First Week – Bernard and Jonathan
The first real place I stayed was with Bernard and Jonathan, an awesome couple I met on couchsurfing.com. Jonathan picked me up from my hotel in the morning which I was very happy about. It was very rainy and my two suitcases are very cumbersome on public transport as I would soon find out. Bernard runs a catering business which he was in the process of shutting down and Jonathan is a retiree who used to work for a software company.
I really enjoyed staying at their place. Both of them were a pleasure to be around. Very welcoming and supportive and they gave me a lot of tips on how to get set up which was very helpful for me. Their home was beautiful; stylish yet cozy. Bernard always made some veggie food for me and it was always very tasty although he was not used to cooking meat free meals. Both of them enjoyed games and they even invited one of their friends on Sunday and we had some very intense games of “Acquire” and “Ticket to ride” paired with a couple of glasses of wine.
I also made friends with their cat Inky. She was rather shy and mostly sat in the bedroom but when the sun was coming through the window in my room I got to enjoy her company. Oh yeah and I had my own room with queen sized bed and my own bathroom. That was very nice.
Apart from that I tried to get set up as best as I could. To work in Canada I needed to get a social insurance number (SIN) which was relatively easy to come by. Getting a SIM for my phone took a while because I decided to go for a prepaid plan with 7-Eleven and they mail their SIMs. Getting a bank account turned out to be the hardest part. Many places ask for a Canada-issued ID which I didn’t know at the time. The easiest way for me to get that would be to have my German drivers license exchanged for one from Ottawa. But for that I had to get it translated by an approved translator. That took a while.
I also used my time to get to know the Ottawa Magic community. One of the first things I did was attend the midnight prerelease event for Amonkhet the second day after I landed. I was super tired but it was fun and I met a lot of nice people there. One of them was the most stereotypical Canadian ever and apologized for every single play he made. Super nice guy though. 🙂