The month of June has flown by, and I’ve been meaning to start a blog for awhile. There is so much I want to talk about! Before I really delve into my experiences thus far and talk about what an amazing city Vancouver is, I’m going to discuss what type of visitor I am, so that the rest of my blog entries make sense.
I am spending six months in Vancouver as an American visitor. No visa. It’s really that simple. If I choose to extend my stay, I may stay another six months if my extension shall be granted. Honestly, I have no idea what my chances of being extended are, as immigration seems to be pretty stingy. But! If I get extended and stay here for a year, then I will apply to be a temporary resident! Citizenship takes four years including an oath to the Queen. Yes, I must stand in front of THE QUEEN and swear to Her Majesty that I will be a sound citizen. How awesome is that!!?!? Ok, I’m seriously getting ahead of myself. The most important thing right now is to make the most out of the summer and fall months here! The rest is yet to come! 🙂
One inconvenience I have as a long-term American visitor, is the inability for me to have a Canadian bank account. Paying rent, for example, is a bit of a process. Because of the currency exchange rate (which is in my favor) I must write my rent check in the American dollar amount plus a $30 international fee. I also must attach a note from the bank stating the current exchange rate since it changes on a daily basis.
I also try and use cash for everything, which is actually really good advice to anyone who travels abroad. I’ll go to the ATM once every couple weeks to gather as much cash as I can. This avoids international credit card fees every time I swipe. Sure, there’s an ATM fee and an international fee at the ATM, but it’s much less than swiping your card a few times a day.
Doing this for six months may sound a little inconvenient, but honestly, if this is my biggest inconvenience, I’m fine with that!
So, why Canada of all places? When I was a little kid- before I had ever travelled here, I always imagined myself in this part of the world. I would even dream about it! Don’t get me wrong. I’m super proud to be an American and I really love Chicago and my family. It’s just time for a change, and there’s really something about this place- I just love it!
I think this concludes my first blog post. Just an understanding of my temporary plans here- I can’t wait to post more and I’ll post pictures of my apartment next!