For the last 8 months I have been enjoying taking care of 3 cute kids in Canada and have been surprised every day by the weather and the people in this beautiful country!
Let me start of by saying Canada is a BIG country, so obviously every part has different weather conditions and different circumstances.
I am currently an au pair in Virden. This little town (and by little I mean tiny!) is located in the province of Manitoba and is about 4 hours away from the capital, Winnipeg and a 1 hour drive away from the next big city called Brandon.
I came here in late August, which was great! The weather was around 25 degrees Celsius. The summer was gorgeous, long days spent on the lake, campfires until late in the evening and getting your tan on is the best way to describe a nice Canadian summer.
But then…. Once October comes around temperatures drop FAST. It is no joke that Canadians are very well adjusted to the weather, I on the other hand, was not. We got the first snow in the middle of November and I kid you not.. it was CRAZY. The one day you’re walking around without a jacket and the next day you’re wearing mits & a toque (Canadian word for hat).
Around the beginning of winter temperatures drop between 0 and -10, which is doable. In the hart of winter you can have a full week in which it is -40 for 7 days straight.. I thought I was going crazy. I did not have a newish car so I had to do the best I could with the family van. Taking the kids to and from school in a snowstorm in which you could not see more than a meter ahead and the wind almost blew you off the street was an adventure to say the least!
We had 6 snowstorms in total, some were not too bad but on some occasions we we’re stuck inside for 4 days. Try to imagine begin stuck inside with 3 kids & 3 adults.. yeah, fun! (not). Even though it made the culture shock a bit hard for me, sometimes it was actually pretty cool.
The outside world changed into a beautiful winter wonderland, the deer and white rabbits came out to play and roam the big white fields. Everything was nice and quiet because of the damping the snow causes and the sunsets were glorious in contrast with the snow on the treetops & white fields.
Conclusion; If you go to Canada for 1 year, you will literally see every possible weather type that is known to human kind.
Almost every tv show ever has at some point made fun of Canadian people. I must say, most of those jokes were VERY on point. What stood out to me the most is the fact that they are just such nice people.
For someone in who’s country the people are always in a hurry and/or very grumpy, this was sometimes very very creepy.. No matter where you are, you can always expect a smile or a hello.
Every store you enter there will be someone waiting to greet you and ask you how you’re doing today. Even though this made me feel very welcome, I did notice that they are at the same time very unpersonalized. They will smile, greet and/or wave, but they will never ever talk about themselves or any situation that is out of the norm.
Again, this is all written from personal experience but the fact that some subjects, that are to me very normal, are still a big taboo here.
The family I am with, however, feel like my own family. They really look out for me in every aspect, they truly care about my well being and want to make sure I am taken care of. To me this says a lot about the culture they grew up in.
Conclusion; Once your family takes you into their lives & hearts, you’ll feel more warmth and love than you have ever felt before.
The food here is pretty regular for a country that shares a border with the great America.
Food in Canada is expensive, it is very tasty but not so healthy. Mainly, the food is very very yummy!
I will try and explain some of the main ‘typical Canadian’ dishes.
Poutine: the incredible poutine dish is a plate with fries, topped with cheese and gravy, it sounds gross but believe me, you’ll love it (and feel totally guilty about it).
Bevertail: a stretching pastry, shaped like a beaver tail (duh), then fried and topped with sweet confections like whipped cream and berries.
Maple syrup: This is the forever beloved boiled down sap that makes Canadians run (at least thats what they say about this ultimate sugary syrup)
Butter tarts: A crumbly, shortbread-like pastry shells filled with butter, sugar, syrup and eggs.
Nanaimo bars: a chocolate top layer with a wafer crumb base, which perfectly sandwiches a custerd flavoured center. Once you start eating these, you will NEVER stop (seriously, I once ate like 10 of these..)
Saskatoon berry pie: A mixture of the sweetest berry ever and a ton of sugar stuffed in a golden brown pie crust.
the first things that come to my mind when I think of living in Canada are its natural beauty, extensive opportunities for sport, and their cultural involvement.
Yes, when you think of Canada you’ll say maple syrup and hockey (saying ice-hockey is a no-go here by the way.. learned it the hard way by getting angry looks at my first hockey game by shouting to my dad through the phone that I was in fact, at my first ice hockey game.. yeah, awkward!)
Those things are indeed what people use to describe Canada but it is definitely not what defines it.
Canada is a relatively new country (150 years old), full of proud people that have descendants from all over the world. They are just truly kind people, and I know that those are rare to find, but there are plenty in this country!
If you are thinking about becoming an au pair in Canada, I would say; DO IT!
If I knew then what I know now, I would still choose Canada to be the country to have my first au pair experience! I love this country and even after I leave, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
If you have any other questions about my experience or the country in itself, please don’t hesitate to ask. I know that the visa process can be a little complicated, but once you get it all done, it’s not too bad 🙂