Two Weeks

•November 7, 2009 • 10 Comments

So its coming up to two weeks here in west, and though I’ve made 2 week trips before this time its different because its like I’m a resident. I’ve gotten used to the commute to work, although walking in the rain along a busy highway I think I shall dread always. Even if I do get a car, that won’t change since, like Toronto, driving downtown to work is a royal pain in the ass. And yes, I haven’t gotten a car yet, which is greatly hindering my motivation to explore outside downtown.

Last weekend I went to the mall did some shopping, not much, just a little. I went to Metrotown which is a HUGE mall with all kinds of store, perhaps akin to Eaton Centre, but its not downtown, and its just enormous.

After the shopping trip I got my first opportunity to ride on a bus. I haven’t ridden a public transit bus in probably 7 years! It was nothing special, but you can tell the honour system works here in Vancouver. I’ll give you a little background on public transit first. Unlike TTC, when you purchase a bus ticket it has a time limit of 90 minutes. This means you must be aboard your last mode of transport (bus, train, ferry) before the ticket expires. So I had bought a ticket at the mall and headed back to the hotel to drop off my purchases and to get off my feet for a while. Once rested I headed back to the train station and just headed straight to the platform. There is nobody to check whether you bought bus fare or not! EVER! Ok…sometimes they have spot checks at the stations, but its just like riding the GO Train! There are markings on the floor that you have entered a “Fare Paid Zone”. Then I had to take a bus which took me to UBC (University of British Columbia) to have dinner with some friends. This particular bus is special, it has 3 doors and you can board from any door (once you have paid fare which I had because I bought my ticket less than 90 minutes prior), but I boarded wondering…who checks?! The bus driver doesn’t, that’s for sure. What’s to keep someone from just hopping on the bus without buying a ticket. I guess I could say its a Canadian thing, but if this were Toronto, there would be A LOT of free riders, guaranteed. Another interesting facts about the public transit system is that the trains/subways are driverless. The pull in, the doors open, the doors close, and off they go, the only people on the trains are the passengers.

Speaking of passengers I’ve noticed the strangest phenomenon. People here are generally very nice and polite, except when it comes time to board the train!! As soon as the doors open, people just start piling in!! They don’t let the existing train riders get off if its their stop. I found this to be extremely strange. On the flip side, if I happen to be crossing the street (read Jay Walking) cars will actually stop to let you cross. Coming from Toronto where you have to wait for all the cars to pass before you proceed its a bit unnerving, and kind of makes me feel guilty. I try to wave them on, not wanting to hold them up on their commute but they never budge! Its just some really strange behaviour and takes some getting used to.

On another note I have finally started running again. I had taken a loooong break (since before Ramadan), and had decided a while ago that I would start back when I got to Vancouver. My body is mildly protesting, but I don’t listen. Since the fitness facilities at my hotel SUCK, I managed to procure a gym pass to the Marriott :D So I usually go for my run after work then head home. It makes for long days, but at least when I get home I can just relax, plus eating out 3 times a day 7 days a week, I need to keep up a strict regiment of working out to make sure I lose weight. That’s pretty much it…its the weekend again but I have nothing planned, perhaps something will pop up and I’ll update you next week.

p.s. if you (read Mezba) wanted pictures, wait until I start exploring :)

p.p.s. for those that were interested in purchasing tickets (again read Mezba lol) see what’s avail at vancouver2010.com and then let me know what you want. I personally cannot buy discounted tickets because I didn’t go to the 3 day waste-of-time orientation, but I can get others to buy for me.

p.p.p.s. Congrats to Lat for being comment # 1000 on my blog :)

“Living” in Vancouver

•October 29, 2009 • 8 Comments

I’m Heeeerrreee. I landed in Vancouver to typical Vancouver weather…rain…but it did clear up and become sunny before I left the hotel to head to work.

First off…the hotel…is in the middle of nowhere, ok maybe not in the middle of nowhere, but there isn’t too much around here. I’m no longer staying downtown, so a lot of conveniences are lost, and there isn’t much to eat within walking distance, not to mention the lack of sidewalks on the roads that border the hotel. There are 2 restaurants in that share the same parking long and one about a 5 minute walk away, but cooking is out as I only have a fridge, a small sink and a microwave in the room. The hotel is ok. I like the layout, as I walk into the room there is a sitting room with a couch and coffee table, and the bedroom is separate, but the furniture and appliances are a bit dated.

Work has been pretty good so far, not too stressful. I’m still getting accustomed to the time difference as I am getting to work late, and when I get home at night I feel totally exhausted. For 2 nights I’ve fallen asleep on the couch.

Other than that its been uneventful so far, besides some minor issues, but good otherwise. Now to await my first weekend as a “resident” :)

Last Week In The City

•October 24, 2009 • 7 Comments

So I have officially moved back in with my parents. I lived on my own for 9 months, and I did enjoy it, even though there were screaming kids upstairs. I managed to get all my belongings into the van in 1 trip making the move pretty quick. I had a few last minute checks to do before I handed back the key so I took mom over to help me give it the once over. It was sad to see the place go, but onward and upward we must go.

Late last week a couple had come to see the apartment, and it was the first time my landlord had seen the place since early in the lease when I was getting some faucets replaced. Later that evening as I was asking him if the couple was interested he said they would get back to him, and thanked me for keeping the place clean and nice, in that he has nothing to do to make the place presentable again. As I handed him the key, he thanked me, and wished me luck, and said I was leaving “unceremoniously”, that he had wished he could have had a send off for me :) and also offered to rent me the place again if it remains unrented upon my return. His wife said goodbye as well as the little kids, and said they would miss me. I have to admit, they were really nice people, and had it not been for the kids I may have considered going back there, the apartment was nice and cozy.

Now its packing time again. I went through all my drawers at work to make sure I will have everything I need in Vancouver. Making sure I know where everything is at home that I will be taking. The last thing I want is to forget something. It feels like I have a lot of time, and yet not a lot of time. I practically emptied my closet, folded everything up and just filled my suitcases. I still have more to pack, but I’ll do that last minute :P This weekend is focused on making sure all loose ends are tied up, and spending time with the kids.

My parents took us all out for dinner tonight and it was fun. Deen wanted Red Lobster, but everyone else wanted Pizza Hut, and Deen started crying. After some good negotiating (a movie rental and candies afterwards) we all agreed on pizza. Then of course we came home and put on a movie, arranged our “dessert” and got comfy to watch the movie. Naturally they fell asleep, but they can always watch it again the next day :) I will miss the little guys and their antics, but at least we can skype :)

I’ve also taken the opportunity to have lunch/dinner with friends and co-workers. All in all I’ve wrapped what I could, and look forward to working out in the west for a few months. Lets hope I can keep this blog updated over the next five months.

My Bags Are Packed

•October 10, 2009 • 9 Comments

I’m ready to move!

Time flies doesn’t it? There is just a little over 2 weeks left before I depart for Vancouver. I got the email with my accommodations and flight details, so the wheels are in motion. But before I go, I have to move!

That’s what I’ve been focusing on since Eid. I brought in some help (Mom :D) to help me pack for a couple hours one night. Mothers are super efficient packers, we managed to pack 80% of the kitchen and about 1/2 my bedroom in that night and stack up all the boxes. I spent today moving the small boxes, and some big furniture (with a help of a friend and his minivan), so that come next week, the official moving day, I can move everything in 1 trip. That’s basically all that I’ve been up to, and work of course.

The kids are well aware that I will be gone for a long time, and we have practiced skyping a few times already, they love skype! They would rather skype me than call me, and of course I can’t say no. Kids act very crazy on camera LOL, its quite fun to watch :)

That’s it, just a short update for you all :)

Eid Mubarak!!

•September 20, 2009 • 7 Comments

I would like to wish everyone a blessed and joyous Eid Mubarak.

A common phrase I’ve been hearing this months is “Ramadan is going by so fast!!” I have also had the same thought. Before I knew it the first 10 nights were done, and then in a blink of an eye, the last 10 nights were upon us. This was first Ramadan alone, and before I moved out from my parents I was somewhat scared of how I would fare this Ramadan, with cooking and working and taraweeh, its quite a hectic schedule. Alhumdulillah I made it through, and managed to make 90% of the taraweeh salat. I have to admit, the first couple of days were difficult, breaking my fast by my lonesome, you can’t appreciate breaking fast with others until you’ve done it alone. I didn’t go to the masjid iftars primarily because being alone at home is not as bad as being alone in a crowd. As the month progressed it became routine, and it flew by, and now Eid is here.

I will be spending Eid with my dad (my mom has gone to visit my sister) and the boys, we are going to BBQ, and have a little fun. I hope everyone has a fun filled joyous Eid with their family and friends.

Amir’s Day In Court

•September 19, 2009 • 9 Comments

Thanks Masood for the title suggestion :P

So I’ve had my day in court, but lets rewind a little to a few days before. I had come to realize that I lost the subpoena notice. I do remember where I put it, but where it got after that…no idea. So after called the police, I was told I had no option but to show up at the courthouse and ask :S

Seeing how it was a traffic incident I show up at traffic court, naturally. I walk around, asking people that work there, and wasn’t getting anywhere. Not only that, I wasn’t seeing my neighbour either, so I was starting to wonder/worry if I was in the right place. I eventually found out that it was a criminal charge and I was in fact in the wrong courthouse. Lo and behold JUST as I am about to walk out…my neighbour walks in. He had his subpoena…and still showed up at the wrong place. He saw my car in and figured it was the right courthouse too. Luckily we were still early, jumped in our cars and head over to the criminal/superior court building.

After standing in line to wait to go through the metal detector and wand scan, we make our way to the court room. Locked. And we don’t recognize anybody, not other witnesses, not the defendant…not even the cops.

After waiting for an hour someone finally posted the court docket on the wall. Hey…our defendant’s name is not on the list! In the wrong place…AGAIN! Now it wasn’t our fault, and we were already quite fed up of waiting. We head back to look for someone that can help….”oh, please go to the information desk….get a ticket, and come back here and wait” WAIT?!?! MORE?!?! ARRRGG.

So we wait another 1/2 hour for another person to look up our defendant and finally tell us the courtroom # we are supposed to be at….at 10am. Mind you, its already 10:30. We head back to our new courtroom…check the docket…yup, there’s his name. But there’s some writing next to it….”H9″. What is H9?!! I was annoyed and walk into the courtroom and ask the prosecutor. Wouldn’t you believe it was moved….again!!! But this time, to a different building!! Luckily it was just next to the building we were currently in.

FINALLY we found it!! Just in time too! As we walk into the waiting area, the prosecutor comes out looking for us. The rest was pretty non-eventful. We were given our written statements to review then went in one at a time to give our testimony. Its pretty much just like on TV, except the courtroom is MUCH smaller and not many people in it. What I found interesting was when they ask you to take the oath, they asked if you wanted the bible, or any other book, and they had the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Quran, the Geeta and there were a couple of others; I thought that was kind of cool. We were asked questions pertaining to our statements, and what we remembered, then were free to go. As I said, pretty non-eventful. There was more drama trying to find the bloody courtroom than what happened IN the courtroom, lol.

Two lessons can be learned here…1) don’t drink and drive 2) if you saw it happen….maybe its best to stay quiet :P save yourself the headache..haha..j/k

One Banana!

•September 11, 2009 • 13 Comments

On my way home from picking up the kids today I realized I had forgotten to go the grocery in the week to get food for breakfast for them, as I was running low and didn’t have enough for the morning. I was just about to turn into my area when I remembered and we had already been in the car for at least 30 minutes, due to construction along the route home. Now, seeing as it’s Ramadan I have been driving with nothing on the radio, except news in the mornings, so I’ve been entertained by chatter from the back seat.

I get to the grocery store and juuust as I’m pulling into a parking spot Saif starts singing, “one banana one banana one banana ooohh one banana”, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I turn to to him and ask him if that’s what he really thinks the lyrics to the song are. His reply, “noooo…I know its mummanana, I’m just joking around”.

So are you ready to know to what its REALLY supposed to be?!? The song Mr. Saif was attempting to sing was the chorus to Britney Spears’ song, “Womanizer”. If you haven’t heard it, I suggest you check out youtube when its most appropriate for your timezone so that you can get the tune ;)

p.s. I didn’t tell him the real lyrics…I’ll let him keep on singing mumanana, or one banana, its cuter and definitely funnier.

 
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