One month ago today, I got on a plane and moved to Canada, and right now I can’t decide if it was the fastest month in history, or if it dragged the length of a year. Forgive me for the paradox, but so far moving half way around the world has been both exactly what I thought it would be and not at all what I expected. These last few weeks have been a mixed bag of house-hunting, friend-making, mountain-climbing, Facetiming, wine-drinking, frustration, laughter, tears, and learning.
Allow me to share some of the wisdom I have gained so far.
- Spending your first month(s) sleeping on a mattress on the floor is pretty much a right of passage when moving to Vancouver, as there is basically no such thing as furnished rental places.
- Buying and assembling a proper bed is hard. For so many reasons. First of all, a Canadian double bed and an Irish double bed; not the same thing – this will be learned the hard way. You will also, inevitably, put your IKEA bed frame together incorrectly the first time, meaning you’ll have to take it apart and start again. Chalk it down to a fun day of DIY. While Walmart will most definitely deliver the wrong mattress the first time, just to toy with your sleep-deprived emotions.
- Nobody will have any idea what you’re talking about if you tell them you’ll meet them at ‘half past’. Or ‘quarter past’ for that matter. You will not understand why they don’t understand, and conversations may go in a loop for several minutes.
- The sliced pan tastes amazing here. For several days after getting here, you’ll wonder how wholewheat bread could taste so much better than it does at home, until you read the ingredients and discover they’ve put about a pound of sugar in each loaf. (Seriously Canada?)
- Ice hockey is not, as you originally believed, like hurling, and you will spend most of your first game with absolutely no idea what’s going on. You’ll also be very concerned over the fact that there’s loads of refs, but they still let the players kick the heads off each other.
- No matter how many clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. you brought with you, you will still mourn for those that you left behind. You will be constantly reminded of these items by old photos on Facebook and you’ll miss them more than your family.
- Canadians don’t include the tax on their prices and it’ll be the thing most likely to drive you over the edge and make you cry in front of a cashier. They also don’t have Penneys. Someone get these guys a Penneys.
- It’s not the distance that will make you feel like you’re a million miles from home, but the time difference. Your social media feeds will stop updating after 4pm, and only get going again around about the time you’re falling asleep. Twitter will soon become like an old friend that you seldom run into anymore.
- BUT the Internet makes the world a hell of a lot smaller, so you’ll still know exactly what’s going on at home, and be able to talk to your various loved ones regularly, albeit with slower than normal responses, as they fail to understand that you are asleep for most of their day. Said loved ones will also never calculate the time difference correctly, and will definitely wake you up in the wee hours with their phone calls.
- Although you’ve moved 7,000 kilometres away from Ireland, you will only hang out with other Irish people, because nobody else will understand how hilarious you are, and they’ll be just as desperate as you are to make new friends.
(h/t Adele for title inspiration, ya ride)