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"Everybody move to Canada... Right now"

Written on: Tuesday May 1st, 2007

A journal entry from: Canada 2007

This is my quick re-cap of the last 3 months - really wishing I had made time to write in detail re all the things I've done... 

 So after all my talk over the last few years I finally made it out of the UK. To a slightly colder destination (the far west coast of Canada) than I had originally anticipated but still all good new adventures :)

The trip started off slighting stressfully - good old gatwick airport had me queuing to check in and go through security for so long that I made the plane (sprinting down the concourse) with 5 minutes to go. So I get onto the aircraft all sweaty and pissed off and started to choke on the toasted crouton things I'd been eating whilst queuing. (Thanks to Livy and M&S for the killer Ceaser salad!). The airhostess' were less than sympathetic and it took me going blue in the face to a level which concerned the chap sitting next to me so much he stood up and started demanding water from them. After I had recovered from my near death experience we spent the next 9 hours chatting (he's working over here on a visa too) and plotting black market marmite deals.

I arrived to snow, my boyfriend clutchinga  bunch of flowers and a party at his place with hockey beer and wings - couldn't have gotten more Canadian...

For the most part it's been great fun, getting into the swing of life here, but there have been a few moments of 'Aaarg, what am I doing here?!' And of course a fair bit of heartache too with the boyfriend.

Once I had all the boring and important stuff sorted out (social insurance number, bank account, mobile phone etc etc) I went into serious job hunting mode and after a few weeks of cabin fever, (pacing the house, waiting for phonecalls/interviews) managed to land an awesome job as an admin assistant to a government minister.

I also moved into my own little apartment with a friend, close to town, with it's own swimming pool & gym.  Great Success!

My time has been spent hanging out with friends and family (his) making new friends (everyone here is super friendly... or perhaps just mad); going for 'beer & wings' at the pub with the boys; going for cocktails with the girls; wading around in the snow trying to get my bearings; walking around in the never ending rain wishing for the summer; exploring the amazing scenery on the island (hiking, ski-ing, walking); watching a ridiculous ammount of ice hockey on tv (my fave NHL players are swedish twins with big ginger beards who play for the Vancouver Canucks) and talking at great length on the phone with the Canadian customs and immigrations department trying to convince them I am female. Now I know I may have looked a little rough getting off the plane but I don't think I looked that bad!

 I've made some great connections here and (all-in-all) settled in very nicely.  Am looking forward to an awesome summer...

Some observations I have made:
1) Everything here is BIG. supersized big. From trucks to tvs to shops to food... everything huge.
1a) On the big food note, I nearly had a fit when we went food shopping for the first time, I couldn't get over how much choice there is. I feel slightly overwhelmed in the-Berlin-wall-just-came-down-and-I've-been-living-in-the-East kinda way. I mean, in the UK you might get 4 different tpes of peanut butter. Brand name smooth, brand name crunchy, generic own brand crap and some kind of organic vegan wholemeal wallpaper paste masquerading as a delicious nutty spread, but here you get a choice of 50. And that goes for everything.
1b) Every other advert on tv is for food.
1c) Mmmmm.... pumpkin pie...

2) Customer service is ridiculously good, can't fault it. I want to hug everyone I've dealt with - bank tellers, council officials, my hairdresser, checkout chicks...

3) Canada is very like Australia in so many ways. Except stupidly cold, obviously.

4) TV here is shockingly bad. Non stop advertising mixed up with re-runs of The Bold and the Beautiful. Oh yeah, not to forget the 50 million weekly games of hockey.

So that's the first 3 months squeezed into a few paragraphs.  Hopefully I'll make the effort to better keep this up in future!