Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It was 22 years ago when I arrived in Canada and chose Calgary, Alberta to be my home.  Leaving my family and friends behind, it was a new adventure for me to be in a new country without knowing anyone.  That was the time I looked for a Filipino community paper and never found any, [...]

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Page added on November 29, 2012

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The Other Side

For the first time in more than 5 years I took a month off from my various writing assignments and obligations and took my favorite wife Ludy on a vacation in B.C.’s Okanagan. This is the second year in a row we toured that beautiful area in October and I strongly recommend it! Accommodations are half price after the September long weekend and most activities are reduced for the off-season. Last year we used the savings and went on both a helicopter and a small plane tour; this year we were able to go on a float plane tour and a steam train excursion. Join us on Facebook and check out the 2100 awesome photos!

This now brings us to Calgary and an early taste of winter and what we can expect for the next 6 months. For me it is no big deal, but it is comforting to notice that after 25 years in Canada and in Alberta, my wife knows what to do. A few hours searching through this empire we call home and we were able to locate the proper clothing, footwear and other things that allow us to cope with the season. I can only laugh to myself when I see other people, usually newcomers to our country, who think they can be tough and continue along as if the weather change is just temporary. These newcomers, who are well known for copying everything they see, resist copying native Canadians in areas that border on culture. I can understand, and accept wanting to keep your home country’s heritage and stick with some things that define being a certain nationality, like foods, language and traditions, but unless you adapt to Canadian styles of clothing, winters will be long and very frustrating. Face a few facts – winter is coming EVERY year, and it will be cold, icy and snowy for six months of your life – EVERY YEAR!

Without a doubt, I would look retarded walking down Roxas Blvd. in Manila wearing a winter parka! That is why anyone wearing a leather jacket, running shoes and no toque looks out of place standing at the bus stop or walking outside in Calgary from October to May! These people do not get any sympathy from me – perhaps pity. They whine and complain about how cold it is and then get sick with colds and flu’s. They miss work, parties and life, trying to find a drug or some miracle treatment, not knowing that mankind has yet to discover a cure for the common cold. They then spend even more time indoors, staring blindly at the trash found on TV, all the while breathing in stale, dry air that most heating systems produce, and usually have the indoor temperature set way too high.

I am not saying life is the same for the 6 months of non-summer we get. It does take a little longer to dress to go outdoors and lawn and yard work are replaced by snow removal and scraping the ice off our vehicles. Driving anywhere usually takes twice as long especially with the streets blocked by those who think they are capable of winter driving. I see it in car insurance premiums that are steadily climbing at about the same rate as the immigration rate, with many of these new drivers still not admitting that 2 or 3 years of driving in Canada DOES NOT make them experienced. Again, I can tell you this because I’ve driven through more than 40 years of Canadian winters, and sometimes the road, weather or traffic conditions still catch me by surprise. I laugh to myself again when I see things like people being too lazy to brush off ALL the windows on their vehicle. The same drivers think that it’s normal and acceptable to also have all the windows fogged up in the winter, never understanding that even in winter putting a window or two down a bit will clear up the foggy windows. When the temperature gets below -20 degrees it makes no difference if you drive a new car or a 20 year old Honda, you should be using a block heater. They are wrongly looked at as something to ensure your car will start. A block heater will also save you money because your car will warm up faster, and by keeping the engine warm overnight, it reduces the wear and tear on the engine and it will require less servicing and last longer. A good set of tires can make moving and turning safer, and there is no need for special “winter” tires which are designed for snow, not ice. Calgary gets very little snow compared to the rest of Canada and all season radial tires are just as good as studs or chains in the city.

The smart newcomers to Canada will slowly get into driving a lot in our winters, choosing transit or experienced friends to get them around when conditions are bad. Accidents that wreck your vehicle and unnecessary pain and suffering ARE NOT a part of winter driving in Canada. They are serious errors that should be taken as warnings to those who have them that their luck, guardian angels or continuous close calls will eventually lead to heart break and suffering!

My wife and I still go outside our home for walks and hikes all winter. We toboggan, skate and hike and our lives do not stop just because winter has arrived. Life is too short to waste time staring at the TV or just eating and talking. Get out and get in shape, before it is too late!

So if you think the past month is “winter” you have much to learn about Calgary. -5 and a couple cm of snow are just a wake up call to everyone – veterans and newcomers. Adapt, adjust or die, winter is here to stay! I drive 150 km every day on the job, so I will wave when I pass you – stuck and frozen in the snow bank.

Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Steve









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