It’s that time of year again – January 11th 2014 marked three years since I arrived in Canada. Wow. It’s been a big year and a lot of things have changed since my last Canada-versary. In a good way, I should add. I have all kinds of feelings about celebrating this latest milestone, so hear we go…
I’m a Permanent Resident
This time last year I was a temporary worker on a IEC working holiday visa, and now I’m a fully-fledged Permanent Resident. Yey! Although nothing in my day to day life has really changed (still have to spend hours in border line-ups, still can’t vote) I’m one step closer to the illusive passport, and it’s a big step. There’s something about knowing that if I chose to go back to studying I’d be classed as a Canadian student rather than International that makes me feel happy. This is definitely a good thing; changes recently proposed to Canadian citizenship guidelines mean that I may be waiting an extra two years before I can submit my application. Better get used to this Permanent Resident status as it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere any time soon.
I have a dog child
I didn’t quite realize just how much getting a puppy would change my life. And I’m not just talking about the endless poop bags and excursions limited to 4 hours. Dave is part of our family, and I find it so funny to think of him growing up in Vancouver, having no idea that we’re not from Canada. To him, we’re humans who give him meals and take him for walks, and we all live together in Canada. And that’s the way it will stay. Having a puppy wouldn’t stop us from moving back to the UK if we needed to, but it has made it all the more unlikely. Our short to medium term future is definitely on this side of the pond.
I have family here
Yes, my younger brother moved to Vancouver with his girlfriend in June of last year. It’s been really fun having them here, and I see them every couple of weeks to continue our everlasting hunt for cheap, good pubs. It also meant that we got to spend our first our first Christmas away from home with each other. Our parents come to visit in TWO WEEKS (excited, much?) and I can’t wait to have all four of us in one place.
I like my job
Or should I say, jobs. Now that I’m a contractor my employment situation has technically never been more unstable. Despite this, the hours are still coming and I’ve had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects with some amazing people. Vancouver is all about who you know, so the more I achieve here the more I wonder what I’d do if I went back home.
I cheer for Canada in the Olympics
Not over Team GB, of course. But being the Winter Olympics (or as they call them in Canada, the Olympics) there are many more maple leafs than there are Union Jacks on TV. I happened to see Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe receive their Gold and Silver medals in the women’s moguls while I was in the gym, and almost wept into the cross-trainer. I was a very proud Canadian in that moment, and the lump in my throat was very real. Then I started thinking about how I had a lump in my throat and my connection to Team Canada, and that made the lump get a little bigger. If only Citizenship & Immigration Canada had been watching me…they would have presented me with a passport on the spot.
I don’t feel the need to go home as much
I still miss my family and friends, but I miss the UK less and less. I haven’t been back in 14 months, and don’t really feel the pull to the Tesco cheese aisle the way I used to. Three years is longer than I spent at University, so it’s more than long enough for me to have built some amazing friendships in Vancouver (the strongest ones with those I met on the plane over!). I miss so many of my friends in the UK, but time apart is a good test and my I appreciate my friendships with those who have kept in touch with even more. I do wish I could see my parents more often but I’m so glad I get to speak to them on Skype every week. Going over a year without seeing them has been tough, but it’s made me realize that I could survive another year before going home to see them. Which would be two years away from the UK. The problem with this is that I do really want to see my Grandparents. I know they’re not able to travel all this way to visit me, so I want to make sure I go back to spend some time with them. Because of them (and my beautiful dog, Freddie), I’m thinking about a 2014 visit after all, but it’s to see them rather than see the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I wouldn’t stop in at Primark on the way back…
This post is possibly the one I’ve been the MOST excited to write. It joins such life events as ‘arriving in Canada’ and ‘getting Permanent Residency’ in the Lizzie’s Greatest Moments Hall of Fame. This post is all about Dave. For many of you reading this, Dave needs no introduction. He has existed in our minds since summer 2012 (way, way before he was a twinkle in anyone’s eye) and finally came home with us on November 2nd, 2013. Our first few weeks together have been interesting, challenging, tiring and awesome, and I’m excited to share this video and Dave’s story.
310 – The number of miles we drove from Vancouver to Portland (and then back again) to collect Dave. The border delays and traffic on the journey down were so bad that it look 10 hours to get to our hotel. So much for my tax-free shopping. Despite this, we saved over $1200 compared to the cost of buying a puppy from Canada. Plus all that money I would have spent in Macy’s…
0645 – The time in the morning that we collected Dave from his breeder. Our meeting place was a deserted car park outside her work, and it was still so dark at that time in the morning. I was really nervous about the initial meeting, but as he bounded across the tarmac to us we knew instantly that he was Dave! He was friendly and affectionate and didn’t whimper at all when we settled him in the car. Apart from a terrifying case of the hiccups, Dave’s journey home was calm, quiet and mostly nap-filled.
The fact that it’s been six weeks since my last post is an indicator of just how busy this summer has been. I had an amazing three weeks with my in-laws from mid-Wales, and enjoyed a whole month without rain. I visited Astoria, Cannon Beach and Gibsons (twice). I hiked the BCMC trail, ate brunch on Main Street and took advantage of Earl’s Mexican Bulldog Mondays – all for the first time. I continued my summer traditions of reading magazines on the balcony, drinking coffee on the seawall and enjoying a cocktail in the gorgeous Reflections bar. Now Labour Day is here, and it’s time for me to start looking forward into fall. Usually I’d be disappointed that summer is coming to an end, but the last few months of 2013 (and beyond) are just holding way too many fun things for me to even think about the post-sunshine blues. Here’s a taster of what’s in store for me between now and the C word (Christmas, of course…).
1. Reconciliation Week – September 16th – 22nd
Those of you who read my post on my new job at Reconciliation Canada will know that the week commencing September 16th is a big one in my calendar. Reconciliation Canada is hosting three major events during Reconciliation Week, including a traditional burning ceremony (Monday 16th), a visually stunning canoe gathering (Tuesday 17th), and top top it off, the biggest event of all: the 50,000 participant Walk for Reconciliation & A New Way Forward Celebration (Sunday 22nd). My job has been to lead the recruitment, scheduling, on-boarding and training of almost 1,000 volunteers who will make these events happen. With less than three weeks to go until it’s all over, the busyness starts now. On a related note, today is where my social life ends for a while…see you all on September 23rd (unless you’re someone who believes in renewing relationships among all Canadians, in which case I’ll see you at our Reconciliation Week events, won’t I?)! As I also mentioned in my previous blog post, my contract will be ending at the end of September, and I’ll be looking for another job. I’m not in a huge rush (mainly due to the length of this list), but there are couple of potential options floating around that I’m really excited about. Watch this space.
2. New Apartment – October 1st
After two years in our beloved Downtown apartment, we’re officially on the hunt for a new home from October 1st. We’re looking to stay in the Downtown core (Yaletown to West End) as we love our location so much, except this time it needs to be a pet friendly building (more to come on that). We’ve been scouring craigslist on the half hour, every half hour, and have a number of viewings lined up this week. We’re hoping to get somewhere sorted in the next week or so while I have evening hours available to look at places, otherwise the madness of Reconciliation Week will kick in and the manfriend will be searching solo. Pet friendly places are generally more rare of than their no-pet counterparts, and the laws of supply and demand have therefore driven the prices up substantially. Saying that, we’re really pleased with the viewings we’ve been able to secure this week, and have everything crossed that we find somewhere soon. We’ll really miss our current place, but are looking forward to moving somewhere unfurnished that we can customize just as we like. Wish us luck!