We should be in São Paulo by now, getting ready to fly back to Canada. I should be doing the usual—crying, mourning South America, throwing away my almost-empty shampoo bottle and using up my last samples.

But we’re not in São Paulo. Like, not even close. It’s what… 1,000 kilometres away?

And I’d better not get rid of my toiletries yet.

Change of plans.

When we arrived in Florianópolis, still in full post-Carnival withdrawal, I just didn’t feel like going back to Canada. Mind you, I rarely feel like going back to… well, to pretty much anywhere I live or lived. This is the “correr es mi destino” part of of the blog title—I’m running, and I’m still running. Running. Not running away—at least, I don’t think so but I’ve never seen a shrink, after all.

I have issues with Ottawa. I’ve had issues with Ottawa for a few years now, to be honest. There are aspects of life in Canada and in Ottawa that I appreciate, but there are also many I can’t stand anymore. The weather, for instance. It sounds trivial but in Canada, winter is a huge part of the culture and no matter how much I tried, I hate it. I hate being cold. I don’t like to suffer from November to April or May, missing out on spring. And I’m not getting into it now, but even though I adapted to the North American way of life, I didn’t embrace all of it.

Life is complicated. By now, Canada is part of my identity, much like France is. Yet, if it was just me, I’d probably have moved a few years ago. But I’m not alone. Feng isn’t going anywhere, and then there’s Mark.

There are dreams and then there’s reality. “Without Ottawa, we’d be pretty much homeless,” Feng argues. He’s right. Plus, I do love my professional life in Ottawa, and the freelance opportunities I get. It’s not all bad but it’s not all good either.

I’m stuck.

I can’t find an easy fix for the big picture.

We’re not going to pick up some backpacker skills, like hair braiding or fire juggling, and live out of our backpacks for the next ten years.

However, we could change our plan tickets. it turned out that Feng didn’t feel like ending the trip in São Paulo either.

Compromises were made, and a new itinerary was found a few days ago.

Oh, we’re flying back to Canada soon-ish. Just not on the original date and from São Paulo.

But we’re still on the road for now and there are still places to explore. I feel like I’ve just been given oxygen.

Aeroporto Internacional Afonso Pena, Curitiba

Get the latest story, cultural shock and travel pictures right in your inbox

I don't spam, promise.

I literally don't have the time to write ten stories a day.

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today


  1. Yair February 26, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I believe the most important thing to ride the winter, just like any other season is to make the most of it.
    Go outside, to skate, ski, snow shoe, run.
    Get nice winter food.
    Go watch hockey.
    Winter is an awesome time for binge watching Netflix.
    Enjoy the best of the season, don’t think about its bad things.
    Same can be said about enduring summer where it is too hot for most of the year. It is nice as a tourist because you are in the zone but not too much to live at. Just ride it out.

    That will make you miserable no matter what.

    1. Zhu February 27, 2018 at 12:39 am

      That’s great positive thinking 🙂

      I’m not going to argue and prove a point, I have none to prove, I think your suggestions are great. But I’ve been in Canada for a long time now and while I enjoyed the first few winters, it’s just not my thing.

  2. Lexie February 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Yeaaah, on the road again! Enjoy!

    1. Zhu February 27, 2018 at 12:40 am


  3. Melanie February 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I hear ya! We are trying to figure out how to become snow birds…

    1. Zhu February 28, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      We should brainstorm together…

  4. HY March 2, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Being in Netherlands, i understand how you feel.
    I don’t mind so much about the cold weather but the grey sky, windy and rainy days (which makes a majority part of the year) can make one really depressed, especially then you are stuck at home with young kids. I never thought a weather can affect so much of ones mood until i live here. That is why i appreciate sooooo much our 3 months of sunshine.
    It is great that you are travelling to places you like, recharge, revitalise and break the monotonous patterns of life 🙂

    1. Zhu March 3, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      I hadn’t realized it was so grey in the Netherlands! France gets like that too in the winter, damp and grey. I hated it, although it didn’t affect me as much as the cold in Canada because I grew up with this kind of weather so I didn’t know any better. Are you stuck at home with young kids? I found winters so hard when Mark was a baby… there’s literally nothing to do but hanging at the mall :-/

      Based on your email, I’m guessing you have a Chinese background. What brought you to the Netherlands?

  5. HY March 4, 2018 at 10:46 am

    My two kids are 6 and 4 now so it is much better compared to when they were babies. Dutch weather is a bit like English weather, grey and wet.
    We live in Australia (with 9 months of summery weather) prior to having kids and sometimes i miss those days.
    But i like the quality of education here and i prefer the less materialist way of living here. Dutch are quite down to earth i must say. It is also so much more interesting being in Europe where you are surrounded by all these different nations, languages, cultures etc – the main reason we moved to Europe. Netherlands because we could work/get by without the local language 🙂
    Yes i have a Chinese background – trying to teach Chinese to my kids is another story 🙂
    It is one of my dreams to go to South America but it is an unrealised dream so far, so i get taste of it through your stories 🙂

    1. Zhu March 5, 2018 at 12:48 am

      Trying to teach Mark French is… ahem, difficult. And Mandarin, oh, Mandarin…! He has a Western accent! 😆 Not my fault for that one!

      I find Dutch culture quite fascinating (speaking as a French here). They look so open, so easy going! That’s the stereotype, anyway.

      I hope your South America dream will come true 🙂

  6. Pingback: CWB to IGU – Welcome to the Jungle, Baby!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *