Moving across the seas: What’s it really like? (Part 1)

Okay, so I know that there may be people following our blog who want the low down on what it looks and feels like to move your life to Canada, or perhaps to a different location (but to experience a similar big move). The truth is, this will look so different for each family and will change over time. However I wanted to start documenting this for ourselves and maybe add some insight and potentially help a family considering a similar big move. I’ve put together a list of my findings from the first few months – the way I’ve experienced this new life and adventure – in no particular order of importance or significance. I will build on this list in the next few months too. So, grab that coffee (or Milo, you lucky South Africans) and settle in…


 1. Family and Friends 

Oh yes, this is a HUGE one… like huge! Our people. Our tribe back ‘home’ in South Africa. In my mind right now, there is none like them. They are the IT. We miss them every single day, especially the real real specials (you know who you are), and I’m not sure when or if this feeling of longing to be around your tribe, the people who know your story already, will ever go away?! This is the hardest part of our adventure for sure. Knowing that Hudson may not really come to know some of the people who’ve shaped us into who we are today, who’ve been alongside us every step of the way during our major ups and extreme downs. It’s tough. Summer seems to remember all her specials and was old enough when we left SA to really carry deep memories of these people with her and often talks about them. We will do everything we can to ensure that both littlies know their (our) people. It’s hard not having family and your tribe of friends around you when you welcome a new addition to your family, but we are making it through and are so so thankful and blessed to have a village of people here in Saskatoon rooting for us and loving on us. We feel very lucky! We are also fortunate enough to be able to return to South Africa in July for our first trip back ‘home’ and we are getting really excited about it! Eek! 🙂


2. Food and My Favourite Shops 

Can we have a moment’s silence for Woolies… Oh how I miss my Woolies. I really have not found a replacement or anything here that could ever take the place of Woolworths in my heart haha. The soups, the roast chicken, the pies and cheese puffs, the amazing already made luxury salads, the desserts, the list goes on for days yoh! Let’s just say that when we take our first trip back to SA in July, you will find me wondering the aisles of Woolies just because I can.

It’s hard at first getting used to which grocery shops to visit and make your home, to find where everything is in the shop, to find replacement brands or products for ingredients you are used to back home. This all gets easier in time and is really a small thing to get used to but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
Eating out and the type and style of food served here is very different, depending on where you go. Chinese food takeaway is completely different to what I’m used to and I crave some of my fave Chinese restaurants in Joburg right about now. There are many other things I miss (MILO and BILTONG and BOEREWORS!) but there are a lot of different things we’ve tried and loved here too, and we will continue to experience. It’s just one of the exciting and interesting parts of experiencing a new culture and country.
Clothes shops are naturally different too and it’s great finding new brands for both the kids and I. I’ve been loving Carter’s (Oshkosh B’gosh) for the kids specifically, and I’ve only started shopping for new clothes for myself now with having Hudson out of me and not being so whale-like anymore 😉


3. Orientation, Navigation & Exploring 

This is an exciting one, though I know a lot of personality’s would struggle with this one. I love exploring and finding new places to go and things to do. Moving to a new place means you need to orientate yourself and navigate to new surroundings. There really is a lot to get used to and it can be overwhelming at first, even for those who embrace change (or try to). I enjoy this but it is sometimes daunting too. Thank goodness for google maps for navigation and google for finding new things to do or places to go. We’ve enjoyed exploring our city and doing some nice day trips so far and will continue to experience our city and surroundings. Especially through the Spring and Summer months 🙂


4. No-one Knows Your Story 

This is definitely a positive and a negative. It’s nice getting to know new people and hearing their story and also sharing your story from start to finish. It’s also something I miss – people knowing my story… To be in our thirties and starting over with friendships and immersing ourselves into a new community is not an easy thing to do. But it’s also a positive that we get to meet new people and share in a new community – I’m always eager to make new friends so this is right up my alley! (Oh and I cannot believe I just said ‘In our thirties‘! This is the first year I can say that. I’m so old! 😉 )


5. Freedom and Safety 

One of the obvious pros to moving from SA to Canada is the safety aspect. I can fully say I don’t watch over my shoulder anymore or keep checking my rear view mirror when pulling into the garage at home. Weird! I feel free and safe and it’s strange and wow all at the same time. I will never become someone who leaves SA and complains about the country or the crime so you won’t catch me doing that here, but it’s an interesting feeling not feeling the stress I used to feel in South Africa regarding crime and safety. It’s something I won’t take for granted and I will really enjoy while we are here.


6. It’s For The Kids 

It’s also amazing raising our kids in a place like this and it’s one of the reasons we were so eager for this new adventure – our kids future’s (both in terms of safety and opportunities) were very much front of mind when considering this move. By no means am I saying our kids wouldn’t have a wonderful future and any opportunities in South Africa in years to come, but we feel this is a positive move for them (and us) and trust and know that this is where God has our family for now. We also know that this could change at any time and we are all for that – the place we want to be is the place where God would have us. And it’s here for right now.


7. Declutter 

One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about moving across the globe without a container (we have our possessions in storage in Johannesburg at the moment), is decluttering. I secretly want to be the type of person who isn’t materialistic, who doesn’t collect unnecessary things in our home, and who lives off only what we need. The minimalistic life… This is hard! I love clothes and the nice things in life, and I’m not sure that this will change over night. BUT with moving across the seas we’ve only included things in our home that we actually need. Yes, we still have a beautiful home (in my opinion haha), but we made certain decisions to only buy the things we needed to live a good life. We are renting a fully furnished beautiful home and we really don’t have clutter and unnecessary things lying around. It decreases stress in my opinion and also shows your kids what’s most important. Memories and experiences and family and serving God… and not stuff!


8. Climate 

Oh the weather! I know I have spent time explaining how cold it gets here in Winter and how it’s been both a winter wonderland and really tough adjusting to the sometimes minus 40 degree temperatures. We’ve been absolutely loving the change of season and Spring time in Saskatoon, and know that Summer and Autumn (Fall) will be an incredible experience for us too. And then it’s back to Winter – this time we will be more prepared and we will have a lot more fun with it with me not being pregnant. I cannot wait to throw myself down a hill trying to master snowboarding, ice-skating as a family and racing toboggans with Sum. It’s a huge adjustment for us living in such a different climate than what we’ve known our whole lives, and there are pros and cons and amazing seasons and challenging seasons. It’s all part of the new adventure and we choose to embrace it! 🙂


9. Support 

This is a biggie for me, especially now! It’s been an interesting journey getting used to the new normal of life here. The day to day lifestyle is incredibly different for me specifically. I really miss my job in South Africa and it’s tricky getting used to the new day to day of motherhood and being a stay at home mom. It’s tough and rewarding and full on hardcore, even though sometimes it looks like I’ve done absolutely nothing all day… I have never been so tired in my entire life haha! 🙂 Big up to all the stay at home mommies surviving life!

In SA we are blessed to have a lot of support with house keeping and cleaning and often a nanny for the kids. I miss our incredible nanny (our amazing Faith) who was part of our family and was a key person in raising Summer with us. Now with being a stay at home mom and having Sum and Hudson with me 24/7 (until Sum starts preschool in the Fall), and being in charge of cleaning the home and other responsibilities, I really miss the support we were blessed with in South Africa. I never realized how easy I had it to be honest, and I pretty much want to continuously bow down to my new mommy friends here who totally rock this life and do it with such grace and style (and most of them have three or four kids). Gosh, that’s hardcore! 😉


10. The State of Overwhelm

There really is so much to consider when making such a drastic move, and there were some things that totally shocked me and that I wasn’t too prepared for. With all the new things to get used to, it’s easy to fall into a state of overwhelm. Luckily, we’ve had fun with it and really enjoy challenging ourselves and the constant newness of the whole process. I’ve experienced this feeling a few times already and have definitely wanted to pack up and go home. To everything normal and familiar… But the feeling does pass and I remember why we are here and how blessed we actually are, to adventure together with God and our family. I know it’s normal to miss ‘home’ and crave what’s normal to you, but there’s something truly magical about learning something new and throwing yourself into a different culture.


I have so many more points to include in this post, so stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

Lots of love,
Sumandrianson (Summer, Mandi, Adrian & Hudson) 🙂 😉

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Briony Bosse says:

    The photo of the four of you is beautiful. Sum is surely growing up fast. Your Story – That is certainly a detailed and authentic update of what it must be like to relocate to a place that is incredibly beautiful, but very different. I have friends that have been living in Canada of over 20 years and still long for Woolies, besides Woolies it takes time to find as you say the equivalent in stores. I am so happy to hear that you have a supportive network, that is so important. I think of all of you often. May God bless you and keep you safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Briony 🙂 We miss you guys always and hope to reconnect in July when we visit xxx


  2. Cheryl Hofert says:

    My dear daughter Mandi, Adrian, Summie and Hudson babbie boy
    It is so reassuring hearing your inner thoughts on life across the seas. I am a proud Mom and Gaga. It all happened rather fast for your family, yet you have embraced it with aplomb!! Well done, my darling !! I miss you all daily and cannot wait to see you all and meet my grandson .
    Keep these posts coming please!!!
    Love and hugs, Mom xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Mom, can’t wait for our trip to SA soon xxx


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