With my recent work retreat and the move into our new permanent accommodations, things have been very manic. But after arriving in Vancouver on the 1st January 2018, I feel so much more settled. At the time I write this, it’s Sunday, there’s a tiny bit of snow outside and I thought I would take the time to write out some difference I’ve noticed since moving to Vancouver, Canada from Worthing, United Kingdom. So let’s get into it!
1. You respect the traffic lights here
I clearly didn’t realise how much of a jaywalker I was in the UK, but I was! As I remember when I first started to explore the city that you must respect the lights unless you fancy being run over. This isn’t to say Canadian drivers are in any way vicious because they aren’t. Even when I want to cross and there is no crossing, cars stop to let me pass when they don’t have too. It’s more the fact you learn to be a bit more patient about where you are going. Which is a whole new concept to me, as clearly before I was also in a rush to be somewhere. Also, a weird thing I’ve noticed, when cars do let you cross, they don’t flash their lights or make hand gestures to say “hey, I’m letting you cross here”. Somehow you have to pick up their vibe from their eye contact, which is pretty hard to pick up on.
2. Names of food
As I work with a remote team all over the world, I’ve learnt a few things like cilantro (coriander), fries (chips), eggplant (aubergine). But when we first did a food shop, my mind was blown when I learn the name of certain items. Sweetcorn is cream corn* here. I finally learnt what a yam was, as I remember the lyrics from 2 Chainz “I’m in the kitchen, yams everywhere” and I was always like what is a yam? He was only talking about SWEET POTATOES!
*correction since writing this and opening my can of cream corn, it is just mushy sweetcorn…crisp corn is sweet corn
You know how in the UK, every town is dominated by kebab shops, well in Vancouver it’s sushi.
4. National Pride
You can’t forget you’re in Canada because everywhere you will see a maple leaf. People hang their national flag with pride, however, if the shoe was on the other foot in the UK, you’d be wary of their personal policial stance slanting on the BNP side of things. Here it’s ok to wear things covered in Canada, which I love! Also I love the brand Roots Canada for this very reason!
I say in the UK, we are pretty tight when it comes to tipping. Normally we would only tip when we received amazing service or when a service charge is forced upon us. Here it is pretty standard on every occasion to tip, which is fair considering the pay people get in the service providers industry. So here has been how I’ve been doing it. 15% if my standard tipping rate, but if I’ve had really good service then I would then tip 20% instead.
6. Squash and Tea
Squash was my bae back in the UK, but now I’ve had to have a sweet affair with iced tea instead. It’s sadly not a thing here and if I was to find it, it probably would have a ridiculous import fee on it. Now onto Tea, black tea can be found here, but the norm is orange tea. And if I do buy it, it’s a premium price. For a box of 20 Twinnings English Breakfast teabags this set me back $6.99 which is roughly £3.99.
Everything is taxed, which is fine, just you think something is $15.99 and it ends up more than that. It’s just like why not have the price including tax? That way I can budget accordingly because I can’t work out this tax amount in my head. In my mind, why don’t we make it easier for the consumer and just state the price out there and then? Anyway, I’ve learnt to know what the “real price” of something is, but I still would like it to be as advertised.
Southern Rail in the UK has a reputation for being extremely expensive and unreliable, which intern always make me think this is always how trains are. Here the Skytrain is fully automated, cheap and runs frequently and on time! Making getting around so much easier.
9. Dollar Store / Poundland
Poundland was my favourite place for getting all the cheap stuff, my lightbulbs, cleaning products, just odds and ends back at home. Here I have the Dollar store for that very reason, but the Dollar Store does not mean everything is a dollar. It just means things are cheap in there, at first I was annoyed because I was like I want my dollar bargains like I do with my pounds shops back in the UK. But in reality that would be insane, as that is like 57p and what can you really get for 57p that’s any good?
10. It’s uncrowded
In the UK it’s really dense in our population and living space, here it hardly feels busy. I remember reading in our Airbnb’s guide to getting around “Be wary of Robson Square as it gets busy at the weekends”, which to a Brit like myself I go to Robson Square on the weekend all the time and it’s not even that bad. Like I’ve been to Oxford Street in London around Christmas time and that was hell, especially on the tube, but here it doesn’t feel like you’re overcrowded in any way. Since January I’ve only been in one shop where I had to walk out as the queue was running throughout the whole store and that was Zara – I still need to go back in there actually, note to self.