Carrie's Adventures

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's been a good week

Despite being a bit unsettled since landing in Vancouver on the 8th, things have been moving in a forward direction for Akis and I. Upon reflection, I realize that it was perhaps a very fortunate thing that there was a unit in my old building to rent. Given our current status of being unemployed, and a low vacancy rate for apartments, it could have been difficult for Akis and I to show a potential landlord that yes, we are going to be good tennants and yes you should rent to us! As it is, with a move in date set for next Saturday, I have made arrangements for all of our things to come out of storage and be delivered.

Akis is quite excited about finally moving into our own place. We have some very generous friends in both Al & Brent and Aislynn & Steve, both of whom have opened their homes to us and allowed us to stay with them while we wait to get settled. Funny part for me during all of this is that I know what is currently in storage and that I basically took everything from a 1 bedroom apartment and put it into boxes. Akis on the other hand is not aware of what will be waiting to be unpacked next week. Each time we are in a store, he is wanting to know if we need to have this, do we need to have that. He is so anxious to make this our home, that the wait is just about more than he can bear.

So the week has been filled with positive news... Our final task in our 4 month transition to Canada was for me to find a job. There has been some progress on this front. I have met with a recruiting company here in Vancouver on Tuesday who sources out a lot of contract IT work. I have also been hitting the job boards and sending out my resume ~ I was pleased to get a response on Wednesday from a small software company in Vancouver and scheduled an interview with them on Friday morning. Thursday morning I received an update that my sponsorship papers have been reviewed and a decision has been made. While we won't know what the decision is until the letter arrives at Dad's house, likely some time next week, we are thrilled that a) the package is actually there, b) the application is complete ~ otherwise they would have returned it to us saying that stuff was missing, c) Akis' portion of the application may in fact be in Rome now, or at least on it's merry way. Now we have only 3 to 9 months to wait... :)

The interview was on Friday morning and I am quite happy with how things went. They said that the interview would take about an hour, so the fact that I was there for 1.5 hrs means either I talk too much ~ which is entirely possible ~ or they were interested in what I had to say. Either way, I will be waiting to hear back from them next week on things where if all goes well, I should be moving on to the 2nd of 3 possible interviews for the position.

To finish off the week, at the end of the day Friday, I did get a phone call from another recruiting company and they sent over a job posting that might be of interest to me ~ some Business Analyst work which is something I'm thinking of getting into ~ so we'll have to see where this all goes.

In the meantime, Akis and I are counting and we are almost down to one hand. One hand until we are able to move into our place. I must say this has definitely has been an adventure over the past few months. And despite the unsettledness of it all, it is exciting to know we are on the verge of starting something knew.

So wish me luck everyone... perhaps in the next update I may be able to tell you 'I HAVE A JOB!!!'

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkinfest in Port Elgin ~ a late post.

A yearly phenomenon in Port Elgin, this event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. I must admit I was a bit surprised to learn that this has been going on for over 20 years. This means at some time I was actually living in Southampton during the festivities, but yet never did go and see the 'big gourd'. Folks here get pretty excited about it and even go all out to decorate.

This year with Akis in tow, we headed over to see what the fuss is all about. In addition to abnormally large vegetables and fruit, they also have an antique car show. Dad does have a 'Flame Orange' Cutlass which is as old as I am. I think in retrospect, I might take offense to the fact that they call her antique... What does that make me??

After viewing a number of cars, most of which were photographed by Akis, we headed to see giant veggies. This year's winner was 1395.5lbs which is a fairly hefty size, not to mention an odd shape. I'm not sure, but I thought pumpkins were suppose to be round! And yes, they have to use a forklift to move these bad boys around.

We have the wall of fame ~ where your size can be recorded for posterity. Can you imagine a 200lb watermelon? That is almost 100kg for those who live solely by the metric system.

And yes, that is a stalk of corn... Have no idea how tall it is, but you can rest assured that they don't generally grow that large around here ~ even if we are close to a nuclear plant!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life can be such a whirlwind

It has been a crazy month. When we started the planning of the wedding, I honestly thought the most difficult part would be planning the wedding and completing the immigration papers. While these two major tasks are now behind us, the looming hunt for an apartment and a job seem to be really big walls to scale. Either way, we carry on, putting one foot in front of the other and hope by the time we get to Christmas, that we will have come out the other side!

So just what have we been up to?? We spend the final 2 weeks in Athens meeting up with people, packing the bags, gathering Greek recipes and booking airline tickets. While I was in good spirits about our trip home, Akis was sad to be saying good-bye. I can't say that I blame him and I would probably have been the same if the roles were reversed.

We flew with British Airways, and it was actually a pretty good flight home. We landed in Toronto and needed to pass Immigration. Armed with lots of documents, the whole process of getting Akis into the country actually wasn't that painful. After explaining that we are married, that we already applied for Permanent Residence, and proving that we paid our fees, he was granted the Visitor Record. So he is here for 6 months ~ wahoo. He does have a ticket to go back to Athens in January, just in time for his Name Day.

After passing Immigration, we realized that we had LOTS of luggage, which isn't surprising given the move. We opted to keep one of the bags at the airport and even with this, we filled Chauffeur Craig's car to the brim. We stayed with the Lavery/Loveys for a few days and checked out the Job Fair in Toronto. While that wasn't quite what I was expecting, I did get some valuable information regarding recruiters, and was able to catch up with some 'Y' gals... well they are both 'Y' gals now. In addition to this, Akis also had some lawn cutting lessons and trips to Tim Hortons. How can you go wrong with that?

Riding in the back seat with Aunt Carrie to go to Timmy's.... Yummy Timmy's.

Liz graciously offered to shuttle us from Peterborough to Bayfield where we stayed with her and her hubby Athen and wee Katerina for a few days. Akis was excited about the trip to Bayfield, Athen is a Australian/Greek and he was able to hear Greek yet again. With Athens Aussie accent, I could only make out a couple of words, which makes me realize how difficult it can be to hear a language with other accents.

The final stop on the ON tour was to Dad's house. We spent the last few days at home and some great weather. We went to Pumpkinfest ~ will write another post for this, you won't believe the size of winning pumpkin ~ and caught up with some friends and family. Taxi Jim was available and he and Jane graciously took us to the airport for our flight to Vancouver.

We arrived in Vancouver knowing that we had 2 tasks left on our long list ~ a home and a job. My friend Al was a super star and has allowed us to use her apartment as a home base for a few days. Task 1 was to get the car from storage, get is serviced, Air Care'd (emission tested) and insured. Oh yeah, did I mention she needed a good wash??? This turned out to be a whole day affair, but at least we were mobile.

Task 2: Find a home. I had been checking out Craigslist before arriving in Vancouver and had a couple of appointments to look at 2 bedroom homes. We went out on Friday to our appointments and found that many of these homes were going to be a fair distance from any stores, restaurants, etc. So we shifted plans and started to look at apartments. During this hunt we discovered that I would need to provide references to the new potential landlords. It had been about 4 years since I have lived in Vancouver and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to track down my last landlord. As it turns out, while browsing Craigslist, there was a listing for my old apartment building, and a showing at 11am. We went to the viewing to ask if Ann would be a reference, and as it turns out, we viewed the apartment and yes, we are moving into my old building. We are on the ground floor which means that outside our patio door, we have a larger area and some grass. There is no view of the mountain, but hey, I guess we can live with that. Move in date is November 1.

Final task: Find a job... While this one is still in progress, I did receive an email about a potential job from a recruiter. I understand that this is far from being hired by someone, at least I have skills which someone wants. We'll see how we progress next week with the final task. We'll keep you posted.