Oh yeah, we moved back to Australia

Since it isn’t specifically stated here – for those following from afar, we moved back to Australia.

In late 2016.

Canada was great, we had some amazing experiences and made some awesome friends, but housing was too expensive and we missed our families and friends here. Any one of those wouldn’t have done it, but the combination meant it wasn’t what was right for us, for now. But we are and remain proud Canadian citizens – we hold a Canada Day party every year as a winter catch up, and you never know what the future holds. We moved to Canada on a two year plan, and since I was always bad at maths, we stayed for 7. We’re back in Perth on a 10 year plan (almost 2 years into it!) so we’ll see what happens next. We bought a nice house, close to friends and family, and we’re enjoying it so far.

Wow, it’s been a while!

It occurs to me that it’s been almost 10 months since I updated this! So what has happened since then..

  • We went to NYC and Washington DC. Was very awesome. Went to Comic Con in NYC, Smithsonians in DC.
  • Had Elizabeth’s family visit over Christmas. Spent time over on Tofino with them, also a few weeks of them camping in our house. Was also awesome
  • Went to Perth in April for Swancon. Saw many people, didn’t take too many photos. But it was still awesome.
  • Became Permanent Residents of Canada
  • I no longer work at UBC – over the course of a few weeks, we went back and forth over some terms of a restructure they wanted to make in my group, and we weren’t able to come to a meeting of the minds on terms, and they have to do what they have to do, so I got a redundancy. It was a little bit of a shock initially, but not much, I’d been half expecting it as an outcome – their hands were tied by my position description. By that evening I had an invitation to come talk to a reseller about working for them instead. Yay networking!
  • So I’m now a Solution Architect / Professional Services Engineer for a reseller, which included a nice pay rise, and get to regularly go hands on (elbows deep..) into storage (NetApp, Isilon) and virtualization (VMware) systems. Lots of fun. New job is based in Vancouver for the most part, with occasional visits to the BC Interior, a 48 hour visit to London Ontario, and also several days in a warehouse in an unspecified industrial area of rural Washington state.
  • My dad came to visit for a few weeks as well – that was fun – we saw all the sights that the lower mainland of BC had to offer. He’d previously been here and visited Vancouver Island, before we lived here, so this was all new for him.
  • Have two other friends from Perth visiting (separately) over the next few weeks, which will also be nice.

Immigrant Stamp

Canadian Working Holiday for Australians

It occurs to me that this may be of interest to some people. My wife Elizabeth and I are currently in Canada on a working holiday, and have been for the last 6 months. Much like in Australia, I’m currently working in IT for a University, which is a lot of fun and gives me fun toys to play with. Elizabeth was working for a software company, but they’ve moved out of town, so she’s on.. erm.. home duties right now.

If you’re someone from the Internet, or someone I know, and interested in doing a working holiday in either Australia or Canada, feel free to email me – whp@splash.theducks.rog (correct the typo) and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

The basic process:

  • Apply for WHP Visa via http://www.whpcanada.org.au
  • Once approved, book plane tickets
  • Sell/store/give away all of your stuff
  • Tidy up paperwork for things at home (Power bills, car rego, etc)
  • Start looking for a job in Canada
  • Book initial accommodation
  • Make your way to Canada, with proof you have $4000 to support yourself. We weren’t asked, but you might be. We took a C$5000 bank draft from our Australian bank to a Canadian bank plus bank statements
  • As soon as you get there, sort out an address to get things posted to
  • Apply for Social Insurance Number + Card. This gives a piece of government notarised paper with your address on. They mail out the card in a week or two
  • Open bank account
  • Get a cellphone account (you can use a Canadian SIM in an unlocked Australian phone)
  • Get job, get paid
  • Optional steps: Get driver’s licence by passing a knowledge test, then a practical driving test. Easy hints – cyclists are assumed to be insane (and are), and the yellow line down the middle of the road means it’s 50km/hour limit)
  • Have fun!

Some things to know about banking in Canada as a newcomer

  • If your Australian bank card has a Cirrus or Maestro logo on it, you can use it in an Canadian bank machine (they call ATMs ABMs – Automatic Bank Machine). You should assume you will be doing this for about a month, even if you get a job
  • Some banks, I’m looking at you HSBC, won’t give you an account if you don’t have a job (or if you didn’t have an account with them in another country).
  • Best bet is probably the one your Australian bank drew the draft on. Deposit the bank draft, and some cash withdrawn from your Australian card to cover bank fees
  • Most banks will also put a 7 day quarantine on your account for the first month, meaning it takes 7 days for any deposits to be validated
  • Most banks in Canada don’t personalise Automated Bank Machine (ABM) cards, so you’ll probably get one of those straight away. As well as some more official looking paperwork with your name + address on them.
  • You might even get a few counter cheques, but of course, don’t use them until your draft has cleared, or until you start getting paid and your pay has cleared.
  • Once you’ve had a job for about a month, and two pay cheques, there’s a good chance you could apply for a Canadian credit card, which is helpful for paying bills over the phone, etc
  • If you’re not sharing a house with a Canadian, you will probably need a cheque book ($30-40) for rent, bill payments etc. In comparison to the Australian BSB/Account details to enable easy peer-to-peer transfers into accounts only, the equivalent numbers for Canadian accounts allow withdrawals, so aren’t used much

Some things about applying for jobs in Canada:

  • Canadian employers are required to say “Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority”. My understanding is that generally they mean it.
  • So unless you have a pre-arranged job, or a reasonable amount of experience, or prepared to work for minimum wage ($8/hour in BC) maybe this isn’t the place to come.
  • For more professionally oriented jobs, instead of addressing selection criteria specifically, you cover it more generally in a cover letter

I’ll update this post as I think of more to include…

In Vancouver

So, we made it to Vancouver about 24 hours ago, and have been recovering from jetlag, making plans etc since then. The area we’re staying seems to have experienced a bit of rejuvenation since last time we were here, which is good, and we’re in the same room I had back in 2003 when I stayed here. Hah.

Much love to all, except Air Canada, for the inflight announcements at full volume which almost popped my eardrums.

Still alive

We’ve been on silent running for the last little while. Moving plans have gone well, we’ve got most of our storage issues sorted, only a few things left to sort out (what we’re doing with the car, what we’re doing with my computer, sorting out what we’re doing with our health insurance while we’re overseas)

16 days to go!

screw you from Singapore Airlines

I used to be quite a Singapore Airlines fanboy. But they’re not keeping up the cool. Firstly, a few months ago, they cut ALL of their flights to Vancouver, and now only fly codeshare via San Francisco. This is not what I want. Therefore, we’re flying with Air Canada.

Now I get an email saying this:

As a valued KrisFlyer member, I am writing to inform you that as a result of a commercial impasse with Flight Centre, Singapore Airlines airfares might not be available for purchase through Flight Centre retail outlets.

Singapore Airlines is still committed to giving our customers great value fares. Singapore Airlines has agreements in place with other major travel agents, and our flights can be booked as per normal through all other travel agency groups, or online at singaporeair.com.au

Whatever the reasons, it doesn’t mean I’ll change travel agents, it means I’m more likely to change airlines. The fact is that aside from Travel Centre (and their offshoots) and STA Travel, there aren’t any other major travel agency groups that cater to my market segment in Australia. And as for the fares on singaporeair.com.au, they are laughably expensive compared to prices on the same flight through travel agents.

So well done Dale, Singapore Airlines Passenger Marketing guy, I hope this standoff is going to be worth it.

Accommodation booked for Vancouver!

We have some immediate accommodation booked to see us through from June 25th – July 3rd. I’ll keep my fan club off my trail and not say where, but it will do quite nicely.

The weeding of belongings continues, but I still need to arrange storage for a few cubic metres of stuff. Hmm!

State of play

Well, marathon effort, but everything got moved out on time, carpets, windows, bathrooms cleaned. New tenant happy. Also sat on 11 interviews at UWA and did a budget submission for a university unit. Talk about a week of burning the candle at both ends and then starting in the middle..

Now things are quieter. Staying at mum’s place in North Perth, and going to have a much more relaxing weekend than last week. Still have to sort out issues of storage for some items, and disposal of others, but at least we still have a month to do that.

Movin’ on up

.. to the north side ..

Our packing continues unabated. Unfortunately the nice NZ couple didn’t end up renting this place, and they haven’t contacted me about furniture, so we’re now going through and arranging with everyone that they still want what they have claimed.

Let me or Elizabeth know if anything grabs your fancy.. we need it all out of here, pretty much this weekend. If you’re interested, but not at the price posted, feel free to make cheeky offers

For Sale

Here’s the deal.. I’m not going to break kneecaps if people change their mind, so even if it’s claimed, feel free to pipe up and go into the list.

Cash on collection or EFT or PayPal before. Collection would be somewhere around 10 May 2009 for “essentials”, but other stuff may be available earlier. Make an offer if you don’t like the price.

Photos of many items in this photo set : http://www.flickr.com/photos/theducks/sets/72157617749370598/

contact us at theducks dot org or via facebook if interested

  • Confirmed Claim – Anil – Dryer (1987) – $50
  • Claimed – Alexa – Washing Machine (1985) – $50
  • Taken – Freestanding Dishwasher (2005) – $300
  • Claimed – Lionel – Large Fridge + Freezer (1987) – $200
  • Claimed – Jen+Chas – LG Microwave 53x39x32 (2004) – $75
  • Taken – Michael Fineberg – Beige Sofa-bed (198x) – FREE
  • Taken – Amy+Dave – 2+3 seater brown couch set (2005) – $350
  • Confirmed Claim – Zoe – 1.75m Officeworks Bookcase (2003) – $25
  • Withdrawn – Loaned – Sony low-end surround sound Amp (2004) – $150
  • Confirmed Claim – Davyd+Steph -Sony DVD + HDMI player (2007) – $50
  • Withdrawn – Loaned – LG 42LB9DF 42 inch full-HD LCD TV (2007) – $1400 (Manual)
  • Confirmed Claim – KatG – Queensize bed frame + matress – $250 Similar to this one
  • Confirmed Claim – Helen M – White laminate (with wood effect handle) 4 drawer chest – $25
  • Available – 2 x pedestal fans – $10 each
  • Claimed – small fan – $5
  • Available – 2 x room lamps – $10 each
  • Available – Black tubular single bed – $50
  • Claimed – Generic grey computer desk with hutch – $40
  • Confirmed Claim – Helen M – IKEA – 4 x 4 Expedit birch bookshelves – $125 (RRP$200)
  • Confirmed Claim – Helen M – IKEA – 4 clear and 4 red plastic Lekman cubes – $125 (RRP$230)
  • Confirmed Claim – Zoe –  IKEA – Mikael Corner Desk – $75 (See here)
  • Claimed – IKEA – Mikael 140cm desk with glass top – $75 (See here)
  • Claimed – IKEA – Aneboda Bedside tables x2 – $25 each (like this, but in birch)
  • Claimed – IKEA – Aneboda chest of drawers – $50 (Like this)
  • Claimed – Steph M – IKEA – Lack Coffee table – $25 (Like this)
  • Claimed – IKEA – Flarke TV stand – $10 (Like this)

Tech Stuff

  • Available – Linksys WRT54GL x 3 – $60 each
  • Taken – Apple Laserwriter 16/600 (1995) – $50
  • Claimed – Canon ip3000 printer with ink – $75
  • Available – Canon LiDE80 Scanner – $50
  • Available – Billion ADSL 711 Ethernet Modem (2002) – $40