36. Canadian Entertainment

Vancouver, Canada, 02.03.2017.

Again, over one week has passed since my last blog entry and quite a few interesting things have happened. Although there are also job- related news to write about, I spent a lot of time enjoying my life in the past days so I had to choose the title for this blog entry the way I did. Okay, let’s start with the job news to get that out of the way first.

Last Thursday, the BC Liquor Stores sent me a job offer for the position as a Senior Store Manager. That was really quick and I was both, surprised and happy, about that offer. Of course I signed the job offer and I also prepared all the necessary documents for them to employ me. Now there are two more things that they will do before I actually get a contract: Firstly, they will check my criminal record and see if there are any entries at all. This should not be a problem as I’ve not yet committed any crimes. And secondly, they will contact my former Lidl superiors (=references) and ask them about my general performance and the situations I described in the job interview and the written assignment. Now of course I don’t know what my former superiors will tell them about me but I am pretty sure it will be a fair assesssment. In the end, there was no conflict at all when I left Lidl so I don’t expect my former superiors to be mad at me for any reason. But in the end, it is really up to them what they will tell the HR manager at the BC Liquor stores and I can’t really influence that. So now I will simply have to wait until they contact me again and then they will either offer me a contract or not. We’ll see about that. With regard to jobs, there is also another interesting development to talk about. BC’s government has finally posted its job advertisements for the Park Ranger and Senior Park Ranger positions. However, these positions are all seasonal so this does not really help me in the long-run. Still, I think it would be nice to work as a Park Ranger for some time and be paid for being outdoors in BC’s beautiful parks. Well, you can’t have it all, can you? The deadline to apply for these jobs is March 8th so I suppose there is still time for me to wait for a response from the BC Liquor stores before I need to do anything here. They should be done with their checks by then and if they choose to not take me on board after all, I can still apply for the Park Ranger job. We’ll see and I will keep you updated.

Now, let’s talk about the main topic of this blog entry: Canadian Entertainment. Yesterday, Verena and I finally went to an Icehockey match of the Vancouver Canucks at the Roger’s Arena. Originally, we already wanted to go to another game earlier this month but the ticket situation online was pretty confusing and ordering tickets through the official ticket center did not work at all. Also, the prices for weekend- tickets were much higher than the prices for yesterday’s match during the week. Still, we had to pay a little more than 60 dollars per ticket for seats of a rather lower category. That was quite the amount but the money was not wasted at all. It was a good experience to watch my first Icehockey match and to see how a sports match is presented here in Canada. Lots of entertainment, lots of commercials and in between that, you just watched the game. 🙂 As a foreigner, I was a little intrigued by the two national anthems that were played prior to this “ordinary” league match. As far as I know, this only happens in Europe if the country’s national teams play against each other. But I may be mistaken here… It was also interesting to see that there was no separation of the opposing fan groups, neither inside nor outside of the stadium. In European soccer matches, this would be unthinkable. Then again, European soccer fans seem to bee much more involved with their club, the team and the match. In contrast to that, there wasn’t much cheering or loud enthusiasm in the stadium yesterday. The people just seemed to be there to relax, have a good time, drink a beer and talk a little while watching the game. Just a very different attitude that also created a completely different atmosphere than the one I got to know when I occasionally watched European soccer in different stadiums in Germany. It feels like the Germans take the game a lot more seriously and they treat it more like a fight that must be won than an entertaining event. However, I have never been to a German Icehockey match yet so I guess it is not that easy to compare these situations. In the end, the German soccer fans are known to be very involved and emotional at times and I don’t know if the same holds true for the German Icehockey fans. Anyway, it was a good experience yesterday and I am open to seeing another Canucks match in the future if the ticket price is acceptable. In any case, I don’t think that it is worth paying a lot more for the so-called “good” tickets as we still had a pretty good view on our “cheaper” seats. Finally, is it worth mentioning how the game ended yesterday? Well, the Canucks lost 2:3 in the overtime against the Detroit Red Wings and it wasn’t overly exciting. Both of the teams do not have a chance anymore to go to the play-offs so I guess the outcome of the game wasn’t really too relevant to anyone in the stadium anyway. At least I did not hear a lot of complaining on our way out of the arena.

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In the stadium: “Canucks are for everyone”- campaign featuring the rainbow- colors.

And what else happened entertainment- wise? Well, Verena and I had a great night out in Vancouver and shared one of the craziest “drinks” I ever had in my life. The “Checkmate Caesar” is a roughly 0.6 liter big drink that has the following ingredients: Vodka, Tomato juice, clam broth, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Also, the glass had celery salt around its egde. I gotta say that was one of the most ugly drinks I ever tasted. But the food “garnish” that came with this drink was really good: A grilled chicken, a big hamburger, a small hamburger, a sandwich, a brownie, some onion rings and five chicken wings. Take a look at this crazy piece of food/ drink:

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The “Checkmate Caesar”, served at the “Score on Davie” bar/restaurant, West End Vancouver.
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The “Score on Davie” bar, West End Vancouver.
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Rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver’s West End: The citie’s LGBTQ- quarter.

After having eaten, we again went to a show at the YukYuk’s (this seems to become a habit) but this time the show wasn’t that good, really. No need to mention the Comedian’s name here but the 20 bucks per ticket were not at all well invested, unfortunately. Well, as everybody’s humor is different, this was likely to happen at some point I guess…

And what else happened in the last days? Well, I bought my own climbing gear (harness, shoes, chalk bag and belay device) and tested it already in our current favorite climbing hall. It all fits well and it wasn’t that expensive, really. So now I can save the money to rent the gear from the climbing hall and I also have my own shoes which is a definite plus on the hygiene side. 🙂

At the board game evening last week, I got to play a new game: Zombicide. Well, as the name suggests, the game is basically about killing Zombies and escaping from them after having completed a certain task. It is a cooperative game and although it is more about slaying Zombies than strategy, I like it and we had a lot of fun playing it.

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One of the items belonging to my new climbing gear: The chalk bag “Floyd”.
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Zomicide. Notice all the grey miniatures (= Zombie horde) on the board.

Finally, I also visited the CatFé once more because a friend of mine tolf me that she had seen Main Coons there. Now I have had Main Coon cats myself and I really like a lot about them: Their thick and fluffy fur, their high pitched voice, their size (they are the biggest cat race!) and most of all their friendliness and gentle behaviour. So I went to the CatFé to take a closer look at them. On that day, however, most of the present cats in the café had already found a new home so even if I wanted to adopt one, there was no chance to do so. Maybe an opportunity will arise for me in the future at some point to have pets again, who knows?

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Maine Coon- Mix “Marshall” at the CatFĂ© Vancouver.
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Marshall’s brother.

Oh my god, over 1500 words again in this blog entry already? Time to quit writing I guess. But finally, as always, let’s have today’s music advice. In honor of the “Zombicide” board game, I choose to present to you:…. A rather strange Hardbass- song. Did I mention that I have a weird music taste? Probably…

Dr. Rude – Apocalypse

27. Berlin- trip and job developments

Siegen, Germany, 15.11.2016.

When I was planning for the Scotland- trip with Glenn, I realized that I had already spent a lot of time visiting non-German cities this year but that I haven’t ever even spent a full day in my own capital, Berlin. Thus, I decided to spend a few days in Berlin before leaving Germany in January 2017 for a longer time. This is what I did last weekend. Aside from doing sightseeing in the city, I also planned to see two friends and former colleagues of mine and the CEO of a small German company that I could work for in Canada.

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The “Siegessäule” in Berlin, central point in the “Tiergarten”- Forest.

Overall, I am really glad I made the trip. The weather was okay for this time of the year so I had no problems running around and visiting everything I wanted to see. And Berlin has a lot to offer: Many shopping malls, big and lively public places and streets, churches, political buildings, historical sites and places, museums and many vantage points. Conveniently, many of these sites, especially the most important ones, are all pretty close together. This meant that I could see many of them all in one day. And it was worth it. I felt that Berlin has its own charm and that the city is absolutely worth seeing for anyone: Tourists and Germans alike. In hindsight, I should have already visited the city some years earlier. Anyway, if I have the chance to come back to the city one day, I will definitely do that to see what has changed since I left.

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The “Reichstag”, German Parliament.

*** Update ***

I almost forgot to mention a very important detail of the trip. When walking through Berlin, a friend of mine pointed out that the Canadian embassy was nearby. So far so good, nothing really exciting yet. BUT there is an area outside the embassy that is also considered Canadian territory. It is marked with bollards, see photo below. Of course I had to go there and make the shortest visit to Canada ever. Strange though, it didn’t really feel like being in Canada. Anyway, I still wanted to share that experience and post the picture.

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Canadian embassy in Berlin.

*** Update end ***

Aside from the sight- seeing I made, I also met two former colleagues and friends of mine. It was really good to see them again after several years and talk face to face instead of writing E-mails or phoning each other. We had great times together and I really enjoyed our lively conversations. Generally, I think it is really important to keep in contact with friends you once made, especially if they or you move away and you don’t see each other regularly anymore. So it was really good to see them again and to renew our friendship. Both of them have always lived in Berlin although their places of work were often somewhere else in Germany. Having seen Berlin’s beauty for myself, I can now understand why they never left the city but instead travelled a lot between their home and their place of work.

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The “Brandenburger Tor”, right next to the “Reichstag”.

And how was the meeting with the CEO of the German company? Well, unfortunately, there was no meeting at all. However, I got a phone call from him and we did talk for quite some time. To cut a long story short: I won’t be selling software for his company in Canada because they already decided to continue working together with their current distribution partner. No good news for me because I would have loved to work together with them and to develop the Canadian market on my own. But nothing I can do about that now so it’s best to move on and pursue the other major plan I have.

This means that I will start to look for open positions for the job as a Park Ranger now. And that I will start to apply for these positions as soon as I see them. Also, I will have to start organizing how and when I want to acquire all the certificates necessary for the job. For example, I will have to do some medical training and get a certificate about that as a part of my application. However, I do not yet worry about that since I will probably have enough time in January and February to get all the necessary qualifications. And I also think that any kind of course that I need can be found in such a big city as Vancouver. But I will see about that in the next weeks…

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Castle “Bellevue”, home of the German president.

Apart from looking for jobs in Canada, I now started to seriously clear out my German apartment. There are still many pieces of furniture that I need to sell or throw away and many unopened boxes that I need to check for their content. And as I do not want to keep anything that I do not absolutely need, I also need to get rid of most of the things that I will find in my many unopened boxes. Fun times but my apartment currently looks like someone dropped a bomb. 🙂 Anyway, I am confident that I will be able to sort out everything in time, so nothing to worry about in the moment.

Due to certain circumstances, I am a bit sad today so today’s music advice is a rather slow and sad song from one of the best rock bands ever. Rock on, Lemmy!

Motörhead – Dust and Glass

25. Job Perspectives in Canada 2017

Arrochar, Scotland, 26.10.2016.

When telling people about my plan to go to Canada next year, one of the first questions they ask is usually: “Do you already have a job over there?”. Well, I do agree that having a job is very important in life but no, I don’t have a job yet in Canada. Am I concerned about that? No, actually I am not. Should I be? No, I don’t think so. There are several reasons why I am quite relaxed about that: Firstly, I am well qualified and I think it is not too hard to get a proper job quickly if I really wish to get one. Secondly, I am doing a Work&Travel year and that means I also want to travel and not only work. Why not start with the travel-part of the year and see what comes my way while travelling? And thirdly, I was able to save a bit of money in the last two years so there is no great pressure on me to start working right away.

Well, to be honest, this is just one part of the truth. Everybody who knows me a little will probably suspect that I have already done some research and planning concerning job opportunities. Very true, indeed. Although I do not have a job yet, I have already spent some time thinking about the topic and making up my mind what I could do in Canada and what I also WANT to do there. Let’s take a look at my thoughts while also enjoying some impressions of my current holiday in Scotland:

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19.10.2016: On top of the Sgurr na Banachdaich, 965m with view on other mountains of the Cuillin.
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19.10.2016: View on the Isle of Soay (left), Isle of Rum (middle) and Isle of Canna (right), southwest of the pinnacle.
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20.10.2016: Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye.
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20.10.2016: Quiraing- area, Isle of Skye, view to the east.
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21.10.2016: The picturesque little village of Plockton near the Isle of Skye.
  1. In the last 26 months, I have been working in the retail business as an area manager, managing multiple stores of a renowned supermarket chain. Although I really enjoyed many aspects of the job, I now feel that I want to do something different. This does not mean that I would categorically rule out working again in the retail business but just now I am looking for something that leaves me a bit more time for myself and that also involves working outdoors.
  2. My first thought was to start working as a Park Ranger in one of the National- or Provincial Parks. In some aspects, this job is pretty similar to what I have already done in my time in the military. Beeing outdoors, getting in contact with visitors and preserving wildlife sounds like a good thing to do to me. However, there are quite a few qualifications you need for the job. First Aid certificate, Completion of Law and Administration course and possession of firearm license for example. Nothing impossible to get but definitely qualifications I do not yet have but which I would have to acquire in Canada. This should be doable for me in between January and April next year but I do not know if this would be okay for my future employer. The job positions for Park Rangers open up in early December so you need to start applying for these jobs exactly then. In early December, I can only send an application to my future employer saying that I do not yet posess most of the qualifications needed for the job but that I am willing to acquire them once I arrive in Canada. Now, I have not worked in HR much but when I got job applications while working as an area manager, I nearly always discarded incomplete applications. I think this is just natural. Why should any HR boss consider imcomplete applications if he also has complete applications of well qualified applicants on the desk? Time is limited and at first glance it is more likely anyway that someone who handed in a complete application will be more qualified than someone who could not do that. That is why I am a bit sceptic about my chances of getting this job. As of now, I have not  decided if I will apply for a job as a Park Ranger or not. Probably, I will make up my mind about that sometime in November.
  3. While watching TV in September, I saw a CEO of a small german company doing a pitch in front of a bunch of investors in a popular German TV-show. He did not get the support from the investors but his story caught my attention. His company has designed an app that makes the management of lumber in the forestry industry a lot easier than it is now. This idea alone is already good but it was his statement that he now wants to expand to the Canadian market that really made me listen up. I then contacted him because I thought we could very well work together and I could be a good addition to his company. Now I have not yet signed any contract but we will continue talking in November and I really hope that we can work together. However, as we do not yet know anything about the Canadian market and its characteristics, this endeavour could very well be doomed from the start. If the Canadians have other ways to measure the amount of logged lumber than we do over here in Europe, there may not be any need for the company’s app and thus there will be no sales potential. But if the Canadian forestry industry has a use for the company’s app, I would be delighted to sell it to them and teach them how to use it. In any case, the forestry industry seems to be a very interesing business and I am already eager to learn all the necessary things about trees, growth rates, forests and so on. The most important upside of this job would be that I could organize myself and work mostly independently which I like very much. It would also be a great challenge to develop an unknown market in an unknown industry in a foreign country. Not easy, yes, but with my background, I think that I have a good chance to succeed. Thus, my hope is that the company’s CEO will contact me in November and we can start talking about the details of this endeavour.
  4. In case I can’t take any of the above options, I still have some half-baked work-related ideas what I could do otherwise while I am in Canada. But for now, I will focus on either becoming a Park Ranger or selling forestry apps for the small German company. We will see what happens…
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21.10.2016: Eilean Donan Castle, on the way between Portree and Duror.
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Cloud reflections on a lake.
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22.10.2016: Buachaille Etive Mor (1022m. left) in clouds before we climbed it.
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22.10.2016: View on the second pinnacle of the mountain massif while not in clouds.
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22.10.2016: View on third pinnacle of the mountain massif.
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22.10.2016: View from the top of Etive Mor through a rare hole in the clouds.

As usual, the blog entry concludes with a music advice. This time, it is a good piece of alternative rock, performed by an American Band. Enjoy.

Hoobastank – Just One