Things I’ve learnt in One Month in Vancouver

We’ve been here almost a month already. Time is flying. It seems hard to think that a whole month has passed since we left Stockholm. So I thought I would sum up my first month with a few thoughts about things I have learned since I arrived here (you can learn something everywhere, no matter how similar it is to where you are from). Here goes…

Everyone here is friendly – but that doesn’t mean they want to be your friend.

I’m not shy about talking, a lot, to strangers if they initiate it.

If someone talks to you here, they may not necessarily be drunk, crazy or foreign. They’re probably just Canadian.

It’s actually not scary, but somehow nice, to acknowledge the person standing in the lift with you who happens to live in the same building.

There is no shortage of painfully outgoing people here (let me twirl my nipple tassel for you, and the other 100 people on the beach watching me because I am so loud!!! Weeeeee!).

On a scale of ugly to Stockholm, Vancouver city is average.

On a scale of ugly to amazing, Vancouver’s natural surroundings are up there.

This summer is unusually warm and rainless (set the bar high for all future summers, thanks Van!).

It may look overcast and cool, but it’s still muggy and warm on street level.

The North Shore is beautiful.

There is a huge abundance of wildlife in the natural areas (so far I’ve seen a racoon, a vole/mole/mouse thing, woodpecker, squirrel, seals, a hummingbird, huge red wood trees, to name a few of the more unusual things I’ve spotted).

In a lot of high rise apartment buildings, you have to pay a “moving in” fee (WTF!).

There’s no shortage of people asking for money from you.

And that’s because, there’s a huge contingent of homeless people, largely comprised of substance abusers, mentally ill people etc. (The contrast between those with money and without is stark here. I would love to do a photo story about this, but I’m a little scared to go to some of these places and start snapping away. And I wonder if then I am exploiting those same people who just want to eat three meals (one meal?) a day).

You can still buy milk in glass bottles that you get money back on when you return them.

There is a huge push for buying local and organic – and a huge push for bumping the prices up for the privilege of being able to buy those things.

Grocery stores in downtown Vancouver are RIDICULOUSLY expensive.

There is a dog plague. It is maximum trendiness to have a dog a.k.a a rat on a string, and sometimes a small horse on a string, and live in an apartment.

Not all dog owners are responsible (thanks person in our building who let their dog pee in the lift and thought covering it with a page out of the newspaper was ok).

Most dog owners do pick up their dog poo.

But that’s a lot of dog pee… poooooh weeeh! Hold your nose going down the street!

There’s a lot of developed world problems here (OMG the lift broke down, how am I going to get to the 26th floor to feed my cats??? Um… the stairs are still working…).

Starbucks dominates (Tim Hortons you are a mere shadow and I have not yet sampled your wares).

In the weekends you can travel anywhere on public transport for the cost of travelling through one zone.

M&Ms taste the same everywhere I’ve sampled them. But I did come across peanut butter M&Ms here… ūüôā

I haven’t fallen into a movie, people actually do sound and behave like that.

It’s not a big deal to ask the bus driver anything related to your travel on the bus – and the bus driver will specifically speak to people in front of a whole bus (can the guy with the blue t-shirt and sunglasses on please move towards the back of the bus so other people can get on).

The buses run on their own schedule here. They will arrive when they get there.

The underground trains are automated – no driver.

I’ve learnt how to write/read apartment building addresses properly (apartment number – street number and name etc…).

Fahrenheit dominates over celcius – suck – says the person caught out trying to bake without realising she had the oven on a much too low heat because it is in fahrenheit.

There are lots of wild berries to pick here if you look in the right places.

Stockholm kicks ass on the recycling front.

The Metro newspaper has a version in Vancouver.

Craigslist rocks! We have furnished almost our entire apartment from this website.

The green man is a white man. I miss the green man, he was much cooler.

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