Thursday, December 24, 2009

(2004) Ready for our first Canadian Christmas

December 2004

Dear Aunt Agatha,

Christmas Eve, and it is exactly two months since we landed. Seems like a lifetime now. Guernsey seems so far away and so long ago.

I am starting to get into the job search in a more systematic way, but I must admit I never thought it would be so difficult to break into a market where IT skills are supposed to be in demand. I've been setting up a few "informational interviews", which is a novelty to me and extremely nerve-wracking. It gives me the creeps to pick up the phone, call a complete stranger out of the blue and ask to meet with them, but it seems to be the expected thing to do here. Unfortunately, I am also getting the impression that much of the private sector is effectively a "closed shop", with most positions being handed to local people that the recruiters already know from university co-op placements or other networks. Well, it is early days yet.

In between times, we've continued to explore the region, both touristy and "local" sights. Royal BC Museum, the Wax Museum, the Maritime Museum, Witty's Lagoon, Willows Beach, and the fabulous truck parade. We also paid a visit to the famous Butchart Gardens to see the Christmas lights. As this will be right on our doorstep when we move into our house, we decided to take out a twelve month pass. I'm sure we will be visiting many times in the months to come.

On one of our trips I got talking to a chap who turned out to be an independent IT consultant. He confirmed what I'd already heard about the local job market, but was also confident that persistence would pay off. And he mailed me a list of contacts to follow up.

Well, we are all set now for our first Canadian Christmas. The tree looks fantastic in the apartment, with presents for the kids underneath it, and we've been invited for dinner tomorrow by friends we met camping eight years ago so we will see how real Canadians celebrate. There are snacks out for Santa and the reindeer, and it is time for bed. No knowing how early we'll be up tomorrow!

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