We moved to Canada when I was 5 years old. I came with a blonde bowl-cut, a scar above my lip and about 7 english words in my repertoire. Even though I was born and raised in South Korea (an experience which would make a great book one day), my parents had always expected to move back to Holland. I spoke Dutch, believed in Sinterklaas, not Santa and we ate a lot of boerenkool and hutspot.
And then my dad got a job offer in Canada. My parents went to visit that far-away land before they made the final decision and came back to us with stories of what was to be our new home. This move to Canada was going to be the last big move in our family; my older brothers were in middle school and it was time to settle down.
I had no idea what to expect of Canada. I heard the stories and saw some some pictures but nothing seemed tangible. The only thing I was certain of was that Canada was the land of skipping. You see, as a going away gift, I had received a fancy skipping rope. It had wooden handles and they were painted in some pretty cool bright colours. Today we would call it colour blocked, back then I just called it awesome. My mom made me put it away, saying I could play with it when we got to our new home in Canada. And so, with that skipping rope tucked away carefully in my hand luggage, I had visions of cobblestone streets and skipping marathons with new friends.
Turns out there weren't a lot of cobblestone streets around our new home in Hamilton. And the biggest skipping marathon I participated in was Jump Rope for Heart and I used the skipping ropes they handed out, not my own fancy rope. Getting new friends was also not quite what I expected. The bowl-cut, the lack of English and the fact that I was born and raised in a country that rhymes with diarrhea made social climbing a hard sport. It was even harder for my older brothers in middle school; kids can be so cruel.
Of course, Canada was also an exciting place to live and experience new adventures. The first Halloween blew my mind. We got to dress up and get heaps of candy... for nothing? We bought a new car, the ugliest brown station wagon you've ever seen, but I couldn't believe we got to drive such a big and, in my eyes, luxurious car around. And when we finally settled into our own home a few months after moving to Canada, we met a Dutch family with kids our age that lived just up the street. It was my new friend's Mom who told me to tell my Mom about Goodwill and their dollar bag sales. Money saving tips from one Dutch mother to another.
That is when I learned that Canada was not going to be the land of skipping. It was going to the land of thrifting.
What's your story? How did you start thrifting?