Tag Archives: British Columbia

10 years in British Columbia

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Outside the Rosellen Suites, our apartment that first month

10 years ago we arrived in Canada. It was night, and we barely made it through Immigration before the office closed for the evening. Some of our visas weren’t up to scratch and we had replacement photos taken, with our eyes red from the ten-hour flight.

Most of our belongings were in transit, crossing the Atlantic in a container ship, and wouldn’t arrive for another month. We had enough packed in our cases, hopefully, to last us that month. The taxi stand at the airport looked at our baggage and the travel-weary weasels and suggested we take a limo.

“It’s about the same price as a taxi big enough for all of you, and there’ll be room to spare.”

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We arrived at the apartment we’d booked for our first month. It was dark now, and cold. Whatever the real time was, we’d been up for around twenty four hours one way and another, and we just wanted to sleep. But the door code we’d been given didn’t work, so we had to call the Manager. Once we were in, we hauled our many cases up two flights to the room (finding out later there was an elevator…) Before we could collapse, however, there was one more thing – someone needed to go out and get supplies for breakfast. No one fancied the idea of waking up and having to dress and go out for food. I ran to the nearby 7-11 and picked up cereal and milk and bacon. That would have to do.

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Foraging for food turned out to be relatively painless…

From our perspective of ten years on, we look back on that night with a fondness and a vague horror. It was the biggest adventure we had ever considered, and the Weasels threw themselves into it with such courage. We were promising them a better life, new activities, a new house, a dog and all manner of great things, but the fact was we had no ACTUAL plan, beyond “Let’s get jobs and find a house.”

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That’s why this week we are trying to say thank you to all the people who have helped us in this first ten years. We got our jobs, our dog and our house, but we also found friends along the way who have done so much for us. We’re grateful to everyone who extended the hand of friendship and turned our crazy hopes of a better life into a reality.

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The night before we flew out, March 2009

 

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When people ask me “Why did you emigrate?”

WP_002610San diego 6 060Me and the weasels eat lunchThe view from the Yacht ClubWP_000331Viewty spaghetti and doors 017 095 Viewty Victoria ferry trip 015 Deep Cove 011 007 Katie Lily Doughnut Skating and fireworks 117Rocky Point November WP_000713 WP_000753 026 036 (2) Bloedel conservatory 165Any questions?

As the Autumn leaves fall…

Must be Fall... There go the leaves.

Must be Fall… There go the leaves.

One of the things we told people about wanting to live in Canada was that there were real seasons over here. Summer was hot, Autumn was crisp, Winter was cold and snowy. I think we were both remembering those mythical seasons of childhood, when Summer went on forever and the snow of Winter came up to your hips.

It was an odd claim to make, because until we emigrated, we had only spent three weeks in Canada. Three weeks of glorious Autumn, granted, but in Ontario. We were visiting my Aunt and Uncle, and they certainly told us of cold and snowy Winters: They described being woken on a Winter’s night in their cabin by the sound of trees exploding – the sap had frozen, expanded and broken the tree trunks. We saw the wonderful colours of the trees, enjoyed the late sunshine and the good weather as we drove an RV down the edge of Lake Huron.

But when we came to Vancouver, it was a different story. We arrived just after the worst Winter that many people could remember. Snow had fallen Downtown, and Vancouverites had demonstrated their inability to drive in the snow. Spring was cold and wet and lasted a long time that year, giving us the impetus to book a springtime holiday in San Diego the following year, which turned out to be bright and warm and sunny.

The view from our San Diego balcony March 2010

The view from our San Diego balcony March 2010

Last year was another cold and wet one, with people reminding each other that this area is a temperate rain forest, and really, if you want sunshine, you should be going to Hawaii. We went back to San Diego in the Spring, determined to get some sunshine.

But the Summer was awesome this year. Long, long hot days, breaking records with a completely dry July. We baked ourselves in our own yards, and it’s possible that some of those green lawns may have been illegally using their sprinklers. We were prepared for September to bring the rains again, but the sun has persisted, carrying through into Autumn days that might have sprung from a Famous Five book. The leaves are dropping, crisp and brown, and you can sweep them up because the rain hasn’t plastered them to the ground.

September's weather was good enough for camping and hiking with friends.

September’s weather was good enough for camping and hiking with friends.

Whatever the Winter brings, we’ll be ready. Our Vitamin D reserves have been topped up,and we have the box of gloves, hats and scarves sat by the back door. Not far from that box is the one that holds the ski gear.

Whenever you’re ready, Winter – BRING IT ON!

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