Saturday, 15 September 2012

We've arrived!

8 Passport Photos: £10
2 Police Checks: £70
Certification of 2 passports and one marriage licence: £36
Bankers Draft Fees for the visa: £50
Study Visa: £80
Open Work Visa: £100
2 International Student Cards: £30
2 Flights to Vancouver: £1520
46kg extra baggage allowance: £64

Living in Vancouver for the next year: PRICELESS!

We finally made it! It wasn't an easy road, and for a while there after our visas just rejected it seemed like it might never happen! and then a definite answered prayer led to some complete stranger messaging me on an immigration forum giving me a direct email contact of someone at the Embassy, which is like gold dust! and as a direct result of that email our visas took 1 day to be processed instead of 4 weeks! So on the same day our visas came through we booked our flights and 7 days later we were on an aeroplane on our way to Vancouver!

It's been 6 days now since we've been here and we are just LOVING every minute! Let's just talk for a moment about how awesome it is to be a Mormon! We found our accommodation through a lady at church who is known as the relief society president, she oversees all of the women in our church aged 18 and up.  I told her we had been hoping for a furnished place since we wouldn't be bringing any of our belongings with us, and she said to leave it with her.  When we arrived we had sofas, dining room tables, the most amazing bed, dressers, bed side name it! and she's not done there, she has told us not to buy a thing and she will find us the rest of what we need! She was away the day we arrived so she had her husband come and pick us up from the airport and take us to our new place.  Someone at church that day who we don't even know had made us a meal for dinner so we wouldn't have to do it when we had just arrived! Maria-Elena, the relief society president, had also made us some homemade jam and sent along some loaves of bread so we would be sorted for breakfast! Her husband had handpicked us some apples too, and on the way to the airport he'd heard of someone getting rid of stuff from their place so he'd stopped by and picked us up a toaster and a slow cooker!! The kindess of the people here has just been so overwhelming!

I've also spent every day this week as we've been out and about exploring with that song from Annie going round in my head 'I think I'm gonna like it here'!

Being surrounded by the mountains and the ocean makes every inch of this city completely beautiful! Sometimes I look out the window on the bus at such amazing scenery and I look around and wonder why the other passengers aren't taking notice and aren't as mesmerised as I am!

On Wednesday when By was at lectures and I had no plans I hopped a bus and ended up here at Queen Elizabeth Park.

It's known as Vancouver's horticultural jewel, and I think these pictures make it pretty easy to see why!

I thought this was a pretty cool view with the mountains peeking through in the background,

and then I turned a corner and came across this view! Wow!

They also had these fun fountains that did little routines so I stayed and watched them for a while.

I loved how vibrant all the flowers were,

and this little mini waterfall was cute with the bridge above it! After my little trip around the park I headed to UBC to meet up with By.

This roundabout welcomes you to campus.  When I say campus though I'm really meaning town because UBC is probably bigger than the whole of Bangor town put together! It is enormous! and we haven't even probably explored half of it yet because it's just so huge!

I went snap happy on campus! They have totem poles everywhere that I just love!

and this flagpole has a rather fantastic view behind it...

All of the blue in front of the mountains is the ocean! Isn't it just so amazingly beautiful!

This clock tower is pretty cool, and a good indicator of where you are on campus since it's so tall! and can help you when you get lost, which happens often!

The campus is so green and leafy, but I'm also so excited for when all those leaves will start turning red and orange when 'fall' comes around!!

This is the library! It's an amazing building, and is also just one of the libraries - there are tons on campus! but this is my favourite one, it is all glass fronted and if you go up to the 7th get this view looking out the front:

and this view looking out the back! I've told By I think it would be the most idyllic study spot on campus!

They also have lots of old style stone buildings that you always say in films and they're how I was expecting the campus to look!

If any Bangor people are reading this...think for a moment about what Thoday looks like (that's the building all of By's forestry lectures were in at Bangor) and now look at his forestry building at UBC...

It's more than a little bit snazzy! He does most of his lectures here, and he is totally loving his course! 

After his lectures were done on Thursday we hopped on a bus and headed up to North Vancouver, which took just under an hour, to Lynn Canyon.  The bus system is really so great here and we can get to anywhere in the city and beyond from the little bus stop that's just two blocks from our house! 

We walked across this crazy suspension bridge! 

with this waterfall running beneath us.

The skies were so blue, as they have been every day this week and the sun was glowing through the trees! 

We hiked along the path to Twin Falls.

and found this super clear water! 

It was actually a really hot day, I even got a bit sunburnt! and so this water looked so inviting for a dip, but we felt it and it was pretty chilly! 

and we finally found the falls, love the colour of that water! 

The forester in By loved checking out all the tree species with his new little B.C trees book! and we found these enormous shrooms! 

We made sure we made lots of noise as we walked to scare off any bears nearby!! 

Then we took the trail to Rice Lake, and these beautiful views awaited us.

I love the reflection of the trees in the water! 

This is my 'isn't Vancouver the coolest' face! 

Everywhere we went we saw super cute little black baby squirrels, we kept trying to snap pics of them but they were just too fast! By pursued this little cutie below for quite a while until he finally got the perfect shot! 

Luckily he was so into his nut, he didn't mind posing for a few pics! 

As we waited for our bus to take us back home, we found this cute little general store which had amazing flavour ice creams! By got the maple walnut, and asked for one scoop - when he got given it, it was about twice the size of what you see in the picture below! It was so funny, but super tasty!

I forgot to mention too that there is an A&W restaurant right on By's campus! so we enjoyed some root beer floats while strolling around campus one day this week! We also had some amazing burritos from a place called Red Burrito, also on campus! We went on our first supermarket trip, which I was SO excited about, and I managed to fill our trolley with s'mores everything! 12 packs of A&W are $3.50 which is like £2.20, you couldn't even buy 2 cans of A&W for that price back home! and last night we went to an amazing night market! Pics to come on that soon!!

Yes, I think we're gonna like it here! 


  1. this makes me happy! welcome to north america! can't wait to come visit :)

    1. I can't wait for your visit either - you are going to love it!

  2. It looks stunning - so green and lush and gorgeous!!! Can't wait to come and visit...

    1. It is SO gorgeous! I can't wait to explore more! I thought these pictures would lure you in! haha

  3. I've always heard that vancouver is an amazing city but wow it seems like more than that - it seems perfect! So happy you are settling I'm nicely with the help of church friends. Looking forward to more gorgeous photos! Xoxo

    1. Thanks, yeah everyone has been so kind and welcoming to us! Everyone told us before we left how amazing it was going to be...but I wasn't quite prepared for this amazing!

  4. WOW!! Im SO insanely jealous! It looks SO gorgeous and just breath taking! Id love to live over there! The boyfriend put me off by mentioning there is lots of trouble there (?), but for these scenes, it looks worth it! xxx

    1. Trouble? What kind of trouble? I haven't heard anything about that! I think maybe he's tricking you so you don't start planning a trip out here haha because seriously this may just turn out to be the best place I've ever been!

  5. What a beautiful place! Good luck for your new life in Vancouver!

    1. Thanks Caroline! the licence plates here say 'beautiful British Columbia' and it certainly is!