The B&B was both inexpensive and one of the few which had six consecutive nights available with only a week or two's notice. It was a house on a leafy street with two bedrooms for guests and shared bathrooms. The hoteliers, lovely people, generously let me use their number as a contact point in my search for a place to live. They took me to an art exhibit opening party, given by friends of theirs.
Their generosity was such that it always felt a little awkward to come down in the morning and be seated on the patio, under an umbrella, and be served. Each morning, a newspaper of my own awaited me. There was a bowl of homemade granola, mounded with fruit. There was a fresh muffin and juice. The air was cool and fresh and - given I was in the middle of a city - green.
I spent my days househunting, and by the fourth day had found somewhere to move in. I stayed out my six nights in the B&B, however, time to work out the logistics of moving in somewhere new - rent, buying a mattress, and all the paperwork of settling into a new department and a new degree.
On the last day, the hoteliers got out a box from a drawer and gave me a little Canadian flag pin from it. "Welcome to Canada", they said. We said we'd stay in touch, but I never sent them more than one postcard.
Today, in London, in England, I needed a Canadian flag for a photo shoot. I know I have some paper ones on sticks somewhere, free, courtesy of Canada Day, but where, I'm not sure. So instead, thinking it would be faster, I printed out an outline of the Canadian flag and colored it in with red pencil. And as I sharpened and colored, I thought about my little Canadian flag pin, too small to register in the photo shoot, but otherwise perfectly representative. Welcome to Canada - and I was.