The End. Sort Of.

The End. Sort Of.

Dear readers, it has been 5 months, 1 week and 3 days since my last blog post…

I have been a rubbish blogger this year.  Absolutely terrible. Someone much smarter than me once said ‘never ruin an apology with an excuse’.  Well I’ll be happy to forget the apology as I have a full blog post of excuses waiting (also read: shit I’ve been doing this year).  In fact, my last post was all about the weirdo aspects of Vancouver, which I’ll still stand by, however it does leave the whole thing on a bit of a negative note…which would just be a terrible and completely inaccurate reflection on the past two years.  Also known as The Best Two Years of My Life.  Yup, you read it right.  The Best.

So what exactly has been so important that I spent so long away from the blog that I actually forgot the password?

I’ve always tried really really hard to NOT be one of those travel bloggers who bores poor, uninterested souls with walls of text detailing every second of every trip in dry, I’d-rather-be-having-my-eyeballs-poked-with-hot-needles-right-now detail.  Kind of like a post-social media version of being subject to hours of Auntie Nora and Uncle Alec’s holiday snaps of grass and such.  

So here’s the deal.  A quick (really!) list of where I’ve been/what I’ve been doing this year with a few snaps here and there for that extra dimension of ‘whoa I really feel like I was there!’.  Okay.  Go!

January – March: Lot’s of snowboarding! 

Much in the style of Reservoir Dogs.

boarding

April: My friends Sandy and Dan came to visit me in Vancouver.  

sandydanvan

And then we went to…

hollywood

And lastly…Vegas!!

vegas

May:  Camping at Cultus Lake.  The kind of camping that involved Domino’s Pizza.  

camping

May/June:  Packing up and saying goodbye to our little Vancouver home.  Far too many goodbyes.  Obviously lots of alcohol was required.

everyone

lastdayinhouse

 I should also add if the following photo looks as though it may have been taken at 2am by a homeless man who was paid generously in loose change for his troubles, then that’s about right.  Seemed like a genius idea at the time.

lastnight

June 12th – June 16th: A final adventure with the crew.  First stop…

portland

And then final call, San Fran.

sanfran

June 17: Vancouver Airport…bahhhh!

yvr

The soppy bit.

So you’re still awake?  Excellent.  If you can last through this next part without dry heaving the you’ve done a stellar job.  What a pro you are.

So yes, as stated, my (almost!) two years in Vancouver have been pretty much the best two years of my life.  So far that is.  Despite what my mum keeps trying to tell me, I believe that I am in fact getting ‘any younger’ and there are still many years of fun and giggles ahead.  Anyway yes, Vancouver.  Wonderful, beautiful, amazing city.  I couldn’t recommend it enough, if you ever get the chance make sure you go.  I’ll be back there soon enough, but more on that later…

Nonetheless Vancouver will always be there.  That is unless the threat of ‘the big one’ that has grown adults sitting under their desks in offices all over the Pacific Northwest for five minutes every year on account of the annual earthquake drill actually comes into fruition.  But all things going well, Vancouver will always be there.  

However the friends that I made and the memories and experiences that I had with them will not.  It’s not like leaving home, when you can usually more or less count on the fact that most people will still be there when you get back, and that things will pretty much be the same.  The transient lifestyle will attract those that are similar, and as a result the majority of my friends in Vancouver were like me, just passing through.  A few are still there and probably will be for a while yet.  But not forever.  And yes it’s wicked to now have friends from all over the world that I know I’ll see again at some point.  But the circumstances that brought us all together for a year or two and created the little life that we loved are no longer there.  It was an existence that’s now a memory.  An awesome memory.  A really, really awesome memory.  

Oh man up woman.  So what now?

Well I’ve been back across the pond for almost a full month now.  Lots of catching up with family and friends, and yet more drinking required.  Good job I’m so bloody good at it!  

I did spend last week in Sorrento, Italy as a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding.  She was beautiful, the day (and week) were gorgeous and the location was stunning.  So all in all I’ve not been fairing too badly. I’ve also had some good news on the job front.  With effect from the 5th of August I will be working for a company called Audley Travel as a Country Specialist for Canada! Two very exciting things I’ll mention about this job (of which there are many).  

1.  They will be sending me back to Canada next month for 3-4 weeks to experience some of their tours and hotels as part of my training.  Not too shabby.

2.  I will be working at their new London office.  So this means a move to London. A whole new city to explore and get excited about!

What about your poor wee blog?

Well you may or may not have noticed that I now have a fancy new domain (aka web address) that does not have ‘wordpress’ or ‘flookr’ (not really sure what I was thinking with that one) in the title.  I’m right here at http://www.herethereandmostlycanada.com for now and for always.

Although my lack of output may have led you to believe otherwise in the past few months, I really enjoy writing this blog and I’ve been thinking of taking it up a notch for a while now.  The only issue was I had no idea what direction to take it in.  I knew I was leaving Canada, so there was no point in keeping the current title and I had a few ideas about future travels but nothing solid.  But now that my actual job title is about to be ‘Canada Specialist’ then I think that the current title is more than apt.

So my plan now is to draw a line under this old basic, yet effective format and relaunch the blog under the same title but with a shiny new face lift and a little more focus and direction.  

So thank you very much for reading/following/commenting.  If you are about to embark on a working holiday visa in Canada, then please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.  I have plans for a ‘FAQ’ for the new website, so this would help me and hopefully be of benefit to you.

Well that’s all for now.  It’s been a blast!  I’ll see you on the other side folks!

Lots and lots of love,

Caroline x

 

Robert Burns: The Bard in the Park

Robert Burns: The Bard in the Park

I’ve been guest blogging over on ‘Simply Scottish’, have a read and check the blog out 🙂

The Simply Scottish Blog

Burns Statue, Vancouver, B.C.A guest post by Caroline King

If there is one Scot who has achieved immortal, global fame, capturing the hearts of current Caledonia dwellers, descendants and admirers alike, it’s Robert Burns, of course. The Bard has had such an influence on the international community that every New Years Eve (or Hogmanay), people all over the world bring in a fresh year with a Burns song.

As a native Scot, when I first moved to Vancouver, BC, over a year ago, I was both delighted and surprised to find Robert Burns himself, immortalized in bronze and granite, observing the prestigious Coal Harbor area of the city from the solitude of Vancouver’s beloved Stanley Park. The plaque fixed under the impressive statue explained that a former British Prime Minister had unveiled the monument in 1928, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Burn’s death.

This explanation didn’t quite satisfy my…

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Boats, beaches and blue skies!

It seems that the longer I live in Vancouver, the more I grow to love it.  This may be the inevitable relationship  that a girl and a new city will nurture after spending many months together, or it could be down to the fact that it’s SUNNY!!  Yes!  There is a glowing ball of fire in the sky that definitely prefers to spend it’s downtime shining on the Pacific Northwest than in the wee bit hills and glens of Scotland…during the summer months anyway.  Vancouver does have it’s own temperate rainforest, so don’t get me wrong, rainy days do occur here and there.  And while Vancouverites around me wince and complain at the thought of ‘sunny with a chance of showers’ the odd day in June, I’m just forever grateful not to hear the familiar ‘showers with the slightest chance of 30 seconds of sun’ forecast which generally applies to all but a few glorious days of the Scottish summer.

941205_1000362568602_1478023328_nJust a dude and his dog on a paddle board.

So this is what I will choose to blame for my lack of updates in recent months, which I’m sure have been sorely missed amongst the bored and insane.

Visas

So my last post was complaining about the ridiculous jumping-through-firey-hoops-whilst-blindfolded process that is the IEC Working Holiday Visa.  In the following weeks the process proved even more ridiculous,  however I am proud to say that we were victorious in our quest and have been deemed worthy of sharing soil space with the likes of Michael Buble and Pamela Anderson for another year.

Getting Oot and Aboot

When we had to place our snowboards into hibernation for a few months, it was time to fill the void with some other activities, which I think we’ve managed to do pretty successfully so far.  Vancouver is such an active, outdoorsy city that it’s almost impossible not to feel compelled to get out there and do something.  So with cycling, climbing, camping, boating, hiking, rodeos, 420 day (worth a post all on it’s own!) beaches and the occasional alcoholic beverage we have managed to fill our time quite nicely.  On one of the long weekends (of which they have a fair few here), I had an extra day off so took myself over to Victoria for a day.  Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and is located on Vancouver Island.  The ferry ride over was pretty cool, and I even managed to spot a whale breach it’s tail!  Victoria looks a lot like some European cities, and is pretty small but charming.  So a few things ticked off, but still loads more to do.

217523_1000362359022_158329345_nI’m on a boat…

This Old House

You remember how excited I was when I found my house back in October?  Well it has been a brilliant house, with awesome housemates and I’ll always have some great memories there.  However a few months back the idea of moving to one of the more bustling neighborhoods was thrown into the mix.  A seed was planted and after weeks of Craigslist scrolling, discussions, viewings, phone calls and spending every day after work tag teaming around Vancouver investigating overpriced condos and cramped basement suites…we finally found an awesome place!  It’s a Heritage Home, which means that by local bylaw the property has to retain it’s original features.  This is because that by Canada standards, it’s an old house…around 100 years old.  It’s right in the heart of Vancouver, located around 15 minutes walk from the downtown core, a few minutes walk away from a Skytrain station…and really close to all of the vibrant, fun neighborhoods.  We move there at the end of June…the beginning of a new chapter in Vancouver!

houseOur new gaff.

Caledonia You’re Calling Me, Now I’m going Home

Only for two weeks mind!  Yup that’s right, I’ve chosen to forgo a small portion of the sparkling Vancouver summer for two weeks on yon bonnie banks.  I was quite hopeful that I might actually catch some sun when I’m back…it’s July after all!  However I have since learned that Scotland has already had it’s summer…it occurred around three weeks ago, on 21st May, between 11.20am and 5.15pm.  Oh well.

I joke, I joke.  It will be amazing to see everyone again, and I am actually really excited about the trip!  Two weeks lazing around at my parents?  Who wouldn’t be!?  And then when I return I have a whole new house to live in and wonderful summer ahead of me.

Until next time amigos 🙂

Saying goodbye Scotland!

So the goodbye process involved more work from my liver than I had anticipated…my last week in Scotland looked a little like this:

25th September: Finish up at work, go see Jesus Christ Superstar with Jenny

26th September: Leaving night for Ruth at work

27th September: Night out with Steven and Elena in Edinburgh.  Also met their friends Nicki and David who will be heading to Whistler when I am in Vancouver 🙂

28th September: Dinner with the Gallachers (and one Bisset!) at the Indian Cottage

29th September: Leaving night at Oran Mor in Glasgow – wicked night 😉

30th September: Leaving night at Elbow in Edinburgh, total of 48 hours of drinking.

1st October: Breakfast with Lukasz, lunch with Natalie on departure from the burgh.

2nd October: Everything I should have done over the past few months but never got around to!  Also saying goodbye to my Papa, Sara and Erin (didn’t catch Mark), Lesley, Katie, Dave, Sharon and Murphy with a final stop at Peter’s to pick up some forgotten shoes and say cheerio again to him and Aiobhe.  Finish off with a fish supper and some Irn Bru, then bed!

3rd October: Pack my shit and get out of here! Oh and say goodbye to Derek and my parents at the airport.

Okay so the departure process wasn’t quite as stress free as I would have liked.  Firstly my mum wasn’t going to come to the airport…at first I thought that it was the inevitable heart wrenching goodbye that was the issue, but after ten minutes in the car with her and dad I realised that it was probably more to do with her crippling fear of the M8 Kingston bridge.  However, we all got there, got me checked in (reminder: pay the extra £40 for club class next time, Air Transat check-in queues are neither short or efficient!), has breakfast avec Derek and then I was on my own, in the departure lounge, waiting on my flight to Toronto…

oh crap!