We’ve been a bit quiet on the old blog front recently; our last post was a week ago! I honestly do not know where the time has gone. The truth is that we haven’t really had all that much to report on. After our exciting full-on first week in Vancouver, much of second has been spent trying to acclimatize to everyday life.
Thom started his new job at Catch 122 on Friday, which so far seems to be going well. He spent his first shift shadowing the other staff while he found his feet, although it wasn’t long before he was let loose on his own tables and getting stuck in. I am also pleased to announce that I too have been offered a job. Starting tomorrow, I will be fulfilling the hostess position at Stanley’s Bar & Grill, which is situated at the Stanley Park Pavillion. The restaurant is only open during the summer months as 80% of the seating is on a verandah. The girl that interviewed me had previously worked at Edinburgh Castle (she was the first person not to look at me blankly when I mentioned the Tattoo) so having experienced first hand how crazy things can get in August I think she has some faith in me, despite never having worked in hospitality.
I had been for a couple of other interviews over the last week: one was for cashier position in a local supermarket and the other for a sales assistant role at Roger’s Chocolates. I was actually offered the job at the supermarket but declined after deciding the job wasn’t for me. Roger’s Chocolates, however, never actually got back to me at all which I thought was pretty bad form, so that’s why they’re being named and shamed on the blog – shame on you Roger’s Chocolates! Anyway, I’m glad I held out for a job that I feel happy doing rather than just taking something for the sake of it, especially as our jobs will be integral to us meeting people and forming friendships. I’m really looking forward to trying my hand at something new and as so many of the casual jobs here seem to be in hospitality, it should stand me in good stead if we decide to move on after the summer.
Since moving into our apartment we’ve started cooking our own meals rather than eating out all the time in an effort to try and conserve money (and our waistlines). However, we have found the price of groceries here to be quite a bit higher than in the UK. At first we were putting it down to the fact that we were limited to inner-city supermarkets, but we’ve fared no better outwith Downtown, not even in our mammoth trek to Safeway last week. I nearly died when I saw the price of cheese! We are getting a bit more savvy though and have started buying a lot of our fresh produce from Granville Market. The other day we managed to get two massive punnets of tomatoes for $3 that made enough pasta sauce for several meals. We’ve also been enjoying strawberries for breakfast with yogurt and granola, which again were a bargain at $3 for three punnets. There are ways of making your money go further but irritatingly it seems to involve doing your shopping at various places, which without a car is a bit of a nuisance. Fortunately Thom receives a complimentary staff meal with every shift so at least he doesn’t have to eat like a peasant all the time. I was lucky enough to sample some of the food myself today and can confirm that Catch 122 serve up some pretty tasty grub!
On Saturday we took a walk down to Kitsilano beach for the first time. The area is a hive of activity and features several tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, as well as a children’s playpark, and (according to Wikipedia) the longest swimming pool in Canada! I’ve also being reading about the Kitsilano Showboat, an open air amphitheatre, which plays host to many free performances by musicians, dance groups, and other entertainers throughout the summer. Despite being a lovely day, it was pretty windy by the waterfront so we didn’t stay too long but Thom and I are looking forward to spending some more time down there once summer kicks in, as its only a 15-20 minute walk from the apartment. Kitsilano seems to be a popular place for students given its fairly close proximity to UBC and I’ve also read that many celebrities choose to set up home here, hardly surprising as Vancouver is actually a very popular filming location, so much so, it’s known as “Hollywood North”. Last week Thom and I unwittingly walked into a scene which was being shot for something down at the Waterfront. We didn’t recognise the actor so it’s probably for some Canadian TV soap, but who knows, we could be coming to a screen near you soon!
We stay just outside the boundary of the Kitsilano neighbourhood and to be honest we haven’t regretted our decision to move outwith Downtown as we feel that here we have the best of both worlds. Our street is only a few blocks walk from the main commercial areas so it’s really quiet and peaceful for the most part, but we can also get right to the heart of Downtown in less than 15 minutes when we want to. The transport system is really good here; your ticket is valid for 90 minutes from the time of purchase and can be used on the buses, skytrain and seabus, so you can hop on and off as much as you like within that time. We’ve been buying books of pre-paid tickets as they work out cheaper than just paying when you get on and it also means we’re never stuck for a fare.
So all in all it’s been a pretty productive, if uneventful, week. Sometimes I still can’t believe that we’re really here; we’ll be walking down the street, on a gloriously sunny day, (still feeling like tourists) and I have to remind myself that we’re actually living here! And as eager as we are to see more and more of this beautiful country, we are also fortunate enough to have time on our side, and don’t need to zip round tourist attractions ticking off boxes at break-neck speed. Once we’ve both settled into our jobs we’d like to start planning a few trips further afield, in particular to Vancouver Island and Seattle, but in the meantime we’re just enjoying the laid back pace of life.