Monday, March 21, 2011

Oh Canada!

This is the first part of a 3 piece post about my adventures in Canada… I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had “doing it for real” in my 6 months there!

In Holland when your about 17 years old and you go to “college” you get the chance to go on a practical training period in the profession you most desire. And yes I am a dairy farmer now, but at that age I still had my heart sold on horses…



My stud: Fox Trim Classic with Christina Jones





Everybody knew that I was the (slightly crazy) girl who went to America and Sicily all by herself and had a need to go far, far away again if the option was presented. My favorite teacher asked me one day where I would like to go for my practical training period. And without a hesitation I blurted out, Canada!

To this day I have NO idea why I said Canada, but I did and so I had to face the consequences.

My favorite teacher told me a couple of days later he had the perfect spot for me. They had hundreds of horses, right where the Rocky Mountains rose up so lovely surroundings, tourists would come daily to take trips on horseback into the mountains AND they had a pool!

Well….. Sign me up!

Not that I like swimming (I HATE SWIMMING) but the rest sounded like a dream come true. And for the rest of the school year I was preparing for my practical training period. I dreamed about training horses during the morning, showing people the surroundings/mountains in the afternoon and relax in the evening by the pool!

My teacher made it only better and better (he told the best stories about other students who went to Canada), the drive from the airport would only be one hour and the people would pick me up, so I shouldn’t worry…

The day of me leaving came and I went in good spirits, longing for another adventure, to Canada.



Mares and fillies at Touchstone Farm






After a close to 16 hour flight, we had some delays and stops; I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta. By the baggage claim there was a scruffy guy holding up a sign that said Touchstone Farm...

That would be me…

So I went to meet the guy and he told me “sorry” for looking so scruffy, he just had an incredible busy day and I didn’t have time to get changed. I didn’t mind I was already happy I saw a friendly face. We hit the road and after an hour I started wondering if we were going to get there… “Just a little bit further” Chris (the friendly guy) told me.

After an hour and a half, being sleep deprived and watching the landscape changing from “pretty out in the bush to NO CIVILIZATION AT ALL) I really got a bit worried… The further we got away from the airport the lonelier it got, I started to wonder if Chris was really who he said he was... No lights from cities, no street lights, more trees, a bit more trees and only trees…. and mountains… NOT the Rocky Mountains but mountains to me… Holland is as flat as a coin so if you have a little hump that would be a mountain all right!

I found out later that the Rockies were two hours away…


Beautiful landscapes and skies at
Touchstone Farm



Finally after driving for a good two hours we got to a drive way, and Chris told me “This is it!” By this time I was awake for over 23 hours. It was getting dark, and the first thing I saw was the indoor arena…

And the thing that stuck as a bullet in my scull was, “I Can see TRUE the indoor arena!” No state of the art arena like I was used too in the Netherlands, no, just a very sturdy, see true arena.

We drove up to the drive way and to my left I see a huge pond… No cemented pool with little benches and towels and martinis (I don’t even drink, but that was in my head) ready to go. No, a dug out pond with lovely little birds and critters (I didn't even think about the bloodsuckers until later!)

We drove even further up the driveway and I see a BARN… But the barn was rebuilt into a house… And I thought “O my Gosh”, I’m gonna live in a barn for the next 3 months!!!???

In front of the barn/house were a little lady and another lady standing/waiting for Chris and me to get out of the car. As soon as I stepped out of the car I felt the love of the two ladies surrounding me. They welcomed me into their country and into their house and they asked me if I would like to call home to tell my parents I arrived safely.

Until that moment I hadn’t been homesick, EVER!



The house!










I called my mom and dad and as soon as I heard their voice I started crying. Not quiet crying, no bawling like a maniac! And the worst part was, I just couldn’t stop! I was crying because I missed them, I was missing my friends, that teacher lied to me, I felt swallowed by this huge country, it’s loneliness, an because I imagined this place soooo much different and these people were soooooo sweet!

The little lady (Mavis, the mom), the other lady (Wendy, Chris’s sister) and Chris showed me the house which was actually pretty amazing and put me to bed…

The next morning I woke up by the sound of horse feet thundering down a pasture, I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and saw 50 broodmares coming over the hill running towards the house true a creek…

Right at the moment I thought…. “Well…. I think I can handle 3 months here in Canada!”

Next week… part 2 of Oh Canada!



26 comments:

Hoosier Farm Babe said...

Wow brave girl! Looking forward to part 2!

Trisha said...

Can't wait to hear part 2!! The pic.'s of all the horses in the snow & the storm clouds over the field are beautiful :)

texwisgirl said...

Oh wow! Even though it might not have been what you expected, I think it has potential to be so much better! What a great house!!! And 50 brood mares?! Wow!

Clint said...

These are the memories of a lifetime---when we step outside our "comfort zone" and learn and grow. I think that is so important for us in life. Looking forward to Part II!

Mary said...

I'm really looking forward to hearing about the rest of your adventure. You tell your story beautifully. This is my first visit to your blog
but I will be back. You've created a lovely spot for your readers to visit. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

Very brave! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story:)

Hanneke said...

Beautiful! You make me cry and laugh at the same time.
Can't barely wait too for part two..

Dawn said...

Oh this is great! I'm trying to picture where you were...only an hour from me:)
Hopefully it turns out pleasant....and that "barn"? It's beautiful:)))))

Cheyenne said...

Now here is a real story! Lifes all about getting out there and soaking up everything you can!

Sharon said...

You were a spunky little filly, weren't you? Yep, until you got close enough to the barn/house, looks like a whole lot of nothing.
Very nice picture of the mares in the snow!

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Love the 'barn', Leontien. Leontien is a very Dutch name or am I wrong?

Have a great start into Spring! xxx

jan said...

was ut da jaar dat wij mekaar met toeval tege kwamen?

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Chai Chai said...

Can't wait for part 2! That is a beautiful barn house.

Farm Girl said...

Oh I can't wait to read the rest. Beautiful pictures. I love that house, I always did want to live in a house made from a barn.
Great story, Wow you blow my mind how adventurous you are.

Cat said...

Oh, my, Culture Shock to the nth degree! Waiting eagarly for the next part!

Cat

Shirley said...

Touchstone farm is right next door to the place where I took my Border Collies to start them in training on sheep. I've since moved to southern British Columbia, but I know that area well.
Thanks for stopping by and following my blog.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Ah, that's a beautiful story can't wait to read the rest. Love the pictures too!

Saw you over at Valance's and thought I'd drop on by for a visit! Very nice blog here!

Hawk/Miss Houston

bon bon said...

what a brave, young thing you were! so adventurous!

your photos are amazing! the horses, and that breathtaking meadow and dark sky. i can see where that landscape might cause some loneliness though.

A man called Valance said...

Hello Leontien. Thought I'd wander over and return your favor. I'm pleased I did, that's a lovely story.

eileeninmd said...

What a great story and I can't wait to hear part 2. Loved the photos of the horses and the field. Have a great day.

A piece of news said...

How scary that must have been. I can relate to the feeling of thinking that you would be in the car forever with someone who may or may not be who he said he was! But there's nothing like a good night's sleep to help us out.

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

I felt as if I were there with you - and unlike you, I would have burst out crying much sooner.

I ♥ Canada and always think that if I couldn't live in the States, I'd love it there.

As if they would have me ;)

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