I have never felt that the Netherlands was the end destination for me. I had lived in several other countries during my late teens and early twenties and two of those countries were seriously considered by me: France and England. In France I was thinking about becoming a tourguide on a coach (this was way before I could drive a car, let alone a bus), but I never went through with that. And then in England I just thought I wouldn't mind living there. I don't really know what I would have done though, probably something in hospitality: waitressing or hotel reception. But in the end I moved back to the Netherlands at the grand old age(!) of 24.
I have always wanted to go someplace I wasn't: for the journey or for the greener grass or for the I don't know what. At some times that bug was dormant, at other times it was very much awake. And then about 6 years ago that bug woke up and this time I didn't want to stay in the Netherlands, I didn't even want to stay in Europe! I was fed up with European rules and regulations and wanted a big change in scenery. Of course finances were a bit dire, but after a lot of scrimping and saving I not only managed to pay off a massive debt, but also saved enough!
Choosing which non-European country was a bit random really. I didn't want to learn a new language if I could help it, so most countries in Asia, Africa and South America were out. I wanted proper summer and winter seasons. Not those wishy washy things we call seasons over here. There was no way I would put my cats in quarantine for up to 6 months (Australia and New Zealand). And I wanted some semblance of social security. Which left Canada really!
I then started doing research. And found out that Canada not only had all of what I wanted, but heaps and heaps more: nature, space and a very positive feeling towards immigrants. Warm summers, cold winters. No quarantine. They spoke English (and French), both languages I do already speak to some degree. And according to many immigrants a really nice and good place to live.
Of course I still wanted to see it for myself and when I did, there was only one small disappointment. Yes, there was! I had after all been promised bears and elk and moose and the likes and one chipmunk, two deer and three mountain goats do not make one bear! I have come to the conclusion that the Canadian tourist board is just putting that rumour out to have tourists come and spend bucket loads of money!
Other than that though I loved it. The Rocky Mountains were great, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw the Badlands and the farmlands (I still can't wait to show my sister some time soon). The houses looked so unlike the houses we have in the Netherlands and the cars, lorries and shopping centers were ridiculously large. I will learn to love hockey (see how I skipped the ice already?), since I like it already. And overall, I thought I hadn't made such a bad choice! I can't wait to book my flight...
|Jasper National Park|
|Jasper National Park|
|Many pine trees have fallen victim to the pine beetle|
|Well, at least I saw a gorilla!!!!|