Another year down, 3 more to go.. will I make it? in one piece?

Looking back on 2011, I have been touched by the kindness and support of all the people I have met in Ottawa.  Sorry I haven’t had a chance to meet with Mr Harper yet. 

I can’t be kept away from the real estate market for very long.  This time I bought a 1500 sq ft 3 bed room 2 1/2 bath townhouse in the Barrhaven neighbourhood, south west of Ottawa in the suburbs. I love my new kitchen… lots of space, big fridge and pull out freezer.  There is AC of course, (everyone has AC in Ottawa) and an upstairs laundry.  It was built in 2004 and it’s painted in modern different colours in each room. It almost feels brand new.  Barrhaven is a rapidly growing new development that used to be farmers’ fields.  They have built some amazing schools… large, modern and architecturally interesting.  Not just one but three secondary schools within walking distance, one for each school board.  Also within walking distance is Walmart, Canadian Tire, Loblaws, Future Shop etc so I can do my shopping on foot and get some exercise too.  I am still a 20 min drive to work unless there is traffic, in which case it can be an hour.  Or longer if it snows.  I have a garage and booked a contract snowblower for the season. 

So far no snow. Today the 18th of Dec is the first below zero day.  Sept, Oct and Nov were fabulous.  Cool and sunny.  The summer was a killer.  Hot and humid everyday.  Too hot to go out except late at night.  It felt like Florida.  I don’t like being a captive indoors.  I thought the winter would be hard to take but I have found the summer to be more uncomfortable.  The weather fluctuates a lot even within a day.  It can be very windy with torrential rain falls and thunderstorms.  Power failures are common.  One blew out my computer and another one blew out my printer.   Another ‘project’ to upgrade and transfer files. 

On the Vancouver scene, my tenants gave notice and I went through a lengthy process to find a property manager who did not work out very well in the end.  I ended up with an empty apt for a month, but now I have tenant who is a medical resident at Childrens’ Hospital so I guess he’ll be there for a couple of years.   I sacked the property manager and am doing the property management myself. If I need another tenant I think I will go out there and do it myself.

On the work front, I have been working as a program development officer in Vaccine Preventable Diseases.  Everyone at Ottawa Public Health has been very friendly.  I’ve made many new friends.  I went to one wedding at the National Arts Center and several Christmas parties.  I find the social environment better than Vancouver.  The longer I am here the more I like it. I was seconded to a different program in August and having been writing reports for the newly created board of health and the annual report for 2011.  I am going back to Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Jan. 

I got into the creative mode and have become the fascinator creator, inspired by the Royal Wedding.  It’s been fun and everyone has enjoyed modelling the creations at my various Christmas events. 

Activity wise I have done a bit of cyling, when it hasn’t been too hot, and visited a few of the galleries and museums.  My friends bought a small power boat and took me out for a trip along the Rideau.  And of course there was the tulip festival, skating on the Rideau, and Winterlude.  There is usually a festival of one kind or another every weekend.  

J’avait pris francais depuis janvier.  J’ai avancé au niveau avancé.   It’s been fun and interesting.  I was promoted to the advanced level but 3 of the people in my class were held back, so I am amazed that after 30 years of not speaking any French I got into the  advanced level.   Thanks god I can speak in the past tense at least!

I am still working on my clarinet.  It’s the highlight of my week.  Our repertoire is increasing and so is our skill.  Maybe someday we will go public.  Maybe a long-term project for my retirement. 

Ottawa is very much a four seasons city.  Here’s are few shots from my walks, cycles and paddles around Ottawa throughout the year. I haven’t figured out how to get the photos to line up properly! 

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