Tag Archive | holiday

Maple Milestone: The Three Month Mark

This week marks the three month anniversary of my arrival in Canada, which seems about the right time for a general update – a ‘maple musing’ if you will. The realisation that I’ve been in Vancouver for a quarter of a year already has come as somewhat of a surprise, as time seems to move at an entirely different speed here. On one hand, I cannot believe the time has flown by so quickly. A quarter of a year? Mid April? Really? It seems like just yesterday I was standing at the airport, laden with luggage and saying goodbyes. On the other hand, I cannot believe it’s only been three months, as the longer I live here the longer it feels like I’ve been here forever. And that I could be here forever.

As they say, forever is a long time, and perhaps too strong a word at this stage in the game, but it’s definitely safe to say that I’m very much enjoying my time in Vancouver and that I have no plans to run back to Blighty for the time being. I have a great job, great apartment and I live a minute’s walk away from a great beach. I’ve done some great things and had some great experiences, including a Canucks hockey game, a trip to Seattle, an Olympic anniversary celebration and day trips to the ski slopes. I’ve met some great people, particularly in my team at work, and I’ve planned a lot more great things to come, such as a weekend in Whistler.

Even if it is a bit cloudy, who wouldn't want to live here?

That’s not to suggest that everything has been, well, great. At least not totally, all the time. I wouldn’t say I’ve been homesick as such, but I do miss my family and can’t wait for them to come and visit. Three months is long enough for my trip away to be more than just a trip, and I’ve been here for the right amount of time to miss my British friends but not to make Canadian ones. My fellow BUNACers from the group flight are starting to head back home one by one, and by the summer I’ll be one of the only few remaining. The cost of living in Vancouver is much higher than I anticipated, making my dream West End apartment with gym and pool seem even further out of reach.  With my new job I can now afford to travel to the places I read about in my guide book, but I no longer have the time to. And don’t even get me started on the banking system.

Of course, all of these annoyances pale into insignificance when thinking about what I’d be doing now if I was still in Southampton. My point is, since arriving in Vancouver there have been far more downs than I thought there would be (making new friends is proving difficult) but far more ups too (fantastic job, lovely apartment). Moving to another country definitely hasn’t been easy, but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t take it back. So much so that my second Working Holiday Visa has been applied for and conditionally approved, and it looks like I’ll be staying for an extra year. In 2012 the world might be flocking to London, but I’ll be heading straight back to Vancouver.

From Fantasy to Reality

So now I’ve booked my flights, told my employer and started clearing out my flat, it’s come the time to tell my family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and anyone else who stands still long enough to listen.  All I’ve done for the past 18 months is talk about how I want to live in Canada and I’m ‘hoping’ to be going out for a year in January 2011 (all the while covering my back with ready-made excuses in case it didn’t happen), so now it’s actually happening I thought the first thing I’d want to do is shout it from the rooftops to anyone and everyone in earshot.

Whilst that’s true, and I definitely have been (well, shouting it silently from Facebook and Twitter at any rate), telling other people about my plans has had one effect that I didn’t expect – it’s made me really, genuinely nervous for the first time.  Obviously I’ve thought my decision to go on a working holiday through properly, taking into account everything that could go wrong, but I’ve never really seriously considered that I would have anything but the world’s most amazing time.  Telling other people about my plans has transformed them from a warm and cosy fantasy inside my head to a somewhat colder reality; it all seems very real all of a sudden.

I wonder why everyone wants to come and visit...

Saying that, I have been very lucky with my responses, and the vast majority of people I’ve told have been overwhelmingly positive, full of advice, and incredibly excited for me.  My family have been very supportive of my decision (although I’m not sure they believed I’d actually go through with it) and my parents are already making plans to come and visit for the end of the ski season in March.  So many friends have said they want to come and visit, and I really hope that some of them do.

If anyone else out there is planning a similar adventure but didn’t quite get the response they were hoping for, hang on in there.  Ultimately, you’re not choosing to do this because it’s what your friends and family want to do, you’re doing it because it’s what you want to do.  I appreciate that’s easy for me to say as I’ve been so lucky with my responses, but I do honestly believe that the power of positive thinking can get you anywhere.  If you’re lacking that, a working holiday visa can help too.