(Be warned this is a long post!)
The last few weeks
The last few weeks went by in a total blur. We were up in Scotland saying goodbye to my family and friends, we had our leaving drinks with our friends in Tunbridge Wells, we had a lovely meal out with my brother, Mark, we met up with Nick’s brother, we had a day with Nick’s mum and sisters, and finally we had a lovely meal out with our friends Tom and Sarah. They gave us the most amazing leaving present which was a photo album full of memories and they had got people to sign the front of it. It was one of the most thoughtful presents either of us have ever received and we will definitely treasure it forever! It will take pride of place in our new apartment! All of these goodbyes were very emotional, and by the third week of it I was really not feeling very good!
We also had the task of packing up and moving out of our lovely flat which was tough. It felt like we were cleaning the flat for about 3 days, and the packing!!!! How on earth do you decide what to take abroad for a year? It was a nightmare, many clothes were left behind which was gutting, but it had to be done. We also threw away around 13 bags of rubbish which should give you a small hint as to how much stuff we had! We had to contend with a snow blizzard when moving our stuff out but it didn’t stop us!
Anyway we got it all done and moved out last Thursday into Nick’s mums house for the last few days which was really nice. We had a lovely few days spending time with Nick’s mum, the cats and the chickens (we’ve just found out that two of the chickens got eaten by a fox 🙁 RIP chickens :()
A very long day…
On Tuesday 19th March we got picked up at 4:30am, said goodbye to Nick’s mum and started what would be an unbelievably long day. I felt like I was going to barf in the taxi all the way to the airport which was nice and we both felt very weird. We thought that sitting in the airport was going to take forever but it went so quickly with phoning everyone and buying up duty free 🙂
We flew with Air Transat which was a pretty good experience, overall. The cabins have all been refurbished and are lovely. They have these techno colour changing lights which were cool, and the leg room was pretty good too, as was the film selection. Although saying that my viewing consisted of Cinderella (which obviously I’ve already seen), a Tom & Jerry Cartoon, The Wedding Singer (already seen), The Simpsons and an episode and a half of Homeland. Nick watched Skyfall (his review was “It’s s***”), The Simpsons and half of Wreck it Ralph which I watched too.
The food was ok, we got a hot meal about an hour into the flight and on hour 8 they announced they were bringing everyone a slice of pizza to which Nick clapped his hands and shouted “WOOOOOO!!!” I’m sure our fellow passengers had had enough of us by this point. Not only did I constantly get up and get stuff out of my bag, but we managed to offend pretty much everyone around us by shouting out random things. I won’t get into them all but one incident involved Nick inadvertently shouting that someone looked like Craig David.
Anyway, we got there 10 hours later which felt pretty long but it wasn’t too bad actually. We took our first steps into Canada, looking around the amazing terminal at YVR, which has statues inspired by the first nations people, as well as a massive indoor pond with fish and a tank with jellyfish inside. A bit different to Gatwick!
We queued for about 40 minutes to get through passport control and were greeted by the most unfriendly immigration officer who barked “Where are you working/why are you here” etc. When he was done with Nick he said to him in monotone “Don’t go anywhere…” for no reason other than to freak us out. We then spent about an hour and a half waiting in line for Immigration. Thankfully we got a nicer Immigration Officer this time and we were on our way 10 minutes after being seen with our shiny new visas!!
We decided to get a taxi (or cab as I should be saying), as we had 3 suitcases and two rucksacks. It was about $30 from the airport to Renfrew-Collingwood, the area we are staying. When we saw the mountains for the first time we were literally speechless. They are everywhere and dominate the skyline. I hope we don’t get too used to them and take them for granted!
The place we are staying in is nice, we were greeted by a Chinese lady who doesn’t speak a word of English and just kept saying ‘Alan’ which was pretty funny. The room itself is pretty small, and with our 3 suitcases spilling their contents everywhere it’s pretty claustrophobic. There are various things around the room which have blatantly been nicked out of different hotels but we’d rather stay here for 2 weeks than in a hostel.
Once we had arrived we were exhausted but really wanted to see the Vancouver that we had been seeing in pictures and videos so we headed into Downtown. On the way we saw two massive trucks crash into each other, one guy got out wearing a cowboy hat and they proceeded to have a grown up discussion about it, no F’ing and blinding. We realised we had no change for the bus, and with no mobiles we were pretty lost, so we asked a very helpful guy on the street to point us in the direction of the Skytrain station and we were off. We walked around downtown for a bit and went for something to eat then headed back to the room. We both felt very tired, emotional and just plain weird. I’ll be honest, we were both thinking ‘What have we done’, and home felt very far away. I know the feeling will pass though, and once we are in our new apartment we will feel a lot better.
So by the time we eventually got to bed we had been up for about 26 hours, which is probably the time it’s taken for you to read this blog post, sorry about that!