Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas everyone! I know we're late with this post but Tom wasn't gonna spend his one day off work putting this up. Better late than never.

What did we do for Christmas? Well we went to a church service in the city on the 24th (a good family service with abridged carols (excellent for Tom who doesn't really enjoy carols, and excellent for Karen who loves carols as it meant that we sang more of them). Christmas eve for us also saw a couple of skype sessions with people back home which was nice. Christmas day had a food focus and another lot of skype chats. Overall a really nice day.

Tom was back at work at 7am boxing day- the people crushing sales day here in Canada. It was crazy but he was out of there by 3pm. Karen had the day off.

Other than that we have been both been well. Karen has been making the most of her library membership and Tom has been busy making things (mainly words and letters) out of plasticine that he bought from the dollar shop (for one dollar of course).

Tom now has 10 pairs of shoes. Karen bought a pair of brown gum boots. She looks like she owns a horse but they keep her feet dry. Tom's shoes are far less practical but they look good and really that's a practical thing... isn't it?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Today we finally got around to putting up our Christmas tree. Thanks so much to the Hunt Haus for sending over some decorations and some pressies to grace the foot of our three foot, plastic evergreen. 

This week saw Tom get promoted at work to Shipper/Receiver which is great as it means a pay rise as well as weekends off and regular hours (7am-3pm). Nice.

Last night we went into the city to see a movie. We caught the train half way home to the bus transfer but the bus didn't come so we walked home. When we got home we found out that it was -4˚ outside. 

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Last weekend it snowed. It snowed all day and a lot of the night for both days. It began as a quite light fall but soon built up so that everything was covered by at least 2 or three inches of it. We're pretty lucky. It's not supposed to snow that much in Vancouver.

Now it's back to the rain. Lots of rain. Everything is wet and shiny again.

The latest development on our blog is video. Here is a video of our home. Please note the beginning of the mural on our bedroom wall above the bed. When finished it will be 2 metres high and two metres wide. It's made up of orange post-it notes- 400 of them. Watch this space for progress photos.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We've both been pretty busy working (which is why this blog has been a little slow of late) but this last weekend we headed up to Whistler for Karen's work Christmas show. We caught the Greyhound bus up there which proved to be quite a bit less seedy than our experience of the US Greyhound service. For Tom it was very exciting due to the fact that he had never visited an alpine region before. 

After a 2 hour journey, we arrived in Whistler and for Tom at least, the concept of cold was redefined.

The accommodation and the dinner were both at the Fairmont (very nice resort) and it was all paid for by Asentus which made it even more enjoyable. The two days gave us a great chance to look around the mountain. A quarter-hour gondola ride down the mountain with a group of 8 five year old ski-school kids and their instructor was particularly entertaining.

Oh and it was Tom's birthday last Friday (23rd) and he had to work but we went out to some Buddhist restaurant for lunch and after work we went to an almost uncomfortably uber cool warehouse party for some beers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's official. We both have jobs. Karen has decided to take the job offered to her by the place she was temping at. The work involves project management stuff and is for a company that trains people in Microsoft applications  (web management kinda stuff). Thankfully she's getting paid better than when she was working as a temp but it seems like she'll be working quite a bit harder too. 

Tom got the job at the clothes shop however his day starts at 7am and his salary is equivalent to what a 14 year old would get paid working at KFC in Australia. The 40% staff discount does soften the blow a little but that's still pretty freakin early. Thanks so much to all the people who provided references for us.

The other day we walked to the beach which is near the University of British Columbia. We our left our apartment at noon and arrived just as the sun was setting. It was a long walk but a beautiful day with a stop at the cupcake shop on the way. 

And by the way, I got the Nova stuff wrong. Track Team's on from 7-8pm every Saturday. Check under shows if you don't believe me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We've continued to enjoy catching buses to new places in Vancouver but the enjoyment is probably associated more with the new places than with the bus trips. We checked out a real nice national park with waterfalls and inappropriately dressed Japanese tourists and bear proof bins. It was on the northern shore of the city so we had to catch the sea bus there (although the name (like the 'sky' bus that actually travels underground) was a little misleading since it was actually a boat. I guess sea boat sounds kinda lame.)

We also went to check out the biggest mall here. That was OK. Same-old really- mallrats, the internationally standard, independent-of-the-outside-weather mall climate, mall food, mall shops. One thing that was sweet was that there's a big skatepark right next to it complete with a full pipe. Sick mate!

Karen is currently working as a temp at a web marketing/training group downtown. She's only filling in for a week through the temping place but by 2pm on her first day they had offered her a 3+month job. A relief to have some cash coming in finally especially since Tom just found his dream jacket which just happens to be G-$tar. Tom's still waiting to hear back re his job application but rest assured, referees have been contacted.

Tom's also been working on a lot of music stuff having set up a studio at home. Track Team now has a weekly slot on Nova 919- Saturday 10-11pm (and replayed the following Friday from 7-8pm). Tune in to hear our new stuff. He also found a shop with a DJ setup in it and the manager has said that he should feel free to come in and DJ anytime. 

That's enough otherwise people will get bored and not want to read this anymore. 

Oh, and I've made it so that anyone can comment now- ie you don't have to sign up to leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well it rained for 8 days straight but now we've got sunshine for a week which will be sweet. It's given us a good chance to do some more exploring. We found the worlds best cup cake store much to Karen's delight. Tom bought a MIDI controller so he can DJ at home now. 

And now to the job scene. with all the rain and procrastination getting boring, Tom finally wrote a resume. Today he went in to his dream clothing/shoe/homeware/book store (yes they're all in the one shop), applied and got an interview all in the same day. Karen has been working hard on applications and has an interview with a temping agency tomorrow (although given her little note book of questions, it'll probably be more like Karen interviewing the person from the temping agency).

Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Well after 63 days of travelling around north America, we have at last found a place to live for the next 5 months. 

It's an apartment in a district just south of the Vancouver CBD. The area is called Soma which is an abbreviated form of South Main. The suburb is called Mount Pleasant and so far it's lived up to it's name. We're on the 5th floor of a building that's less than a year old. The owner moves 'south' every winter so it's kinda like house sitting but a hell of a lot more expensive. Still the price relative to other places is really good and we've got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, washer and dryer, internet, cable- pretty much everything we need and some things we don't. 

We're 2 minutes walk in the rain from the supermarket (Buy-Low- classic) and a whole heap of other shops and restaurants. 15 mins by bus to the city makes this a nice break from the "excuse me sir will you please buy me a hotdog" streets of downtown Vancouver. We're pretty stoked to be here.

Once we sort out paperwork and a bank account and a resume (in Tom's case) we'll be ready to begin working.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're finally in Vancouver which is a relief. It's a beautiful place with an autumn palette that's redefined our ideas of orange and yellow. There's lots of public parks to walk in and add to that the harbors and mountains and it seems like a very livable city. 

So far it's been pretty sunny but we're bracing ourselves for a long and wet winter. Apparently it's not unusual to have 20 consecutive days of rain. Given this, we've made it a priority to find somewhere to live (other than in a hostel room directly above Vancouver's busiest nightclub). We're pretty keen to be living in the CBD as there's quite a bit of work around but of course CDB+living=$$$. 

As far as work goes, Tom is trying to work out whether he wants to work at American Apparel (cool factor) or Urban Outfitter (for staff discount on clothes and shoes) and Karen is going to a job fair tomorrow armed with an impressive resume not to mention her charm, good looks and make-you-feel-really-comfortable-really-quickly interpersonal skills.

Everything's gonna be fine- it might just take a bit of time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Again it's been a while between posts. Sorry to any daily-checkers out there. 

This time last week we were in New York where we met up with Brad and Sam from Adelaide. Nice to chill with a few Aussies. We introduced them to our walking based approach to seeing US cities. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (long but worth it), caught the Staten Island Ferry with 1000 other people (out past the Statue of Liberty although we already saw the real one in Las Vegas), we went to the MoMA (good but it'd want to be for US$20), ate a hamburger from a guy on the street (best burger we've ever had), went to Ground Zero (really just a big building site) and we came out $100 better off due to a miscalculation by the ridiculously disorganised hostel we were staying at.

On the Sunday we all headed up to Toronto where Brad's living at the moment (Karen Tom and Sam on a 12 hour train ride, Brad on a plane). Brad's place is pimpin. He showed us all a good time- we even spent Karen's Birthday at a local family's house in the burbs. They layed on an awesome spread and we had cake and pumpkin pie (as it was also Canadian thanksgiving) and sang 'Happy Birthday dear Karen".

Now we're about to fly out to Vancouver to find work and a place to live. Toronto is great but the winter here sounds like it's pretty brutal. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On Saturday we went to Six Flags which is a massive rollercoaster theme park. It probably had at least a dozen huge rollercoasters. Tom's stomach let him know that five was enough and so he spent the rest of the time people watching. Karen, John and Jenni kept thrill seeking until the sun went down. Goodtimes and bad food (delicious but unhealthy).

Tom skated another awesome US park on Sunday and then it was time to pack before one last dinner and some cocktails with Jenni and John. 

Now we're in New York City. Today, in true Karen and Tom style, we walked from our hostel on West 102nd to Times Square and back again- about 120 blocks all up. A great way to see the city. It's a very vibrant city- safe, friendly, busy and unimaginably big. There's lots of mums and kids, lots of small dogs, lots of fresh food and lots of things to see and do. Karen is excited by the concept of 'suggested donations' as an admission price for museums. Tom is excited about the MoMA.

We like this place a lot.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Well  it's been a long time between drinks. 

After spending a few more days exploring Dallas and Fort Worth, we flew to Mexico City- home to 26 million people, 20 million of which seem to be selling stuff from roadside stalls. 

Mexico city is very decentralised and has a number of districts all linked by sketchy roads above ground and a ridiculously cheap train system underground. Our hotel was located just behind the city's main public square- something like Red Square but in central America and surrounded by an old palace, some government buildings and a couple of Spanish Gothic Cathedrals. 

We also went on a tour of Teotihuacan- an archeological site 50km out of Mexico city and the site of Mesoamerica's largest ancient city. We climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon and some other pyramids. It was pretty cool but the history is very complex. If you wanna know details, read a book about it. We actually went to the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia e Historia where we were guided through the past 600 million years of Mexican history. By the end it felt like we had lived every minute of it. (The Spanish bit of Mexican history is really annoying especially when you consider how they killed all the native people and tore down their temples and stuff)

We were very careful about what we ate and drank but we still both ended up with upset stomachs. Karen's still yet to retain a meal and her breath smells like acetone. It's OK though, we're back in Dallas and sorting stuff out. Jenni and John have been great.

Sorry that was so long, it's just that a lot happened.