Before I start this post, I wanted to say that it’s officially my blogversary! Yes, my blog is one year old and I have 100 followers too! I keep thinking back to a year ago when I was preparing to move to Canada. It was at that time that I was discovering what it means to be a Third Culture Kid. This move has been a journey of self-discovery for me and I feel doing a blog has really helped with that. I’m not kidding, there is very little stuff out there that talks about being a TCK. Okay, I have to ask, and please be honest, how many of you knew what a TCK was before you read my blog? If you didn’t know what that was, how much do you think you have learned from reading my blog?

Anyway, I wanted to talk about what my experience was with my second COVID-19 shot. Plus I have an update on the virus situation in Calgary. I haven’t been up to posting as much because of my health. I am getting ANOTHER dental procedure soon and I am SO done with this! This dental procedure will mark my TENTH appointment at a dentist’s office for this past year. I know a lot of people who have postponed their dental appointments this past year or so because of the pandemic. I can honestly say there was nothing to worry about. They are super careful at dentist’s offices because they know patients can’t do masks and social distancing while in the appointment.

Second Shot Logistics:

If you didn’t read my post about my first shot, here it is. Due to supply issues, Canada was prioritizing first shots over second shots, and extending the time between the doses. I wasn’t expecting to get my second shot for 3-4 months. At first, I was concerned about the time frame. Thankfully, my Dad is a scientist, so he knows how to read and interpret scientific studies and can cut through the crap. After I consulted my Dad, he said it’s okay to extend the time between doses. I did research too and agreed with that too. He taught me well!

On June 1st, Alberta opened up second doses to anyone who had their first shot in March. It was in March when the province announced they were stopping second doses, and my Mum got her first dose right of AstraZeneca right after that. At the time, I had to wait until June 14th to book my shot. Canada had just announced that you can mix and match shots, so my Mum decided to get an mRNA shot for her second dose. She got Pfizer at the TELUS Convention Centre.

A Word About Healthcare Here:

I got a surprise right after that. My periodontist’s receptionist contacted me because the local pharmacy had got a supply of Pfizer shots. She wanted to know if Mum and I were interested in getting an appointment. Here’s where it got awkward. When I gave her our information to pass onto the pharmacy, she asked for our Alberta Health numbers. I told her we have temporary ones because we haven’t qualified for healthcare yet. Even though we have temporary healthcare numbers, we couldn’t get the shot through the pharmacy. Our only option to get the shot was booking through the Alberta Health system. We were really bummed out. Still, it was super kind of my periodontist’s receptionist to try and help us.

I have certainly found some things can be awkward when you haven’t qualified for healthcare yet. We’re in a weird situation in terms of qualifying for healthcare. Even though we have lived here for over 6 months (which is one requirement), we’re still on visitor’s status. The other requirement is to have certain work visas to qualify for healthcare. Okay, I completely understand why Canada has the 6-month residency requirement. A lot of Americans travel to Canada to get cheaper healthcare and/or prescriptions, so of course, Canada’s going to have a residency requirement for healthcare. At least I haven’t heard any propaganda here that immigrants are bankrupting healthcare as I have heard in other countries where I have resided. Healthcare eligibility requirements for immigrants aren’t perfect in a lot of countries, and that needs to be changed.

My Mum’s Experience:

When my Mum got AstraZeneca, she didn’t feel any side effects at all. Adding the Pfizer shot 8 weeks later was a different story. I had heard of the second shot causing a lot of fatigue, but my Mum slept for 21 hours with a few breaks in between! I was able to talk her through the other side effects because I had already had one dose of Pfizer. It took her a few days to feel normal again, but she has been keeping up on sleeping.

I wrote my post about the first Pfizer shot very shortly after getting the shot, so I didn’t include the fact that something happened to me four days after the shot. I don’t want to say what it is, but I do want to say that I couldn’t ignore it. Seeing my Mum go through the side effects reminded me of what happened to me. I realized I needed help with getting the second shot. I’m not kidding, I was THIS close to saying no to the second shot!

I went to my doctor about my concerns and he assessed whether it was too risky for me to get the second shot. In the end, he said it was minimal risk, so I was happy about that. When I was studying econometrics, I learned about this study a university did on their students to assess how to boost vaccination rates. The study compared a group who were given leaflets about vaccinations versus a group that got a vaccine consult. They found the vaccine consult group had a much higher vaccination rate. Seriously, if I was in charge, I would incentivize doctors’ offices to prioritize vaccine consults for patients. There is no shame in needing a consult.

So I Booked My Shot:

Alberta opened vaccinations to people who got their shot in April four days earlier than they originally said. I booked mine as soon as possible because the first shot rate was pushing 70%. Once the vaccination rate reached 70%, it would start a two-week countdown to full reopening in Alberta. My goal was to be fully vaxxed (antibodies kicked in and everything) by the time reopening happened. I went to the TELUS Convention Centre for my shot again. I thought I was going to have to wait in line for an hour like I did last time. Appointments for second shots were increasing like crazy, but it didn’t affect waiting in line at the TELUS Convention Centre. My Mum wasn’t allowed to come in with me, for some reason. It probably depends on who is the security guard at the door.

Waiting in line to book my shot

I had the best nurse that I could have asked for with this shot! I was honest with her about the problems I had with the first shot, so she did the shot in a private area in the clinic. Lying down while getting the shot was a new experience. I highly recommend it! The nurse stayed with me for the 15 minute period after the shot as well. When I said Canada is the fifth country I have lived in, she said, “I’m curious now! Where have you lived?” I gave her the long version of my TCK story. She had some cool stories too. She had been travelling around to different vaccine clinics in Alberta and told me about a bear in the clinic parking lot in Banff.

Side Effect Time!:

I was feeling happy after my shot. I’m glad that even though the TELUS Convention Centre is a mass vaccination site, they take care of patients who have problems with the shot. After an hour though, I started to feel it. I went home and slept it off. Before I got my shot, I took two ibuprofen. It helped immensely because the nausea wasn’t so bad and it stopped my arm from hurting so much. I have never had a shot hurt my arm more than the Pfizer shot. The other side effects lingered for about 36-48 hours, but the fatigue stayed. At first, I thought I was okay, and then I had to SLEEP! It took me NINE days to feel normal again!

I have a theory why the fatigue lingered though. I have had a major viral infection before, as well as a major bacterial infection. When I was at university, I got hand foot and mouth disease at the time when outbreaks were happening on university campuses. Plus, I have had appendicitis. Both those things took a LONG time to recover from! I get impatient when I’m sick and when I got impatient with the above health issues, I physically crashed. I’m pretty sure my body remembers that, so it was telling me to sleep off this shot. Am I glad I got the shot? Yes! Am I ecstatic that I got through a pandemic without getting sick? I can’t even describe it!! Am I enjoying the amazing wifi thanks to the 5G implant from the shot? Heck yeah! You know I just trolled a conspiracy theorist there right?

A Reflective Time:

Now that I’m fully vaxxed, I have been reflecting a lot on what I want to keep from the pandemic and what I want to reject. On June 18, Alberta announced that it hit the 70% first dose rate, and it’s now in the two-week countdown to reopening. The announcement went like this:

I wish that had actually happened though!

How do I feel about that? Well, cautiously optimistic. The Calgary Stampede is happening as scheduled from July 9-18 and who knows if the vaccination rate will be enough? The Delta variant has already hit Calgary. As far as I know, it’s under control, and cases are still going down. Even so, experts are saying it’s too early to have the Stampede. One singer who used to be a pediatric nurse said he won’t perform at the Stampede until it’s safe.

What’s the best thing about being fully vaxxed? I can now explore Calgary more! In fact, I am doing a challenge. My idea for this challenge came from a talk about how Calgary was designed for walking. Parks and green spaces are a point of pride here. When I looked at the city of Calgary website, it said there were 73 parks in Calgary. So, my challenge is to see a new park every 7-10 days. I am going to randomly select (when possible) where to go next and once I have done the walk, I will do a post about it. I just went to a new park and I will be posting about it soon! Watch this space!

Cultural Adjustment Update:

Remember how I said in my post about my seventh month that I was going through the phase where I don’t like my new country? Well, it went on for about two months. I did what I could to help myself through it and gave myself space to think through things. Even so, there was only so much I could do. So, I was waiting for a moment that would let me know that things would be okay here. I kept waiting and trying to be patient. Then, when I helped those goose parents reunite with their goslings after they were stuck, I realized that was the moment that made everything okay.

The bench where the geese were

Additionally, I saw this comedy routine from comedian Darryl Lenox that really hit home for me. As someone moving from the USA to Canada, there were some things that were just so real! I can’t find the routine on YouTube though, so I have to tell you what it said that was so relatable.

Darryl Lenox was talking about how he learned this calmness that Canadians have. He saw this news story in Winnipeg about this young guy who was raising dangerous snakes. One day, a snake went down his plumbing and ended up in the toilet of this guy who was about 65 or 70 years old. The reporter asked the older guy what he did when he saw the dangerous snake and the guy replied, “Close the lid”. Darryl Lenox talked about how that phrase became a metaphor. Sometimes you just have to close the lid. He also did a story about how things would have been completely different in the Bible Belt of the southern USA.

What I Learned:

I keep watching that comedy routine whenever I need it, but even before I saw it, I started closing the lid. I don’t engage with trolls or any insulting or spamming comments on my blog or my IG page anymore. You want to unfollow me? Bye! I’m just going to close the lid. I got to the point I can’t live in this state of constant anxiety anymore and I had to detox from that as well.

Darryl Lennox describes how this NFL player got hammered drunk at a Kenney Chesney concert and started a racist rant. He said thanks to his new prairie found calm, he was able to think through how he felt about it more clearly.

Even though there are tough things going on in the world, sometimes the prairie calm is the best thing to do. The important thing to ask is, “At what point do you just close the lid?”

Latest News from Canada:

Before I proceed, here’s a heads up. I am going to talk about finding these mass, unmarked graves of Indigenous children from residential schools. So, don’t feel like you have to read about that if you don’t want to. That’s a content warning in its own right. Additionally, please keep comments respectful on this subject. We’re talking child victims of cultural genocide who died of grievous abuse here.

Last month, a mass, unmarked grave of 215 Indigenous children was discovered near a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. Since then a few more mass, unmarked graves have been found. The latest one was in Saskatchewan of 751 children, which brought the total to 1,323. After the Kamloops discovery, there were vigils around the country and flags were lowered to half-mast. Plus, there were lots of other calls to action.

There was a vigil site outside Calgary City Hall. My Mum and I went there to pay our respects. We agreed when we were there we would do a two-minute silence as we do on November 11 at 11 am. There were poems, signs and 215 pairs of children’s shoes. The report said the kids in the Kamloops grave were between 2 and 15 years old, and the shoes fitted that typical age range too. I thought the shoes were a good touch. When you looked at the shoes, you get an image in your head of children running, jumping or moving around like kids do. It was like seeing the ghosts of children who never met family members in their community and parents that never got to see their children doing kiddy things. I didn’t take any photos of the vigil site out of respect for the situation.

A Seismic Cultural Shift:

I have experienced enough cultures to know that Canada is in the middle of a seismic cultural shift here. Usually, cultural shifts happen gradually, but sometimes, they can happen like a volcanic eruption. The eruptions happen because the country has been suppressing something for too long. Ergo, when it explodes, it EXPLODES! This is like Krakatoa here.

Last I heard, the International Criminal Court has taken a case to investigate Canada and the Catholic Church for cultural genocide of Indigenous people. I guess we’ll find out soon how this will go. Additionally, Canada Day is coming up on July 1st. A lot of areas have cancelled their celebrations out of respect for this time of mourning among First Nations. Other people are planning a day of reflection out of respect, and that’s what my Mum and I are doing too. There is a certain amount of resistance to cancelling or changing Canada Day celebrations. At first, I didn’t know what to think because this is my first Canada Day and I am still learning the norms, but the culture is changing, so I decided to roll with it. It’s not the first time I have had to adapt to something like this.

Thanks for reading and remember to close the lid!

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  1. Happy blogiversary!! I’m so glad you were able to get the second dose- unfortunately it’s taking a while in Ontario and I may have to wait for a while before I get it. I was pretty fatigued after the first shot so I feel like I’m probably going to be out for a couple of days after the second one too.

    1. Thank you! I am happy I got the second shot too. I would definitely prepare for the second one as well. I planned 4 days to just be safe. Thanks for commenting 😊

  2. Congrats on the anniversary and the second shot. I get mine in a couple of days, I hope I don’t have problems like you did. For Calgary parks, this one is quite well known so is probably on your list, but I thought I’d mention Bowness Park. It’s a great park. It will be busy on the weekend, but is a really nice place with big trees for a picnic at a picnic table or on the grass under a tree. The residential schools have slowly been coming into the awarenss of everyone. It’s a difficult history for many to acknowledge, but hopefully now that more information is coming out there will be healing in the communities. Stay cool in this heat wave:) Maggie

    1. Thank you! As I said, I have had an awful bacterial and viral infection in the past, and it felt like my body was remembering that. Bowness Park is on the list! I think I might have gone by it the times I have been in that area. I’m choosing the parks by random selection, so it will probably come up soon! I absolutely wish the best for First Nations and Canada at this time. I already know what it’s like to have a country implode (actually 2, which is both my passport countries if I think about it) and it’s best to deal with things like these residential schools now than to let your country implode. So far, I think Canada is doing the right thing, which is a relief for me, personally. Stay cool too! Thanks for commenting 😊

  3. An interesting post, TCK. You’ve covered a lot of ground. Congrats on completing one year of blogging. It does take a lot of commitment. I laughed out loud about your 5G implant from the vaccine shot πŸ™‚ It would appear that my implant hasn’t kicked in yet πŸ™‚ Sorry to hear that your body had such a negative response to the vaccine. The good news is that you pulled through. Enjoy your explorations of Calgary’s many parks. For all of its positive image, Canada, too, has its dark history.

    1. Thank you! It’s been quite a year 😊. Well, are you in an area with 5G? That might help πŸ˜‰. I put the reaction down to the fact my body has had an awful virus and bacterial infection so it remembers what it has to do. I can’t wait to see Calgary’s parks! I am amazed at how this city is so walkable and has 73 parks in a small city. I definitely agree about Canada’s history. It’s an interesting time to live here during a time of reckoning. Thanks for commenting! 😊

  4. Congrats on your blogging anniversary and for being fully vaccinated!! I have never heard to the term third kid culture before until after reading your blog, so I’m glad to learn something new! I’m scheduled to receive my second shot in the fall, which I’m a bit nervous about because of the side effects, but I’ll take those over the side effects from catching COVID any day!

    All the best on your own Alberta Parks challenge!! I’m looking forward to reading more about what the hiking is like there. And those views of the mountains never get old.

    1. Thank you! It’s a relief to be fully vaxxed, especially with reopening. Take care of yourself when you’re recovering from the shot and be prepared. For now, it’s Calgary Parks. I haven’t seen too much of the mountains since I have been here, but usually I am in the wrong part of the city lol. Thanks for commenting 😊

  5. Congratulations on your blogiversary and on being fully inoculated. It took me a while to recover after the first shot too. Hopefully I’ll get my second shot in a month. And I hope that your dental procedures will be over soon.
    And I hope that those children will finally get some justice. God knows it has been long overdue.

    1. Thank you! It’s a great feeling! Good luck on your second shot! Here’s to hoping for no more dental stuff for a while. I hope those children, their families and communities receive justice too. Thanks for commenting 😊

  6. I’m so glad we’re chatting outside WordPress too! It is a complex thing being a TCK, and I have been hurt at times. Mental health is always a priority for me. Thanks for commenting 😊

    1. Mental health is cool. Yeah, TCKs can often walk a lonely road until we meet other people who are like us, or at least empathetic to us

  7. Congrats on your blogaversary and 2nd shot. They do recommend that you not take any pain killers before the shot, so that the the proper immune response is initiated and wait as long as possible after the shot before taking them. I had a low grade headache and minor unease with my 2nd dose. My wife had fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes. All is good now. As to the current situation with the First Nations, the Catholic church really needs to come forward to apologize and provide all the info they can. This process has already played out with the Irish Christian Brothers ( and the pain still runs deep in our family). I expect the next reckoning will come in the U.S. who also followed a similar systemic assimilation. I must admit I am not a fan of governments or religions who think they know what is best for all people. The entire occurrence shows what a lack of respect can do to a nation or a culture. We all need to be better than that. And yet, prejudice, genocide and colonialization continues to play out throughout the world. Stay well and enjoy the parks. A

    1. My doctor actually said it was okay to take painkillers before the shot. Oh well. I do feel like it’s okay though. I agree with you about the Catholic Church. This reminds me of the movie Philomena with Judy Dench. My Mum was raised in an Irish Catholic household and she can name every atrocity committed by them. There’s a reason she and almost all her siblings stepped away from that crap. I hope you’re right about the USA, but having lived there the last 7 years, I am really cynical. That country has been in the definition of insanity for I don’t know how long! I don’t see it getting better any time soon. I read an article about how Germany became the country it is today by being honest about their history in around the 90s. Unfortunately, Germany is the exception and not the norm if you consider the rest of the world. I can’t wait to continue this parks challenge! Thanks for commenting 😊

      1. I am thinking of reading Sinead O’Connor’s latest book about the chronic child abuse that occurs in Irish families due to their theocratic society. We left the church over the first wave of sexual abuse and since the Irish story came out. My wife’s father was scooped off the street in his town at the age of 2 1/2 and raised in a convent until 10 and in an industrial school until 16. The Nuns and the Christian Brothers were almost as bad as each other, but the government allowed it to happen, just as they did in Canada. Today at 90, the memories still haunt him especially especially with the Canadian stories. If anybody had stopped to say this out loud at any point, they would have realized how wrong it all sounded. Superiority and greed will be humanity’s downfall. Fingers crossed that we all take positive steps forward.

      2. What a story! Thanks for sharing. Even though the focus is on the healing of First Nations, you wonder how many other people are recalling memories of abuse by the Catholic Church. I love how the movie Philomena is so real about what happened to her as well. Here’s to hoping the International Criminal Court is successful in holding Canada and the Catholic Church accountable

      3. Other churches were also involved. Perhaps the World Court could also look into the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs still ongoing. So much inhumanity.

  8. It’s a good thing to know that you are completely inoculated, it’s true that it’s one less worry. I’m always amazed by the amount of analysis you put into many things. I hadn’t particularly paid attention to the case of TCKs, I see that it’s something important for you.

    1. Yes, the vaccination is a relief. I have been around a lot of TCKs and it’s a fact of life for us that we question and analyze things. We had to adjust to different cultures in our formative years and there are things going on that we don’t always understand, but we know it’s best to think through these things. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  9. I’ve never heard of an international criminal court, that sounds like a horrid idea. Allow nations to deal with things on their own. World Government is a really bad idea… I’m sorry that shot two was so hard on you, wow! It’s over now, right?

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