Saturday, October 20, 2007

A First Impression

It has been many years now since I first set foot in this country. Like many before me, we immigrated here from another place looking for a new life, in a not so promised land.

The very first thing that registered on me was, ‘hell it’s bloody cold here!’ The plane had touched down at Montreal airport for a customs and international health card check before proceeding further on our journey. Of course there probably had to have been other reasons why we landed there but that was the part that effected us. The doors of the plane had been opened since we landed, and they remained open for a whole hour. The icy fingers of the coldest winter wind that I had experienced in many years, came whistling down the aisles, enveloping the passengers and gripping you around the ankles, with the first welcome, to what felt like igloo land!

That certainly was my first impression at the time.

It was early in the month of March and naturally, winter was yet barely over. Another short delay as they found someone who needed a shot before they would be allowed to proceed, and then once more we were on our way.

We arrived at our destination to a fanfare welcome from the gathering of in-laws, some of whom I had never met before, and of course another icy blast of the cold stuff. These family members however, were quite key to us even being in our new home, for we had to be sponsored to come here.
So you get caught up with the initial excitement of things, for that is only natural and the weather momentarily becomes a memory.

That initial meeting with two of my brothers-in-law would be the start of what would turn out to be, our very foundation in this new life.
Just to show just how small the world can be, one of the bil’s turned out to be a guy I went to school with, so many years before and boy had he changed.

Jack, the other bil, is the one that sponsored us and where we stayed for the first eight weeks upon our arrival. Jack was one hell of a guy, full of fire, determination and a real workaholic. He was a great family man with a wonderful wife and kids. He was also a very mischievous person, “Dennis The Menace” comes to mind, ~ talk about a prankster.
There is really only one way to describe Jack, he was the original ‘Give you the shirt off his back’ guy, and that says it all.

Jack loaned me his car so I could go job hunting, he also set me up with a friend in the business to buy my first car over here. ~ Eventually, after I convinced him I didn’t want to live in an apartment, he found a way for me to purchase a house ~ I had been in the country just 2 months! ~ When they came out on strike at the steel mill I got a job at, he got me temporary work working alongside him, and his boss. Thanks to this man, I was able to build a rock solid foundation, in my new home of Canada. He and I were friends right up till the time he passed away from heart trouble, a few years ago God bless him.

Saying just thanks Jack, really doesn’t seem to be enough, but I will never forget my friend, my good Samaritan and for all that he and his family gave to us.

Every person should have a Jack to come to when they start a new life in a new country, I’m sure glad we had ours. I’m forever indebted to my friend, rest well Jack.



Singing Stream said...

(((((Jack))))) (((((Eric))))) I sure hope there was a Jack for him too Eric, when he came to Canada...What a nice memory. Thank you for sharing that story. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Actually I believe there was Singing. Another small world, Jack came over with another guy who used to live on the street where I lived in England. Memories eh! ya caint beat them. :)

newnorth said...

Glad there was a Jack there for you :)
I can't imagine moving to a different country. Has to be scary.

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Newnorth, yes life is a gamble at times & that was one of the biggest I took back then.

It is scary when you don't really know what you are going into. :)

Janice Thomson said...

What a lovely tribute to your brother-in-law Eric. It's times like that when family can be such support and solace. Loved this post. It's so wonderful to read a 'happy' story!

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you Janice for such kind words, it's true that family can mean so much. Where would we be without them. I like happy endings too. :)

Leon said...

Thanks for sharing these memories Eric. It reminds me that this is what one of the original reasons for my own blog was all about. Ah, but you are far ahead of me in that regard. The more you write, the better I feel I know you my friend. :-))

Augs Casa said...

I fancy Jack as a real mate. Wonderful story, I really enjoyed it. I know that Jack rests well and he looks down upon you grinning ear to ear mate.

Eric Valentine said...

Thank you so much Leon for your kind comment.

I guess when one writes it usually comes from the heart. So I am happy that you feel that way about my writing, for surely it is the hope of any writer, to succeed and be able to reach the reader.

Most everything I write comes from some experience or other at a point in my life, so is pretty much factual. Thanks again my friend. :)

Eric Valentine said...

My thanks to you also Augs, comments are so encouraging & therefore important to any blogger.

I agree with you my friend about Jack, and am so glad you enjoyed my memory post. :)

Pam 'oh Da Woods said...

Hi, I just happened upon your blog...great and interesting writing and I loved the pictures.Also reading a COPD...I too have had problems.

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks for calling Pam, there are a # of items I did about COPD, if you have any questions fire away.

I appreciate that you enjoyed my writing and the pics, call in again, I have a website too! :)

zirelda said...

How neat is that anyway?

I had a hard time when I moved across the state but when I came back, I had a lot of help and a lot of love.


shades of twilight said...

you touched my heart.
nothing more to say now

Eric Valentine said...

Hi Z! nice seeing you again. I always figured moving was the worst thing, of course if you get help it makes a world of difference. :)

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks Shades, sometimes a single word can say so much my friend. :)

GaP said...

Thanks the kind of story that renews my faith in humanity...and inspires me to be a better human myself...GaP

Eric Valentine said...

Thanks for the visit Gap, and for your observation.

In every life, many a story exists. :)

swenglishexpat said...

Eric, wonderful to hear about Jack's generous attitude when you first arrived. It kind of gives you hope and belief in mankind, doesn't it?

Eric Valentine said...

Swen. I almost missed your comment.:)

I agree with you my friend, with friends like Jack it surely shows that there's always a good samaritan out there and all is not lost.

Thanks for your visit Swen. :)