Gerhard shares

Questions we are asked

Lekker Landing has had the privilege of serving many Saffas coming to the Greater Toronto area over the past year and a half.

Our accommodation and relocation services were used by at least 25 families during this period and we would like to share some of the most often asked questions, with you in this blog.

The moment you land with the family in tow, after a gruelling (at least) 24 hour trip halfway around the world, not know what you have let yourself in, can be daunting. We hear the most innocent questions from the kids to the very serious life-changing realizations from the parents. We share some of what we are asked the most often in this blog.

Hello All South Africans still in the waiting or planning stages to get to Canada!

Let me start by saying that each time we drive to the airport to meet our new guests, we are just as excited to meet them as they are, who cannot wait to see what Canada looks like. Let me add that a good percentage of newcomers have travelled overseas before, some even to Canada before the big move, but others have never left the shores of South Africa before. So one does not know in advance what questions will be asked and therefore have to be ready to answer truthfully and sometimes, have to be ready for the unexpected ones. Here are a couple of examples for you.

Jislaaik Pa! Awe and wonder

Right upon leaving the airport on the way to our Airbnb, the most common remarks are:
“Jislaaik, look at that huge bakkie!! What does it cost? Ja Pa, I want one of those! This is the only way I will EVER drive in the snow!”

Getting a driver’s licence – what do we need to do?

Next one following almost immediately: “It must be hard to pass your driver’s license here, especially driving on the wrong side of the road and that in the SNOW! “Will it help if I leave a Johnny Red Label, on the back seat, seriously!”

Is it difficult to drive in the snow?

Speaking of snow and ice, they want to know how difficult it is to drive in adverse weather conditions. Something most South Africans have never seen, let alone, never had to drive in peak hour traffic to work, in the white stuff. “It must be incredibly difficult not to bump into other cars, not even to mention how easy it will be to get lost. Oh, where can we buy a GPS, as my cellphone will most likely not work here”.

Will we adapt, will the kids be ok?

“So Gerhard, how long have you been in Canada? Do you think we will adapt here? We are so worried that our children will have difficulty adjusting, en ons kinders sukkel maar om Engels te praat jong!” Hettie is quick to answer that the kids adjusting, would be the least of your concerns. Almost all the schools are good and the kids will adjust much quicker than the adults. Take my word for it.

Property in Canada – where do we settle?

“We hear that the houses are really expensive here. We want to stay in a good and safe neighbourhood”. Somewhere where we will be close to a school for the children”. I can see the disbelieve in their eyes when we explain that there isn’t really a so-called “bad area”. Most suburbs and safe and you have so many options to look for a place to rent or buy. In our opinion, you made the right decision to have booked our temporary accommodation for the first couple of weeks or months, after landing. This will buy you must need time to settle in, complete your documentation and formalities required to integrate into Ontario and then take your time to see where your new, or soon to come, new jobs take you. This will be the time to start looking for a suitable house to rent or buy. There are many suburbs to consider and likewise, many factors to weigh up before committing to an annual rental contract that ties you down to a specific, sometimes not practical, area. There are South African living all over the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), so you will make new friends very quickly.

Speaking of property, what do houses cost in Canada?

WHAT, you are not serious! We have looked on the internet from South Africa and have seen very expensive houses, but the houses you just pointed out, doesn’t look so expensive. Where will we ever find something affordable?” By now I feel that they must think I have all the answers, but can they rely on that? This is where we mention our Howzit group. Howzit is a group of South African professionals (Lekker Landing included), that was formed to assist newcomers with the many aspects of your new arrival in Canada. I would personally introduce them to the Howzit team, as soon as they have found their feet in a couple of days. These services include house hunting and financial advice.

Do we need a car?

“Hettie, we want to buy a car as soon as possible. Do you think you can take us to a couple of car dealers, let’s say in two days time please?” Hettie explains how the long and tiring process is that they will have to follow, to get their driver’s licenses and car insurance first. She continues to explain that we have that covered and help them fast-track this process, to get them out of a rental car, into their first car in Canada.

We need warm clothing, where do we even start?!

The attention then usually turns to the kids, who are now getting tired after the long flights and now being strapped into car seats. “We just have to get to a shop that sells warm children clothes, please? Although Pappa, it’s not so cold here as I expected?”. I turn the seat warmers in the car off. Great, they are now comfortable and realize we do not live in the North Pole, although our Igloos are damn expensive!
Hettie explains, although there isn’t a Woolies here in Canada, there are many options to find good quality kiddies clothes. It’s on the relocation schedule to take and introduce you to at least 10 shops where you can buy quality products and great prices. Relax guys, we have you covered!

Our fur kids – can we find a property to accommodate for them?

“Gerhard we haven’t mentioned this before, but our four dogs and two cats arrive next week. Are the properties fenced up in the back? Will they be able to run around in the backyard?” The standard reply is yes indeed, most backyards are fenced in, but let us tell you that most landlords are not keen on having you keep pets. That’s why we recommend that prospective newcomers allow enough time for them to settle in and then find the right property before they ship their four-legged kids to Canada. People here love their pets, so do not worry, you will find a suitable place to live in a couple of weeks.

Finally, relax and settle in

Upon arrival at Lekker Landing’s home where the newcomers will be staying, we give them their house keys and let them in to do a walkthrough. The last of the firsts of the new experiences, an hour after arriving, now awaits them. Making sure that all family members hear this, I continue to explain that this is the mudroom where all take their shoes off, and leave them before entering any home, in Canada. It is a custom here and after all, no one wants snow and salt covered shoes,  melting all over the living room floor! Then the last tip follows before they sigh a sigh of relief, take a warm shower and sink into the couch, after quite an ordeal immigrating to Canada, finally! Stay awake as long as possible and try and make it to 10pm, before going to bed. This helps you to recover from jetlag, quicker. Oh, there’s in milk in the refrigerator.

Now the final tip before we let you settle in and meet you tomorrow morning to get your SIN and health cards: Do NOT eat yellow snow!

No Photoshop here! On a cold day in Canada, this is a common view.

Golden Horseshoe taken from Hamilton.

Forty Mile Creek in the snow – the view over Lake Ontario

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