R and I can scarcely believe that almost five months have passed since The Heiress packed her bags and boarded a flight bound for Heathrow. As the plane left the tarmac she said good-bye to the land of moose and the maple leaf for goodness knows how long. Despite being a born and bred Canuck she was raised on everything from Jane Austen to Wallace and Gromit so assimilating into English culture was never going to present any major issues but still, it was a gutsy move.
The community in Canterbury has welcomed our daughter with open arms and warm hearts. Three days after her arrival she opened her first English bank account. The teller made her laugh when taking her details she said "You have such a lovely name, tell your Mum I said so". An impromptu Thanksgiving dinner for 'The Canadian' less than a month after she had arrived brought tears to my eyes. It was also the first time she tried parsnips. When she was invited along to Bonfire Night with some of her new friends she was expecting something akin to a campfire. "Mum! The fire was the size of our house, you should have seen it!" she told us full of excitement the next day on Skype. And Pimms has a new and very loyal customer in my daughter. There are many days when she can't quite believe the number of shouts of "Hi" she gets from across the halls or grassy fields. Not that she's the only Canadian walking around campus though. A few weeks ago, whilst touching up her lippy in the ladies room, a voice minus the English accent was heard from behind. Asking the young woman where she was from the reply came "Oh, just this little place in Ontario called Burlington". The Heiress dropped her lippy into the sink and said "Me too!". Much hugging, laughter and exchanging of email addresses took place and twenty minutes later they emerged from the ladies room. A new friendship forged.
The Heiress couldn't be more pleased with her program and professors. She laughed last weekend when as a student mentor she opened up her dorm room to prospective students for viewing. Looking at her shelf of books on criminology and serial killers made one young man question whether or not they should be hanging around. I have to admit to being somewhat entertained by watching my daughter's face light up at the mention of surveillance, incarceration and terrorism. Disney's vault full of princesses have apparently left no mark. Some of her professors are legends in their field which both fascinates and terrify all at the same time but even the scary ones can't resist a pint and a curry after a late lecture. Who knows where it all may lead but one thing is for sure, she is very happy and more sure of herself than ever.
R will be heading to Canterbury shortly, it's his turn to see everything I did last September when I dropped her off, and he will be bearing gifts of Canadiana in appreciation We've never decorated in Hudson Bay point stripes and we would have laughed at the idea of a cookie tin decorated with coureur des bois. Well, Tim Horton's coffee is the lifeblood of just about everyone here despite what the people at Starbucks may think. And a bottle of maple syrup will christen the pancakes R is going to make for any dorm residents who make their way to the kitchen the morning after his arrival.
We can't thank the lovely citizens of Canterbury enough for what they have given The Heiress. Such a bounty of warmth and fascinating cultural landscape to explore as far as her bus pass will take her has probably cost us our daughter. She is already hoping to find a job and a flat once her program is finished. But R and I would rather have her far away and fulfilled than close to home and wanting. Anything but that.
I'll be keeping the home fires burning and occupying Deacon while I count the days until my beloved's return. His suitcase won't make it far into the hallway before I'll be rooting my way through it looking for jam from The Duchy of Cornwall...and books...and newspapers...and tea...and Cath Kidston. Unfeminine behaviour I know, but true!