We have now got a little bit serious, picked up our cats (Bruce and Sheila) from the cattery and have rented a furnished apartment in downtown Vancouver, in the West End, right near Stanley Park. This park is 400 hectares (1,000 acres) and is on a huge headland on Vancouver harbour. There are 35km of fabulous paths for walking, biking and rollerblading all throughout the park, and our favourite one around the seawall is 10km in length.
Bruce and Sheila approve, there are lots of hiding places for Bruce, closets, beds etc. and Sheila has lots of lounge chairs to snooze on.
What have we been doing? Well, lots actually. It takes a lot of work just trying to get set up in a new country, all be it a familiar one like Canada. We bought our car in Toronto, but actually Janet bought it, as they wouldn’t sell the car to us, even though we paid cash, as we didn’t have Canadian licences. We tried to get Ontario licences, but they do not recognise Australian licences, so we would have to go through the written tests, driving tests, plus get Drivers Records from the RTA faxed to Canada. So we said to hell with it, and we bought Janet the Big Red. But now that we are in BC, we have to change the vehicle over to us and get our licences here, so we have been organising that. Also, they won’t let me get a licence here until I have my Permanent Resident Card. Well I expected this to come in the mail after I arrived in Canada, as I gave Janet and Morley’s address in all of the paperwork for my visa. But no, I looked up the internet and it said I have to click on a button on the website to apply for my permanent resident card once in Canada, then it will be sent to me in 30 days….. and the list goes on. After waiting 3 weeks, 3 faxes, 3 emails, and a phone call later, the RTA has now billed our credit card but not sent the fax for our Drivers Record. Yes very boring, but lots to do to settle into a new place. Luckily our BC Health Care Cards have arrived, so from Nov 1st we will be covered free of charge for all doctor and hospital needs.
I have fortunately got a great friend in Shelley, she runs her own thriving business called Eagletours (check out her websites www.eagletour.com and www.ski-whistler.com), an internet based travel company. She has employed me for three days a week for two weeks, plus had me stay at their place in Whistler. Mostly the work was admin related, but I helped put a PowerPoint presentation together for her, and yes I even snuck in a graph! It was a great time, as I just love hanging out with them in Whistler, we even went hiking or mountain biking each day, all a good day’s work in Whistler.
Mark is still chasing up some loose ends with his uni degree, unfortunately the lecturers there have no sense of urgency. He is also applying for jobs, and checking out various Engineering options in BC.
Luckily for us, the economy in Western Canada is thriving, mostly due to oil and mining. There is a labour shortage, yes, strange but true, there is a huge labour shortage as people are being drawn to Alberta to make large amounts of money drilling oil and related industries. The real estate market is also booming, which means we will probably find jobs relatively easily, but will be renting for a while.