Friday, 17 June 2016

Trying to Fit In

Oscar, 10" x 10" acrylic painting

Blog 25

Once, my husband and I returned from our trip out west, we did not stay long with Ingo's parents in Mississauga. We were restless. We were both used to having our own apartment, and living in Ingo's former bedroom felt restricting. It was difficult to be a guest in someone else's house, especially when I hardly knew Ingo's parents. It did not help that I did not know anyone with whom I could have gone out beside Ingo. There was nobody to confide in, except for my friends who were light years away.

Living with strangers also meant that I felt I constantly had to ask for permission. I could not just grab the telephone and call my sister or a friend. I also felt uncomfortable because Ingo's mother did not want me, the guest, to help or to contribute to anything (which is a typical German trait), so I was sitting in the living room while she did the housework.

We offered to take turns cooking, but Ingo's mother did not want to hear of it. Even though she had lived in Canada for more than 15 years, she reacted the same way my mother would have reacted. That was the duty (and pride) of the German housewife of earlier generations. Finally, we decided to cook for ourselves because in the Peters household dinner was served usually after 8:30 pm which we were not used to. However, this was difficult because we constantly seemed to be in the way.

Our next trip brought us to London, Ontario, where Ingo had studied at the University of Western. We went to visit Lisa, one of Ingo's friends from university. It was nice to be together with Ingo's friend. Things were less complicated. We had fun together, played games, watched movies, and enjoyed dinners together.

Part of our visit was also to write and send out job applications. As we did not have a computer, we decided to write at the university. We had written and saved our sample letters on a CD, but found out that we were not able to open the files due to a virus. Luckily, we had printed the samples. We had to start all over again. When we had finally printed the documents, I noticed that one of my documents was only on a backup disc. However, the computers were occupied by other students and we had run out of parking money anyway.
We had to return the next day.

When we checked the documents again after the second time at the university, we noticed two spelling mistakes. Therefore, we had to return to the university a third time. This was all very frustrating, especially because a representative of a recruitment company, as well as an employment lawyer in Toronto, did not give us much hope that anyone would hire me without a work permit. Most companies would not make the effort to get a work permit for me when they could just hire a Canadian resident. If I did not mention this fact in my application, it would give me at least a chance that they would even look at my application. I had already sent our more than 20 applications from Germany, but had not heard from a single company.

There was another alternative: I could get a working and residence permit if Ingo and I would get married. This was, however, not an option we considered. Although we were engaged, marriage was far from our mind.

Ingo was as frustrated as I was, but felt I had to take more initiative. I should not just send applications to companies, but visit several companies in person with my application in hand. I would not have taken this approach even in Germany, and my limited English certainly did not increase my confidence. I should have thought about all this before we moved to Canada, and in retrospect I am amazed how naive and blinded by love I was to not have spend more time thinking about how things would be once I was uprooted from my surroundings.

Two Friends, 11" x 14" oil painting
On the other hand, I enjoyed my time off. My job in Germany had often required long hours. Additionally, I had studied while working full-time for many years. I did not have lots of free time. However, before we left Germany, I had taken a course in making hand-sewn teddy bears. I was a big collector of teddy bears, and during my early years in Canada my collection would grow even more. When we did not travel, I designed and created all kinds of stuffed teddy bears.

Nowadays, I am too busy again to create any more bears, although I still have lots of material. Therefore, I decided to offer a teddy bear workshop on August 10 and 24, 2016 from 6:30 - 9 pm. During the two part workshop, you will learn to sew a teddy bear with a jointed head. All the materials and light refreshments are provided. You are welcome to bring some extra material to dress up your bear.

Cost: $ 60 for both workshops together.
Registration deadline: August 3, 2016

To register please contact me at

1 comment:

  1. So interesting , looking forward to the next blog...