Friday, August 15, 2014

My Canadian Bucket List: See Mounties

The Mounties or The Royal Canadian Mounted Police  if you want to get fancy are one of those things just synomous with Canada. I don't know anyone who hasn't heard of them.

They're one of those things that are also so famous or rather infamous that you or maybe it's just me kinda forget that they have a purpose. They're not just there to be a cultural thang.

They're like legit real police.

Since I don't plan on doing anything illegal or having anything bad happen there was little chance of me seeing them. Until I went to the Pride Parade.

Quick side note, Pride here is all about the companies, organisations and groups showing how they support all people regardless of their sexuality and orientation. Canadians really are that nice. So there were representatives from all the civil groups at Pride including the police, the fireman, politicians, companies, etc.

Because the Mounties are awesome, they were there too. I went a little nuts.They are just as fabulous as I imagined.

Ex-Oh! Ex-Oh!

My Canadian Bucket List: Tim Hortons

Is there any other way for me to start a to-do list than with food? I suppose I wouldn't be myself if I didn't.

So as briefly mentioned, Tim Hortons is a chain here. They started in 1964 and I see them everywhere. I see a lot of people carrying their coffees so I assumed it would be delicious. I also know they're the main coffee brand in the rest of Canada, but here in Vancouver, most people prefer Starbucks.

So one morning after doing some room-viewing, I found myself in a Tim Hortons. Their menu is good. Their food is good; especially the breakfast stuff and the Timbits which are little bits of heaven. Their coffee? I was not in a happy place.

First I thought it was the type of coffee I ordered; a drip/filter one. So then I ordered a latte. I was so pleasantly surprised by the amazing price I almost ignored how bad it tasted. To me it was really bad. Not un-drinkable but definitely not my first choice.

Since then, I have had their frozen coffee which is pretty good. I'm not sure what they're doing to their other version. I've also had their frozen lemonades which are amazing. And I've pretty much worked my way through their food menu. So technically's Canada Favourite is okay.'

Ex-Oh! Ex-Oh!

My Canadian Bucket List

So I decided to make a list of some exciting things to do, eat, drink and try while I'm here. The list is pretty small at the moment  but I'll update it as I go along. 

If you want to see my daily life in Vancouver, check my Instagram. There's a feed to the right as well. I (try to) document each of my 365 days. There are days when things are so bland I don't want to put you through that pain.

Ex-Oh! Ex-Oh!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One Month In!

Yay for me, I survived a month in a new city without a job and friends. Disclosure, it’s a few days short of a month but 29 Days In just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Also I make I sounds as if the city I moved to has been taken over by a zombie army hellbent on killing me with no running water and no other survivors.

I probably could not have picked a better place to try this whole year abroad thing. First of all, everyone is friendly and lovely. Secondly it’s a bonafide First World Country which means luxuries for days. Thirdly, it’s summer which just makes everything better. And finally I’ve been working my ass off so I’m kinda reaping a bit of what I sowed.

To begin…I have sent out 74 job applications in the month I have been here. I have joined five temp agencies/recruiters.  I have been on 23 interviews including three group interviews which are the worst thing ever. I’m not sure why they are a thing. I have walked from one end of the city to the other in a blazer trying to look professional but merely looking sweaty and red-faced. I have printed a gazillion copies of my resume and references and I can now school people on my cover letter skills.

So after all that, I can say that I am on my first temping assignment and it’s all going well. I am enjoying not perusing Craigslist daily for a new job (until the assignment ends and then I’ll be bookmarking that shit) and it’s great to feel productive. Before this my only achievement was not eating junk food. As is life, I've also be contacted for more interviews while on this placement. Obviously I cannot go which means the universe is just taunting me again. Like that time I thought I had lost weight but my jeans actually just stretched.

In case you didn't realise, this is the pink strip in Vancouver.
 This job couldn't have come at a better time. Vancouver is very expensive. That’s all aspects of Vancouver. If you’re willing to shop around, you can definitely be smart about saving money. But housing and transport will kill you. The transport is great here. The trains are fast and always on time. The buses are mostly always on time. And they’re a bit more confusing. But I’m making my way. I am started to worry when it gets colder or wet. I’m not so sure I’ll be lamenting the joys of the public transport then. Unless you’re really lucky, you need public transport to and from your place of work. This is where the costs creep up on you like a dodgy guy at a club. The nice thing is once you move to the right Zone, you will be saving daily. The bad news is there’s just no way around the cost though.

So apart from being a working girl, I also moved. My dream was to live Downtown. The rents crushed that dream. Unless of course I was open to sharing a room, literally living in a living room or in a closet (no joke) I was not going to be able to afford it on my savings. So I started to look around (never giving up hope on that Downtown dream though) and I found cheaper, worse, okay, better and nicer places. 

This is bike polo. Which is real. Apparently. 
Some of them had weird rules, others were a health hazard. But in the end I found a great house with other people from around the world. It’s close to the trains, the neighbourhood is pretty and the WiFi is included. I just need a moment to discuss the amount of available WiFi in this city. I love walking past all the places I've visited and have my phone instantly connect. It’s definitely one of those things I’ll miss.

My new hood. 

Other highlights in my life are:

Experiencing my first bit of rain. It was a light drizzle, it was humid and my hair didn’t go big.

Watching the fireworks at English Bay for the Celebration of Light. We went to watch France’s night and even managed to score free tickets to the observation deck.

The Pride Parade! Not just the parade but the build-up like the stadium being lit up in rainbow colours, Davie Street and getting free shit. People walk the parade and hand out stuff. It’s amazing. I walked away with two rainbow flags, beads, coffee, band-aids, seeds, sweets and condoms. Lots of condoms.

Discovering Michaels craft shop. If you know me, really me, you'll know how much this means.

I'm still enjoying all the coffee. I now just have the iced versions.

Ex-Oh! Ex-Oh!