Sochi 2014, Proud Canadian,eh!

Canada’s sweep

After spending two weeks on my couch and gaining two kilograms, I am very pleased to say, “I loved the 2014 Sochi  Olympics”

The Athletes showed true sportsmanship in acts of kindness and real competitiveness. Our athletes made us proud,as they competed with grace and determination.

As usual their is always the naysayers, however both the opening and closing ceremonies were  beautiful to watch and even contained a little humor,and we even gained some new Russia pets which athletes brought back with them along with their medals, bruised bodies and the odd broken piece of equipment.

We came in 3rd with our medal count (10 Gold, 10 Silver and 5 Bronze), however we came home Champions of Woman’s Hockey, Men’s Hockey, Woman’s Curing and Men’s curling. WOW, we really rock and it’s something that has never been accomplished before!

and Talking of some unusual accomplishments, our team was lucky enough to have a Canadian passport only beer fridge!

So GO Canada GO , well done and congratulations!

canada ladies hockey

Port Elizabeths, Dane Hurst, Voted best Male dancer in the UK

dane hurst 2

Dane Hurst in Sounddance. Photo by Chris Nash.

Port Elizabeth’s Dane Hurst was voted the best male dancer in the UK at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards this week.

Beating other nominees from The Royal Ballet, Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet and English National Ballet, Hurst is part of the Rambert Dance Company, the oldest ballet company in Britain.

“It’s such a privilege to win this award. I’ve been dancing professionally for 10 years and it’s a great reward for being away from home for so long. It has always been my dream to be a dancer in London and that has now been fulfilled by receiving this prestigious accolade,” says Hurst, 29, who has been with the London company since 2004.

He started dancing at the Toynbee Ballet School in Port Elizabeth while moving between Gelvandale, Booysen Park, Salsoneville and Salt Lake, the rough, neglected areas of the city.

“When I was a kid I used to lie under the table and watch feet dancing all day while my grandmother made costumes for a small dance studio in my neighbourhood. I did break-dancing and all kinds of sport like football then I heard about the Toynbee Studio, which was situated on the outskirts of a very hostile suburb in a disused municipal building,” he recalls.

“When I walked into the studio I didn’t know what I was doing. I was transfixed by this beautiful chaos, the movement, the music, the smell. Then I saw one boy jumping around higher than anybody else. Before seeing him, it had never occurred to me to try dancing myself. That was it.”

One of their students had won the National Society of Dance Teachers (NSDT) bursary award in Johannesburg to train in London. When he heard about that, he decided he wanted to do the same. “It became a blind obsession. Gwen Mary Wells was my very supportive teacher, and never questioned my motives!”

Hurst won the NSDT bursary and received additional funding from the Linbury Trust and Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial trust fund.

dane hurst

Photo by Simon Weir.

He found that life as a dancer in Britain was massively hard work. “When it comes to training, the Rambert School normally trains Mondays to Saturday, for up to 44 hours a week. On tour, which is three quarters of the year, we work from 12pm – 10pm. It’s quite a lot of dancing.”

When he sustained an ankle injury he was forced to turn to choreography and was nominated to create a work for the Place Prize, a prestigious choreographic platform in the UK with a prize fund of £35,000.

“I have since then regularly choreographed for Rambert’s Evening of New Choreography, have received numerous choreographic commissions and have just completed a two year MA Choreography degree with Central School of Ballet. I’m at my physical peak and approaching the end of my dancing career but still have a few years left and hope to travel and dance wherever the momentum takes me, especially in South Africa.

“None of my family members have seen me dance professionally and I hope to one day invite my mother and three sisters over to see me dance here in London. My father passed away six months after I left for London.

“It’s such a crazy world, you never can tell what lies around the corner, so lets just say I’m happy where I am right now and when that changes I will move on.”

Part of Hurst’s future plans include transporting the equipment from the old Rambert Dance Company, which has been modernised and re-housed on London’s South Bank, to Port Elizabeth to start a dance studio there.

“I have the vision of setting up a dance studio or creative base for students and professionals in South Africa. At present I have negotiated the purchase of the old dance floor, some sound equipment and an old ballet barre from the previous studio. It’s all packed into storage and the plan is to arrange a fundraising gala performance to gather some money to transport this equipment, along with dance shoes and clothes to South Africa.

“The project is in its infancy but it has to start somewhere and I hope this recent award will help me to reach out to some influential sponsors who could help make this dream a reality.”

by Marianne Gray

It’s the small things that count

It’s the small things that count!

“Customer Appreciation Days” are yet another reason I appreciate living in Canada.

As a relative Newbie to Canada I am still in awe of “Free Days” and “Customer Appreciation Days”.

The days when McDonalds gives coffee away for a week and Ben and Jerry gives Ice cream for the morning, when the local South African butcher does “borrie rolls” on a Saturday and Tim Horton gives doughnuts, these are the days I know I have made a good decision.

I know that life is not perfect no matter where you are, moving is hard and trying to understand the emotions associated with it, “complicated”, however it is the small things like a “Customer Appreciation Day” that make it all worthwhile.

It is these days that “free” takes on the true meaning of the word and it does highlight the “freedom” we are so blessed to currently experience.

I am in inspired by free sweets at Halloween and the freedom to walk the streets trick or treating, I am in awe of the Christmas parades and the Summer beach parties, I am in proud of a City and Country that has Theatre , History, Art and an endless stream of world renowned Entertainers. I am a believer in a city that is liberal, inclusive and freely accepting of each other’s, culture, diversity and religion.

Strangely enough these little things, are the ones that count!

We are now on Twitter!

twitter follow me

Canadanewbies is now on Twitter! We are trying to get more people to join the conversations and become more socially active and involved in your Canadian community as well as connect with your fellow South African Ex pat. We need you to participate, share, laugh, inform and encourage both new and OLD bies. Come join us on twitter @canadanewbies and let’s get the “skinner” started.


CanadaNewbies is not just about connecting New immigrants, but also about “Old immigrants” who have so much to share, so much insight into were, when and how. Our “oldbies” are our Guru’s, the people who we look to for advise, shoulders to cry on and are often the rock we need to help anchor our newly broken hearts.



Food and Drink- by Charles Clayton 
Back bacon : Canadian bacon. Same as any other bacon. Sometimes rolled in peameal ( I’ve been taken to task for saying it’s the same as any other bacon! I’m informed that “Canadian” bacon is better than any other bacon in the world! So there!)
Brown bread : In most of Canada, whole wheat bread.Actually has some taste as opposed to the South African version.
Bun : A bread roll.
Can or Tin?: Older Canadians eat out of tins while younger ones nwo eat of cans. Tincans are apparently not part of the vocabulary
Canadian Bacon: We call it back bacon.
Pie: Mostly refers to fruit rather than meat. Meat pies are not a big hit in North America.
Donair :A pita containing spiced meat and a sauce made from sugar, vinegar, milk, and garlic.
Glosettes : Brand name for chocolate-covered raisins.
Homo milk  : A pretty interesting name and drunk by everyone. Your sexual proclivities having nothing to do with the ability to drink it. It is merely a shortening of homogenized.It takes some getting used too on  hearing a request for 2%Homo!
Ketchup : Tomato Sauce. I think it is sweetened and with the new “Green” variety even more nausiating
Kraft Dinner (or KD) : Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The staple of most Canadian students and immigrants too poor to buy “real” food!  I am told that there are different varieties available but that so far no one has managed to taste the difference. Canadians eat a lot of Kraft. No one seems to know why.
Nanaimo bar : A confection, named for the town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, that resembles a brownie but is topped with a layer of white butter cream icing and another of solid chocolate. The brownie part usually has coconut. I have seen many different flavours here in Ontario.
Napkin: what we poshly refer to as a serviette.
Pop  : Cool Drink. Cold Drink. Coke etc…You get used to it after a while but the first few times you are asked if you want pop sounds rather licentious. Don’t even bother asking for a “cool drink”…they haven’t a clue!
Poutine : Pronounced poo-TEEN.  Quebecois specialty. French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. Actually rather tasty once you get over your initial hesitation.
Rockets  : Small chalk candies packaged in rolls wrapped in clear plastic. A staple at school and Halloween.
Smarties : Taste different to the South African version. I don’t know why but there is some deep seated Canadian need to eat the Red ones last.
Timbits : Despite the claim that these are in memory of the founder Tim Horton and were started after he was killed in a car accident, my belief is that some suit at the head office worked out that they were losing money by throwing away the centre bit. Small little munch size doughnuts.
Tortière : A kind of mincemeat pie, most popular in Quebec.
Whitener : That chalk stuff you put into coffee or tea if you can’t stand the thought of “Homo” milk. “It’s not inside…it’s on Top etc.”
DoubleDouble : Double helping of cream and sugar in your coffee.Canadians Loooove coffee! You might as well learn too.
Butter tart : A very small (single-serving) pie.
Beer Store  : For some reason you have to buy beer here.
Bloody Caesar  : Just like a Bloody Mary, except it’s made with Clamato (clam and tomato) juice instead of plain tomato juice. Tastes weird. Clamato is very popular here.
Case : A case of beer here consists of twelve (12) beers. If you want 24 beers it is known as a “two-four”. Very literal the Canadians.
LCBO : While it stands for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario it is generally used to refer to the Provincial Government run chain of stores where you can buy your booze. You can get Castle and sometimes Lion here. The question is…Why? With the range of different and better beers the only reason to buy Castle is the price. They also sell liquor in litre and 1.5 litre bottles as well and then spend most of Christmas putting on advertising that advocates responsible driving.
Pogo : A brand name for a corn dog (hot dog dipped in batter and then deep fried).
Joe Louis : A cake much eaten by school children. No nutritional value. Looks like it may be chocolate flavoured.
Twenty-sixer: 26 ounce bottle of booze (aka twixer)
Two-four: case of 24 beers


Mickey: 13 ounce bottle of booze
Chips : Can mean potato crisps or french fries. The term “Crisps” is totally unknown here
Forty: 40 ounce bottle of booze (also known as a ‘forty pounder’)

5 things I love about Canada

I would like to think I have been here long enough to be able to give an honest review of living in Canada.

Like all countries living in it and visiting it, Canada is no different. It is only after you have been in a country for a while and the “starry eyes” have left you that you can honestly say what you like and what you don’t.

This being said, here is my list of top 5 things I love about being in Canada:

1-I love the attitude of “tolerance” I see. It doesn’t matter if your green, blue, pink or white- your cool and no one cares if your different.

2- I love the amount of diversity- We have over 300 different beers to chose from when visiting the liquor store…300 different beers…

3- I love our police officers – they look smart, behave smart and not out to simply “get you”. They behave like real people!

4- I love the roads, yes, road works happen, but overall the roads are in a great shape, especially compared to where we come from.

5- I love how safe I feel when I go walking in the forest- walking, by myself, in a forest…

there is so many things I love, like the public transport system, the school system the emergency care and the weather…

Don’t get me wrong I do have a few “whaaaat’s’ like insurance and parking, but overall, there is just so much I love about Canada, that even as I look at my top 5 I can think of a dozen more.

5 things NOT TO DO, when arriving in your new country

5 things not to do:

There is of course no simple rule to follow, it’s a little like having children, moving does not come with manual and some things will work and others will kick you in the butt.  However, these tips will certainly go a long way to ensuring your adventure produces a great outcome.


Don’t refer to the people who live in the country as “you people” or “you American’s” “you Canadians” as though being American or Canadian is a bad thing. This is their country and you are after all the newbie. It is your ways that are strange, NOT the other way around.

Rule 2:
Don’t try and convince people who ask you where you are from that the country you have just left is, better than where you have just arrived. After all, you did just leave …right?

Rule 3:
Don’t speak in your “native language” around your new hosts, if they speak English, then only speak English when in their company. IT IS RUDE, otherwise!

Rule 4:
Do not believe that you will change your new country, you won’t, as the saying goes….Fit In or F… Off!

Rule 5:
Patriotism takes time; you cannot be patriotic on the day you arrive. No one is fooled.

Practical tips on “How to get ahead” when you arrive.

10 Practical tips to fitting in when you arrive in your new country.

1)      Know your interest. Seek them out…

2)      Listen to those that have come before you

3)      Establish a network

4)      Have to give first before you get

5)      Don’t judge

6)      Open mind

7)      Drive

8)      Participate

9)      Volunteer

10)   Explore and try something new

5 Things to do when you arrive in your new country!

5 things to do when you arrive in your new country.

Moving to a new country is not easy and is often the most difficult and life altering decision you ever make. It will certainly have the most far reaching consequence, not only on your life, but your families and your friends. Do note though, that like all major events, some of the detail will fade with time and change is ultimately easier in practice than in thought, especially when tackled with the right attitude and an ability to grasp what you are told is true and for you to “adopt” rather than “refute”.

Unfortunately like children, moving does not come with a manual and each move is different, however, there are definitely some things that can and will make the move a little less traumatic for all.

Rule 1:
Do learn language. Without learning to speak the local language, you will continue to be an outsider, and although your accent is an advantage, your inability to make yourself understood will always hold you back.

Rule 2:
Listen to those that have “got the T shirt”, be humble enough to actually really listen to their advice, idea’s and suggestions.  What you don’t know when you arrive, is not a reflection of your investigative skills.

Rule 3:
Make friends with people of your new culture and your old. Participate and adopt your new culture, it does not mean that you have lost your previous identify, it simply means that you are fortunate to have experience in both. Embrace your diversity, without smacking your new country in the face with your old traditions.

Rule 4:
Know your interest and hobbies. Find out where to participate in them and join in. It is common ground that will ensure new relationships.

Rule 5:
The sooner you can get back to “normal” and feel like you are contributing and “living” like you did in the past, the sooner you will settle. Do not think that because the country you live in has changed, that you have- what made you happy in the past, will make you happy in the future- understand what this is and seek it out.

OK Manne en Vroens hier issie scoop -Contribution made by Graeme Nichol

OK Manne en Vroens hier issie scoop….

Some Legendary Afrikaans words*

How do you explain the word “sommer” to an Australian or an Engelsman or to anyone else, for that matter. It’s not only a foreign word, it’s a foreign concept.
Perhaps the English never do anything “just sommer”.
But when you’ve explained it, it’s been adopted enthusiastically ..
Although there’s no Australian equivalent either, they sommer take to the idea.
“Why are you laughing? Just sommer.”

“Bakkie” is another one of those useful “portmanteau” words (see – English doesn’t have a word for that, either), very useful around the house, for all sizes and shapes of containers and dishes.
Also used for what they call “utes” in OZ.
I find it an indispensable word.

We all know “voetstoets” of course. It’s been officially adopted into South African English.
There’s no concise, one-word equivalent in English. “As is”
just doesn’t hack it.
And it’s such a humorous word, conjuring up images of pushing that brand new car home…

There’s no good English word for “dwaal”.
It doesn’t mean dream, or daze.
It’s close to absent-mindedness, but that’s not quite it.
Being in one so often myself, I’m not likely to stop using it.

I think “gogga” is the most delightful word for insect I’ve ever heard.
Children all over the world should use it. “Insect” just doesn’t stand a chance.

And I think “moffie” is a far better word than all those embarrassed English attempts at defining a homosexual: gay, queer, poofter, etc.
aren’t half as expressive.
Somehow “moffie” doesn’t sound as derogatory either.

And then there’s “gatvol”.
OK, I know it’s very rude. But it’s so very expressive, NE?
“Fed up” doesn’t have half the impact.
It’s like Blancmange in comparison.
“Gatvol” is a word used more frequently than ever in the workplace these days, with increasing intensity.

While we’re on the subject, another phrase which outstrips any English attempt is “Hy sal sy gat sien”. (Also rude).
“He’ll get his come-uppance” is like milquetoast in comparison.
It definitely lacks the relish.

“Donder” is another very useful word, used as an all-purpose swearword, which again has no good English translation.
Used as a verb, it can express any degree of roughing up.
As a noun, it is a pejorative, as they politely say in dictionaries, to mean whatever you want it to mean.
And there’s no good translation for “skiet-en-donder” either.

It says something about the English that they have no word for “jol”.
Probably the dictionary compilers regard it as slang, but it’s widely used for “Going out on the town, kicking up your heels, enjoying yourself…” Not just getting PISSED out of your Skull. (See, there’s no English translation) Although curiously, the word “Yule” in Yuletide is related to “jol” and derived from Old English.
So Somewhere along the line, the English forgot how to “jol”.

I’ve yet to meet a South African over the age of two who doesn’t use the word “muti”.
Translation is impossible – “witches potion” is about the nearest I can get.
It needs a long cultural historical explanation.
Between “muti” and the pedantic “medication” , there’s simply no contest.

And of course, my personal favourite “Kak en betaal” , which just says it all, doesn’t it?
A bland and effete English translation would be “Cough and pay”, or “Breathe and pay”.
But it just doesn’t cut it, does it? Not by a long drop.

POST SCRIPT These are wonderful. Other words that come to mind:
jou bliksem, wag ‘n bietjie, nie so haastig nie, just now, sakkie-sakkie music, ou swaer, Ja – nee, How are you? No, I’m fine thanks?

How do you explain the passion of “LEKKER!”? Wow last night was a “lekker jol”

Dudu or doeks. Telling your infant to go to bed is just not the same as:
“Go dudu now my baby!”

How about ‘bliksem” – I’m going to bliksem you or ek gaan jou donder!

Both wonderful Afrikaans expressions with nothing to compare in the English language, at least nothing that gives the same satisfaction.

Trapsuutjies………..the way certain maids and others work. Slowcoach just
doesn’t do it, hey So first – Mielie pap – there is no word like pap,
here… they have porridge, and when they say porridge, they mean oats.
There’s no Maltabela, no Tasty Wheat, no Creamy Meal, no Putu pap In other
words, there’s no pap!

Mislik – such a ‘lekker’ word, and one that my kids are familiar with.
‘Why are you so mislik, you little skelm?

Do you want a snot-klap?’
Which brings us to skelm – here you just get ‘baddies’, but that doesn’t
have the same sneaky connotation of a proper skelm, does it?!
And snot-klap… fabulous word! How would you say that in English?
‘I’ll slap you so hard the snot will fly?’ Yuk! Just not the same.

Loskop is another favourite. The English just don’t understand when I say
‘Sorry, I forgot – I’m such a loskop!’ ha ha

I always liked “deurmekaar” – “hey, leave him alone, he’s sommer deurmekaar”
I hear the Irish use it in a similar sense – he’s “through other”
The rest of the sorta English speaking world have no clue!

Ja, swaar….

Finally, moer! There simply isn’t a word here that denotes the feeling
behind ‘If you don’t clean your room, I’ll moer you!’

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