So it has been another busy few weeks for me. I have started my job part-time in Gastown and am enjoying it, although I would prefer it if it was full-time so I can get more money – this city is not cheap! I was paid for my first week by cheque, which felt very strange but what was even stranger was that instead of giving my bank details to the employer, I had to ask for a form from my bank with my printed details on for ‘direct deposit’. I have to say there are very few things I don’t like about Canada but banking is one of my pet-hates – it seems very outdated compared to the UK and it is taking me some time to understand.
I moved into a new place last Monday and am now living down Nanaimo Street, not far from the skytrain station. (This was the room in East Van that I visited the previous week). The move was a nightmare, I did it in two trips over two days with my snowboard and small suitcase first and then my large suitcase and laptops the next day. It felt good when I had finally completed it but I have decided that next time I move I am hiring a car or getting a taxi if not too expensive.
East Van by Nanaimo is quiet and it suits me well. My room is big with a big bed and a little mini study and a TV in which I can watch awful Canadian TV on. I have found it has taken some adjusting to commuting into downtown and working out transit times with buses and skytrains. I would highly recommend an app called ‘Moovit’ – it is free and available on itunes and android and has been sooo much help with knowing which buses to get and when and how much I have to walk to get to my destination.
Around my area, there are many sushi and noodle restaurants (sushi is quite reasonable out here compared to the UK). There are also quite a few Asian markets stocking meat, fish, fruit and veg. My first full shop was done at one of these along with ‘Dollarama’ (Canadian poundland) and Donald’s market along Commercial Drive. Grocery shopping is not cheap with my shop coming to around $60 (I did buy some bits for the room at Dollarama) but I can see this lasting a few weeks so maybe a big shop is the way to go!
Job wise – things have been very positive the last few weeks. I received an email asking me to attend an interview for a part-time Youth Centre Worker role on the North Shore (North Van) that I applied for before I left the UK. I had the interview last Wednesday and was very impressed with how the interview went. I had feedback given to me afterwards and was advised that my skills and experience may be better suited to one of their Youth Outreach Worker positions (more money and full-time). I had a lovely follow-up email from the co-ordinator asking me if I was interested in applying (of course) but that in the mean time she would contact my referees and make a decision on the Centre Worker post next week. I also filled in a criminal check form, which appears to be slightly easier than the CRB forms in the UK, it is also much cheaper at $30!
After my volunteer interview with a mental health rehabilitation organization, the volunteer co-ordinator again advised to me to apply for their Youth Worker posts within a group home. Although residential work is not what I ideally want to be doing, it is predominantly where my experience comes from so I thought why not. After submitting my application for the posts (there are about 8), I received a phone call on Wednesday and had a 15-minute phone interview with the HR coordinator. I was slightly nervous but never the less answered all the questions and have an interview this coming Monday morning at 7am!!!!!! The only problem with this post is that I would require access to a vehicle and this is an expense I was not anticipating on, however I did advise the coordinator that as I had only been in Canada for 2 weeks, I did not have this (although I did now have my BC driving licence) but would be prepared to purchase a car if I was successful.
I have found that ‘it is not what you know but who you know’ that help with finding work and it has been through networking and meeting with professionals that have advised me of jobs relevant to my skills. Keep your fingers crossed that something positive comes out of this.