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Hi All, So, in slightly less than ten days I will have been here for a full year. It feels great saying things like: "My first time skiing was in February last year..." to people who ask. At work, I'm not the new guy anymore. I don't need a GPS to get around downtown Vancouver, or most cities around here. I'm not cold all the time... I remember feeling like I'm getting frostnip the moment I walked out the airport last year. Unlike the locals though, I still appreciate the rain. And Raccoons. Snow is amazing. The silence around when hiking through snow is something else. I probably like winter more than summer, driving to work in the dark is fun. I had my fair share of Lower Mainland traffic enforcement being way more efficient than what I was used to. Turkeys are way bigger than I expected. Canadian Christmas dinners involve multiple families and more food than I've ever seen on one table. Biking in freezing cold for multiple days over hundreds of km ended up being the best thing to happen to me. This country is amazing, especially nature wise, but also the fact that you can bike like that without fearing you might be mugged. Early season skiing is fun, but don't take your brand new skis... Also, don't trust the liftees loading skis in Whistler. They do NOT care about your insanely expensive skis, and will scratch the crap out of them. A chicken korma pie in Whistler, had actual chicken korma in it.... It was so good. I'm going back for more soon. I've hiked more in one spring/summer/fall than I have ever done before. I made many random friends while hiking. Pretty much all my good friends here, besides the few made while apartment hunting. Worth talking to everyone, never know who you have things in common with. For some reason, caring about the environment has taken on a new meaning here. I'm not sure the same thing is happening back in SA. I hope so. I've gotten things done that I thought was out of reach in SA, like PRK. Biking/skiing/hiking in the rain, without glasses, is next level. Stocks actually go in a direction other than down...or maybe I have just been bad at it in SA haha. Of course, I have had many a day missing family, pets. The farm I grew up on. I have a playlist on Spotify I aptly named "Homesick Songs". It's basically my favourite songs by Spoegwolf. I find listening to Afrikaans music helps. First Christmas/new year away from family in ... 29 years, it was painful, but on the other hand I had a great time with my new 'families' here. Built multiple gingerbread houses. I've come to realize I wouldn't be able to willingly go back to SA. There are so many reasons to stay here, despite the US being stupid, the government doing questionable things, or housing being insane. It doesn't affect my health and safety (yet ). I can go lie down and have a nap in a park without being afraid of something being stolen. Was never a big thing, until I did it and realized why I've never done it outside our farm. I've been forced to cook. Ugh. Food options here are great, but I miss the ready to eat stuff that Woolworths sells. It was so easy to eat kinda healthy haha. People still don't get that it's Afrikaans, not African. My colleagues are my friends. I feel lucky.