I’m sat in our new back yard. It’s hot, there’s jazz playing at a wedding over the road, and I’m sipping my way through a ‘growler’ (a big bottle of beer to you and me). 7 days in this city and tonight it feels more like New Orleans than North Vancouver.
Make no mistake, the last week (well several months) have been HARD work… but there are times when the hard work pays off. This is one of those times.
The kids were really good on the flight over. There was no queue at immigration and they didn’t ask us any hard questions. We found a porter at the airport to carry our mountain of stuff. We were welcomed at our new place by a very smiley Jacob and Jessica plus kids, who kept our kids entertained until Canada bed time. Step one of jet lag minimization complete. They had also gathered enough furniture to make our house feel very much a home. Thank you to everyone who helped!
We chose the right weekend to arrive. It was a bank holiday and the sun was doing some serious shining, and has been ever since. Sunday and holiday Monday were spent in ikea, the supermarket and at the beach and skatepark. And that has to be one of the best things about this place. If you want to go to the beach for an hour you can. If you want to hike up a mountain you can. If you want to go downtown, get some culture, etc etc etc…
The rest of the week has followed the pain / gain theme. Being alone with the kids all day is not easy. Working in a new job on new subjects with new people in a new country (I love the way the Brits and Canadians have both failed to go metric… In completely different ways!) is hard, but fun.
For us , Lynn Valley is the place to be. I am surrounded by people who want to ride their bikes. We are near the pool, the library and the community centre (and the skate park!). There are loads of kids around and it’s safe to play out. It’s easy to get everywhere.
And, once we got past the ‘no-job-without-a-work-permit-no-work-permit-without-a-job’ issue the whole adminy side has been plain sailing, thanks in part to the to do list on the wiki at www.britishexpats.com. If you’re thinking of moving away from the UK, you need this site. Perhaps it’s because this place is full of immigrants, perhaps it’s just the Canadian way, but the whole immigration / social insurance number / driving licensing / bank set up thing has been a friendly and easy experience, with the exception of BC Hydro. Why do I get the feeling they will be the subject of future rants!?
And so to tomorrow… A few more admin jobs. Pick up a car to borrow. Get read for the week ahead. And a barbecue with new friends made at the beach last week. So far so good, Vancouver. The winter is going to have to be pretty tough to make the slog not worth it for the summer…