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From Texas to Manitoba, Canada

Updated on November 12, 2012

Fall colors in Brandon, Manitoba

Summer still greets me upon my arrival in Brandon, Manitoba
Summer still greets me upon my arrival in Brandon, Manitoba | Source
Walking the dog at the end of the summer
Walking the dog at the end of the summer | Source
Fall leaves not yet blown off the trees
Fall leaves not yet blown off the trees | Source
Golden leaf litter
Golden leaf litter | Source
A "burning bush" along a walkway - fiery fall colors in Brandon
A "burning bush" along a walkway - fiery fall colors in Brandon | Source
BIG SKY in Brandon - Autumn ending
BIG SKY in Brandon - Autumn ending | Source

From hot, sweaty South Texas to snowy Canada!

All my friends have been asking me how things are since I left Texas in the middle of a sweltering September. So much has transpired since then. This weekend saw a snowstorm which dropped a pretty good amount of snow and this morning’s temperature is -16⁰ C (feels like -26 with the wind-chill factor). These temperatures are completely new experiences for me! My excitement as snow began to fall was met with looks of amusement on the faces of Brandon residents. They all laugh when they hear that I have not experienced snow. When I say it’s cold outside, they say I ‘aint seen nothin’ yet! I am still freshly entranced with the snow and wonder about its nature and precipitation.

What the heck happened?

Brandon, Manitoba, is part of the great plains of Canada. The land is flat and the wind blows through here pretty constantly. Autumn leaves do not remain long on the trees as they are blown off prematurely, so the fall season is short. I arrived here at the beginning of the short autumn, and witnessed blue skies and green trees soon turn to colors of fall and all too quickly, to the beginning of what is a LONG winter in this part of the world. After the extended heat of sultry South Texas, this is quite a change. My cat, Mr. Hobbes, is wondering what the heck happened!

A respite from the weather.

Yesterday, my friends and I attended a matinee performance of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Brandon’s Centennial Concert Hall. We drove through snow-choked streets and once again, I pinched myself and wondered whether I was actually present here in Canada, or just dreaming. All my previous snow experience has been through pictures, TV or movies, except for the time when it snowed in Johannesburg when I was seven years old. My Dad came in to my bedroom to wake me up one morning. He drew back the curtains and said, “Come and look out the window.” I was curious. I hopped out of bed and took in a deep breath as I peeked out and was greeted by a white landscape. My Dad’s marvelous garden was blanketed with a thin layer of snow and I was totally entranced!

A real winter.

I gratefully thank my wonderful friends for ensuring my preparedness for the harsh rigors of a Canadian winter by taking me shopping for gloves, hats, scarves, thermal undies and a useful three-season jacket, not to mention boots! Since my arrival here in friendly Brandon, Manitoba, I have witnessed the end of a beautiful autumn and the beginning of what promises to be a COLD winter. For all my friends who don’t know Johannesburg, I will comment that I think the weather there (in South Africa), is about the best I have experienced in the world. My travels have taken me to Melbourne-Australia; London-England; Edinburgh-Scotland; San Diego-California; and of course, Corpus Christi-Texas. Johannesburg has four distinct seasons and none of the extremes of temperature that I have witnessed in all the aforementioned places. Brandon’s weather is a continuing education.

Snow Education

Whisky, the Border Collie, loves the snow!
Whisky, the Border Collie, loves the snow! | Source
Driving through the snow - sand-laden roads help traction and avoid accidents - result:  muck-filled wheel wells!
Driving through the snow - sand-laden roads help traction and avoid accidents - result: muck-filled wheel wells! | Source
The word "Bobcat" takes on a whole new meaning!
The word "Bobcat" takes on a whole new meaning! | Source
The beginning of snowtime!
The beginning of snowtime! | Source

It's actually SNOWING!

I have found myself staring out the window pondering the nature of snow. It is still fabulous to me to watch the snow fall. It is also a new experience to brush the snow off the car, scrape ice off the windows and free the wheel-wells from the mixture of snow, ice and mud, which collects when driving through the slush. The first time I brushed snow off the car, I did not realize I needed to free the bristles of snow, so the next time I took the brush to dust off snow, the bristles were frozen solid!! I won’t be caught the next time! Walking through snow is also interesting. What looks like icing sugar dusted over roofs, roads, grass and trees, is very cold and WET! The neighbor chose the best way to free his vehicle from the snow… with a leaf blower! Woooohoooo! I see people around the neighborhood shoveling the snow from the front of their houses, and there are also snow blowers which will do the job for you – something totally new for me to watch. It kind of reminds me of a lawnmower, but seems to be much more fun.

So THIS is snow country!

You know you’re in snow country when the sign at the traffic light tells you where the stop line is, as all painted signs on the road surface are obliterated. You know you’re in snow country when you park your car and there are electric outlets waiting for cars to plug into, and the parking bay lines are indicated by yellow lines painted on the plug boards so you can actually see them! You know you’re in snow country when you drive past bobcats (no, not the animal), and what you think might be jet skis are actually snowmobiles! You know you’re in snow country when you learn that dog kennels are indoors and the carwash is enclosed also! It amuses me when I see these things and I have AHA moments!

Ahhhh.... the colors of music!

Driving to the concert hall, I noted the whites and greys of everything and after walking through the cold, was relieved to enter one of my favorite places – a concert hall where people assemble to appreciate the artistry of music. A Scottish dance was taking place in the lobby, but I was being introduced to new friends at the time and missed it. Music and dance have always been favorites of mine, and the contrast of the musicians on stage, all dressed in black and sporting a red poppy in commemoration of Veterans’ Day, the light reflecting warmly off the wooden paneling on stage and the deep red fabric of the seats in the large auditorium made me sigh with relief and settle in to enjoy the musical offerings. I did wonder about the savvy jacket which was hung in the coat check, my very warm and heavy boots and the bag in which I had stowed my gloves, scarf and hat… but soon was whisked away by the beautiful music.

"Scottish Symphony"

All three pieces were new to me in the offerings entitled: “Scottish Symphony: A Selkirk Settler’s Celebration.” A world premiere of Brandon born composer, Sid Robinovitch called “Red River,” conjured up a wonderful homage to Manitoba’s Red River community, complete with harp, flute, timpani and full orchestra, and was a sheer delight. I was accompanied by the spirit of my late-husband, who used to play trombone. He would have loved this offering. I also felt my departed parents in attendance and marveled at this experience. As my ears were enraptured by the harmonies and the beat of the native drum, my memories of past relationships flooded through me and I was lost in reverie. I was also blown away by the fact that here I was, finally sitting with my best friend from high school days, enjoying the symphony. Being with her and her hubby was a rare and intensely comforting treat. I revel in that feeling each day.

We're snow happy!

Happily watching my first snowfall at the hospital
Happily watching my first snowfall at the hospital | Source
Finally grooming a horse!
Finally grooming a horse! | Source
Mr. Hobbes, safely transported from the heat of Texas to the cold of Manitoba.  He's curled comfortably in his sheepskin.
Mr. Hobbes, safely transported from the heat of Texas to the cold of Manitoba. He's curled comfortably in his sheepskin. | Source

Robinovitch, Beethoven and Mendelsohhn

The second offering was Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which I was not familiar with. I enjoyed it thoroughly, Beatrice Rana’s deft and moving performance at the piano held me entranced. I listened with delight and discovered that I recognized some of Mozart’s influence in the piece. The program notes confirmed my suspicions, much to my pleasure. After Intermission, last but not least, was Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 called “Scottish.” This piece described a walking tour he had undertaken of the Scottish Highlands. A visit to a castle-in-ruins in Holyrood, where Mary Stuart had lived and the misty moods of Scotland, punctuated this piece of music with which I had also been unfamiliar. Like a person in a desert who thirsts for water, my thirst for music was quenched by this fabulous concert. Upon its completion, we donned our gloves, scarves, hats and coats, and my friends and I emerged from the brightly lit concert hall to the darkness outside. It felt like 8 p.m. but was, in fact, around 5 p.m. We drove over to Starbucks for a special coffee. I tried a tasty Peppermint Mocha, and then we returned home. I would say that my immersion into the culture of Brandon, Manitoba, is progressing extremely well. I greatly look forward to attending “Rigoletto” in Winnipeg within the next two weeks.

I am happy!

I am happy to report that I am delighted to be working at Brandon Regional Hospital. Everyone has been friendly and welcoming and I have been hard at work since my arrival. My friends have been hugely welcoming and helpful in my adjustment to Canada and my cat, Mr. Hobbes is safe and comfortable downstairs, as long as the door to upstairs is closed, and he is safe from the “wolf” in the form of the delightful Border Collie called Whisky. I also found myself connected with some fabulous new friends who own horses and along I went to horse ride after about 30 years since I last sat in a saddle. To my delight, I had the new experience of grooming and tacking the horse, which has been a childhood dream. I keep pinching myself and even though I miss friends and family that are so far away, I am happy.


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    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 12 months ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks so much for your kind response, it has been quite a while since I have been on these pages. I re-read my article and realized how much has happened since. Life keeps moving us forward. I am still in Canada and must admit that I DO miss Texas. There is so much I would love to write, but most of it is personal and I wonder whether I ever will, eh? :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 12 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Suelynn,

      Fantastic. Simply fantastic hub. Loved your text as well as the colorful photos. Great job.

      I suppose that it was more of a "weather shock" than just a culture shock, eh?

      (Note: I used the 'eh' for you now being a Canadian).

      Keep touch with me.

      Great hub.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 2 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Indeed it has been, Larry! I appreciate your response. :D

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Quite a change in scenery. Wonderful narrative!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi rajan jolly: Thank you so much for your feedback and goodwill - I appreciate it greatly... not to mention the votes. I voted you up too, but forgot to mention. :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Its great to read your account of life now in Manitoba. Life is all about different experiences and I'm glad you feel good and happy.

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Dear Denise, It's so good to see you here (your message only arrived now when you posted it 4 days ago !?!?) Thank you so much for your lovely remarks, it's always good to get feedback, especially positive feedback, and your comments are much appreciated. :) I hope that I one day visit Toronto and would love to see you, too. I had no idea that you didn't have snow yet... we have lots to spare. :D I'm so glad you will continue reading... I have lots to write, but it will take me a little time yet. I am keeping warm (inside), hehehe... but have to brave the weather to get to work and back! More about that in my next instalment. Be happy too... hugs to you. :)

    • profile image

      Denise Wallace 5 years ago

      I was just thinking about you Sue and wondering how you were making out in Manitoba and then I saw your wonderful hub. Seriously, you are such a good writer, you could write professionally!! I so enjoyed reading your take on all the new experiences you are having. You have such a great outlook and attitude. In Toronto we have not seen snow yet (or experienced much cold), but we know its coming sooner or later. Looking forward to the next installment dear Sue - stay warm and keep well and happy.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Manxi, thanks so much for the feedback - it's much appreciated. :) More updates coming soon.

    • profile image

      manxi 5 years ago

      Sue, wow I do so enjoy your writing, sounds like you have really settled in! I'll be waiting for your next chapter!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Rich and great to see you here! I just peeked at your introduction - wow, what great experiences you must have had. You've lived in a bunch of interesting places! I do know what you mean about being a loner although not wanting for friends. :) I am very happy to be here and thank you so much for your kind comments and good wishes. They are greatly appreciated. :D

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Looks like my kind of territory. I really don't mind the cold weather at all, and in fact, would welcome having more than we do in Kentucky. I hope your life there is as fantastic as it sounds it has the possibility to be. Good luck and great hub!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Dear Helen, You are always such a sweetheart! Thank you so much for your wonderful words and heartfelt wishes - I always appreciate them. I am counting my blessings and so very grateful for all the wonderful things that have come my way after all the heartbreak I have experienced. Lots of love to you. xxx

    • profile image

      Helen Wilk 5 years ago

      Hope you have sent this to everyone in the havurah because they have been asking about you. I loved your make snow sound wonderful, and, for now, it is! Great photos and video...I am SOOOOOOOOO glad you are in a place filled with caring & love. We all miss you but glad you are happy in this new chapter of your life.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Maggie: What delicious things to say - I am so grateful for friends like you. :) Encouragement is so nice to hear and I greatly appreciate your comments. Love, light and hugs to you, too. Namaste. xx

    • profile image

      Maggie 5 years ago

      I do hope you continue your chronicle here, Sue-Lynn. You have a lot of fans and supporters! You make us feel like we are with you experiencing the snow, cold, smells, music, animals, scenery ... the writing and your personality keeps us hooked.

      Love, Light, and Hugs! Namaste'!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Michael! It's SO good to hear from you. :D Lots of love to you, too.

    • profile image

      Michael 5 years ago

      So good to learn that you are happy and enjoying your work. Lots of love

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Deb! It's so good to "see" you. :) I have missed you too and wish I had more recreational time to come visit your page and those of many other Hubbers also! Maine must be a challenging place to live too... I am beginning to appreciate the rigors of a cold climate. It's bracing but I see where the dangers may lurk! Thank you SO much for your comments. HUGS to you. :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sue, it is good to hear from you again. Having lived in snow country for many years(Maine), I can appreciate that it is a new thing for you. You will become acclimated. Glad that the pets are doing all right, you're getting plenty of culture, and you like your job! Missed you, too.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Susan, you made my day. Thank you for such wonderful feedback - it is greatly appreciated. Much love to you. xx

    • profile image

      Susan 5 years ago

      It was such fun to read this. It just moved from place to place, happening to happening, and the rhythm of it all is wonderful. You have found a new home that absolutely agrees with you. (And with Mr. Hobbes who has made as brilliant adaptation to new surroundings as have you.) Loved your description of your feelings evoked by the concert pieces. I look forward to your experiences while at work.

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Doris and good to see you here! Thank you so much for saying and I agree with your sentiments. I am hoping that we will get to meet in the not-too-distant future. :)

      Hi Joseph - thank you for your wonderful remarks. I am so happy to be here. :)

      Hi Mike: I appreciate your feedback greatly - thank you. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 5 years ago from London

      Loved your hub Suelynn .. I feel almost the same when I travel from Greece/Athens to UK/London

    • profile image

      Joseph 5 years ago

      Great story telling beautifully written. Welcome to the Great White North! Very happy that all is working out!

    • profile image

      Doris 5 years ago

      Some people say that Manitobans are so friendly because we need extra warm hearts to live with our long cold winters. I'm so happy that you have found your experience in Brandon worth the huge changes. And that you and Mr. Hobbes are comfortable and happy here!

    • Suelynn profile image

      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Maggie... always good to read your comments and thank you for that. Yes, it's cold but the people are warm (and so are the interiors!) I miss our interactions on FB, but my time has become a lot more limited computer-wise. Much love to you. :)

    • profile image

      Maggie Kane 5 years ago

      I could hear the snow falling and wind blowing, Sue-Lynn! Brrrrr! But it is beautiful!

      I think you chronicled your move, arrival to Brandon and experiences of snow and a little cold is felt, enjoyed, appreciated! I love how well you are adjusting to these new experiences! I am glad you are in a warm-hearted peaceful, albeit cold, country!