Prairie sunsetFrom Korea, the changing times swept me across the Pacific into temperate Vancouver and the mass exodus of (mostly European) sporting types following the Winter Olympics. I had a few hours to refresh myself, and then stepped onto a surprisingly manageable two-day bus ride through the frozen expanses of the Prairies to Winnipeg, and Amy. Lack of sleep and discomfort aside, the only real trial on the bus ride was the presence of two guys reeking of carrion who got on at Saskatoon (about 11 hours from Winnipeg) and sat next to and behind me.

Grain elevatorMy first weeks in Canada were a wonderful mixture of delicious home-cooked food, wedding planning, walking around with Amy and toying with ideas for future jobs and locations. I also started a WWOOF-esque placement in a small community not too far from Winnipeg (but sadly, not too near either) – principally kid-wrangling at the moment, but once the ground thaws there will probably be some farm work too. It is probably the best parenting practice I could get, so I’m confident that any children Amy and I have will be brought up brilliantly with minimal stress on our part.

Nobody expects raising (or even wrangling) kids to be a breeze, but the wearing/frustrating events are more than eclipsed by the constant stream of escapades, unexpected exclamations, learning experiences and general cuteness. This morning, I noticed while changing a particularly stinky nappy that the soles of kid #4’s feet (everyone will be anonymised to protect the innocent/embarrassed) were forest green. After an exhaustive search of the house for spilled colouring materials, we worked out that he’d been standing on a horizontally-laid blackboard to reach a shelf and the blacking (actually greening, I suppose) had been rubbing off. I also started teaching kid #3 to throw and catch a bean bag, with the almost immediate result that she started trying to throw it into the light fitting.