Three full days in and life on the farm is pretty good. Although, I feel as though I am in a sort of limbo and not quite on the Working Holiday yet.
Trish and Bill – Trish greeted me at the airport with a big hug and is exactly as I expected from the video and photos on her and Bills HelpX profile. She immediately took me for a ‘Timmys’ (Tim Hortons). The Canadians seem to rave about Tim Hortons and I have to say, the hot chocolate exceeded expectations and immediately overtook Costa. I feel I need a second try before committing to say it is better than Starbucks, but I think it might be. Back at the farm and Bill is also, as you would expect from his photo. He is from Colorado and looks and sounds the part. Trish sounds like I would imagine Dolly Parton to sound and has lovely twang to her voice when she shouts ‘Be-ill’ (Bill). They dont just have helpers on the farm to help, but as a temporary part of the family. There are also two german girls here called Simone and Melina.
The area – The farm is in Hockley Valley, near Orangeville (or Orgneville as they say!). The area is lovely. We have nice houses and views at home, but these are all in a whole other league. The houses all have verandas to sit out on and BBQs. Everything is bigger than home, big living rooms, big houses, big gardens, big cars, big roads and the ants are huge.
The Farm – The farm house is huge with a big sweeping drive way as you approach the house through the large gardens. The gardens are Trishs pride and joy and she is part of a garden club who tour each others gardens in the summer, she also writes for the local paper on gardening. The house is really homely and has a weird amount of seating areas. There are 3 decking type seating areas and I have counted 6 other areas with chairs/ sofas and tables and a bar. Lamps are very low hanging and I keep hitting my head. My room is a large double with my own toilet. It is quite cold at night due ot the air con – thank god for tog rated socks, thanks Katie! Me and the other helpers have a little gym, living room area and bathroom in the basement at garden level. The grounds for the horses and cows to roam in are massive and we have to drive a golf buggy type thing to go and find them to feed them. The big barn has lots of old rusty piece of machinery attached to the walls on the outside like something from a film – I have to say, this is usually horror films!
Free time – So far, I have pottered around the farm, used the gym and sunbathed while reading outside. We have one day off a week, but usually finish work by 2, so have all afternoon and evening as well. As Trish and Bill include us as family, a lot of time is already planned out for us. such as dinner with Trishs daughter for mothers day last night and water fights with her grandchildren (this counted as work hours) on Sunday. This is why I dont feel like I am independently in Canada yet! Trish also arranged for her friend who shoots unwanted animals on the farm to come and set up targets so we could shoot them. (Trish doesnt likw any animals being harmed, unless they are a risk to her plants, then the snails are crushed and the rabbits are shot)
Today we went into town and I got a Bank Account set up with Scotia Bank and got an SIN number which is like a National Insurance number and means I can work. I was able to take a bank card away there and then and paid most of my cash in so I dont have to worry about having so much on me now. I just need to get a mobile phone asap. I will start looking for places to live in Toronto and jobs in the next few weeks. We had another Timmys – chocolate milkshakes. Trish dropped me accross the road to get my SIN number while she went to the copy shop with the other girls. I had to ask how to cross the road. Totally unprepared. The roads are so big and cars were everywhere with the crossing thing beeping and no little green man to tell me what to do. I spotted a man who also looked like her was waiting to cross and scuttled along behind him when he went.
Canadians – They are SO nice! I totally see why people say this. They are all smiley and pleasant. The ladies in the bank were so chatty and helpful and asked about when I had arrived etc. They all say ‘have a great day’ and one lady said ‘have a beautiful day’. Trish said they all mean it all well. She asked why it amuses me and what we say instead. ‘Bye’ is somewhat less heartfelt! I have learnt that Candian paper is a different size to ours – it is shorter and fatter, so nothing fits in my plastic wallets which is annoying. Candians seem to respond to everything with ‘sure’ or ‘cool’ and Trishs says that most things plant related are ‘darling’ or ‘its just beautiful’ and ‘isnt it gorgeous’.
Animals – I have seen loads of wild chipmunks pottering around the decking, we caught a raccoon on the first night in the humane trap and Trish released it somewhere else and a porcuppine crossed the road in front of us. Bill has some stunning horses. They are friendly if you can get near them, but all unbroken and a bit wild at times. Trish has a very spoilt border collie called Zip.
Food – So far, surpringly, I have managed. I let them know as soon as possible that I am nont into salad. Today at the ‘grocery store’, Trish got Diet Coke, Philadelphia, hot chocolate and mushrooms. I got a stash of chocolate from ‘Dollarama’. Bill took us all out to a Nandos type place on my second night and we have had a german creamy pasta meal twice. Last night, Trishs daughter did greek food. It is my turn to cook tomorrow and we have supplies for carbonara and I will make a coconut cake for dessert. I am trying so hard to make sure I use the gym, but it has been very tiring so far as my body keeps telling me to wake up in the middle of the night here when its time to get up for HMP at home.