On July 9, 1971, my wife-to-be boarded Japan Airlines from the Philippines and arrived in Vancouver B.C., where she changed planes, Air Canada, to take her to Winnipeg, MB.
On the same plane was our late prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, although she did not know who he was until they got off the plane. Her sister and brother-in-law met her at the Winnipeg International Airport and then flew to Lynn Lake, MB — her new home in Canada — the next day. Lydia came to Canada to teach grade school, but the government of Manitoba required her to upgrade her teaching certificate to conform to the Canadian education system, although she (was) a full-fledged teacher. Lydia came from a country where daily temperature readings are over 40 degrees Celsius, coupled with high humidity, to 60 below zero temperature.
At first it was difficult for her to adjust to this drastic change in weather, however, she got acclimatized eventually. Because she also had secretarial/ banking/administrative experience aside from teaching, she applied and got a job as secretary at the Bank of Commerce and stayed with the bank until our move to Uranium City, SK.
I remember meeting her at the bank side counter. I arrived at Lynn Lake, MB aboard a train from Flin Flon on July 4, 1972. It took 14 hours to travel because the railroad tracks were winding, and every time the train made a turn it would make a loud banging noise. Aboard the train, Coke cost $2 a can, and the same for a sandwich. When I arrived at Lynn Lake it took a while to get a cab. I had to check in at the Mine’s Main Gate with a security guard on duty. They placed me in Bunkhouse 14. The room had no ceiling, and it was freezing cold. In the morning, I was hired by the chief engineer for the powerhouse.
I got to know Lydia and dined at Yip’s Chinese Restaurant where the food was great, and conveniently located next to the bank. Lydia and I dated for two years and exchanged wedding vows May 17, 1976, at Holy Family Church, St. Boniface area in Winnipeg, MB. On July 9, 2021 Lydia has resided in Canada for 50 years, and she’s glad she did.
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