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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/18/2018 in all areas

  1. 9 points
    Hi all, So after submitting my EOI on 22 May 2017, I landed in Vancouver on 20 January 2018. About 8 months from submitting to landing. It feels like such a short period of time. No wonder my family was struggling to accept it. Well, most of them. I departed Cape Town International on Friday 19 January, at 6:15am. Flew Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong. About 4 hours layover in both OR Tambo and Hong Kong. Landed in Vancouver at 6:40am. Met up with an old friend from Finland in Hong Kong after randomly finding out he was headed for Taipei on the same day. That was great! By the way, 5 days later and my sleeping pattern is still kind of out of wack. Landing at Vancouver International was a breeze. Self declaration was quick. The early morning queue was non-existent. Had to wait for my luggage before going to immigration, and that took forever! I guess the flight was full. Waited for about 30 minutes before I spotted my bags. Removed them from the carousel and proceeded to immigration... I was the first in a queue of 2 people haha. The process was so quick and painless, I was sure she missed something. All in all it was under 5 minutes, and that includes walking back to my luggage. I had a lift waiting for me at the airport, which was nice. We went for my first Canadian (North American) breakfast at White Spot in Richmond. It was good. The taste of adventure. Aka I'm not really sure whether it was really good or I was sleepy, excited, and generally easily impressed at this stage. Anyway. After breakfast, went to ICBC in Richmond (yep, open Saturdays) to do my knowledge test. When I booked it the lady didn't even ask for my RMTC letter, as I had my expired license card with me too, and together they showed 10 years of driving. She booked my test and gave me back my license cards. $15 later. Sat in the waiting area for a few minutes, and was called to take the test on the touch screen kiosks. It was soooo easy. If you feel unsure of a question, you are able to skip it and move it to the back of the queue, so I got full marks on the test. Booked my drivers license test for 29 January. This was the earliest one. After ICBC, I went to a mall to get a SIM card. Went with Fido, as they seemed like a goodish deal and it's month to month so I could move should I want to. Mobile data costs are insane here though...but atm I'm paying $45 excluding GST for 1GB, unlimited Ca wide calls off peak, 500 peak, and unlimited international texts. And some other kinda useless things. Went to RBC to try activate my account, but they were busy and I could only get an appointment at 15:30 that Saturday. Decided to leave it for Monday. I then proceeded to my B&B in Mount Pleasant where I was going to stay for 4 nights until I could move to the Airbnb place in North Vancouver. It was a really good location. under 10 minute walk to the Broadway Skytrain station, and RBC bank, and Service Canada was a 20 minute walk. I walked a lot. It was fun. Finally got used to not being too paranoid about crossing streets when the pedestrian light is white too. Sunday was spent lazing about and sleeping. Or trying too. Jet lag is a pain. My schedule is slowly recovering. On Monday, first thing, I went to RBC at 9ish am. The consultant was not yet in, so I was asked to wait for her for a few minutes. About 5 minutes later she came in and took me to her office. Started to activate my account etc, but then realised that, since I created my account through the Ontario branch, she wasn't able to simply activate my account. The solution was for her to open a new account on the RBC West region, but this only took effect over night it seems, so she booked me to come back at 12:00 the next day. Subsequently went to Service Canada to register for my SIN. Got there, the lady at reception was friendly...actually I have yet to meet anyone that wasn't friendly...and she told me her kids want to visit SA! Anyway, I was asked to sit and wait for my name to be called. I sat for about 15 minutes, before being called. The lady helping me was intrigued by my surname, and was a lover of puns. Had a good laugh with her. Anyway, the SIN took less than 5 minutes total. Left Service Canada and walked to Best Buy/ Canadian Tire to find an adapter that I have been struggling to find, even in SA. And then I saw my first Canadian sunshine! And also the last, so far. Best Buy was cool, but didn't find what I wanted. Canadian Tire had an adapter though, for $15. And so I also used self checkout for the first time. Interesting. The next day, I went back to RBC at 12, the consultant was on time, and she started activated credit cards and mobile banking etc. So efficient. She even transferred the money in the RBC Central region to this new account, and closed the old one. All of this took about 35 minutes. I'll get my cards in about 2 weeks, in the mail. Really impressed by RBC. Especially the Broadway branch. Walked to Avis to get a rental I booked online earlier the morning. Again, a 10 or so minute walk. Walking is good, even in the rain. Glad I brought my Stellenbosch umbrella. Anyway, I booked the second cheapest option on their website, since I needed a car with a boot for my luggage. As the guy was getting keys and stuff ready, he picked up a key, looked at it, then at me...put it down again...and proceeded to ask me: "Would you like to drive a Charger"... What? As in, a car that was on my desktop wallpaper for years? My young boy dream car? You serious? So yea, he was serious. I am driving a 2018 Dodge Charger V6 as a rental, for the price of the second cheapest option. The cynic in my wonders what the catch is. But, damn. I love this car. It's so fast (to 50, or 70, or 110...whatever the limit is...) and comfortable. One day I will drive my own. Been driving since then, as much as possible to get experience for the test on the 29th. Have a lesson tonight with an instructor, just to fine tune. I am getting pretty used to the driving environment. Driving in downtown wasn't as horrifying as I had anticipated either. Been meeting up with people now and then too. Somehow, all the people I meet up with are immigrants, although settled already. Really enjoying Vancouver at the moment. Sometimes I worry that it's going too easily and that I am missing something obvious...? Also, Feta is ridiculously expensive here.... And went to Save On Foods in Lower Lonsdale yesterday. I was standing at the fresh cut fruits section when the lady next to me starts telling me which ones are most popular and which ones she prefers. SOOO FRIENDLY. I need to get used to this. Well, that is a quick and maybe incomplete summary of my experience here so far. I have to go move the car, as the parking situation North Vancouver is terrible, and I don't want a parking ticket on my license before I actually get said license haha. Edit: I also embraced the North American culture and subscribed to Netflix... haha
  2. 8 points
    We'll be flying to Canada exactly 2,5 years after creating our first EE profile. We received the message that our visas are in our passports on our anniversary nogal! I've cried enough tears to flood Canada, had enough stomping-feet temper tantrums to shift continents, but it all changed when hubby & I said: "OK God, this is Yours." Things just started happening in a way that made my head spin. When we're settled I'll write my whole story which will hopefully encourage those that have been waiting for a long time for the miracle ITA.
  3. 8 points
    Hi everyone, I have decided to share our landing story as there doesn't seem to be any story like ours on the forum currently. It may be of particular interest to people who are currently in Canada on WPs and who are applying for PR within Canada. We applied for PR through the CEC inland route, and were lucky enough to get our PPR 24 days after submission of our application. We did our landing at the IRCC offices in Ottawa where they accept walk-ins on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. We woke up very early at 3:00 to catch the bus to get to the Greyhound station, where we took the bus to Ottawa. We arrived in Ottawa at 7:30, and at the IRCC offices at 7:45. We were fourth in the queue to complete the landing process. At 8:00 we were greeted by a very friendly security guard named Kasa, who was almost as excited as those of us in the line! He welcomed us, checked our CoPR forms and asked whether we wanted the interview to be conducted in English or French. We were then invited to sit inside the offices and wait to be called for our interview. They only started doing interviews at 8:30, the longest 30 minute wait of my life! When we were called to the desk the immigration officer was incredibly friendly and asked us about our trip to Ottawa. He then asked the three statutory questions, stamped our passports and signed our forms. He also punched a hole in our WPs as they are no longer valid. He then said the magic words - 'Congratulations, you are now a permanent resident of Canada'. After completing the interview, we were given a maple leaf pin and then spent the day exploring our new country's Capital city before getting the bus back home. Overall it was a really great experience, the people at the office were so friendly and excited for us. We took all the originals of all of our documents, including POF, but we were not asked for any of it. The only difference in document requirements for landing at the IRCC offices, is that they require two more permanent resident photos (I am still not sure why, but they do take them). I hope this helps anyone who is needing to do an inland landing. We are so grateful to Canada for allowing us to live in this amazing country and that the (very!) long journey has finally come to an end. The sacrifices, stress, blood, sweat and (many!) tears were so worth it in the end. P.S. The security guard, Kasa, was very excited to hear we were from South Africa (he is from Ethiopia). He collects currency from the countries of people that come through the office, and we were very sad not to have a 'Mandela' to add to his collection. So if anyone does go to the office, you will make his day if you have a R10 to give him!
  4. 8 points
    Officially announcing it everywhere. We received our PPR today just after 10am. Never give up...If you see my timeline below, you will see how much we have been through to get to this moment. And it is here:)
  5. 7 points
    How have other members dealt with this emotional roller coaster? Basically our move is booked (next week they pack our home up) and our one way ticket on Emirates is booked for next month. The emotional element of this is all becoming real, its crazy !!!! ...... For any newbies just starting the process, its far worse (for me at least) than waiting to get selected, ill actually take that excited anticipation anytime!!! It may seem stupid, but we have no intention of moving half way across the world only to return for regular visits, so suddenly every time you see a friend you realize it may be the last time, we definitely don't have any expectation on them to visit, even though its common to say "we will definitely come visit sometime", this includes family. Selling our home was traumatizing for us, that was the NO GOING BACK moment, we both were like what the $#%^^##%^*& have we just done!! There is probably an entire different set of emotions waiting for us on our arrival in Canada, maybe even worse! Having said this though, we are still excited by the prospects and convinced by our motivation to move. Life will go on and we will experience all the highs and lows, like many people before us have! Canada we will see you soon!!!
  6. 7 points
    I was that someone with a 359 score and NS nomination. Currently waiting for our passports to be returned. you can message me if you like. Never, ever give up hope. If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen xxx
  7. 7 points
    I hear you! Since we booked our one way tickets (landing May 2018), Ive been an emotional wreck! Ive been acting like everyone is dying, thats the way I feel the hurt to leave behind my parents (whom I still see every day), family and best friends. Then I suddenly get excited for our new adventure, then I stress about the many things still left to do before we leave...then sad...then happy..boy its crazy! The application process was definitely the easier part. But heres to our new adventure. Im sure we will actually love it and we will make the best of it for sure:) Good luck and let us know how it goes.
  8. 7 points
    Much to our relief, we got our PPR today. Good luck to all of you still in the midst of the process!
  9. 7 points
    If you came to Ontario in December and liked it then you are tough. This was one of the coldest Decembers ever. Looking back I don't have any regrets. In terms of advice I would say that you should not under estimate the subtle differences between SAn English and Canadian. Lots of risk for misunderstanding. Find out as much as you can about "Canadian-isms" and remind yourself its a foreign land with a foreign language. On the topic of language and communication remember that YOU have to change. When it comes to accent they sometimes struggle to understand you when you're fresh off the boat. And when people struggle to understand you, it often becomes a big problem at work. They might think your accent is cute and different in a social setting but work is work. You need to be understood. My advice is to force yourself to alter your accent on certain words, pronounce words properly and slow down. The less you sound like a fresh foreigner the better.
  10. 6 points
    I have a bit of time before I need to go to my next appointment..... so I will ramble for any feeling like a long story: 5 years on and I get sent away to the UK again to take care of company stuff. I have a UK passport, so the company uses me as I can work freely in the UK, and also because I am part of the design team Yip, I have a great Canadian Job now. It's back into a right hand drive manual, it's like I never drove on the right. The left hand finds the gear stick and does all the right things, except I wipe the front windscreen when I indicate, and flash the people infront when I try to squirt the window. (Darn controls are opposite.) It takes some getting used to driving on the narrow windy roads and mega roundabouts. Luckily I know the rules so I do not die, but It's intimidating with all those lanes and the speed and taking the correct exit - especially as google seems to have a delay announcing the exit point a bit late. Or simply just getting confused and saying something completely different - GPS gets lost in tall buildings. I can still zip up and down the gears much to my surprise. Funny, I'm the slowest driver away from the robots in Canada, but the fastest in the UK?! So how darn fast do Canadians pull away you have to ask ???!!! Pommies are as different to Canadians as day is to night - even looks wise. Drivers are probably a little less forgiving and polite here - I managed to get a good five minute bollocking from a hooter from a 3 ton truck because I dared ask to move to his lane in bumper to bumper traffic - if not, it meant I was going to get funneled off to goodness knows where and I was late for a meeting, so I just kinda worked my way into his lane and he refused to give way, so I worked some more - hey, it's a rental with full walk away cover - you want to run in to me... then do it. He did not despite a terminal rage - phew - you can't take me anywhere. The hooting was great, ha,ha , and then I was gone and it was all over - what a waste of rage. As much as Canadians are also aggressive, they will often make a gap - except in Markham. But that's not a rule for UK as further away from London in non rush hour traffic, they can be very accommodating. I never got stuck in a big roundabout going round and round, but sometimes it came close ! The next thing you need to do is unlearn all you techno-Canada words, as everything in the UK is SA techno-speak. So that's a pain, aluminum... aluminium,....set screw...grub screw.....wrench....spanner.... gas..petrol... ; that's ok, my next port of call was SA, so relearning all the lingo was good. After Uk success and surviving the M4, M25 and roundabouts (though the M4,3,25 are not as terrible as the 401) and there are millions of speed cameras and speed averaging areas so apart from the ubiquitous Speed-Beemers , most other people are more sedate. I'm not sure how well the camera systems work - but imagine getting a 100 fines a month. I think they must work as people seem to be more careful of speeds. So, off to SA... ah no longer home sweet home. Not horrible, but not home. JHB is just as nutty as ever. - taxis's and pause streers, or simply ignore streets. But what I did notice is a new generation of people of all races that seem to be kinder and more tolerant of each other - criminals excluded. That was nice. Then to PE where I lived much of my adult life. I studied there, met my awesome wife and had my girls - it was a time of treasures and terrors. Living near the sea with endless beaches was a privileged that never grew old for me. I never wasted a sea/beach day in 25 years. But all things good have to change or come to an end. The bad moved in and we eventually moved out. It was awesome to see old friends, and it was as if I'd never left. (Amazing). The first morning I was there, I took a walk on the beach at about 7am - the sun was in my eyes and I was looking down - a runner approached and called my name, I was completely caught off guard. After 5 years of being away, a few hours into my first morning and I am noticed - what are the chances? Later I went to my favorite biltong spot (the stadium butchery) it's gone from a tiny shop to quite big - good for them success ! And then the girl behind the counter gives me that knowing smile - no fat she says, it's been a long time ! Wow, that's 2 people - i'm infamous ! Driving in Pe is not terrible - taxi's suck and do as they please, the town is busier and the people that live there are concerned about crime and money. There are new street camera's and gizmos to curb crime - all innovative stuff. Some area's are worse than others. Water is dire -PE's under the radar, but day 0 looms for them too. There are tanks and bottles for sale everywhere and companies with trucks watering. And grey water schemes by the zillion. Ever the entrepreneur the South African ! Walking where you had your children, met and loved your wife and enjoyed happiness and heart break is a powerful aphrodisiac - The sensation of acute loss was powerful, not loss for the town and the place so much, but loss of times gone by - younger fitter bodies and little girls with giggles and tricks. Old pets who were the best mates ever. We brought our pets to Canada, but one has since passed. PE is a pretty town and can be an idyllic place to raise children if you can evade crime. Many of my friends are successful with good jobs and good income, some have cottages and other houses. It's the South African way, as it is the Canadian way, everyone has a cottage ! For me, I did not want to be back, but I did feel the pang of loss. Many of my friends expressed regret at not leaving, but that was to be expected. The thought of leaving is easier to digest than actually leaving. If you're going to do it, do it sooner than later. Emigration is hard, and harder still for the older of us. One big worry I noticed was parent now realising that their kids would probably leave, leaving them behind and that would be very hard. I left my parents too. If they leave early enough the could import their folks. Chat's and reminiscing are great, but it's then that you realise just how much a Canadian Kid has over a similar aged SA kid. Canada simply has a million times more opportunities for kids than SA does. Competition for courses in Canada is stiff, discrimination in SA is a problem. For me, I think competition is something I can deal with more easily - at least it's fairer. In SA you pay 2 arms and 3 legs and a spleen kidney and liver for a "private" school - in Canada you can too - but public school generally compare extremely well with private SA school. Stop frothing at the mouth I say. My kids had more course choice in school than I could shake 10 sticks at, as well as advanced calculus and functions and killer science etc. There was photography, food, business, mechanics, electrics, cooking, catering, and and - each forms a credit towards your high school diploma. The big issue I have with SA is everyone I know that has a half motivated kid gets 6 A's. Statistics tell me there is something wrong with that distribution.... But then I'm not a boffin. So then it was back to JHB, and London and soon back to Canada. And now I am a citizen, I feel warm and fuzzy looking at my boarding pass for Canada. I love the snow and the life there now - it took a bit of time to get used to. Here in the UK I have been constantly cold - never warm like in Canada. It's a cross between SA no insulation and Canada's crazy insulation - the place I am working here is not heated, so you are cold and you breath steams - other places (except shops) are like that too. No place I have been to in Canada is not heated in winter. My family seem to be happily settled. The girls are doing amazingly well at school and university - Canada rates 2nd in the world school rankings - behind Switzerland - when I last checked. So I am confident my children have a good education. They are both in "STEM" science,technology engineering and maths. If you can steer your kids this way, the world could be their oyster. There is lots of money to be had for university aid. Government aid too. Although, it seems that SA is not about to go over to free university for people earning under R350 0000. That's pretty high salary isn't it? How the heck are they going to manage with all those new applicants vs spots? And as I understand it the university are already financially crippled. Perhaps Cyril can fix it - hope so. Also I believe there are no longer trade tests? That's odd - how do you know the "appies" are competent? But I digress.... Both girls can drive now - insurance is no fun, but that's just the way it is. Getting a licence here is painless and fair - and no bribes needed. Emergency service & cops are brilliant (just don't be a di*k to the cops!) The roads are pretty safe and even girls can move freely without much fear of crime. (There is always an increased risk with girls - better here than SA!) If you come to Canada, you need to lose that SA mindset that private is the only way to go. I have a public school child getting 80-90% in second year BioMedical. That a simple public school education. She works hard, very hard. But the school provided the tools. I used to help with her work from GR9, and I was amazed by the exponential increase in (both their) abilities from when they left SA to now. I'm sure it's a growing up thing, so It would have probably been the same in SA. The teachers here are not perfect, but generally they are great and helpful and supportive - if you can read between the teen bluster and puffing. I'm not sure what the younger one will do - she's taking stem too - but ultimately she'll have to find something that interests her - forensic science is currently on her radar. So I am a lucky parent. I moved from SA for a better future, I struggled as did my family. The first years were difficult and hard on the family and marriage. 5 Years on, I am literally on the edge of my seat in London, looking forward to that first embrace of my lovely wife and 2 grown up girls. And the new pesky Canadian stoep-kakker - ha, ha. I'm going home ! Yay ! What more could a person want than the success of his kids and partner.... I hope it grows and grows. I guess I'm bragging again - but I am also trying to say, that if you chose this life, it can work out no matter what the people in SA say. You might not have a house on the river, or a place in plet, but you'll have your family and a new life with different wants and needs. And it's amazing how those alter too. People trash the Canadian health system, it's not as easy as in SA where you just go where you want. It's harder here and the rules of engagement are different. The Canadian doctors (UOfT) are an odd bunch, times have changed and training methods seem to have mutated in ways I don't recognize. Restraint in prescriptions are the order of the day. Very frustrating if you are in extreme pain. Fear of addiction can make doctors leave you wondering what the hell your going to do.... then if you see another, you go on the substance abuse watch list - because you double doctoring.... ie got prescribed pain killers from 2 different doctors.... I was't looking for a high, I was looking for the pain to go away. But then they did a Cat scan without a wait - and it's all for free and now I know my insides are normal and no cancer and lumps. You win on the swings and lose on the roundabouts. The trick is to learn to work the system as the SA rules just don't apply here as they don't apply for anything else... We're learning - fast. I'm growing to appreciate my new home more and more, In see SA a place of potential and now excitement - post zuma - I'm just glad that I have Canadian issues to deal with and not SA ones. This will be my first election - and boy am I looking forward to "anything but Wynne " And that is where you might be in 5 years if you managed to settle and become part of the system.. Some days I still feel like a stranger - but year that improves and hopefully one day it will be gone.
  11. 6 points
    I’m not popular, but I firmly stated no goodbyes at the airport. Our moms are fine with that, but my sister is resisting. Goodbyes will happen the day before and we’ll stay at the hotel at the airport the night before we leave. I want us and especially my kids to feel like it’s an adventure starting a new life, not sobbing our eyes out getting on the plane. What kind of start is that? I don’t want that gloomy feeling lingering. I have one very sensitive child who would be deeply affected.
  12. 6 points
    I sold my flat last week as well, we are moving in may right now i'm in denial,shock and panic all swept under a blanket of "ignorance is bliss". I don't know, even now I don't know if its the right decision:( I am comfortable here, good job, good career prospects etc but yeah im using the old excuse of "it's for the kids" :). My kids better make a good future outa Canada cause damn, I'm giving up alot of good!
  13. 6 points
    So I figured I'd give some feedback in case someone is wondering about the licensing process. So as I mentioned on another post, I did the knowledge test shortly after landing on Saturday the 20th of January, at the Richmond ICBC center. This basically entails taking your passport, drivers license(s), and COPR to the station along with payment and booking the knowledge test. Your eyes are tested before the test starts. It's a very basic eye test, I imagine I could have passed without my glasses. They also take a pic (of my jet-lagged face...) I think I over-prepared a bit for the test though. Spent a few evenings on the farm going through about 4 or 5 sample tests per evening, and downloaded an app that provided sample tests. I practiced those on the flights to Vancouver, which probably amounted to an hour or 3 of practice... The knowledge test is super easy, especially with being able to skip questions you don't feel like answering. After you pass they congratulate you, and give you your SA license card (with your BC drivers license number stuck on) back. Note I had my previous license, so they didn't even ask for the RTMC driving record, as together they indicated 10 years of driving. They also ask you to call a number (they give you a card) and book a road test. You can't book a road test online at this stage. On Monday morning I phoned the number. Spoke to a very friendly lady who asked me where I'd like to take the test. I heard from locals that the Langley test is the easiest, so asked her for that location. Turned out the earliest test was 3rd of April, so I asked her about all the lower mainland locations. She then found that Port Coquitlam had spots open for the Thursday(25th) and Monday(29th). The Thursday was a little too soon, since I only got a vehicle on Tuesday. Booked it for the Monday at 8:45 am. Decided that it would probably be best to get some lessons in, and use the driving school car for the test. Booked 2 lessons in Poco (Port Coquitlam), one for Thursday and one for Monday before the driving test (started at 7:45 this morning). The instructors were very helpful and helped me notice some habits that the examiners wouldn't be too fond of...The 2 lessons and car use for the test cost me $235 or so. The driving test is $50 to take. Got there at 8:45, went to stand in a line of 2 people, did the admin (including another photo), and sat down to wait for my name to be called. She actually did a good job of pronouncing my surname. Met the examiner, she was really friendly (such a relief!) and put me at ease, if only a little. She explained that they don't try to catch you out, and just want to see that you are able to drive and park. The driving part was so straightforward. Drove around Poco, making sure to slow down to 30km/h in school zones (missing those is an immediate fail), and drove back to the ICBC and had to reverse stall park. That was it. The lady said I passed, and I was through the moon! Pretty much all my admin done. Btw that was a pass despite me rolling through 2 stops...apparently... I did it so slowly she said she could get out unharmed. But rolled nonetheless. Whoops. Another $31 later and I had my yellow temporary license (piece of paper). I will only get my card license once I present my PR card to an ICBC office, so that won't be soon. And also, if you fail, you lose your SA license, and they give you a LEARNERS license...so please, don't fail. You can try again in 7 days, but with a L license, you can't drive on your own. So, make sure you are confident driving on the right hand side before you go. I had a rental for 6 days before going, and I made sure I drove every day. I only ALMOST drove onto the wrong side of a 2 lane divided street once...luckily not too busy and I realised before committing haha. Anyway. That was basically it. Insurance in BC is CRAZY! Old 2010 Golf is around $300 pm. Could buy a car for that money...
  14. 6 points
    @Liz88 This forum is so helpful for that niggling doubt of whether you are doing things correctly or not. My only bit of advice is to enjoy the time that you have with family and friends. Its so easy to get caught up in wishing to be in Canada already and to forget to enjoy the time in SA. We didn't even realize out last Christmas in SA would be our last one for a while (things all of a sudden moved very quickly for us); and now I wish I had spent more time with family, extended family and friends while I had the chance instead of being so focused on work and the PR application. Applications have been moving incredibly quickly in certain streams so things might move faster than you expect!
  15. 5 points
    The preparation: We pared our lives down to 5x 23kg duffle bags (two each for our regular allowance in economy class, plus an extra USD200/R2500ish for one additional bag – this was still cheaper than the quotes from various “excess baggage” services). We didn’t own a lot in terms of furniture, and figured most things would be more efficient to replace on this side. The flight: We chose to fly Cathay Pacific from JHB to Vancouver. That gave us a 4-ish hour layover in Hong Kong, and a total travel time of about 28 hours. Since we were travelling without kids, I think all of the options are more or less the same amount of long and painful. The only thing I would warn against (unless you have a looooong layover) is landing in Canada on a connecting flight to your final destination. You have to activate your PR at the first airport, and we saw someone who missed his flight while waiting in the immigration line. We were quite glad we didn’t book the similarly priced flight which stopped in Toronto first. The landing: It was still dark (7am) when we landed in Vancouver on the Thursday morning, so we had a long day ahead to fight our exhaustion and jet lag… YVR has introduced the machines where you scan your passports and visas, have a photo taken, answer a few declaration questions and then take the machine printout to the border agents. From there, we needed to get our luggage and head to the immigration queue to have our COPR signed. This last step took quite a while, as their computers seemed to be running slow, but eventually we finished up, grabbed our luggage and headed out for a well-earned cup of Tim Horton’s coffee (and Timbits). They never asked for our Household Goods List/BSF186 which I’d pre-filled in. This may have something to do with our answers on the automated machine thingie – we didn’t have anything of value, and no Goods to Follow. The first few days: My brother has lived in Vancouver for almost 20 years, so we are able to have a soft landing, staying with him until we sort ourselves out. He picked us up from the airport, and after a shower, we headed to Service Canada to get our SINs. (There didn’t seem to be an option to get them at their airport – maybe because of the time of day (it was about 9am by the time we signed our COPR) or because of their computer issues.) This was reasonably quick and easy – we got a printout with the information, and a guide on who we should and shouldn’t disclose our SINs to. On the first two days, we went into RBC to get our bank accounts finalised (more on that later), registered online for MSP (which is really easy once you have your SIN): https://my.gov.bc.ca/msp/application/prepare, bought Compass cards for the transit system (from Safeway, we bought cards with came pre-loaded with $10 credit so we could immediately get on the nearest bus if needed, rather than needing to load the cards at a train station), and SIM cards for our phones. We chose to go with Public Mobile – they’re one of the smaller providers, that have been bought by Telus, so our coverage is great (all of the Telus infrastructure) at a smaller price. We’re paying $30 a month for unlimited provincial talk, unlimited international text and 500MB data per month. Unlike pretty much all of the other providers, Public gives you the option to buy a non-expiring top-up bundle if you use all of your data allowance, which we really liked – this feels the most similar to the service I had in SA. We checked in at the ICBC office to book for our learners’ tests, only to discover that they are walk-in tests, so we can come back any time. We got a paper copy of the “Learn to Drive Smart” handbook to study from, and will go back to do the tests in the next week or two. Our South African jackets and shoes have mostly been okay; I've been dry and toasty in my 3-way fleece/hardshell jacket and we're going to MEC today to get my partner something similar for more waterproofing. The “fun” stuff: We’ve been lucky enough to be staying with family, so we don’t have extremely urgent pressure to find jobs etc, but we don’t want to overstay our welcome, and honestly just want to be able to get on with our lives. They’ve been a huge help with driving us around (either to interviews, or just to the Skytrain station so we can get around a bit more easily), and emotional support. I’ve been in talks with another subsidiary of the company I worked for in SA – my boss gave me a great reference – I did a few phone/Skype interviews with them while we were still in SA, and then an in-person one this week. No job offer yet, but I am hopeful… I haven’t been great about sending out resumes otherwise; I really need to get on that. My partner is a programmer, and his are in high demand. From SA, he changed his location to Vancouver (something I did months ago, with no interest) and recruiters immediately started contacting him. He did a few phone interviews from SA as well (they were less respectful of the time difference, so he was speaking to them at like 2am SA time… eek!) and has been attending interviews all over town this week. Hopefully we will get at least one positive response this week, otherwise it is still comforting knowing that his skillset is really appealing. We’ve also been online car shopping – having a car is one of the pre-requisites for the job I am interviewing for, although I would have preferred to defer this expense and keep using transit for the foreseeable future – and I discovered quite a useful resource called Unhaggle, which (after you provide your contact details) gives a report with the “invoice price” of your chosen vehicle, essentially, what the car would cost the dealership, as a bargaining tool. A dealership then contacted me offering to sell the car to us at this price. We are reluctant to commit to a big purchase until we have jobs, though, especially since we don’t have a record of insurance in either of our names in SA, so we’d be paying full price for Autoplan (~$4500 a year… yikes!). I am also considering signing up with the Modo car co-op, and seeing if the car availability would be sufficient for work use… At absolute worst-case scenario, it works out similarly to the annual cost of owning a car, but without the hassle of ownership and maintenance. We viewed an apartment on Wednesday, and put in an application to rent it. We should know by today if we’re successful. It’s a brand new building, in a great location – community-wise as well as access to transit – on the border of Burnaby and Vancouver, and priced accordingly, but the fact that it has an in-suite washer and dryer (an apparent rarity in Vancouver apartments!) and is pet-friendly, was a big selling point for us. They asked for proof of income, reference letters, and a credit check… most of these are an issue for us as we don’t have jobs or a line of credit yet, but we provided what we have: bank statements from our RBC account that we set up prior to landing, reference letters from our most recent 2 landlords in SA, and a printout of our credit check from the online RBC/Transunion tool to show that, while the credit score is terrible right now, it’s because there’s nothing in our history, rather than because of bad debt. Let’s hope that it’s enough. Speaking of RBC, things have been a little slow and frustrating – we had an appointment soon after landing to finalise our accounts, in which we set up internet banking, the daily chequing account (free for our first 6 months) and signed up for a basic free rewards credit card. Somehow, I’d imagined we’d walk out with everything in hand, but it’s taken a week for our credit cards to come through (we fetched them yesterday), and we still haven’t received debit cards (which will be coming in the mail). We were given temporary ATM cards, which work at RBC cash points, but can’t be swiped in stores. This shouldn’t have been an issue, except that they forgot to unfreeze our accounts when we went in (they were frozen because we opened from overseas), so we had no way of moving money from the savings account into the chequing account, and thus no way to withdraw money. Fortunately, we’ve been able to use our SA Virgin Money cards to get by, with no fees and an okay exchange rate, but far from ideal. The weather since we’ve landed has been typical of “Raincouver”, with only one day of sunshine, and even some slushy snow yesterday. The shorter days, and the constant drizzle, are taking a while for us to adjust to – without a reason to leave the house, it really saps your motivation to do anything. However, we know that it only gets better from here, and we’re looking forward to spring.
  16. 5 points
    @Piper we also never did the "survival job" thing, more luck and "there but for the Grace of God go I" than any specific spectacular talent on our behalf. Everyone has their own little road to travel and I'm thankful mine kept me out of the Walmart and McDonald's employment queue.
  17. 5 points
    On the contrary.... Everybody's experiences are different and so listening and hearing others give different opinions/comments/success stories will give a balanced view for many hopefuls. We can only draw from our own experiences. I can say many a painful word about the sob story I went through, but I'd like to focus more to say that "yes, I went through that to survive in Canada, but here I am now!" I believe we all love Canada one way or another for whatever it has given us......(that's why we're all here to help).
  18. 5 points
    Good day I dont think that I will really have something new to say that other activation posts did not have, but I also know that I am always interested in reading the stories. So we flew with KLM via Amsterdam. I took the plunge and paid the extra money to choose seats. With the first leg the cheap priority seats were already taken so I just chose an aisle seat and the middle seat on the 3 seat row. We were very lucky in the fact that the flight wasnt that full and we were 2 people in the 3 people row. So quite comfortable (well as comfortable as sitting upright for 12 hours can be). Had about a 3 hour layover. I chose priority seats on the next flight, only about R400 per seat which for me was worth it. We sat in the row with 2 seats, with normal legspace etc. We landed around 4 in the afternoon. Did not experience all the friendliness everyone are always going on about, but hey its not a train smash. We did however forget the carry on suitcase at the computer check ins, and only realised once they stamped our passports, luckily there was no hassle to get it back. went to immigration. or that area they send you where you get your COPR papers attached to your passport. We were actually asked for our proof of funds, which i almost forgot. i only had an FNB bank statement, the ones they mail, that was stamped by the bank. The immigration officer did the conversion herself, so no hassles there. after she was done we went to get our SIN numbers and off to get our bags. We went to customs, but since we only want to bring in my husbands guns (which can only be done when he has his PAL) we were told to bring it once we settle rather. and well we put silencers on the list and apparently they are illiegal in Canada. Our trip was very broken up, alot of travelling. We were in Mississauga for 2 days, flew from hamilton to winnipeg and went ice Fishing in Sioux Narrows. From there we went to fort frances back to winnipeg and flew back to Toronto. From there we went to Collinwood for 2 days, and then we flew to Timmins, I had a telephone interview beginning of january and was invited to a get to know you interview. I am in mining and it sounds as if there recruitment is a bit different to the other recruitment as my JVC officer was quite suprised that I got an inverview with my resume sample that I sent her. Anyway so we were there for 2 days, went for a mine visit, and then back to Mississauga. And we flew back via amsterdam with KLM again, again took the 2 seats. For me it was definitely worth it. so got the GREAT news that I got the job. VERY good offer, well from what I gather from the Cost of canada posts, and I will have to take the plunge and resign tomorrow. Have to start in 6 weeks. and I think everyone who has taken the plunge will know the emotions that we are gong through now. So that is my story. Since I had the possibility of getting a job I didnt want to jinx it and hoped I would know before I leave Canada that we can open a bank account. That did not happen so never opened a bank account, however I did do some research and I have a good Feeling about Scotiabank. I see they dont give you the free banking like others but they do say they give $100 for qualifying accounts, so will only find out later. it would appear that all the fees for the bigger banks are about the same so will go with my gut. I yeah and I know that there is a branch in Cochrane Ontario (where we will be moving to). so now for me to get accommodation and sort out the travel for the dogs. any advice would be much appreciated.
  19. 5 points
    We’ll be flying out on the 5th of April to Alberta! Yikes!! I know we’re doing the right thing... but are we really doing the right thing...packing our lives into a suitcase each to go unpack in an unfamiliar country where we have no friends, no family...we literally do not know anyone in Canada (except for a friend we made on this forum). I know I will be ok, and my husband will be fine, but what I’m worried about is my 3 small children one day resenting me for taking them away from their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles my kids see their grandparents everyday (we live on a farm with them), they are very close...we eat the veggies my youngest (4 yo) planted with his grandpa everyday...I know it is silly because children adapt easily (or that’s what I’m told) and we’re doing this mostly for them (and for my own sanity ) but it’s not easy to see my kids cry for grandma and grandpa (who are currently away visiting friends in Mosselbay...which is probably what is triggering my train of thoughts ) and for their cousins (who recently moved to Paarl) I think it will be worse knowing that I’m the cause of their heartache! I’m dreading the traumatic (and dramatic ) goodbyes at the airport, which cannot be avoided! But in all honesty, I’ll rather deal with the emotions we’ll go through now, than staying and having to say goodbye to my kids who will eventually and inevitably leave us behind to go start a new life overseas, or worse, my kids not having any future or opportunities! Selfish, I know
  20. 5 points
    Hey, hey, hey.... What a great day to pass. Super stoked. Now I gotta learn the national anthem with the new words.
  21. 5 points
    Here are some photos of Vancouver taken from Stanley Park when we were there in December 2017:
  22. 5 points
    And just one day after @Marcola & @chayne's good news our application moved to IP2 & then PPR within a few hours. I think my body is detoxing from all the stress over the last couple of months as I've got a mother of a headache, but it too shall pass after a good sleep. Just extremely happy that this day has finally arrived xxx
  23. 5 points
    @Liz88, we also decided on the discrete approach with info sharing. Will say though that it is so liberating chatting to like minded people at the IELTS test centre, on this forum & at coffee groups. From a combination of these, I have been lucky enough to connect with some incredible ladies on a small WhatsApp group, all of whom are going through this same process & at various stages of the process. A wonderful place to share the joys, frustrations & devastations. These contacts have kept me sane through a frustrating journey. Last year, I gained a whole new circle of friends (some of whom I haven't yet met face to face), but with whom I can share deeply personal thoughts / fears / hopes / etc.
  24. 5 points
    What I would've done differently: - Applied for my USA PCC as soon as we decided to start this process and NOT just when I had my nomination/ITA. Required for application as I lived in the USA for a year. - Did our medicals the day before submitting our PR application (I did ours in June and only submitted in August and now we have to land before medicals expire ie in 4 months or so) Other than that Im glad we didnt go through an agent as everything is pretty straight forward...
  25. 5 points
    Know that you are moving from a "everything is precious" society to one where "discarding the old and invest in the new" is the standard of life. You will find electrical appliances in perfect working order with a "FREE" sign on the sidewalk. Ouma's antiques, painted in psychedelic colours, is many Canadians view of older stuff. So, don't bother to bring your TV's, food processors, hair dryers, fridges and washing machines with you. Sell your power tools. This will save you a lot of unnecessary trouble, especially as you would have to incur extra costs to get them to work in Canada. Trust me, you can't even give a secondhand TV away in Canada. Those beautiful solid wood furniture? You're moving into a central heated home in which the air is much drier than in your house in South Africa. Your furniture will suffer the consequences. Electronics, tools and furniture are also less expensive here than than in South Africa. Many want to bring the contents of their whole house with them, but the cost is not worth the trouble. Houses are different, rooms are almost always smaller. Bring a few heirlooms, favourite books (definitely "Kook en Geniet"), special music. Start anew. I know of too many South Africans who are stuck with furniture that don't suit their new lives in Canada.