Many people, especially Winnipegers, asked us the same question: Why Winnipeg?
For many people London is a magical big city they can only dream about living in. So why leave that behind and go to a small, frozen town in the middle of nowhere?
The answer to that is quite simple. It's... Um... Oh my God. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?! WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!
Tee-hee, just kidding. People who want to move to London can have my spot. We are quite at ease with our choice, considering Winnipeg only cropped up as an option less than a year ago.
Ever since we got married and had Blake in Canada the idea of moving there nested in our brains like a malicious parasite that borrows in deeper with time and only gets a stronger grip while nibbling away on squishy brain tissue. We kept studying our options until one day in November last year.
We learnt about Manitoba and the provincial nominee program almost entirely by chance through a friend from Israel who is also planning to immigrate. We had a varied history with Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City, but Winnipeg and Manitoba were completely off our radar. Though the more we read about it, the more intrigued we became.
We popped over for a visit in January, deliberately in the worst of the winter to see if we can handle the cold. I partly expected the trip to turn us off so we could put Winnipeg out of our minds and concentrate on more practical options like Darfur or Mecca. Instead, we loved it. Sure, it was freezing cold, but it was sort of exciting. You simply dress warmly and don't hang out outside more than necessary. But really, it wasn't such a big deal. The bright sun more than makes up for the low temperatures.
We arrived in Winnipeg knowing practically no one and by our second visit last month we already made a bunch of acquaintances and even a few friends. The one thing you notice about Winnipeg right away is how nice the people are. Not just polite like in England. There is a huge difference between polite and nice.
If you contact someone in the UK regarding a job and they're not interested it's most likely you'll never hear back from them. In Winnipeg I got several offers to meet anyway for a chat, lots of advice and pointers regarding where to look next and I even made a few friends. Networking in Winnipeg is very organic and within days you will be connected to dozens of people in your field and the same names will keep popping up again and again as it seems like everybody knows everybody. Heck, at a networking get together I attended last week I even got an offer from a young lady to carry my next baby which was both adorable and a tiny bit disturbing.
Winnipeg is cheaper than London in every area from housing to education and I still get to live in a real city with huge stores that sell anything I need (POPCORN MACHINE!) and fantastic restaurants. It lacks London's sophisticated clubs, pubs and art facilities, but it's not like I ever take advantage of those attractions anymore. We love staying home and watch Television or occasionally pop out to see a movie or eat out and we can do that anywhere in the world.
There were two big issues that worried us: the cold in the winter and the flesh eating mosquitoes in the summer, both turned out to be non-issues after all.
It's certainly a downside to be so far from our friends in the UK and even further away from friends and family in Israel, but at the same time it really opens up for us North America and other locations nearer by, so it's a fair trade-off.
So in short, Winnipeg is great because it's not really a big city and not really a small town, but something in between. You get more for your buck without sacrificing anything of importance. The people are amazing, the food is great and... Stuff. You know, it's great.
If you don't think so, whatever. Then you don't move there. More Winnipeg for us.