We are living in Canada… this is our new home country. Say what?! 🙂 When did this even happen? I am sitting in our hotel room in our new home city in Saskatoon, wondering how we got here. From the very first conversations that Adrian and I had about the possible move (Adrian was offered the opportunity to start a branch of their company in Western Canada), we knew it was meant to be. We didn’t even blink, we didn’t need a pro and con list, we didn’t need to chat to many friends or family members to ask for advice and opinions, we didn’t have any sleepless nights wrestling between if we should or shouldn’t move… we just knew! It was God’s plan for us for this season of our lives, and He had planned and orchestrated this all way in advance (I love the security we have in knowing this). We were certain that we had to get here, to make it happen, and we are finally here in very cold and snowy (but beautiful) conditions. A few short months of planning and sorting and packing up our lives in South Africa, and we are here living out our new adventure, in our new community. Adrian has been an absolute maniac legend (as always), and used his super hero admin skills getting our visa applications sorted so quickly (we are on open work permits for now and will potentially convert to permanent status at some point). Adrian also managed to get our Schengen visas arranged in lightning speed (in less than a week), which allowed our family the opportunity to celebrate my turning-very-old birthday (oh my gosh I’m THIRTY yo) in PARIS! 🙂 For a taster, here’s a quick collage of highlights of our stopover in Paris below, but more on this in a later post…
God has had His hand in absolutely every part of this journey and we are so thankful and humbled. God has called us here, to this specific location, for a time (or for life, who knows) and we will make this our home.
So why Saskatoon you may ask? After all, it’s not very well-known to South Africans and it’s in the prairies! Most South Africans seem to relocate to Toronto or Vancouver so this area is foreign to a lot of us – I definitely hadn’t heard of it. Adrian is in the Mining industry and this location is perfect for the work they need to do here in Canada and in the States. Adrian had previously visited Saskatoon on a few work trips and had already fallen in love with the people, culture and how they seem to embrace winter and all the seasons. It has a small-town feel which I love, and which will be a great change from the rat race we lived previously in Johannesburg. And let’s be honest, it’s rather breathtakingly beautiful… This was one of our first sunrises in our new home city.
We officially flew out of the beautiful South Africa, the country we called home for our whole lives, on the 15th January 2018, via Paris and Toronto, and landed in Saskatoon very early on the 18th January.
This was our very first international flight as a family of three, and we just had to capture it as it all began (even though we all look a bit psycho 🙂 ). Summer was a little star and dominated the flights – all of them! She slept (without many or any drugs) and played nicely and kept entertained on the iPad or via inflight entertainment. We bought a Planepal in SA before we left, and Sum was comfy and sleep definitely wasn’t a problem. I highly recommend them for long flights: https://planepal.co.za.
When we arrived in Saskatoon, we apparently received a very warm welcome with temperatures of only just below zero. Now having experienced what minus 20 and 30 degree temperatures feel like, I understand that we did truly receive a very warm welcome to our new city. We’ve been staying at an amazing hotel called The James Hotel in Downtown Saskatoon, a contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of the city (http://thejameshotel.ca) for nearly two weeks now, and we move into our first real home here on Thursday 1 February! I cannot wait to share some pictures of our new neighbourhood and home with you all as soon as we’re a bit more organized. We’ve really been spoilt at this hotel, and met some amazing people here, but we are so eager to settle down into our new area and home. Some snippets from our stay at The James Hotel (The food though! I am on my way to becoming a preggie whale):
Staying in the city has allowed us some great opportunities, with one of the best outdoor iceskating rinks right across the road from the hotel, and beautiful trails right next to the river that runs through the city. We got to make some awesome memories ice-skating together as a family for the first time (well, I had to watch due to my preggie state, but Adrian and Sum had a blast). One of our highlights was experiencing our very first snowfall (like actual snow falling from the sky guys), and it was WOW! We kept watching the weather forecasts and knew we would wake up to snow the next day – much excitement in our household. We told Sum that we would wake her up early in the morning to go out and take a look at the snow (we didn’t know it would necessarily still be falling)! We woke up to snow everywhere and snow still falling, so we rushed to wake Summer and took forever to get all our warm stuff on (we were still newbies to the whole dressing excessively warm thing)! It’s really a whole thing – wearing thermals, layering, locating our gloves, putting on our tuque’s (Canada’s word for beanie; pronounced took) and snow boots and very warm outdoor jackets! We then headed out before the sunrise (sunrise was at about 9am at this stage), with a very eager and excited littlie! We had such fun making memories, and I truly will never ever forget these moments with my precious family…
A little shout out to our new peeps; Canadians, you are beauts! You are welcoming, friendly, quick to help, and oh so genuine. We are beyond excited to do life with you. We found an amazing home church very quickly – Grace Fellowship (https://gracesask.com), and have no doubt that God has us in this community for a reason and purpose, and we will push into that!
So, there you have it… The Berghorsts have moved to Canada! 🙂 We packed up our house, put our belongings into storage, gave away a ton of stuff (I hate clutter and am on a slow journey to a more minimalistic lifestyle), said many many goodbyes (how hard are goodbyes guys)… and hopped on a plane with Summer (and little boy Bergie in my tummy), along with ten massive bags, and we were off! Life is an adventure and we are surely living it! We love life and are expectant to see what God would have us do here in Saskatoon. There’s lots more to come, and you’re invited to journey with us.
If you’d like to stay connected, watch out for more blog posts to come, and follow our journey on Instagram: @ourcanadianadventure 🙂
Much love, Sumandrian (Summer, Mandi & Adrian) xxx
(Picture taken right after our first ever family ice-skating memory-making time)