Well, we’ve finally arrived in the Great White North and have been busy trying to settle in before our lectures start on the 4th of January (tomorrow!). We decided to create a blog in order to document and share our experiences with friends, family, and anyone else that’s interested in our shenanigans in Vancouver. Our plan is to give our own highlights on each week (which also avoids arguments on what to include!) and post every weekend. But, as an exception this week, we’d like to share a bit about our first few days in ‘Raincouver’.
To begin, we didn’t have just one, or two, but THREE plane journeys to tackle before we could even spare a thought about settling in and getting to work. Despite the daunting prospect of a journey that lasted nearly 24 hours in the end, it went perfectly fine right up to the last minute when, we lost our luggage.
At the verge of tears (Eurgain), we gave up waiting at the airport, made a claim (Rory’s job!), and got on the Skytrain to our new home. We were exhausted, deflated and a little depressed that things could go wrong at the last hurdle. But, thanks to the reassuring words of our friends and family, and great customer service on the part of WestJet, our luggage arrived at our door the next day. Finally, after a restless five hour sleep, we could unpack and start adjusting to our new life.
Next morning was a bit weird – certainly a new experience for me (Rory)…jetlag! When we woke it was barely 6am local time, but 2pm GMT, leaving us simultaneously wide awake and physically drained. We just got up early, mostly preoccupied with sorting luggage and conserving power; Canada uses American sockets and since our adaptors were in our luggage the battery life of phones and laptops suddenly meant everything! Anyway, since we couldn’t do a lot until they confirmed a delivery time, we went shopping. Stepping out into the Winter Wonderland that is currently Vancouver, there’s always going to be that giddy-childlike moment of ‘SNOW!’ and we certainly didn’t disappoint, especially since Rory hadn’t seen any in 3 years.
However, the snowfall happened a few days before we arrived, it’s since become compacted ice – which is always a source of amusement or annoyance to walk on, and has resulted in aching knees already! Still, we ventured out into the city, along with a memorised map, and after nearly half an hour’s walk found the nearest Walmart.
Now, being British, we have some experience of the concept of a supermarket. But even in Canada, it’s massive. Aisles and aisles of meat and juice and toothpaste and clothes. Just simply massive, at least in Rory’s opinion. But we both agree that the pricing is absurd for what you buy. Some is cheap ($3/£1.60 for 10 bagels) but some is not ($5+ for the smallest of cheeses and NO sign of Wensleydale!). One of those things which we assume must be cultural – it’s the same in Britain too, such as with the god-like substance of tea.
We also went to Moody Park en route, which was anything but, and saw 2 black ‘gothic’ squirrels! They certainly seemed far less phased by us than red and grey squirrels are at home. The wildlife here seems so diverse, and Eurgain’s definitely looking forward to heading to see the wolves at some point!
Another very Canadian institution (apparently) is Tim Horton’s. The impression we got was basically Canadian Starbucks – their hot chocolate was gorgeous, and the muffins…well, definitely worth the entirely reasonable price.
The last thing to note is our accommodation. The house we are staying in is little more than 15 minutes walk away from Douglas (including the snow!) and has a wonderful view over the river which snakes its way through New Westminster. Our landlord has been lovely to us so far, including picking us up from the train station after our rather deflated arrival into the country; and our flatmates, two medical students from Alberta, are equally as lovely! (Especially if they’re reading this 🙂 ).
That’s all there is to say, at least for the moment! In our next post, we’ll be sharing our thoughts and feelings about our first experiences at Douglas College! Goodbye for now!
Lots of love, Eurgain and Rory