The beginning of Canada

When I moved to Vancouver, Canada from London UK in September 2013 with my boyfriend, I pretty much left everything behind, including my budding career as a Design and Technology teacher.  Since then, I've often referred to my life in Vancouver as a 'struggle in a bubble' or a 'loner in paradise'. While it was extremely difficult to get my foot into teaching due to British Columbia's highly regulated education system and a lot of red tape, it was also not easy to make friends. That being said, I am approaching 30 and have already forged deep and meaningful relationships with long term friends back in London, so I'm not too proactive in the hunt for new ones. If anything, people appear to embrace solitude. The amount of solo folks I have witnessed on Kits beach still surprises me to this day, so maybe I should be taking a leaf out of their book.

  The first day Tristan and I arrived in Vancouver. A place we might call home for the next 4 years.

The first day Tristan and I arrived in Vancouver. A place we might call home for the next 4 years.

Personally, I don't make friends easily. I am a little on the weird side and in my own world most of the time. For fear of letting out too much, I'd quite happily daydream for hours! When I was at school the importance of being popular was paramount, a feeling encouraged through peer pressure. In my older age, I realised that 'quality of quantity' was what mattered most. If I can have 3 really amazing friends, or 20 half decent ones, I'd rather cut out the half-arsed ones and retain the amazing ones any day! I'm talking about long-term friendship, and for me that's about chemistry, clicking, trust and depth. I really have to feel that someone is on my level and this is where my intuitiveness helps. I consider myself to be approachable, loving, kind, bubbly and a bit bloody mental, but I won't entertain people who come across fake, superficial, and lack a down-with-it vibe. Aside from common interests, banter is important. The worst thing that can happen is when a conversation becomes awkward, one-sided and I'm the only one asking questions.

In theory, I'm actually lovely and happily acquainted with many, I'll always begin any given moment with a friendly disposition and see how it goes from there, the relationship could go the extra mileage... or not. Just saying.

How many of you share similar feelings? What do you value in friendships? How do you define deep, meaningful connections? What about those sparkling flash in the pan encounters? Even both is possible. I've experienced beautiful short-lived connections with people at music festivals, art exhibitions and on my travels. I was probably off my nut for all I know, however these encounters were extra special because there was a spark to begin with, almost written in the stars, yet unexpected. I always get nostalgic about the past and reminisce about those lovely souls I left behind or still know today.   

Bringing it back to Canada. In my personal opinion, which is what this blog of mine is all about, when one arrives at the opportunity to reside long term (not holiday) in multiple cities, they can't help but compare and judge it against the place they grew up in. Isn't that just human nature? We identify the pros and cons, move on or have a little moan. Quite often, I am eager to partake in the latter. Not everyone has lived in another country so they may find it a challenge to empathise, especially if they are from the very place you are moaning about! Some folk become defensive - as though my comments were personally driven towards them, whilst others listen and kickstart a big old moaning session... with the help of wine. Being quite the perceptive and intuitive little crab that I am, I do notice small details that make a big difference on my outlook and emotional state. How did you cope moving abroad? I would love to hear your story.

Aside from all the challenges, my journey so far has been rewarding, soul-impacting and spring loaded with vibrant adventures and learning curves. Vancouver has been a launch pad for cherished travels near and distant to other memorable places. 

N. American Roadtrip

When I started dating Tristan, I always knew his dream was to live in Canada and become a dual citizen. He resided in Vancouver BC for a year in 2006 and frequented Whistler and Banff for seasonal snowboarding trips, so he was well informed and knew what to expect from the wonders of British Columbia.

We had been good friends since meeting in Barcelona during the summer of 2008 at Sonar, a multimedia arts and music festival. We instantly sparked and shared a common interest in dancing, design culture, techno and partying hard. Four years of friendship transformed into a relationship and I made the decision to embark on his adventure to Canada. I was eligible for a 2 year working holiday visa for a limited time, so it was essentially now or never. The decision did not come easy - I was leaving behind the start of my teaching career, and as the only born child, brought up singled handed by my Mum, I wasn't short of guilty feelings either.  After much back and forth thinking,  this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that would happen now or never.

Before the big move, Tristan decided to plan a N. American road trip that would give us the chance to dip our toes into Canada and the US. For anyone interested in doing their own road trip, I can't recommend it enough. As long as one of you can drive, Tristan had to be my chauffeur! The best thing in my opinion is to do a round trip with a return flight to a destination in mind.  In 2012, we flew to Toronto, Ontario and picked up a rental car at the airport. This would be our source of travel for the next 10 days before returning the rental car at Toronto Airport and flying home.