Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Sunday, being the day before work, is never the best for a party. Luckily I have a lot of friends who don't support this idea and had a great time at Jayme Lee's. She went all Martha Stewart on her place and made half-time cookies, a football field table top, and pulled pork that had to be topped with her homemade coleslaw (I did it wrong and got yelled at). The best thing she did was to get everyone to gamble on the game, it basically was the only thing that made us all watch. It was a great day and being home by nine left me with lots of time to feel great the next day.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Nicest Neighbour Ever?

Again sorry. Again will try again to post again. Life here is all good. The job is going great and seeing the students now starting to dribble in is what I need to know that it is possible my job will actually work out.

I've had some great neighbours. Trish Mueller will forever be my back door neighbour that I love the most having grown up together in the suburbs. When you move out of these places you hear horror stories about how city life is cold. To make matters worse, Vancouver has a horrible reputation for being an unfriendly city. After moving here, I belived this and have seen this when you go out on weekends but slowly after living here longer and seeing the same people every day in the elevator I have changed my opinion.

We live on the top floor of our apartment building and are amazingly lucky to have a huge roof top patio. At the beginning of last month the neighbour who had the other corner of the building started to move out. He had been living in his place the past fifteen years and has collected a huge beautiful garden. We ran into each often and over time had more and more to say to each other. He was friendly, neighbourly and has helped me see that if you want to be nice it's possible.

His place is being renovated so that prices can go up (we were offered hardwood floors when I looked at this apartment but it would be a $200 dollar increase...I...being underemployed at the time said the rugs were fine)so he has taken his time moving.

Each and every time I see him now, he has stuff to offer. Its started with a couple of big plants, moved onto a table and patio chairs and finally ended with a heater and an amazing BBQ. Tonight while outside to see how things were he overnight placed a larger table top for the table and some outdoor art piece. Can't wait for the rain to stop to enjoy all we have gained.

***Update: Just went outside to check on the noisy party happening down bellow at the posh restaurant next door -the cheapest cars being valet parked are BMWs- and have since found a table umbrella. going to have to turn off the raido so I can catch Patrick to thank him.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Welcome to East Vancouver

I got an East Vancouver welcome on the weekend. Even though it was a punch (almost too light to even be writing on it) to the face for not having any cigarettes available for the homeless man, I will definitely be back. I had a great time on Jamye Lee's birthday.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I didn't sign up for this

I didn't sign up for an Arctic freeze nor for a job without Lara around. Seriously Vancouver, you were so nice last year with little rain and no snow, why do you have to give us such extreme and uncalled for weather like this? Sure Korea softened me to harsh winters but a damp minus ten is seriously cold, especially when your workplace isn't built for heat. I used to make fun of Korean building that weren't insulated or heated and yet I find myself in one. I also seem to have found myself in a Korean like run business where managers do odd things.

Everything took an unexpected turn at work when I got a text message from Lara (the amazing lady who brought me over to CET) saying the director fired her. Just like that he let her go. He gave no reason, no explanation and no chance to right whatever she did wrong, which from what I can see was nothing. It was so random and out of the blue that the rest of the staff and I have no idea what is going on.

As for the director he said little to me about what happened and I told him I am there to teach and that's what I'll do. He asked me to do some extra curriculum development and while I could do what he is asking I'm nowhere near qualified like Lara is to do it, besides it's just too strange for me to commit just now. I want to know that the school will be around for me to put in the effort. I also want to go wherever Lara finally ends up. Until then I'm stuck in a freezing building topped off with the figuratively cold work environment and on Monday we had a three hour fire alarm continuously ring.

The television warned of freezing pipes and in a rare moment of truth they were right. The sprinkler system in our building froze and tripped off the fire alarm into a three hour ringing session on Monday. It was the start of one long, bland week that has sucked in more ways than one. I can't wait for tomorrow to be finished.

On a more important note, summed up so well by Leoni earlier this week,
"Dear Kim Jong Il,Fuck off please.Ok bye"

Friday, November 19, 2010


I'm almost 100 percent sure nobody comes here anymore but will try to get back to posting. I know I have said that before just like I have said I'd jog again. But in my defense, it's been two weeks straight of jogging so why not some posts? Life here in Vancouver is all good. I have a great job, great friends and have an even greater time watching the local news panick about the weather. (Yes this is a weather post but don't judge me...I'll never post pictures of cats.)
For the last week, the big news has been about an up coming snow storm. As I type, the rain is coming down as "snow" but seriously it's not snow. Watching the Seattle news they are "warning" people to buy big sized beer cozies for their exposed pipes to avoid freezing yet all that is expected is minus three weather. Yes that freezes but come on, it's nowhere near the minus 20 something weather mom and dad were talking about earlier. I'm acting all tough but five minutes ago I did put on my winter jacket to see if it was good to go, turns out it isn't as there's a big stain on the front of it. I guess I'll go with layers tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Oops I did it again...

The writers for Miss Britney Spears obviously knew a lot about blogging. It's been a while and I blame nobody but myself. Things here are all good, still teaching ESL students and have a great story told to me by one of my favorite students. I teach Woori (aka Ann) after my regular gig and she cracks me up. The first time I met her she said she hated Canada because she is so much more funny in Korea. I don't believe it.

She told me a story about how she went to Victoria a few weeks ago and noticed a sign in the hotel bathroom that said "watch your step". She is Korean so she wears sandals into the bathroom. Her sandals had some dirt on them and when you add that to the drops of water on the floor you get marks. In her mind "watch your step" translated into clean up after yourself and so she did. The whole weekend long. It wasn't until she came back to Vancouver and boarded a bus that had the same sign on the stairs that she figured out exactly what "watch your step" meant. Cheers to anybody who takes on English as a second language it can be confusing.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Eat Vancouver

Two free tickets to Eat Vancouver fell into our laps so we headed out to the new Convention Centre (thank you Olympics) on Sunday for lunch. The restaurants there had samples of their goods that you had to buy coupons for to test. The average cost per sample was about $2.50 - luckily Saejin though 5 coupons was five dollars so he ignored his hunger because the sample were tiny compared to the imaginary 5 dollars he thought they cost. Another problem was that the lines were insane in this section but with clever line cutting and ignorance we survived. The best had to be the blue cheese macaroni and meat balls from some restaurant (did I mention the lines were insane so I missed getting the restaurants name - not good for them or me because I'll never find it here in Vancouver.)

We ended up coming home with four litres of soup stock and the way too many samples of packaged goods helped replenish the cupboards. For free it was definitely worth checking out. We also got to see the soup Nazi from Seinfeld fame who is now making a living working food conventions and living off of fictional soup that he makes as a demonstration.

Speaking of food, the one thing I am really struggling with being back here is that chicken breasts have morphed into giant double DDs since I remember last seeing them. In Korea chicken breasts are half the size and cheaper than any other part of the chicken. I liked them that way and I have yet to buy any chicken breasts here because I think that
A...they are pumped way too big with water. many steroids were these caged creatures pumped with and why don't their legs match their breast...they are barbie chickens.
And c...I can't find (or afford) free range chicken. Besides I don't really miss chicken that much when steroid fed, penned in beef is so cheap and plentiful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Every Thursday I get Rex Murphy's opinion pieces from itunes. I can't agree more with his latest one.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chinese Food

Had a job interview today which went great. It's at a school that pays a lot more money but the only trouble being I'd have to go on a sub list for the time being and next month (as in July) I would probably slip into a full time position. Not exactly sure what I will do but the lady doing the interview was great (she actually had questions I had to think about - she liked my answers and said she'd never hear a few of my answers before but said they'd work out great in a class) and she told me to contact her after next week when I finish my contract with the other school.

Tonight I'm off for some real Chinese food. My TESOL practicum partner teacher is finishing up her classes with the new immigrants I taught a few weeks ago and they are heading out for dinner. The class wanted her to invite me along. Not sure what kinds of Chinese food I'll be having but seeing as they are all new immigrants here I'm sure it will be amazing real Chinese food. Another one of the benefits of living in a city where almost 50 percent of the population has ties to China - great, cheap Chinese food. Pictures to follow if we end up eating anything mysterious.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Burrard Bridge

I'm on an ill timed holiday this week. (I'll explain more about this later) All day today I'll be sticking around home doing all the laundry I have ignored for the past week. Yesterday it was nice and sunny (you can't tell by the pictures but this is sunny in Vancouver) so we went for a walk across Burrard bridge. Since arriving in September this bridge (and Granville bridge) sit jut outside the apartment in clear view from the balcony and the only times we've crossed them have been at night coming back from friend's houses.

The bridge here with an upper truss so big boats can make it into False Creek. FYI...False Creek news from the past few weeks...a whale was spotted and chased out of here a few weeks ago. It was searching for some food on it's trek back to Alaska after fasting in Mexico for the winter. Scientists were worried it had become lost and would die if it stayed put around town. Another sighting was of Zach Effron of High School musical fame who sadly wasn't also chased out of town for starving people ofdecent movies.

(An older picture to show how high we were.)

View of the False creek Ferry stop at the Aqua centre to head over to Granville Island or Vanier Park.

Final shot before the camera died. English bay with the Westend in the background. Vancouver definitely deserves its reputation as a beautiful city. I'm very lucky to be living here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lynn Canyon Picnic

Late Saturday afternoon Shane came by to pick us up and we finally made it over to North Vancouver. Destination, Lynn Canyon for a lupper picnic. Seeing as none of us had ever been there it was a little strange walking from the car to the Canyon with lots of groceries but luckily there were more than just serious hikers and lots empty tables to eat at.

The view from the suspension bridge.

We made it to the other side. A feat when you consider we all had our own personal handicaps. Mine were my tread less sandals, Shanes was the bag of left over food, Youn Jung (Shane's wife) hiked in high heels and Saejin couldn't handle the suspension bridge bouncing.

Saejin with some Canadian wildlife.

Chllin on a stump to show saejin that camping could be an option this summer. He said he would go if he could stay in a hotel while the rest of us slummed it up in tents.

The view of the bridge.

More posing with nature.

Korean Hiking gear.

Lion's Gate bridge and Stanley Park from North Vancouver where we stopped of for some more views of Vancouver after we drove up some of the Sea to sky highway.

Shane saw some kids tossing rocks into the ocean and he decided to join them. Little did he know that big rocks weigh a lot.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hello? back into blogging baby

Testing, testing...anyone remember me? It looks like things are slowly falling into place for me and life back here in Canada. Not sure where to start with the updates but the most important one is I'm finally finished my TESOL and can legally teach in real language schools here. To get the TESOL, I was doing night classes three times a week for three months and then had to do a practicum but now it' all done with. (The practicum ended last week during my first week at my new job. Those days sucked as I was going from 8 am all the way until 9:30 at night. Sucky times for sure but now its good. My practicum supervisor was amazing and helped me out a lot and possibly we will wok together in the future.)

The school I'm at is alright but it's just for a one month contract which they may or may not extend (depending on how I do and if student numbers remain pig flu please Mexico). I am still looking for something more secure and should be able to get at least two interviews (I have connections now) for some possible jobs. Anyway I have nights off for a change so I can start jogging again and loving life in Vancouver even more. Will post more soon. (This time I mean it.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

I can't remember how many times this week I have had conversations with students telling them to avoid shopping on the 23rd or 24th of December. Yet I have managed to leave all my shopping to the last minute. Tomorrow will be a busy day of classes first thing in the morning, a couple of hours off from lunch until I have to pick up Angela's nephews from their school for our class together. This leaves shopping for the last couple of hours before malls close and then a trip to Safeway to load up on food for Xmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day. Hopefully the years of fighting old ajumas on the Seoul subway will make the last minute shopping rush feel like a walk in the park (albeit a crowded Korean park.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where to start?

Things are almost all settled in here. Been away for some time moving apartments and waiting for the internet. (Who knew it took only 10 days to get a connection?) During this time we had to run down to the nearest coffee shop (it's Vancouver, we walked a block) to use the internet. But now the internet is up and with the TV playing the Flames game things are all good.

Here are some pictures from September (I'm way behind) and our first meeting with Rachel Lynn's patio and amazing home.

Rachel Lynn smiles.

Saejin relaxes.

Ross calculates the makeup of the chemical compounds in my camera.

Back in side for games. Here Saejin is before he learns the rules for the new game.

Here he is during the game wondering how having people yelling things at you can be considered a fun thing to do after drinking. It is.

Going to Rachel Lynn's house is great because we always have a chance to play some sort of game. This one has each person given a handful of papers where you write down any noun (really any...Rachel Lynn's dad plays and he gets dirty). We then are divided into two teams. Teams alternate going and one person has a minute to describe the noun they picked from the hat. When you guess it you get the point. After all the words have been played they go back in the hat and you then have to act them out. This is the hard part but it's good fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friends in Town

This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one. My best friend Graham is flying in from Calgary for the weekend and he always has a list of things to do while in Vancouver. I've just finished my best rain dance so that we don't have to go to the pitch and putt in Stanley Park. Tomorrow Sam and Barclay arrive for their two week tour of the Vancouver area but their list of things to do will prove to be a lot harder to complete. They are stopping by on their way home to England and have visions of Moose steaks, ice hockey (not sure what that is) and a sampling of all the micro brew beers the area offers. Good times to follow I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gone to the Movies

This past week I've been to the movies a couple of times. The first go round was to get a horror movie fix with Paranormal Activity but sadly it didn't live up to the hype and it never once made me a)jump b)scream c)throw off my glasses in fear or d)all of the above even once. The second movie was Saejin's choice so that meant seeing the latest big budget movie pretending it has a convincing story line, so we went to see 2012. It too was crap.

The fun part for me was remembering how different theatres are here compared to my old stomping grounds on the ROK. They mostly surround pricing. Here the tickets are almost five dollars more for the same movie, released mostly on the same day and housed in the same quality of movie theatre but here you have to go a whole lot earlier to get a seat. In Korea your ticket gives you a seat number that you can choose when you buy it. I'd love this system to catch on here but it won't because the crazy people who camp out for tickets would then disappear. If they aren't there then the news cameras aren't there and the big studios are no longer getting free publicity so then people wouldn't know what crappy movie they should be wasting their money on.

Saejin had a few good laughs at the theatre. He ordered a small coke and found out it was bigger than the largest coke in Korea. When he pointed this out to the cashier she pointed back that this is why we're so fat here. What bothered Saejin even more was that he couldn't believe the price of a small popcorn, "$6.21 for popcorn? That's more than the price of a beer!" In a world of monthly budgets. he knows where his loyalties lie and declined the popcorn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tim Horton's

It's embarrassing to admit because it is way to Canadiana but I have been visiting Tim Horton's a bit too much lately. There is one a block from my school and it's not for the cheap price of coffees or their selection of donuts and timbits that I visit. Sadly, I've become addicted to their new French Onion soup. (Their advertisement has clearly worked on me.) The soup lacks the perfect amount of cheese and bread to soup ratio you'd expect in a good French onion soup but it's amazing none the less and like everything else there, it's cheap.

As for work, I'm scheduled to teach the conversation classes now which is better than just doing one on one classes because there are more students who talk. The school seems quite good and the people running it are organized and super nice. The only bad part about it, is that I never know my daily schedule until the night before work and my hours (while increasing) are also just over part time for now. They have Friday night parties which I will probably check out this Friday so that the staff and students know I want to be part of the team but hearing the stories of last Friday's tomfoolery, I need to be careful. Turns out Koreans drink the same way as they do back home and that means a lot. To quote another teacher from the school, "there were tears,a fight and destruction of property" not sure if that means a good party or something I think I'm too old for.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Homeless Signs

The homeless in Vancouver are among the best marketers I have come across in a long time. Here is a collection of cardboard signs I have seen held up asking for help this week:

Too lazy to work, too ugly for prostitution. An approach that makes people look at their faces and sees they aren't ugly so they'd better give money so the person doesn't get caught in the sex trade.
Battle of the sexes, who gives more? He then had two boxes set up and gave a running today of who was in the lead. When I walked past I was surprised to learn the men were up by $1.45.
If you feel like giving, make a second lunch to pass along. This one plays off knowing you have too much food and it wouldn't cost too much to put together a second meal.
Smile if you masturbate. Gets people's attention.
Spare change for weed and beer. Weed and beer are a Vancouver staple that locals wouldn't want anyone to be without.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I started to work today after a very long, long vacation. It's not exactly what I want to be doing but it is money with a lot of flexibility in the future. I'm teaching conversation classes at a small school downtown with...surprise surprise mostly Korean students. I can't escape Korea.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TV Bye Bye

Once upon a time an old Korean ajuma went into my friend Heidi's place when her son (the ajumas son, not Heidi's) was moving out and knowing no English the ajuma said, "TV Bye Bye*." For me being back in Canada I wouldn't miss the TV one bit if it were gone. Back in Korea, it was a different story. I downloaded all the big hit TV shows from the US and the UK to watch back on the computer and felt I needed to watch. Here it's a different story. I don't even know what shows are on what night and really other than Sunday nights (aka Amazing race and Brothers and Sisters night) I hardly watch it. The only thing I will admit to watching more of is hockey and that's just because it's on when I'm at home whereas in Korea it was on while I was teaching morning classes. This being said, V is premiering tonight and I plan to watch just to say it's not as good as the original series.

* The ajuma knew very little English and meant to say, "He is my son and he will never marry you. You don't even know how to clean out the left over rice in the rice cooker."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

English Bay and Stanley Park

Time to get some Vancouver sights on here. The apartment is a three minute walk from False Creek.

Posing on the beach one morning after we arrived in September.

SJ being a both a good and bad Vancouverite. He is proudly drinking coffee on the beach but he didn't bring his own reusable cup. The tree hugging hippies will not like him.


Taking a break in Stanley Park. I was so happy to see a garbage can again that I had to get my picture taken next to it. (Korea is a garbage can free zone and if there is one it will definitely be overflowing with garbage.)

SJ acting as if he is used to being surrounded by nature. He did a good job of not jumping each time he heard trees playing in the wind but did panic when a nursery of raccoon met us on the trail.

The Lost Lagoon

More wildlife not to be eaten.

All in all Vancouver is a great place to live. The only thing that would make it amazing is if the city can somehow convince Calgary to swap hockey organizations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me without much warning. Living in Korea you remember when Korean thanksgiving is (nobody forgets to notice at least three days off in a row) and the American thanksgiving is celebrated at lots of the pubs in Itaewon (nobody forgets the places that serve turkey.) It wasn't until I looked at the Safeway flyer and noticed a special thanksgiving section that I knew Monday was a holiday. I'm still not brave enough to cook turkey and unlike Korea nobody gave me any holiday Spam gift sets to eat, so Saejin and I bought monster sized steaks. We made sure we plated at least two vegetables and by drinking the meal with wine it was a holiday meal.

For the day off on Monday(aren't all days off when you're unemployed?) Rachel Lynn woke me up with a text message saying her boyfriend Ross was about to roast up some ham. She invited us over for an early dinner and it was amazing. She made up a salad that was so good I didn't even notice I was eating beets. So I'm not so out of the loop on holidays I think I'd better fill in my day planner with the Canadian ones. I think Halloween might be coming up sometime soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Australian

Turns out that no matter how long I worked in Korea as a Canadian they think I'm Australian. I was supposed to get my pension from Korea mid September (and after working there for so long it's a big chunk of change) but it didn't arrive until a couple of days ago. After calling Korea a few weeks ago to find out what the problem was it turned out that the records between the pension office and immigration didn't match up. Immigration had me down as an Australian. The lady working in the pension office had been working there for three years and she said this was the first time she had ever seen this kind of problem. She was glad I'd called and she explained it was just a shuffling of paper work that was delaying the money being sent. When I passed the phone onto Saejin she was even more apologetic and said she would personally send the money from the local office's account and speed things up. She also mentioned to Saejin that my school has yet to make the last payment and once (and if) that happens (it won't) I'll get another hundred and thirty bucks in my account. I'm not holding my breath but with the job search still on going it gives me a lot more time to find exactly what I'm looking for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It's on fire

Saejin is convinced that the bathroom is constantly about to burst into flames. No matter how many times I explain it's just a heated light that warms the bathroom he gets worried. Back in Korea he had no problem with the shower shooting water inches from the electrical socket or the fact the light bulb was unexposed and also within reach of the arcs of water. Cultural differences are fun.

UBC Museum of Anthropology

Old post here from the first week in Vancouver. Rachel-Lynn's mother works at the museum and they were having (in Vancouver like hippie ways) a dance performance at the museum. With nothing better to do and the first chance to see RL we agreed to head over to UBC.

RL and her boyfriend Ross grooving to the music.

Saejin adopting Mrs. Baird as his Vancouver mom.

RL and Saejin touching one of the "touchable" pieces of art.

Posing for a picture after being led through the museum by a troupe of dancers who stopped every so often to hippie dance.

Everyone hippie dancing. The thunderclap is now a new favorite dance move. Can't wait to show it off to my Korean friends.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quick upload of some fun we had on Santosa Island in Singapore. I'll try to get around to uploading the rest of the trip soon but reume work and looking for a job is taking most of my time lately. Any job hints or resume tips passed on would be appreciated. As for tonight, it's 15 cent wing night, I can't wait to pig out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First week in

While I am missing Korea I am so happy to be back. Here are some reasons:

Milk comes in four litre bottles.
Sandwiches are for sale everywhere.
Hockey highlights are shown even for preseason games.
Fruit is cheap, plentiful and fresh.
Dog the Bounty Hunter is on TV every four hours.
Fresh air.
I get asked for ID going into bars.
When ordering food or drinks you never ever need to order anything larger than the small size.
15 cent wing nights.
Draft beer.
Salads come with the dressing on the side and not swimming in dressing.

The only thing I have noticed that I'm not happy with is eveything is SOOOOOOOOOOOO salty. It's disgusting. Other than that things are good.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Vancouver

Finally settled in Vancouver which was difficult after two weeks of swimming, a lot of sun and a final wild goodbye night in Seoul. I will post a lot of updates later this week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Updates coming

There has been so much going on the past two weeks (mostly drinking and meeting friends) that I haven't had anytime to post. Two more weeks of holidays and then there will be lots to see and read about.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009