What brings you to Canada?

I arrived in Calgary on October 13th, 2013, just in time for the Canadian Thanksgiving, or as they call it up here- “Thanksgiving”.  That adds up to about 9.5 months of Canadian living so far.  You may think- it’s Canada, it can’t be that different from the U.S. It’s subtle, you don’t notice it at first and you can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s different.  We found out we were moving to Canada pretty much a year ago from today.  I think if I tried to sum up the entire year in one post, it would be way too long.  Therefore, for my first blog post, I’ll tackle the “what brings you to Canada?” question.

Ok, rewind to one year ago.  Dan and I are engaged and living in Houston, planning our perfect destination wedding that will take place on September 28th in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  If you’re a soon-to-be bride planning a destination wedding, I think you can relate. It’s stressful, unbelievably exciting, and by then- those pesky disaster wedding nightmares are plaguing your dreams on an almost-nightly basis.  So anyways, while I’m in the midst of unsuccessfully trying to perfectly address each and every wedding invitation, Dan comes home with the great news- his company is moving us up to Calgary!  Big city, an hour from the mountains, what’s not to love, eh?  Oh wait, correction: his company is moving him up to Calgary, 6 weeks before the wedding.  I would follow after we were married.  All of that didn’t matter too much though, because we would finally be living near the mountains!  Dan and I share a love for the mountains (hence our Colorado wedding) and that shared interest was really one of the first things that brought us together.  Therefore, starting our newlywed life there seemed nothing but perfect.  I would have to wait until October, but I did, however, get to visit my soon-to-be new home in August.

Visiting my soon-to-be new home.  House hunting, hiking, and getting the lay of the land were priorities on this trip.

Visiting my soon-to-be new home. House hunting, hiking, and getting the lay of the land were priorities on this trip.

So as of right now, there’s two major life changes happening within 6 weeks- I’m getting married and I’m moving to a new city.  No, I’m moving to a new country.  But what about my job?  This is where major life change #3 comes in.  I really like my job, and I wasn’t excited about the prospect of having to move on simply because we were leaving Houston. Needless to say, I was thrilled when my boss suggested that I continue to work for the Houston office remotely. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with technology and forward-thinking management.

View More: http://jason-gina.pass.us/jeannie-daniel

Photo cred: Jason + Gina http://www.jason-gina.com/

Maybe I wasn’t all that excited about the timing of Dan moving to Calgary, but I will say this- being apart, just for those 6 weeks, made the Big Day that much sweeter.  I flew up from Houston, he flew down from Calgary, and Colorado treated us to the most glorious fall day on September 28th.  The aspens were golden, the mountains were snow-capped, and we were surrounded by those we loved most.  Ahh…. We then spent a week in Hawaii for our honeymoon, decompressing and consuming as many mai tais as possible.



As the week in Hawaii was coming to an end, we kept saying that we were “continuing the honeymoon” by moving up to Calgary.  In some ways this turned out to be true, but then there’s also reality to deal with.

It’s funny how you process things when so much is happening at once.  Up until the wedding, that was my focus.  It wasn’t until after the ceremony when I realized- oh yeah, I’ll be in Hawaii tomorrow!  Well, it didn’t hit me that I was leaving Houston until the car was packed and I was saying goodbye to my cousin.  Say what you will about Houston- it’s hot, humid, ugly, etc.  But Houston is a special place full of friendly people and tons of opportunity, and those things shouldn’t be taken for granted.  (More on this topic later…).

And so began my life as an American expat, working remotely from Canada.