Carrie's Adventures

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He's a licensed driver

Tuesday Akis and I headed out to Richmond. For anyone who has been out to Vancouver, you know that Richmond is like a section of Asia has been sliced and dropped into Canada. The signs are in Cantonese, the majority of the population is Asian and the driving there is HORRENDOUS. I'm not sure why, but Akis thought that this would be a good place to take his driving test.

We headed out to Richmond and I suggested that we head out early. It was a good thing we did, as the directions I took from the internet were to a location where you could renew your license, but not the place where you take your exam. So with 30 minutes until the test, and uncertainty whether or not they would let Akis take the test with just his Greek ID, we left the wrong location and headed for downtown Richmond. Encountering traffic, we arrived with 3 minutes to spare. Sending Akis in to pay the fee, I parked the car and came in. I darted to the washroom only to come out to find the examiner standing there with his clipboard and Akis waiting for the keys. The examiner cracked a joke about the fact that the wife always has everything in their purse, and they were off.

I sat and did the crossword, Suduko and waited for Akis to return. He returned 30 minutes after they left the building and I thought ~ shit this can't be good. As I peeked around the corner, I saw the examiner talking and talking with his hands, and I thought, shit, shit, this can't be good. After sitting in the car for 20 minutes, they finally emerged and entered the building. The statement from the examiner was 'sorry buddy, but I can't give that to you'. Then I thought ~ shit, shit, shit.

It was only when the examiner asked for the $31 that I realized that yes, Akis is now a licensed driver! So wahoo, my days of Carrie's taxi with the 6am drop off and 11pm pick up is now over. Akis is looking very forward to picking up his Greek license from the North Van office and finally being able to tell them that yes, he passed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What are you thankful for?

I have made ~ and met ~ a number of turkeys over the years, this year Akis and I made our first turkey together. Armed with the roasting pan I insisted on buying last Christmas for a turkey that was never made, the only utensil that was missing from the bunch was the baster. I know, how can you live without a baster...

Out and about Saturday, Akis and I walked the neighbourhood running these errands. Stopping in at the store, we found the baster ~ a bargain at $2.50 and is made of glass. It reminds me of the glass pipettes we used to use in those Inorganic Chem Labs for Dr. Beauchemin. Jeez ~ isn't that a blast from the past... I can't help but remember Liz running around the lab. I'm sure there is a pipette story somewhere in our history.

With the hardware purchased, we are now on to thawing the bird. This guy has a bit of a history here. He was a nice free range fella who originally belonged to one of my co-workers. For Christmas, his wife's company purchases a turkey for each of their employees. While on a somewhat restricted diet, they were going to opt out of the turkey, but when offered to someone here at the office, they said they would take it off of Geoff's hands. Well for those who don't remember December in Vancouver, it snowed. A lot. And on the 24th, the fresh bird made his way to our office ~ as did only 3 people from our company. So as we sat here, Geoff tried to find a home for the bird that didn't involve a garbage can. The food bank didn't want him, as he was fresh. Geoff didn't want him as he was trying to keep off the 20 pounds he had lost. Simon didn't want him as he was biking and had no room for it. After failing to pimp out the turkey to folks in our sister company, that left me. So home he went and directly into the freezer. Over the months Akis has asked me if the turkey was still good ~ the fact that it had been in there for almost a year was quite distressing to him. Good thing he didn't see Dad's freezer in his pack-rat years.

So now thawed, stuffed and into the oven, we began preparing for our feast.

Akis and I sat down to dinner and realized that there are many things that we have to be thankful for. Just reflecting on where we were a year ago ~ couch surfing, with no job, no papers for Akis and no inclination of what our future path will be ~ we are thankful to have a place to call home. Thankful for good friends and family who support us when we make these kinds of leaps of faith. Thankful for our jobs and our ability to support ourselves. Thankful that we have found a path with great possibilities.

I hope you had a great weekend and are able to see all the great things in your world to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

House Hunting

Let me start with saying that there are 3 things that I find to be rather stressing and not all that enjoyable. Those would be ~ in no particular order ~ job hunting, car hunting and house hunting. Perhaps it is because my experience with all 3 of these tasks has always had a time element associated with it. Must find a job, as we only have $X dollars in the bank and we need to pay bills. Must find a house as I am surfing someone's couch and need to give them back their space. Must find a car, as there is a transit strike and I'm in the middle of nowhere ~ OK it was New West but that felt pretty much like the middle of nowhere.

That said, with my probation under my belt, the mortgage pre-approved, Akis and I have set out on the daunting task of looking at real estate in Vancouver. Now there is something surreal about real estate here in Vancouver. The cost of a one bedroom condo is about what my sister or Dad would pay for their WHOLE house ~ which means that Akis' dream of having a house on grass is very unlikely to happen while we are here. However, I do feel a strong desire to get into the market and at least turn these large rental amounts into something that will help grow our equity.

My friend Aislynn has moved into real estate a few years back and has been great to work with. Despite my reluctance to want to move out of Vancouver proper, she does her best to locate what we can afford, with some of the required elements such as in-suite laundry, patio space, and 2 bedrooms. As with anything, you try to get the most bang for your buck, but as we are discovering that is a lot more difficult than we previously thought.

The housing market here seems to have rebounded quite well and we are once again back into multiple offer situations with bids on houses. Akis and I haven't found any where that strikes a cord enough that we would be thinking about putting in an offer, so for the time being we continue to look. A co-worker has just purchased with her fiance and feels in hind-sight that they did over pay simply because they wanted to get it done and had the heartbreak of losing a few other offers.

We are planning on taking our time, so hopefully I won't feel the pressure to make a snap decision. In the meantime, weekend time when Akis doesn't work seems to be filled with Open Houses and appointments with Aislynn to see what is out there. Here's to having faith that we'll find our right home and it will be somethign that we can afford!