Archive | December 2010

The To-Do List of All To-Do Lists: Version 1.1

With one week and six days until my flight (eeeeeeek!), the time has come to update the to-do list of all to-do lists that I introduced you to last month.  It’s been a busy end to December, what with finishing work, moving out of my flat and of course Christmas, so I was a bit apprehensive about re-visiting the list.  Despite the constant, gnawing feeling that I’m incredibly behind and must have forgotten something, the list looks much healthier than it did last time I checked:

My Flat

  • Hand in written notice to lettings agent one month prior to move-out date (tick)
  • Get deposit back
  • Get reference from lettings agent (scan and save)
  • Get reference from previous landlord/housemates (scan and save)
  • Cancel electricity (tick)
  • Cancel council tax (tick)
  • Cancel TV license (tick)
  • Cancel Sky (TV and internet) (tick)
  • Cancel BT line rental (tick)
  • Cancel contents insurance (tick)
  • Book professional cleaning (fail – company didn’t answer the phone)

My Car (actually my boyfriend’s, so I don’t have to do much in this section)

  • Sell or store car (decided to store)
  • Book service/MOT (tick – extra point for passing!)
  • Cancel car insurance (tick)

My Job

  • Hand in written notice to line manager (tick)
  • Get reference from manager and other partners I’ve worked with (mostly ticked – just waiting for manager)
  • Make a note of contact details for key work contacts
  • Write my Canadian resume (more than one, tailored to job areas) (tick)
  • Send CV to recruitment agencies in Vancouver (half ticked – I’ve started)
  • Search and apply for jobs (tick – I applied for one)
  • Send off speculative applications to companies I’d like to work for

    Thing: EVERYTHING!

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All I want for Christmas…

Being that it’s Christmas Eve and all, I thought I’d get in the festive spirit by sharing my Christmas wishes.  I’m lucky enough to have been born in mid-December, so my list of presents gets to be twice as long, and this year it has a very distinct theme – if it can’t fit in my suitcase it won’t get under the tree.

Roxy Terry Snow Boots – These après ski boots have solved the one eternal dilemma that Ugg and Emu failed to do, and manage to keep one’s feet warm and above all dry in the rain or snow.  A must for Vancouver.

Roxy Fleece-lined Jacket – Also essential for Canada, and the one I chose is nice and bright too.

Roxy Iceberg Jacket, James and James Clothing

Roxy Backpack – As well as continuing the noticeable theme, a backpack is going to be far more useful for hand luggage, snowboarding, hiking and general outdoor activities than the Cath Kidston handbag that also made the list.

Padlocks – A bit of a boring one, but padlocks are necessary for securing one’s suitcase, as well as hostel lockers.

Skype Headset – 2011 is going to be the year of Skype for me, so I need a headset to be able to use it.  The one I asked for was Bluetooth and wireless so I can walk around whilst chatting.

Towel – Not very glamorous, but I’m going to need one of these so it might as well be a nice, fluffy, new one.

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The Long Goodbye

So, chapter one of my Canadian adventure is over – I’ve finished work, moved out of the flat I shared with my boyfriend and driven out of Southampton for the last time for a very long time, if not ever.  I’m now well into chapter two, which is living with my parents over Christmas and new year until the start of chapter three, which will see me leaving the country on January 11th (assuming there’s no snow on the runway of course).  What happens when I land is a currently a source of panic, anxiety and extreme fear which doesn’t bear thinking about, at least until the last of the cold turkey sandwiches have been eaten.

Most of the milestones in the journey so far have come and gone just as I imagined, with the major exception of saying goodbye to friends (I haven’t got onto family just yet).  I didn’t quite anticipate just how many people there were to go for dinner, drinks or both with, and how busy I would be in my last few weeks before I left, to the extent that I can count the number of times my boyfriend and I cooked in our own flat in December.  Even then there were people I didn’t get to see, and people I still have yet to meet up with over the holidays (get me – I sound Canadian already!).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about my social life suddenly rocketing through the roof, but there are definitely pro’s and con’s to an endless string of leaving do’s.  The more time I spend going out for lunch, drinks and dinner the more food and alcohol I consume, the more money I spend, and the less time I have to go to the gym to burn off the food and alcohol I’m consuming, which I’m also still spending money on a monthly fee for.  A vicious circle if ever I knew one.

Despite losing pounds and gaining pounds (geddit?) at such an alarming rate, it’s been fantastic to see so many friends for one last time before I go.  Making an effort to get up and get out of the flat every evening when all I want to do is curl up after an exhausting day of handover at work was definitely worth it, as I have that many more memories to take with me.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that the most important thing isn’t how you feel at the time (tired, stressed, panicked), but how you’ll feel weeks and months down the line when you look back on the long goodbye with happiness or regret.  For me it’s definitely happiness, and I’m already planning what I’m going to say in my first postcards home.

Climate Control

This week I’ve been lucky enough to have not one but two days off work as a result of ‘adverse weather conditions’ (just about the only positive thing about working for a UK University at the moment – the ConDems can take our funding but they can’t take our snow days).  Every time the snow starts to fall within inches of our coastlines the buses and trains stop running, the schools start closing, and every man and his mother has something to say about how terrible it is that we’re so unprepared for winter weather.  This usually involves comparing the UK to somewhere like, for example, Canada.

Whilst it’s true that other countries seem to fare much better during ice and snow, Vancouver was also taken unawares at the end of November when an unexpected drop in temperature caused delays on the SkyTrain, Vancouver’s public transit system.  The SkyTrain is an electric and fully automated train line that operates largely on an elevated tracks across 47 stations on three lines.  It seems that an accumulation of snow and ice on the SkyTrain’s power rail is enough to temporarily cripple the service, which is unfortunately what happened when two trains stalled in separate places on the Canada line during the morning rush hour (read the full story here:

This Canada Line train couldn't cross Vancouver's Fraser River Bridge because of ice and snow.

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There’s no place like home…

This is definitely one post I didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to write just yet, but I’m pleased to announce to the big wide blogosphere that I leave the country in five weeks and five days, and in five weeks and six days I will be moving into my very own (well, for six months anyway) Vancouver apartment.  More specifically, a third floor, hardwood floored, third floor in a walk up heritage building, in Kitsilano, with all utilities included Vancouver apartment.

Kitsilano is just south west of Downtown

For those of you who haven’t been religiously studying maps, guidebooks and reviews of Vancouver neighbourhoods for the past 18 months, Kitsilano, or Kits as the locals (soon to be me!) call it, is a laid back, trendy, former hippy enclave south west of Downtown.  As Lonely Planet aptly put it ‘the hybrid SUV was invented for the kind of people who live here’ – better buy some ‘yoga pants’ then[1].

Our building…check out the sea to the right (via Google Street View)

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