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2006-06-16 - 10:03 p.m.

missions accomplished...part I

K and I arrived in Vancouver at about 2am on Tuesday, after flying in a very packed Cathay Pacific flight from New York to Hong Kong - one with a stopover in Vancouver. For me the flight was endless - crammed in tiny, uncomfortable seats in a plane packed with 300 other passengers. I felt sorry for most of them because although we were able to escape the overpacked cage after 5 1/2 hours, they had to (a) sit on the runway in Vancouver for another hour and a half before (b) continuing on a 12-hour flight through the rest of the night to arrive in Hong Kong (a full two days after they left, according to the time changes).

Anyway, after we disembarked, we snaked our way through Canadian customs, and at the remarkable hour of 2am were directed to Canadian immigration to be issued work permits. 90 minutes and 300 Canadian dollars later, we both had 3-year work permits. By the time we left immigration we were the ONLY two passengers left in the entire airport. Our bags had been piled together on a cart, and the lights were shutting down as we left each room and continued on to the next. We arrived at the curb in time to collect the very last taxi (who was apparently waiting specifically for US). It was very surreal to feel that the whole of the airport was watching us leave.

So we have our work permits, which has proven extremely helpful in our pursuits of a flat, which we finally found and secured!

No matter where you are in the world, finding an appropriate place to live can be a stressful event. We had a limited knowledge of Vancouver and so we have tried desperately to check out various neighborhoods for their suitability.

The process was very stressful (we saw a LOT of dreadful places), but the end result is that we found an extremely lovely duplex near the heart of Commercial Drive - the funky part of town, that reminded us surprisingly of Queens. It has plenty of space, three outdoor decks, and miraculous views of the North Vancouver mountains and downtown. At the same time, it is walking distance to natural food stores, a bread shop, a cheese shop, and other grand goodies centered on "The Drive" (as it is called). We are very excited about it. And completely exhausted.

But there is still much to do - bank accounts, more immigration paperwork, and university paperwork as well.

K is already sound asleep beside me, and we still have a party to attend this evening with friends from UBC. I guess it is time to wake him... More later, but for now we breathe a sigh of relief that we have a lovely place to live!

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