Before I begin writing about creativity and procrastination

I’ve been wanting to continue writing this blog for a while. There is so much I would like to give and share with you. However I just didn’t know how to do that …

Everytime I wrote a post it seemed too boring to publish it, yet I write so many emails to my dear friends with (no bragging here haha, just honesty;) some amazing context, emails that touch their hearts and souls every week … and above all I LOVE IT!!

So from now on, I’ll write this blog as a conversation with my friend (who is going to be you, the reader, in this case) … because I care …

See you soon 🙂

When is enough

Once upon a time there was a prince called Parvus. He was smart, well-educated, and on top of that very, very handsome (tall & dark… you got the picture). There wasn’t a field he didn’t excel at. He became the best in everything he tried.

When, for example, he started to learn to hunt with a bow, his progress was so rapid that he soon overcame his teacher. His arrow would hit things that were almost impossible to imagine, let alone achieve, even for a fine archer. After he had defeated every single man in his father’s kingdom, he became bored. There was no one left to match his expertise. He then switched to fencing and the same story repeated itself. His speed and precision with a sword were beyond astonishing and in no time he couldn’t find a man who would defeat him.
All those victories soon led to boredom and despair. Nothing would excite the prince anymore.

One day, when he was out in the fields riding his horse with a hawk on one arm, he felt a very strong desire. He wanted to find a person who would challenge him. All of a sudden the hawk let out a loud cry and, as if they had an unspoken agreement, the prince knew he had to follow the bird. He then leaned forward and coaxed the horse into galloping. We don’t know whether their journey lasted for 7 days and nights, but we do know they eventually reached a big tree-house in the middle of the forest. It was there that his companion, the hawk, finally stopped.

It was almost dark and the prince suddenly felt hunger and exhaustion. At that very moment a wrinkled old face popped out of one of the windows and called the prince: “Come on in Parvus, I’ve been waiting for you. There is some warm food on the table, you must be hungry!“ Our prince was too surprised to argue with the guy.

“You can call me Paladin,” the old man said, and let him into his small, beautifully furnished house.

The conversation between the prince and the mysterious man is none of our business. If you assume Paladin was the prince’s teacher, you are correct. But before we reveal you what happened next, let us say a couple of words about the man’s appearance. He had a medium build and didn’t particularly stand out in any way. Yet, when you looked into his eyes or when he gave you a bit of his attention, you felt respect for that humble man.

Our young beautiful prince Pavrus was asked to compete with the old man in any disciplines the prince chose. The old man challenged him to defeat him in at least one. The prince looked at the guy from head to toe and thought, “That’s too easy, but I’ll try to be merciful so I won’t hurt his feelings.”

They shook hands and started. First they competed in archery. Up to that day, it seemed that the bow was under the prince’s charm, but now the prince seemed clumsy compared to Paladin. The prince tried his best but the magic was gone. Of course he was still good at it, but nowhere near as Paladin. When they threw a couple of apples in the air, Paladin hit at least three with one shot while the prince managed only one at a time.

The prince was curious as to where an old man who lived in the middle of nowhere got all this knowledge from. His mind was already calculating how much time he needed to stay with this guy in order to learn everything he knew and become better than he was. It could not be more than a few weeks, he thought. They tested their skills in fencing, riding, hunting, but each time Paladin won the match.

The prince was slowly losing his self-confidence and became visibly annoyed. At the end of the day he admitted that he could not believe that he had not won any match. Apparently he was not as good as he thought. With his eyes full of shame he asked Paladin to be his teacher and vowed that he would do whatever was necessary to fulfill his wishes.

Paladin laughed kindly and asked: “Tell me Parvus, do you like riding a horse?” “Yes” replied the prince. “Do you like shooting with a bow” “Yes, of course, even though I was beginning to feel bored because until today I had beaten everyone.”

Paladin grabbed the prince’s shoulder and said: “Dear prince, there will always come a day when someone will be better at a something than you. Right now you can be smarter, more handsome, younger, more successful, but keep in mind that every victory eventually becomes a defeat. Every time when you’re winning, know that the day will come when you will lose.”

Pavrus looked at the old man in the eyes in amazement, “What can I do about it?”

Paladin smiled warmly and added: “It is enough that you love what you do. When you understand this, you’ll be happy. Enjoy doing things because of how they make you feel, not how they made you seem. How good you are comes second, believe me.

Victory is a one-time event. It comes and finishes in the blink of an eye. But the joy that you can experience whilst doing something you love can be limitless. So just enjoy it and it doesn’t matter whether you are the best or not. It is enough that you love what you do. That’s enough.”

“I understand, but what about the others? What am I if I’m not good enough in their eyes?”

“For the person who truly loves you, it will not matter. They love you because of who you are and that is enough. Therefore, find people who will love you regardless of your victories or defeats.”

Parvus smiled and it seemed that he finally relaxed. After some thinking he said, “But Paladin you seem to know so much and there is one very important question on my mind that you might have an answer to… Who am I?”

Paladin raised his head, looked at the sky, closed his eyes and said, “For today it is enough…”

Entering Canada

Needles to say that our trip to Canada was one of the most emotional moments in my life. Before the actual move I was busy packing our stuff, working, cleaning our apartment and simply preparing for the trip, so I didn’t deal with my feelings at all.
On the day of our arrival I still can remember thoughts in my head saying “Do you know what are you doing? This is not just another holiday, you won’t return home in 2 weeks, is that what you really want?”
It made me so sad leaving my friends and family, I felt like I was hurting them and myself and for what?

insecure

Our flight to Canada was accompanied with abundance of my tears (lol, my poor man), I was like a little child. Some people would be excited but I was acting as if I’d made a biggest mistake of my life. I was just scared and didn’t know what was ahead of me. Knowing what I know now, I’d simply smile and said “bring it on” 🙂

Despite all my fear and persistence I knew in my heart that was the right choice. I’d always wanted to experience living in another country.
To make my story short, when we entered Ottawa airport and met with officer on the border, we were greeted with the best welcome ever, accompanied with full of jokes and a pleasant feeling in our hearts that everything will be just fine.

Before leaving home for Canada or Finding a place to sleep

I don’t know about you, but what I usually do before going somewhere for more than a day, I tend to find myself a place to sleep 🙂 Well this wasn’t really true for our trip to the Phillipines but that was a vacation, not an actual move. Yes, there is a difference. 🙂
So before the actual move we had everything planned for the first 2 months which made our lives easier and less stressful. Let me share …

OUR PLAN for 2 months
A night at a hotel
was the best choice to begin with as we knew our first day would be tough and we wanted to get some sleep. Later on we went Couchsurfing for 9 days with 4 different hosts. That was way the best start of exploring a new country. I’d recommend that kind of experience to anyone for this way one isn’t isolated and gets enormous of precious information regarding life in city, country and mostly anything you can think of. It is also an option to make first new friends! 🙂
Then we booked AirBnb for 16 days and lastly we spend a little more than entire month in a beautiful house in Westboro (western part of Ottawa).

faith

FIRST night – a hotel
We booked a night at St. Paul Residence via Booking.
Hotels in Ottawa aren’t cheap but my advice would be, don’t always let the price to decide. There are more factors to consider (close to downtown, reviews, quiet, cleanliness, etc).
We were really satisfied with our choice and especially that breakfast was included. Oh, the price was around $90 per night.

COUCHSURFING – the best way to travel
Couchsurfing is for free. You can offer a couch or surf on one, when you travel. It’s not “free of charge” that make CS so great but simply opening your home to “strangers” and making heart connections. We met 4 different locals in different parts of the city and we totally loved the experience.
To show our gratitude we give everyone a chocolate, ceramic ornament (made by me:) and a postcard from Slovenia. I just love giving people presents … ❤

First, we landed on a vegetarian couple’s “couch”. Actually we had the entire room and a queen size bed just for ourselves. Plus they lived in a nice neighborhood. They took us on two trips, first one to the Museum of Nature and second one to Quebec side of Ottawa river for a long walk. Besides they provide plenty of information on my husband’s job (software developer). We were so grateful getting a chance to meet them.
Our second host was a funny guy. He was very busy so we didn’t spend much time together though !!! when he was around he wanted to feed us all the time! We were grateful but we are not used to someone cooking and basically feeding us all the time. For example in the morning he made us oats porridge and watch us eat hehe, it was so funny. He baked us muffins, corn and some other things as well. OMG, treated like kings we were 🙂
The most interesting thing was that he left his house unlocked all the time despite his expensive equipment (he had a thing for luxury stuff)! (Just don’t ask me for his address, ok?).
Third hosts were a couple in their late 40ies. They both worked for government (which is VERY common here since Ottawa is a capital). He was doing some translations and corrections for the minister and she also worked in language related field. I was so thrilled that he checked and make some improvements on my resume. How nice is that!
During that time we arrange our bank account and prepaid cell phone package.
Oh and one interesting thing. During the night my hubby was woken up for the smell. Yup, stinky skunks were marching beneath our windows 🙂 Lol!
However this time we cooked for them in a sign of appreciation 🙂
Or last and the most crazy experience was with a French guy. He is probably super host for he is hosting people ALL the time 🙂 The most he hosted at the same time was 12 people! Can you imagine that 🙂 I don’t know how did they manage to take a shower and use a toilet (it is just one and they are both in the same room hehe).
However we slept in a basement in the same room with two french guys on inflated beds. At that time he also hosted his girlfriend and her parents from Brazil. They were all really nice!
The funniest thing happened during the night! A policeman and his dog came near the window for it is supposed to be a burglary near. But the thing that attracted dog was weed! Can you imagine that hehe.

It was enough, after 9 days, we wanted some privacy. Plus walking with suitcases was never much fun.

AIR BnB – the best “hotel” in town 🙂

That is a very convenient and inexpensive way to travel. You book a night (or more) with locals who share a part of their houses/apartments. That is a short term stay and gives you an opportunity to cook for yourself as well as having an interaction with locals (which is again a benefit for you can get hints and more information about life in that particular place) at the same time.
We stay at two hosts for 16 days altogether. First one was at eastern part of the city and we called him Mr. Muscular (he had a lot of muscles as he worked out in the apartment), but he was a really nice guy and let us name one of his fish – Mau Richar (Rainbow man) 🙂 We still hang out occasionally.
The second host was in Quebeck side in Hull, Gatineau. Houses and rents there are cheaper than in Ontario. We stayed at a lovely decorated apartment with a nice cat called Lolly. Since owner wasn’t there all the time we occasionally fed the cat. All she wanted was to show her that you cared by offering her food. What a cutie 🙂

At that time we started to look for jobs, checking the market for apartments etc. But we still “played” tourists, it was a nice time …

PROMO CODE for your first experience … http://www.airbnb.ca/c/bfojkar?s=8

travel-for-free-almost

WESTBORO – life in a house

We spend little more than a month in a lovely house in Westboro. How did we even get one and just for one month? Well, it was due to Couchsurfing. You see, CS is great 🙂
We wanted to surf with a lady who couldn’t host us for she went on holidays to Europe with her husband. I guess she liked us therefore she suggested whether we would like to rent her house for the time of her absence. We were so happy that we said “yes”.
We were situated in a nice neighbourhood with lovely&friendly neighbours. A house had a lovely backyard where I could do Qi Gong and feed little guys called chip monks. We were really really grateful! on top of that they lend us their bikes so we could travel around more easily. Before we relied just on our legs or buses … not so much fun 🙂

chip-monk

There is more and I could write forever … the question was … where to next … soon 😉

Why Canada and why Ottawa?

That is a very good question since Canada is known as a very cold country (if that doesn’t bother you, great!) In fact, since its “being cold” reputation we didn’t bring our swimming suits and were surprised on how hot and sunny summer was.

We wanted an experience of living abroad. We’d lived in Europe for our entire lives, so I guess a country on the other side of an ocean sounded more appealing. That’s how Canada came into our plan. No big deal, no excitement, just a feeling deep inside that we had to make that step.

athought

CANADA
We didn’t know much about Canada except for the basics … people are friendly, everybody loves hockey, it is cold, plenty of water everywhere … well, here are some interesting FACTS
http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/canada/10-mind-boggling-facts-about-canada/

To be honest, we really like people here for they are friendly, helpful and humble in a good way 🙂 As for the environment, Canada is a beautiful country, full of woods, which we both like. The only and the biggest downside is cold, as I’ve already mentioned.

OTTAWA
As for choosing a city we chose Ottawa for its size (not huge), it’s quiet, it has a LOT of green areas, water (ok, that was easy :), museums and it sounded nice (seriously). Later we discovered that it also has a lot of IT companies (for my man) and it is relatively close to big cities like Montreal and Toronto.

ottawa

Which city should one choose?
Just go with what you like … nature /urban, quiet /active, cold / cold (no options here, sorry :). Majority of people migrate to Toronto because there are supposed to be more job opportunities or Vancouver for its mildest climate, but choose the one that resonates with you the most. Because YOU are the one who is going 😉 No secret formula here.

I’ll write more about how we find a place to stay, jobs and how we blended with the environment (we’ll at least that is what we think :)) in my future posts. Please feel free to drop me a question anytime!

Working holiday visa for Canada … and the beginning of my story

I just can’t believe it has already been 5 months since we’ve moved to Canada. I still remember thinking, before leaving Slovenia “where are we going to be in 3 month time”, for we had absolutely NO clue.
We left our jobs, sold our car & motorbike, packed our bags, moved out of the apartment, we were renting at that time and just hoped we would survive or more – have fun. 🙂

I’ve decided to share my experiences in order to make your journey easier or just to make you laugh at my crazy (at least I see it that way) life – whatever you prefer.

ottawa-at-night

PROCEDURE to obtain a W/H visa
I tend not to go into details about the procedure on how to get a working/holiday visa for Canada but since this is my first post (on this matter), my advice is to follow this link:
http://www.international.gc.ca/experience/intro_incoming-intro_entrant.aspx?lang=eng
When the spots are open you have to move fast (at least this is true for my country since we get only 100 working holiday visas per year). Later on have all the necessary documents prepared and you’ll be fine … 😉

Don’t forget to arrange health insurance for the entire length of your stay, take sufficient amount of money and (until recently obliged) purchase a return ticket home. 🙂

In our case everything went faster as we expected … overall procedure from day one until we got the acceptance letter was about 3 weeks in total. We were horrified 🙂 … so that was only the beginning … unknown here we come.