of South Africa: the abundance of wild life, the flower carpets, bird life and of course the luxurious affordable accommodation available in the country. The previous two e mails extolled the wonderful outdoor BBQ’s with boerewors, biltong some traditional delicacies and of course the vineyards, where some excellent meals with the best wines can be enjoyed in a wonderful setting sunset.
This made me think, if I had to post something like why I won’t leave Canada, what would I show. Scenery, I don’t think so, the big wide world out there is unbelievable if you look. I have been to many countries in the world and can assure u that there are many places as or even more beautiful than SA or Canada. Try NZ, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Peru, China, Thailand, Denmark, and Switzerland, a trip down the Danube or the midi in France and so the list goes on and on. Wild life, maybe not the variety of South Africa, but ever seen a Grizzly beer catching Salmon on the annual spawning run in BC, a cougar standing majestically on a rock outcrop, wild horses in the hundreds running freely across the ground, at least twenty deer in the middle of a big city like Calgary and my personal favorite, sailing right next to a school of Orcas? (Which is very do able along the coast of British Colombia)?
Sport, cultural activities like the arts or theatre should also not be let out of the equation.
But let’s leave that for another day.
So what shall I say WHY would I not leave. Most of these may seem trivial to you, but to me they are important:
1)In the twelve years I have lived here I have never locked my car when going to the movies, shopping, theatre, attending a hockey game, taking the kids to soccer or skating or whatever. Never been afraid to drive through the centre of Calgary at the darkest hour or to park at an open air car park and walk to the theater a few blocks away.
2) The year before 2012 there was a big splash in the news papers because there had been 32 homicides in the year, this in a city of 1.3 mill people. Sure there are crimes committed, we have our housebreaking, hi jacking and so on, but the incidence rate is such that we as residents, commuters or revelers never even think about such things.
3) Three years ago friends from Pretoria were visiting and we took them downtown to the city centre. On the way back we had to drive on one of the main arteries entering or leaving the city and it was at peak traffic time. Suddenly all movement ceased. We sat for a while and then saw several of the drivers had exited their vehicles and were shooing some Canada geese plus their chicks across the road between the cars to the other side. Once safely across everybody got back in their vehicles, started up and soon the line was moving. The beauty of it all ?, not one person blew their horn, no one shouted in frustration, no one was kicking their tires, no sign of road rage. It was one of those moments when u realize that there are still some people with empathy and soul somewhere in the world.
4) Sometime in 2012 my wife was visiting my daughter in the USA. To keep myself out of trouble I had been working in my workshop. It was already dark when I realized I was rather hungry as I had skipped lunch. I put on a jacket and set of to a steak house. The waitress seated me at a table next to two young executives (suits and ties and animated conversation about business seemed to suggest this). I as usual, took my time in deciding what I wanted, making the poor waitress roll her eyes. Eventually my order delivered and I tucked in to a beautiful Alberta AAA steak and finished off with a cup of coffee. My two execs had by this time departed and it was time for me to do the same. I called the waitress and asked for the bill. “ Sir your bill has been paid by the two gentleman who sat next to u and have left” Now I am not sure whether my perusing the menu in detail ,as I usually do ,or whether my clothing from the workshop may have left the impression I was financially tight. But a perfect pair of strangers even gave the waitress a very good tip.
Post script: when I phoned my wife and told her the story, her logic was very precise, “it’s because u looked like a bum.”
4) In winter time they have a slogan here “Be an angel” that is a request for people to shovel your neighbor’s pavement, believe it or not, people do it, particularly senior peoples pavements.
5) I have yet to see a homeless person sleeping on the cold pavement (they are escorted to homeless shelters), or a drunk in the streets.
6) At most your dinner guests will have two glasses of wine, but they make sure the driver only has one glass, or maybe a beer. I have ten year old KWV Brandy as well as Malt Whiskey which has never been opened, no takers.
7) When they say have a nice day, they truly mean it!
I suppose I can go on and on, but I think u get the idea. Canada along with Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and New Zealand Australia are but some of the countries voted “most attractive countries to live”
So, why will I not leave Canada?
They accepted us without reservation. No recriminations or innuendo’s, nothing. We were soon part of an extended family and I just love the general feeling of safety, friendships that are more than skin deep, and a lifestyle that cannot be better. My biggest anchor to this land is; this is a place with empathy and soul and I love it here.
I am sure those of u who went to NZ or OZ feels the same.