THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!

AIRBNB $51 CAD voucher inside…




Hiya!!!! The Eagles have landed, lol!

 

Longest time! It has been more than a minute, it’s been over a month since my last post. Of course, I have sooooo much to share with you guys, so expect a barrage of posts over the next couple of days.

 

WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

First of all, my family and I landed in Ottawa on August 31, 2017, via Montreal. Our Air Maroc flight was a very long one and I will blog about our experience with the airline in my next post. This post will be dedicated to our landing experience as well as life during our first couple of days in Canada.

 

LANDING IN MONTREAL…..OUR EXPERIENCE

Our landing experience was quite uneventful tbh, and it was quite short. We were directed to a separate room for new immigrants, and I believe students. We took a number from the kiosk and waited to be called. All this time, my mind was on the food that I had packed. Were they okay? Had they spilt, broken or burst open? I couldn’t wait to get to my garri and Asa fish and make sure they were fine. lol.

 

A nice gentleman called our number and we went to the assigned counter. We provided all the necessary documents and then, the immigration officer asked if we had food. We answered, “Yes.” He then asked us how much we had on us. My husband explained that other than a few thousand Naira which he had on him, we had no other cash.

 

However, we mentioned that we had some FX in our US accounts, UK accounts and Nigerian Domiciliary accounts. He asked us to tot this up, which we did. Mr O started to show him one of the balances to prove this, but the officer was not interested at all. I believe he wanted to make sure that we had the required minimum amount of money available to us, which we did. And that must have satisfied him.

 

GUESS WHO IS OFFICIALLY A PERMANENT RESIDENT?

He asked us to sit down while he continued to work on our file. Then he called us back, congratulated us on becoming Permanent Residents (it is worth noting that at this point, yours truly made an *eeeek* sound in response to his congratulations, lol), then asked us some further security questions.

 

Most noteworthy about our experience with Canadian Immigration was their attitude. In the waiting room, the officers were cracking jokes and smiling. They were relaxed and very friendly. In the middle of our “interview”, our son starting repeating, “Mama, I want to pee!” He must have said this about 4 times, so I got nervous.

 

Since the last thing I wanted was to deal with the mess of wet clothes in the airport, I interrupted the IO’s next question and asked if I could leave to take my son to the toilet. He said I only had 1 more questions which I had to answer and it would be quick. Mr O would then handle the rest of the process.

 

GOODBYE MONTREAL

Once we were done there, it was time to go to baggage claim and get our food……sorry, our suitcases and our food. Lol! Once we located all 6 bags, car seat and stroller, it was time to sit back, relax and wait for our connecting flight.

Although Montreal is a beautiful city, I was quite relieved to just be passing through. I was hearing so much French being spoken, that I felt quite suffocated and scared. Even the English that was spoken to me, was spoken with what seemed like very strong French accents. So, in my mind, I was hoping that Ottawa would be different.

 

Don’t mind me. One of the reasons I was looking forward to emigrating to Canada was to learn French. Well, till that time. I was not very comfortable hearing a foreign language around me while I was still stuck at Secondary School level French knowledge. Lol.


FOOOOOOOD

Okay, let me start by telling you what I packed:

  1. Ogbona
  2. Egusi
  3. Bitter leaf (dried)
  4. Uziza leaf (dried)
  5. Scent leaf (dried)
  6. Utazi leaf (dried)
  7. Abacha
  8. Ogiri
  9. Dried Iru
  10. Asa fish
  11. Stock fish
  12. Crayfish (uncountable)
  13. Ijebu Garri
  14. Yellow Gari
  15. Ogi (fresh)
  16. Ogi powder
  17. Fufu powder
  18. Ola Ola yam powder
  19. Random make of yam flower
  20. Achi
  21. Cocoyam powder
  22. Ehu/ehuru (ground)
  23. Pepper soup spice (ground)
  24. Black (Cameroun) pepper (ground)
  25. Red pepper (ground)
  26. Suya pepper
  27. Maggi crayfish
  28. Maggi star
  29. Knorr
  30. Semovita
  31. Puff puff mix – Guys, this thing is too real! Lol!
  32. There may be a few things which I cannot remember at the moment. I will update the list if I do remember.

 

 

THINGS I WISH I HAD CARRIED
  1. Noodles – I bought this, but left it behind. I didn’t want to “chance my luck” :op
  2. Beans – Mr O is not big on beans, so I prioritised the foodstuffs he likes over mine. I guess I need to diet anyway, lol
  3. Palm oil – Given my experience, I should have given it a try. The worst thing would have been that they seized it, right?
  4. Beef, shaki, kidney, etc – I know they sell these here, but I haven’t discovered where yet. Till then, I am going to wish that these items were not banned, as I would have carried them

 

However, I love love the fresh tomatoes, peppers, garlic, huge ginger. I will definitely not miss the ones we used to buy in Nigeria!

 

TRAVELLING WITH MY STASH



In Nigeria, we were asked to go to the Nigerian Agricultural something desk at the airport to obtain a certificate for the food we were carrying. We obliged, presented the food for inspection and were asked to pay N2,000 per suitcase containing food. Upon discussion with the person in charge, we were asked to pay a total of N2,000 given that the total amount of food we were carrying was no more than 23kg, even though the food was distributed in 3 of our bags.

 

My spirit rolled its eyes at the certificate. “Like this would hold any water in the eyes of the Canadian Border Patrol!”, my spirit huffed from within me. I had binge-watched (on the advice of my dearest KA) Border Patrol episodes for the last 2 weeks before we travelled. I watched with horror as dogs sniffed out bags from the carousel containing food. “Ahan!”, I thought. “Please, I don’t want any dog touching my food oh!” Lol!

 

From a friend in Alberta, DF, and my good friends at Nairaland, I also learned to make a list of all the foodstuff that I was carrying. In addition, from my Border Patrol watching, I decided to include in my list all the items that we were carrying. Consequently, I made a list. The front side had food, while the back side had other things. I am an over-sabi, aproko, I know. I was not going to take any chances at all, not when I was this close!



OVERSABI PAYS AFTER ALL

We filled our landing card well and made sure to tick the section asking if we were carrying food. At the first immigration point, we were asked if we were carrying food. We said answered in the affirmative, and I gave them the list. During our landing interview, we were asked again if we had food and we answered the same way again.

 

Now, I am not sure if our bags were searched prior to our collecting them from the carousel, but we never went through any secondary inspection or what not. We were not stopped to search our bags and/or test our foodstuff. Perhaps this is the norm, and our bags were searched and cleared ahead of our arrival. However, I feel that it may be due to my aproko in creating the list.

 

I had gone prepared to answer questions about the smelly stock fish *aha! goes back to include stock fish in the list*, the stinky ogiri and iru and all the hard drug-looking powdered foods we had carried. I was not looking forward to it though. When we got to our suitcases, one of them (the one with the stinky stuff) was smelling so bad that I wanted to disown it! You know I would never, though, lol! I was so overjoyed that I didn’t have to stand through the embarrassment of having the officers bunch up their noses as they rummaged through our belongings.

 

LIFE SINCE WE LANDED

We finally arrived in Ottawa, and then our Airbnb apartment at about 11.00am. It had been a looooong flight, and Mr O and I silently promised ourselves that we would NEVER, EVER put ourselves through that again. My son had been a trooper, and I was proud of him.

 

However, we were hungry. Very hungry! We needed something spicy. We looked through our suitcases which were full with food, and there was no quick meal. Nothing we could make without going to the store to buy some groceries. In that moment, I wished that I had followed through with my plan to bring a few bowls of ready-made soup.

 

We rushed out to the grocery store (we took an Uber) and bought some groceries. Our bill was CAD200!!!! OMG!!! Jesus take the wheel! In Nigeria, I had complained of spending N30,000 in the supermarket, but N60,000??? And we did not even have a trolley full of food. Ah well, “welcome to Canada”, we told ourselves. We would have to quickly get used to spending CAD1,000 per month on groceries. We also would need to stop converting our expenses to Naira. Hehehe!

 

Thanks to our quick grocery run, I was able to whip up some jollof rice and stew. We ate, then slept.



WRAPPING IT ALL UP

It is 2 weeks today since we landed in Canada. While we are not fully settled in, we move steps closer every day. We have started to understand our neighborhood and environment. It has also not been easy, which we never expected it to be. My son often says he wants to go back home. He asks when we are going home, every time we enter a car.

 

My heart breaks because I know he misses Lagos, his aunties, uncles, cousins, Grand Ma and Grand Pa, his toys (we brought over quite a bit of these, but couldn’t carry them all), his room, his house, his bicycle, to name a few things. We try to explain to him that this is our new home. I know he doesn’t fully get it, but he is slowly coming around. He calls this place “the other house”. That will have to do for now. Soon, he will come to know it as “our new home”. Baby steps…..

 

Furthermore, I am a creature of habit. I do not like change much, as I have said before. But so far, so good. We love it here, love that we are away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos, and best of all, our family unit is just that, a unit! Together, in one place. We are starting to form a routine, which will help us settle in better.

 

Finally, I missed writing and sharing our experiences on here. I hope to be able to do this more often.

 

Update: If you would like to stay at an Airbnb apartment, here is a $51 CAD voucher off your first trip. Thank me later.

 

Till my next post………..

 

Lots of Love from Canada,

 

Mrs. O



49 thoughts on “THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!

  1. Thanks Mrs O.
    I do check up on your blog daily.
    Great to know you had a great trip, and settling in quite nicely.
    I pray God give you strength to continue with this blog.

    Many Thanks.
    Nigeria.

  2. So good to finally read from you…Been checking for update since your last post…Thank God you guys got there okay and settling in nicely…

  3. Nice write up…

    Had you paid for an apartment before arrival?

    Considering Ottawa as well and London as 2nd option.

    Thanks

  4. Nice reading from you, though a first time reader. | just have a couple of questions:
    1. Were your car seat and stroller part of your 23kg luggage?
    2. We have a son 4.5 years old and a daughter 2.5 years old. Please How old is your son and when did you eventually tell you about the would be Canada change. How did he accept it?
    3. Is Palm oil contraband? Why did you not go with it?
    4. Are you expecting further cargo from naija especially coming with more food items?
    5. Finally, how is your new home Ottawa?

    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi,

      So I will answer your questions in the same sequence in which you asked them:
      1. No, we were informed that it only 1 of them would be free. So our stroller was free, and the car seat was 1 of our pieces of luggage.
      2. Our son is 3 years old. We only told him we were going to Canada a day or 2 before the trip. Tbh, I am not sure that he fully understands that we are abroad, or that we have moved permanently. I have been told that for the older kids who will start school immediately, it helps when they go to school. They quickly make friends and get settled in. Our son still asks to go back home, where his toys and friends and family are. But they are kids, they are built to be resilient, so we know they will be fine.
      3. I think it is. The reason is because when/if it spills, it may cause damage to other passengers’ property. I may chance it next time though 🙂
      4. No, we did not ship anything else. Mr. O may go back home a few times, so he will carry more stuff on each trip back.
      5. We are still in temporary accommodation. However, it is fine. It is a nice, centrally located apartment and our hosts (landlords) are nice.

      Hope this helps.

      Mrs. O

      1. Hi.
        I carried palm oil as well as palm kernel oil. There was no check in Lagos airport and no one said anything when we landed.
        What I did was freeze the oil like a week before traveling( with constant light) then day of traveling, I wrapped it so many times with cling film and then put it in a zip lock bag and then use foil paper to wrap again. Nothing will happen to it.
        For car seat and stroller, it depends on the airline. For us, both were free and not part of our luggage. My one year old even had baggage allowance and hand luggage allowance (I think 10kg and 12kg) and my 5 year old had 2 23kg and hand luggage allowance too.

        1. You are very correct. We have had different experiences with other airlines. This your palm oil strategy seems good oh. I will be adopting it very soon. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks.

        2. Hi Please airline did you use cos I have two a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old and they both have car seats and strollers.

          thanks

    1. Yes, it did. Although the garden could use some TLC from a lawn mower, everything else has been on point. It is small, and sometimes I miss our bigger home in Lagos, but I definitely do not miss the PHCN struggles, the endless traffic congestion on the roads and all the other Lagos stressors. Lol!

  5. See me laughing @ your stinking bag ….looooll. imagining the look on the officer’s face…hahahaaaa.
    The conversion thing too , na waaaaa..
    Happy settling Mrs O! We go join soon..

    1. Hmmmmm, I am telling you oh! It was quite embarrassing. But the yummy Nigerian food we have been eating these past few days has made up for whatever discomfort we felt then.

      1. Hi MrsO,

        Nice work you are doing here.

        I can definitely relate with the ‘stinky’ iru smell, the first time I traveled carrying iru, I was asked to bring in my luggage to the secondary inspection room and my God! I was wondering in my mind where the terrible smell was coming from, before it occurred to me that the only new thing that came into the office were my bags. Ha! Wish one could disappear.

        The second time, the portals would not even touch my bag. It didn’t help that I packed the iru like I was going to sell. Funny memories

        Anyways, looking forward to starting this Canny journey too. Till then, I wish you God’s best.

  6. Hello mrs O,

    I just fell in love with you n your blog.

    Am female by the way, we just got ITA and really forward to another milestone of the whole process.

    Cant wait to read from you again.

    My regards to the family.

      1. We are well over 6 months from submission. No PPR yet. Still believing God. We sent mail initially, they said they are still working on it. We’ve sent another one, no response.

        1. Hi Lalaska,

          I’m sorry to hear about the delay. Have you tried ordering GCMS notes? What route did you go through to get here? DId you get a provincial nomination?

  7. Thank God for safe landing Mrs O. I am looking forward to telling my own experiences when i get to Canada too.
    I just found your blog today and started reading from the beginning! am a sucker for blogs and been wanting to start one since forever. as i was reading through your introduction, i was seeing myself- the big procrastinator…. a close friend advised me to even start to vlog….. the fear and uncertainty that grips me ehn….. i think am just afraid that my contents would not be creative and interesting enough… *sigh*
    I thank God that you finally got the courage, please put me in your prayers.
    You are my mentor o! *wink wink*

    1. Hi Rachaelblogs,

      I can totally relate to you. I still feel ill-equipped and out of my league. But I do it anyway. Blogging has become my outlet, and I love it. Most importantly, starting this blog means that I will never regret not doing so. lol.

      I hope you take the plunge one day, and start yours. I’ll be rooting for you when you do!

    1. Congrats on your extra fast PPR timeline. Just like yesterday when you were contemplating about re-writing Ielts.

      You don’t need to convert your Ogi, just go to shoprite and buy the powdered Ogi.

      Goodluck and don’t forget to keep us updated about your canny journey.

  8. Mrs O,
    Thanks for the wonderful write up.
    we would be landing soon too and wanted to ask a question.
    We have a toddler and wanted to ask if we would need her car seat car on the plane?

    1. Hi,

      How old is your toddler? If he/she is under 2, you would need to pay for a seat on the plane for him/her in order to be able to take the car seat on board. My advice is that you do not take it on board the flight, but check it in and receive it at your destination.

      A child that is 2 years and above will have a seat of their own and will not need a car seat on the plane.

      Hope this helps.

  9. Hello Impish (yes, I found my way here from nairaland. 😁) .your blog is very entertaining. Love your style of writing. Wanted to comment on your “one big leap” post but didn’t find the comment section for that post so here I am. Just wanted to say we are kindred spirits. i could totally relate to what you wrote there and a few other posts too. I’m also coming to Ontario soon(PNP).(waiting for PPR…. Ip2 to be precise ).look forward to meeting you someday. May God bless your efforts .Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Gladys, thanks. I will look into that post. Looks like you are very very close to PPR. Congratulations in advance.

      We may just have one big meetup someday in the near future. God bless you too!

  10. Mrs O, a huge congratulations to you and your family. I am really stuck to your blog these days… I remember when I first read your blog early this year about how you found it difficult to tell your boss you were resigning.

    Please keep us updated on the current rates of things in Canada (Ottawa).

    Now you are making me feel like changing my mind and choosing Ottawa as my place of relocation when I eventually bag a PR.
    I have some questions;
    No.1: Why did you choose Ottawa?
    No. 2: Is it expensive living there?
    No. 3: What about job? Have you been able to get one yet?

    There are many more questions but kindly explain these

    1. Hi Dere,

      Hmmmm, okay, let me try to answer these questions:
      1&2. First of all, we are OINP so we were limited to the Ontario province. We chose Ottawa because it is the IT/Tech hub of Ontario, and Mr. O works in that field. Also, based on our research, Ottawa was generally slightly less expensive than Toronto. However, since moving here, I am not very sure of this anymore. I sometimes think of moving to Toronto, but it would have to be a family decision. Ottawa, for its part, has been very relaxed and easy. The people are friendly and the pace of life appears easy and simple.

      3. I haven’t tried getting a job yet. I am taking time out to rest and spend time with my family. I may evaluate this decision in December though 🙂

      Best,

      Mrs. O

  11. I officially have a guide to packing. Nice Job Mrs O. We are also Ottawa bound. hope o catch up with you there.

  12. Hi Mrs O

    I wrote the other time that we were awaiting PPR. I want to give God all the glory that after 7 months, we got PPR last week and have submitted.

    Thank you.
    Will be in Ontario soon. Not yet certain where in Ontario though.

    But thanks.

    1. Whoop Whoop!!!! Thank God!! And thank you for coming back to update us here!! Keep us posted. I pray for a speedy PUM for you and your family. I am hearing Accra has been dulling people.

  13. Hey Mrs. O your blog is very informative. I would like to know that when you and your family landed on the first day, you directly checked into an airbnb? Can you share with me any website which helped you to move in as soon as you landed? For how many days did you stay in a temporary accomodation. Also can you please make a post where you can list your activities from Day 1 relating to all the official requirements once you land in Canada. Thanks keep up such good work!

    1. Hi, thanks for reading my blog. Airbnb.com is a very reliable company/website. We have used them on a number of occasions before this. Once we landed, we contacted our host and he gave us instructions on how to get into the house. In fact, we were a few hours earlier than the agreed check-in time, but he was gracious enough to let us in early. We are still in our Airbnb apartment.

      You can use my Airbnb referral code and get $51 towards your first stay in an Airbnb apartment.

      Regarding the activities post-landing, please check out this post.

      Best,

      Mrs O

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