Carrie's Adventures

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas train in Stanley Park

To get Akis into the holiday spirit, we decided to go out to Stanley park and take in the Christmas train. We went out with friends and enjoyed the lights in the snow.

We waited in line and Akis was able to peer into Santa's house...

The train was a rather tiny, but it was a blast checking out the lights and listening to the Christmas carols in the train.

Some of the light views...

Three were displays set up in the park where you were able to wander through and check out all the festive lights.

Snow in Vancouver

There is something to be said for a city that has maybe 2 days a year where snow is visible on the ground. This was not the case for 2008 in Vancouver. When the first snow hit, I told Akis we needed to go out and enjoy the snow as it won't last ~ it would be 2 days and we would be back to the green. Akis was very cute, and often like a 4 year old child when he would run to the window and yell 'Pouste mou ~ look at the snow!'. Yes, there was a lot of it and over the course of the 10 days that it blanketed the city, we managed to see what it was all about.

Our first trip out was on a Sunday and we walked around the neighbourhood after checking out the snow out our back door.

My favourite view and one of the reasons I love living in Vancouver ~ the North Shore mountains.
A week later, the snow was still there and we wandered out to Ali and Brent's place to pick them up for breakfast. The snow had accumulated and we were now looking at almost 20cms and was starting to take out the bamboo behind our place.

The car after sitting out for a couple hours ~ with snow accumulating in the streets, we did experience some problems getting the car into the garage... Akis had to even go out and push!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Getting in the holiday spirit

With all of the Christmas carols in the mall and the ads on TV, you know it is officially the holiday season once Black Friday occurs. Getting into the spirit of the season, Akis and I walked up the street to check out the trees. Note the 'Free Delivery' sign...

After falling in love with a tree and finding out it was almost $70, we opted to then give them a price point and ask what we could afford. We still managed to get a great tree, but my original choice was left in the yard. Akis couldn't understand why we weren't getting an artificial tree ~ I just love the smell of the pine when you bring the tree into the house, so it was going to be a real tree this year. You could smell the tree once they cut the end ~ love that smell!

Despite the 'Free Delivery', Akis and I decided that we were going to cart the tree home ourselves. This was more to do with the fact that we don't know if we are actually allowed to have a real tree in the apartment and silently sneaked it into the apartment through the patio. No we aren't that noble ~ although we did get a number of looks as we walked down the street on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Akis was tasked with trimming the tree, and once it was done, it was quite lovely. No tinsel however... I'm thinking they might not make this stuff anymore.

Merry first Christmas to Akis and I!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas at the office

Starting a new job in December is not always bad... Not only are you new and learning the ropes, you have the staff Christmas party, not much to clean off your desk before the holidays and generally are enjoying the natural slowdown the season brings.

As was the case, on my 5th day of work, I was treated to lunch at the Wall Centre as part of the staff Christmas party. With my new companion Melanie, we managed to do some damage to the white bottles. There was some hesitation on my part as you don't want to send the wrong signal by getting hammered the 5th day at work, but the boss was all in and so was everyone else. So once we cleared the air, the festive atmosphere took over.

Left to right ~ Christine, a consultant who works from Toronto who came out for the event and managed to win a 32" flat screen, Melanie, a Sales gal who is recently back to Vancouver from Toronto, Mario the boss and myself...

The party continued after lunch at a local pub where Geoff's hat saw many heads that night as we all felt it pertinent to try it on. We proceeded to have a few brews and generally enjoyed the atomosphere. Michael ~ Melanie's other half ~ an AC pilot came to watch the entertainment. I think he was the only moderately sober person as he was on stand-by...

Home time was about 9pm, I guess this is what you get for starting at noon. Geoff, Christine and I piled into a cab and we took a circuit route to drop everyone off. Geoff and Christine got off at the same stop and sent me on my way. Apparently Geoff was a bit concerned as he left me on my own curled up in the back seat of the cab, and actually wondered if I would make it to the final destination. By the time I got home, Akis was of great assistance removing my shoes and pointing me in the direction of the bed. Yes, it should be said, drinking excessively on week 1 may not always be a good thing. Although in this particular case, it turned out to be OK...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

They say 'Patience' is a virtue

And while the past month has been a really long waiting game, we seem to have made it out the other side. I have found that I am not always patient and sometimes want things to be done 'now' ~ but you sometimes need to embrace where you are, what is around you and have faith that things will work out. I have been lucky in that no matter what I have gone after, I have managed to land on my feet. I don't know if that is because you look at options and if Option A doesn't work out, you accept it and move on to Option B ~ either way, it seems that Akis and I have managed to transition back to land and while there is still some waiting going on, we have for the most part at least gotten ourselves settled.

Overall, it was a longer path than I thought it would be, but I'm pleased to say that I am once again gainfully employed. The overall interview process took just over 5 weeks with my new company, and this was something that I thought would have happened much faster. I do feel fortunate as I look around now with the current economic state and realize that things could have been much worse and the wait to find employment could have quite easily taken longer.

I have accepted a position with a company called StemSoft. The company writes, supports and delivers software for Cancer treatment facilities and labs. Similar to what I did previously, my new position requires that I go in, install software, assist the customer in configuring and learning the software. Most of the work is remote and is driven very strongly in Project Management ~ so from this perspective it is a good fit. Looking ahead one of the things that I am looking to do is to get my PMP (Project Management) certification so all of the project driven processes will help enormously with getting this certification. To obtain the certification, you need to have an enormous amount of project hours under your belt along with schooling.

After the first week of work, I am feeling pretty good about the choice. The office is 20 blocks away ~ which I thought was 2km, but after walking both ways each day, I think is definitely longer than 2km. Either way, I am able to walk to the office, avoiding the traffic during the morning commute. The group themselves is a small group of about 12 people however they are looking to grow the business in a new direction. Overall I feel good about the fit and realize that it is going to be getting to know the customer base and their business that will be the top priority.

As an extra bonus, the office is closed during the holiday season. That said, Akis and I are now looking to see if we can get reasonable tickets back to ON for a week. Hopefully we will be able to head home to see the family and the snow for Akis' first Canadian Christmas.

We are hoping to get into the festive mood here. Christmas tree trimming may be done today if the rain stops long enough for us to go out and pick it up... The baking has already been started and hope to have people over before we head home for the holidays.

Here's to settling in and getting back to having a 'regular' life.