Posted by on November 8, 2011

Welcome to my new personal blog! Although I never know what I am going to write, this blog will probably include some opinions, ideas, thoughts and updates on interesting events. For example, I may share things like my feelings about technology….hey don’t get me started.

A series of ads currently running on television are aimed at encouraging kids to get outside and play for at least an hour a day. Need I say more about the state of our wired up, plugged in society.

One of the most annoying aspects of the internet for me is the way it has influenced our normal everyday discussions. Whenever two people disagree one will invariably say “Well, we can look that up” or worse still, they leave to do just that.  Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of people carry a lap top when they visit friends or family. Phones with internet connections are fired up during dinner conversations to confirm or deny aspects of the discussion. Sure this keeps us all honest but…….

I admit my own propensity towards ‘refusing’ to be part of certain trends in social behaviour overly influenced by technology. I am convinced many of the latest innovations are not consumer driven and have little relevance to making my life more enjoyable.



Marilyn and I are adjusting to a whole new adventure after returning from our three years in Zambia. Culture shock is most evident when wandering around a mall. At these times, we remind ourselves that we must never forget Africa.




We are settling in Saskatchewan for who knows how long. This is a homecoming of sorts for Marilyn and she is reconnecting in joyous ways with her family and friends. For me…..well, let’s just say it is my latest integration into a new culture. (Do you remember the tv show Green Acres?”)

A beautiful garden in Kitchener

So far I’m loving it. There is a strong sense of community in Saskatchewan, a thriving arts scene, lots of good old Canadian hockey (and curling), and very friendly people. We have been made to feel at home at Margie’s new home which has a lovely basement area with bedroom, bathroom, and sitting area. Since Margie just moved to this house in August, we are able to help her get settled and do some minor repairs and maintenance.

Tara, Elora, and Liam

Ryan, Sally and Evan

I spent a fair bit of time staying in different parts of Ontario before driving out to Saskatoon to join up with Marilyn. One morning when I was out walking (in a city which shall remain anonymous), I said good morning to 35 different people and didn’t get one smile or reply. Finally, I bought a news paper and a coffee and sat down on a bench on the main street.  Along came a lady, nicely dressed and, I assumed, on her way to work. Although I was reading the paper, she greeted me with a very friendly “It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?

Recovering from my shock, I engaged her with small talk and she took a seat next to me. Eventually, our conversation rolled around to the topic of ‘unfriendly’ people I had met earlier. That’s when she said “Well, you know what the bible says about that” as she extracted “the good book” from her bag. Eventually, we both tired of our varied stances on religion and she went on her way having failed to convince me Jehovah was soon going to return. At least she was friendly.

Niece Laura and family


There are a few observations, I’ve made so far about life on the Prairies.

  1. Everyone in the Province of Saskatchewan is a huge Roughrider’s fan. Every store I’ve been in sells Roughrider souvenirs, meals are planned around the kick-off for the next game, and it isn’t Regina’s team- it’s Saskatchewan’s team.
  2. Most Prairie people (especially farmers) don’t feel appreciated by Canadians from the ‘East’ and that includes Ottawa.
  3. You can start a new political party in Saskatchewan and win a majority your first time out
  4. When you move to Saskatchewan people will tell you how much you will enjoy everything except the cold…really cold….really, really cold.
  5. Comedians abound
    a)      You don’t know you are afraid of heights until you look down a well
    b)      Police on the TransCanada highway will wave you on saying “nothing to see here folks, nothing to see…keep moving along”



News headlines are different:

a)      Saskatchewan resident seen in Winnipeg (he was an elderly man apparently lost)
b)       Moose hit by six different vehicles

Many town names in Saskatchewan are very descriptive:

a)      Big River

b)      Bigger

c)       Bigger Still (okay I made that one up)

Evan discovering the books

I did a fair bit of visiting in Ontario after Marilyn drove out to Saskatchewan in September. It was nice to get reacquainted with friends and family and I thank all those who took me in when I was homeless.

Since arriving in Saskatchewan, Marilyn has been busy rehearsing for a performance as part of a ‘Classical Afternoon’ show and is directing the Hanley Christmas Concert. As usual it involves costumes and props and some wonderful music. She has also spent several days in the recording studio getting our African band’s CD ready for distribution. It is way over budget and behind schedule but sounds absolutely amazing.

A few of the things we’ve done so far in Saskatchewan are:

A housewarming party at Margie’s new home
Thanksgiving dinner with the family
Seeing three plays in Saskatoon (Mystical Magic, Vimmy, and Fiddler on the Roof
Watching Malcolm play basketball
Attending the Women’s World show
A road trip to Medicine Hat and Calgary
House hunting in Hanley



Marilyn’s mom mentioned a house which was empty because the woman who owned it had recently moved to a senior’s home in Saskatoon. However, Marg also said she heard the woman did not want to sell it because she hoped someday to move back to her home. When we drove past, I got very excited and insisted Marilyn make some inquiries. (Better for Marilyn to do this since she is either related, went to school with, or knows someone who knows someone).

Tiffany and Marg at Thanksgiving

Eventually, Marilyn did track down the woman’s son who said his mom might consider renting.  The house is a larger bungalow with a double car garage and a big corner lot just around the corner from Marilyn’s mom and dad. It was built in the 1970s and has remained locked in that ‘retro’ timeframe. It does, however, have a new washer and dryer, new fridge and stove, and new built-in dishwasher. The shag carpet and wallpaper are something to behold.


We will move to this house on November 15th, after the owner’s son has finished cleaning and packing his mom’s personal items. It is fully furnished which is great since most of our stuff is still in Ontario. We did buy some new knives, pots and pans, coffee maker, and toaster. It seems everything in Canadian stores is on sale.

Northern Ontario Sky Outside Dryden

So that’s a bit of catch-up information for those who have expressed disappointment at missing my weekly blog from Africa. I’m not sure how I’ll fill up a weekly page but I do enjoy writing and will post a new blog each Sunday or Monday if you wish to learn more about our life on the Prairies.

2 Responses to Welcome!

  1. susan pare

    Hey you two – welcome back, good to hear you are reintegrating into the canadian culture – good to hear you have returned to us.

  2. Cindy F. Perry

    Welcome back to Canada dear Bob & Marilyn. I can see you are already a blessing in your community once again.
    Hey Bob, I thought it was pretty nice that the friendly woman in the unnamed town was one of God’s representatives. You can run but you can’t hide eh?
    Just kiddin but I did get a kick out of that story.
    Amazing how that Bungie jumper managed to survive the broken chord during the 50, 001rst jump in Zambia! These things just aren’t made like they used to be.
    Happy and healthy New Year (or Novem Rokem (not spelled correctly) as the wonderful Ukrakians down here say)
    Love and Hugs from Carly and Cindy.

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