Life in Vancouver

What have we been up to?

We’ve been here for four months this week! Time is going so quickly. The seasons and weather have certainly changed a lot since we arrived and I for one have settled into a new normal, I think Tom would say the same too.

I started working on September 18th, doing a couple of training days whilst my parents were here, then beginning properly on September 26th the afternoon after they left. It was every odd saying goodbye, so I was glad to be going straight to work to have something to take my mind off it.

I’m working at our church as an Office Administrator. It’s a job share, so I work Wednesday – Friday, doing general admin, some finance stuff, payroll, and various bits and bobs. Although it’s working in a church office it’s very different to my previous jobs.

Taking on finance was a big step as maths has never been my strong point but thankfully it’s mostly writing cheques and inputting numbers and the church accountant actually does all the complicated stuff. It’s been good to learn new skills and challenge myself in that way, and I do definitely feel I’ve learned a lot! I think I’ve settled into the role now, and feel like I’m getting the hang of most things.

Things also work very differently here to the UK – taxes are totally different, the vast majority of financial stuff is done via cheque, even paper is a different size here to the UK. It took me more than a few hours to work out why my document wasn’t printing correctly one day – I had set the document to A4, but paper here is ‘letter’ sized. Who knew?! (Thankfully my job share partner knew hence fixing the problem!!!)

I love my commute. I get two buses – one which takes less than 10 minutes, then another which takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how busy it is. I sometimes have to wait a while between buses which can be frustrating if I’m running late, but the view from the bus stop is ridiculous and even when it’s raining the charm of Vancouver doesn’t wash away…

I’ve been listening to podcasts and audiobooks on the bus which has been a great use of my time on the way to and from the office.

Almost everyone had headphones in on the bus. Vancouver is known as a lonely city and at times I can really see it. The bus journeys is one of those times. Everyone is in their own bubble and particularly in the morning when I’m on a bus full of commuters, everyone looks exhausted and like they have a long day ahead, and the fewer interactions they have the quicker they can get on. I probably look just the same to everyone else. I try to smile at people, and often smile at what I’m listening to, but that doesn’t really affect the people around me. It’s a bit like the tube in London in that sense. God forbid someone would try to talk to someone or make eye contact. It’s just not ok.

Tom is doing well with his work stream still. There’s only been a handful of days where he’s not had work on, and they’ve been well timed for rest and/or adventure!

Tuesday last week we decided to go up Grouse Mountain to see Coola and Grinder, the resident bears, one last time before they hibernate. They’re enclosure is smaller in the weeks running up to their hibernation so we got a really good look at both of them, and got to chat to a ranger about them too. It was a really cloudy/foggy day which made the gondola experience and the walk around the top of the mountain eerie. By the time we walked away from the bears the visibility range was probably around 5m.

We’ve exchanged our driving licences for local ones, which means we’re both able to drive here for the extent of our stay. Tom registered with Car2Go as well, so he’s now able to use cars around the city – he’s been driving every time we’ve used a car so he can get the practice in. He’d only driven once in the time we’ve been here and that was a huge van when we picked up our sofa, so I think he’s appreciating the Smart cars more for that!

We celebrated our anniversary in October by going to a fancy restaurant downtown. We had a fantastic meal and enjoyed very nice bottle of wine. It was a really nice evening!

Tom’s been going to a Bible study with some guys on Tuesday mornings which he’s really enjoying. I’ve been to a women’s breakfast and have offered to help out with future events in the women’s ministry. After church on Sundays the young adults stick around and eat together, taking it in turns to cook. We’ve met lots of people there and cooked Lancashire Hotpot one Sunday for everyone along with a Cornflake Tart for dessert.

We’re starting to think about Christmas now and what we might do. We’re thinking of having Christmas Dinner just the two of us – it’s not something we’ll ever do again really, so thinking we should see what it’s like! Then hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with some people from church in the evening. We did look at renting a cabin or something somewhere snowy for a couple of days, but neither of us particularly like the idea of driving in the snow, and once you take into account all the costs, it doesn’t really seem worth it.

Next up for us though is going to Seattle! We’ve booked a long weekend to Seattle for Tom’s birthday. We’re getting the train, which will take about 4 hours, and staying right near the Space Needle for four nights! So super excited for that adventure, and Tom will get to spend some of his birthday in Canada and some in America! Any suggestions or recommendations will be welcomed. I got Tom to watch Sleepless in Seattle just after booking the trip, so visiting some of those locations is definitely on the list, much to Tom’s delight…

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