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Reibtseb

Getting Settled

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Reibtseb

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

Edited by Reibtseb
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poorguy

Brilliant, this was a very enjoyable read:) Ideally I would like to settle in Vancouver but coming with 2 young kids and no job I think it's Toronto that makes sense.

Does Vancouver have an impressive skyline? I noticed there are very few pics of a Vancouver skyline

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Reibtseb

@poorguy

What field are you in?


Vancouver has amazing skylines, depends on what you want to see. And whether the fog/drizzle would allow you do see haha. Downtown has most of the skyscrapers, North Vancouver has the hills... The view is amazing from the bridge crossing from downtown to North/West Vancouver. Especially at night. The boats in the bay, the lights heading up the slopes, the skyscrapers. I love it. I need to walk the bridge sometime so I can take a pic or two.


I was ready to go to Ontario too, if I didn't find work in Vancouver. Haven't been there, but I'm sure it's also great. :)


About to go for that driving lesson!

Edited by Reibtseb

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Piper

Welkom in Kanada!

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LidiaS77
11 hours ago, poorguy said:

Does Vancouver have an impressive skyline?

Here are some photos of Vancouver taken from Stanley Park when we were there in December 2017:

vancouver2.jpg.5f13da2cc0a21b8182cc650e150d8b98.jpg

vancouver1.jpg.ae06ac20ed43383876621318b89f3b99.jpg

 

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poorguy
6 hours ago, Reibtseb said:

What field are you in?

So I am in IT and more specifically Telecoms - I work as a Business Architect/Analyst or Management Consultant pick any haha. My wife's background is primarily in Clinical Research and her background is in Biochemistry. So while looking at both of our requirements, I may be ok in Vancouver but for both of us - the GTA region seems to have a much bigger  job basket.

I also like Ottawa but it seems bilingualism is a requirement to get anything that side.

btw how is your experience with public transport in Vancouver? It's one aspect of Canada I am looking forward to!

Edited by poorguy

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Reibtseb

So I got my PR card in the mail on Wednesday! Best early birthday gift ever! :D It's a beautiful card!

Also almost 2 months in. Still love being here.

and @poorguy, public transport around Vancouver is good. I love the Seabus and Skytrain. Regularly take them to head downtown or west end/east Vancouver. Somehow I have been lucky in that all the places I went to were conveniently close to Skytrain stations haha. Haven't really been on a bus yet... I prefer trains and walking. The Seabus to/from the North Shore is great, and it runs until 1am every day but Sunday. Better than driving and trying to find parking downtown. 

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Reibtseb

A pic from a place I frequent.

IMG_20180309_124212aaa.thumb.jpg.dc7015a5ecc0de4ba6abe32e21e776dd.jpg

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