39. New apartment

Vancouver, Canada, 02.04.2017.

After two weeks of living in an AirBnB- apartment and training at the BC Liquor Store at the Capilano Mall, I finally moved into my new apartment in North Vancouver yesterday. My landlords made me feel welcome instantly and I even got a nice welcome beer (see picture below) that is brewed in a local brewery not far away from here. I also met their little son and their friendly dog who wanted to be cuddled all the time. Aside from this dog, there also seem to be some cats in the neighborhood. This morning, a completely black cat visited me and enjoyed being cuddled for a few minutes. As far as I can judge, it looks like he/she is a a mix-breed with some kind of exotic background.

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My welcome drink at the new apartment.
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A friendly cat that lives in the neighborhood.

Overall, I am glad to have my own place now that I can call my “home”. Whereas “home” is a difficult term and I find it increasingly hard to determine what my real “home” is. But this is a seperate discussion that I do not wish to start here and now. Maybe in a later blog post, we’ll see about that.

Next week I will have another week of training at a Liquor Store not far away from my apartment. However, this will be my last week of training before I will take over my designated store. I have to admit that I am already a bit excited about that and that I am looking forward to it as well. As of now, I am sure that I haven’t yet got all the knowledge that a Store Manager needs but I am not really afraid about that. I am confident that my basic knowledge is already quite solid and that I have a good grasp of the most important things I need to pay attention to. The most challenging thing will be to find out what the most pressing problems in my new store are and how to address them effectively. But I have done these kind of things before and I am fairly confident that I can do it again. So I guess there is no reason to worry at all….

And what happened in the last week? At the weekend, Verena and I went to the indoor carnival at BC Place and enjoyed the attractions there. This was the first time I visited an indoor carnival but I have to say that the idea is quite good. With the rainy weather here in Vancouver, it is definitely a good idea to make it more attractive to visitors to visit the carnival by hosting it inside a stadium. While Verena happily tried every single ride, I was a bit more selective because I didn’t quite feel so well that day. Also, I tend to become sick relatively quickly when I get shaken thoroughly…

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“Fireball” (right) and “1001 Nachts” (sic!), (left).
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The “Zipper”. According to Verena, the wildest ride in the stadium.

Of course, I also explored the area around my new apartment and my new place of work a little bit. I went for a walk in “Cates Park” where I found a nicely sculpted war memorial that I had to photograph of course. Also, I already found a new place where I can play my favorite games from time to time. It is called “Big Pete’s” and they have an interesting event schedule and nice offers so I guess that I will start going there frequently in the future. Apart from this, I realized that there are a lot of nice hiking trails around here so I will happily start hiking if the weather allows for it at the next weekends. Of course, I will take some pictures then and share them with you. Originally, I already wanted to go hiking today but I felt it was more important to take my time to settle in properly and write this blog entry. Next weekend then….

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War memorial in Cates Park.

 

Big-Petes
Comic- and Games- Store in North Vancouver.

Again, this was a rather short blog entry but I guess that is okay. As of yet there are no news about my diploma certification so I’m not able to start my application for permanent residency yet. I will keep you updated once things change in this matter.

As usual, let’s finish this blog entry with a music advise. Today’s title is a rather old one and the band is a bit controversial. But I still like their music because it’s not only raw Hip Hop but they use other interesting music elements as well.

Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko

38. Starting to work

Vancouver, Canada, 24.03.2017.

As announced in the last blog entry, it will not make a lot of sense for me to continue writing this blog as frequently as I used to. The main reason for this? Well, I won’t be doing that many extraordinary things in the future anymore. Starting this Tuesday, I actually started working for the BC Liquor Stores and it looks like some kind of everyday life routine has returned to my life. Which is a good thing because I wanted it that way and it may be a good foundation for the next chapter in my life.

So how were my first days at work? Well, honestly? It was great and I enjoyed every day so far. I met a lot of interesting and nice people and I already learned a lot about the BC liquor market and the company’s procedures and policies. Quite a few things are very similar or even identical to the working environment I got to know in Germany and England so not everything is completely new for me. Today, my line manager, who was also one of the managers in my job interview, visited the store I’m currently training in and we had a good chat about a few things. I think I will get along with him quite well in the future so I am happy that he is my line manager. He told me that I will start working in my own store on April 10th and that surprised me a little. On average, a store manager at Lidl Germany will receive roughly 6 months of training until they get their own store. At Lidl UK, the training of a new store manager takes less than these 6 months but is very rare that someone gets a store with less than 4 months of training. Now as a former Area Manager who has trained store managers in the past, I feel that I don’t need that amount of time to be able to do the job properly but only having 3 weeks to learn everything is a challenge. However, I’m not afraid of this and I think I’m be okay with this time frame. Of course I will not be as knowledgeable and experienced as my fellow colleagues after 3 weeks of training but if I have any questions or problems I can always pick up the phone and ask my current trainers for advice. Still, it feels a little bit strange to be be given this amount of responsibility so quickly right away….

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Even at work, I find a lot of traces of my German heritage…. “Home sweet Home”…. 🙂

Before I started working last Tuesday, I moved out of Dawn’s apartement and into my temporary AirBnB suite here in North Vancouver. The transition was smooth and it didn’t take me long to pack and move my stuff. However, I also noted that I have already accumulated quite a few new things since I started living in Canada in January. On April 1st, I will finally move into my own apartment in the very east of North Vancouver and then I hope that I don’t have to move again anytime soon. Dawn’s cat Whippcream seemed to be a bit sad about me leaving the apartment when she sat right next to the last load of my stuff. Also, Dawn phoned me and told me that Whippcream seems to be looking for me in the apartment. I really miss her too because she is a lovely and low maintenance cat and she was a great companion to me during my stay at Dawn’s apartment. That is one of the harder things in life: To say goodbye…

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Whippcream sitting next to my stuff when I was moving out of the apartment.
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The fuzzy little girl sleeping on my lap.

Aside from me moving out of Dawn’s apartment and starting to work, nothing overly exciting happened since my last blog entry. With regard to my application for permanent residency, I got my university degrees translated and I also already sent copies of it to a Canadian certification agency. Once I have their assessment of my degrees, I will be able to apply for permanent residency but I think that will probably take another 2 or 3 weeks. But that is okay since I have enough time left here in Canada and there is no need to hurry. And what else did I do in the past days? Well, just the usual stuff that I love doing here in Canada: Playing Board Games, climbing, jogging, you name it. I’m really looking forward to go hiking again but I think I will not start with that until I moved into my new apartment. This weekend, Verena and I will be at the YukYuk’s one more time and we’ll also go and visit the carnival at BC Place (the big stadium in Vancouver). That’s gonna be a whole lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to doing that!

The Networks
Nice little game: The Networks.
Rainforest
Preparing for the Vancouver Marathon in the nearby rainforest.
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Is this the place the Trump administration referred to??? It’s right in my Neighborhood…

As there is not much else to report in the moment, this blog entry is a lot shorter than usual but that is okay. Let’s finish with another music advice. The following song is a truly great metal balad, performed by one of Germany’s best Rock bands. Absolutely worth listening to again and again:

Scorpions – Send Me an Angel

28. Finally back!

Somewhere between Frankfurt and Vancouver, 03.01.2017.

Happy new year everyone! It has been quite some time since I last wrote an entry for my blog. And I am truly sorry about that. There are some excuses for this fact but none is really convincing so I won’t bother to go into detail why I didn’t write anything in the last weeks.

Anyway, now I have time and I feel like writing something again. In the moment, I am currently sitting in a Boeing 747-400 “Jumbo” and we just flew over the edge of Greenland. Thus, soon we will enter Canadian airspace and fly the last 3636 kilometers to Vancouver. Just about four and a half more hours to go, good news! By the way, this is the first time I am in this type of plane and it is truly huge. The planes that I flew regularly with between Frankfurt and London Heathrow were often a lot smaller. But that was also a much much shorter route.

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Our plane after we landed at Vancouver airport.

Before I start explaining what I am planning for the next days and weeks, let me first tell you what I did since I wrote the last blog entry. In the last several weeks, I focused mainly on two things: Firstly, I needed to sell, give away or throw away practically all of the stuff in my apartment and give the latter back to the landlord by end of December. And Secondly, I wanted to see as many of my friends and family as possible to say “Good- Bye” and enjoy some quality time with them. Both endeavors were quite successful.

I managed to return my apartment to my landlord on December 23rd. Just in time to enjoy Christmas and the last few days in Germany without having to worry about THAT anymore. As of now, the amount of stuff that I kept for myself in Germany is very limited: roughly 12 boxes, unevenly distributed among my mum’s and my dad’s house. It is a little bit shocking that this is everything that is now left after 35 years of life. But I don’t mind about that, really. In the end, it is more often the immaterial things that make us happy. So I don’t really care about leaving everything behind. If I really need anything in Canada that I could not bring with me, I’ll just buy or lend it. All will be fine…

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Today’s flight took me right past the city I last lived in: Siegen.

After having visited Berlin in November, I managed to see some more of my friends and family in the past weeks. When thinking about it, I was actually able to see a lot of those people that I really care about. I enjoyed a Cinema- and Party- Weekend with Glenn in Siegen, played a Poker tournament in my Poker club in the very same city, visited a very old friend of mine from my early army days in Koblenz, played three great board game days in varying groups in Siegen, Mannheim and Wesseling, spend New Years Eve with two good friends of mine near Cologne and finally I was also able to meet a former LIDL colleague and friend of mine with his wife on the evening of January 1st and two friends from my later army days on January 2nd. That was yesterday evening. A bit stressful, but it was absolutely worth seeing my buddies again. Sad thing one of them could not be there but we will make up for that in June or so. And then, there was a big surprise at the airport for me today. One of my buddies took the train from Cologne to Frankfurt airport to say Good Bye to me personally again and to show the airport to his two little boys that he had with him. So nice of him, I felt a bit humbled by that.

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The flight also took me past the towns where some of my family and friends live.

With regard to my family, I spent the last one and a half weeks at my mum’s place and managed to see Adelheid, my dad and my brother after Christmas. Also, my brother and I managed to go to our traditional December- concert. I don’t know exactly for how many years he and I managed to go to a concert in December but it must be at least 4 years in a row. Probably more. Today, my mum and I got up very early and she drove me to the airport so that I didn’t have to take the train. That was very nice of her and I was happy to say Good Bye to her in person at the airport. Then, my plane took off roughly one hour late at 11:20 AM since the flight was hopelessly overbooked and they kept looking for people who wanted to stay in Frankfurt for a day and get a 600 Euro- compensation for that. I could not wait to finally start my trip to Canada so I chose to wait if I could still get a seat on the plane which I finally did. Good thing. So I am now finally on my way, probably starting the biggest adventure of my life. I can’t say I am not excited… 🙂

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Rocky Mountains just south of Jasper. What a beauty!

And what are the plans for my first days in Vancouver? Well, everything is pretty much straightforward. Upon arrival, I will get my rental car first and then go straight to the next TELUS- shop to reactivate my Canadian SIM- card. Having a working phone is pretty important I guess. Then I will probably try to fulfill a few bureaucratic tasks in Vancouver: Surely, I need to apply for a Social Insurance Number and to register myself somewhere. I hope the immigration officers at the airport will tell me in detail what to do and where to go. If not, I will find it out another way, I don’t worry about that yet. If I still have time after that, I will try to open a bank account somewhere. That will probably be the biggest challenge. At least if the Canadian procedure is similar to the one in England. I remember having the most trouble with that when I arrived east of London in March last year. God, it is unbelievable that this is already so long ago. I can’t believe it…

Anyway, all the above mentioned stuff will keep me very busy today. And maybe I will have to do some of these things tomorrow if I start getting tired after the flight. Which may happen since I also didn’t sleep very well last night. Once I got all these things boxed off, I will start looking for a car of my own so that I can return my rental car as soon as possible and still stay mobile. Possibly, I will start looking for some kind of Jeep or car that can go off road. I do plan to make some trips to places that are a bit more remote so having a suitable car for that sounds like a good idea. Finally, I already booked a First Aid course in Surrey next week and of course I will attend. In case I will be able to work as a Park Ranger, I need this qualification. And if don’t get a job as a Park Ranger, it is never bad to refresh one’s knowledge what to do in case of emergency. When I was still in the army, we had to do First Aid courses every year and in hindsight I think that was a very good thing to do. Knowing what to do if someone is an emergency can’t be bad, really.

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Arrival at Vancouver airport. Quite the queues at the customs booths and the immigration office.

Ah, I think we just touched the “job”- topic. Probably the one topic I discussed the most with many people in the last weeks. It seems like a lot of people are more worried than me if I get a job or what I will do for a living. To be honest, currently I am not worried at all. I already applied for the job as a Park Ranger in Alberta and in Sasketchawan. And when the job openings for Park Rangers in British Columbia are published, I will also apply for one of those jobs. This is currently my plan: To spend a season as a Park Ranger in one of Canada’s beautiful parks. We’ll see if that plan becomes reality or not. If it fails, I can always drive up north into the Yukon and mine gold for a season. Like the crazy guys in the american TV Series “Gold Rush Alaska“. Honestly, I would love to do that. Gotta learn to drive the big machinery first, though. In Germany, this TV Series runs on DMAX at 6:15 PM each evening. Take a look at it, it’s really interesting and entertaining. Anyway, I will keep you updated how my search for a job goes on. And I think I will also write a few things about my future ambitions to do some Marathons here in the next blog entry.

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My rental car that I will use until I found and bought my own car. Good to drive, no complaints.

Finally, as usual, I’ll conclude this entry with my music advice. Today’s piece of rock is really solid and straightforward as well as fitting to my current situation. Cheers!

Linkin Park – Don’t stay