Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Doggie heaven

We didn’t know what to expect by bringing our two Labradors to Canada from England. Would Murph and Milo be able to communicate with their Canadian canine counterparts? Would we watch our beloved four-legged friends chased down stony trails by over-sized, pointy-teethed black bears? Or would we be shunned by our law-abiding neighbours for allowing our pups to run lead-less in the local parks, testes intact?

If I think about a dog’s idea of paradise, it would have to involve lengthy cross-country walks with gallons of fresh air laden with the many smells of the wilderness – the trees and bushes, native animals, and endless natural aromas not found in a usual suburban environment. It would involve deep water to swim in, countless other mutts to run with, and a well-earned sprawl in front of the TV after a hard day’s play.

Vancouver and Canada gave them all that and more.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A sporting dilemma

The recent 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa raises a dilemma for this expat that always seems to surface whenever a major sporting event takes place – which team should I really be cheering on?

Surely, this is a no-brainer, I hear you cry. You’re an Englishman, born and bred, which means supporting England in any and all sporting fixtures. On a sentimental level, I agree. Every time I see the St. George’s Cross emblazoned on an individual’s sports jersey in any given event, I feel the stirring up of nationalistic emotions and will undoubtedly pump my fist into the air in true English style in the ensuing action.

But wait a second… if I no longer live in England and have effectively become an immigrant of another country, shouldn’t I show some respect for my new home - the place that has done so much for me by providing a different and much valued way of life - and show my support for that particular national team? If you include the fact that I’m married to an Australian and soon to claim dual nationality, it goes without saying that I should jump to the beat of the Australian (or previously Canadian) drum, shouldn’t I? Unfortunately, it isn’t always as simple as that.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The same but different

My, my, my. That moment when you crest the Coastal Rockies and drop down into the Greater Vancouver Lower Mainland - destination Vancouver. After having carved its way through the Rocky Mountains for the past thirty minutes, the plane banks to the right and begins its descent into YVR with the valley laid out like a patchwork quilt below. On the left, the Pacific Ocean splits Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia in a wide tract of blue and green hues interspersed by the many Gulf Islands. On the right, Seymour, Grouse and Cypress Mountains begin to rise up out of the vast pine forests to frame the view. Dead ahead, the high-rise city of Vancouver nestled in the deepwater harbour.

I'd arrived. More than 5 weeks ahead of 'the gang', I had officially emigrated to Vancouver, BC. Leaving behind family, friends and any creature comforts, I was all alone in a foreign country that was now my new home. This place was so different on the surface to my UK home but it was just another English-speaking country - how different could it be?

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