In replying to a post written by a fellow Bluenoser, Little Gray Bird, who is also living away from Nova Scotia and it got me thinking about how once time passes we tend to look back on things with rose-tinted glasses, which I think is for the best as I would rather remember things for the better. However in determining if one should move back home after time abroad this could lead one to the wrong decision.
I loved living and growing up in Dartmouth the City of Lakes (there are 23 of them), it was the smaller of 2 cities divided by the Harbour with the bigger city of Halifax just a ferry ride away. Dartmouth and the communities surrounding Halifax have longs since been swallowed up into one big amalgamated city of just under half a million. When I finally got a job in downtown Halifax I loved it (after many years working in the mall) I was so happy that I could (on a nice day) go for a stroll among the great old buildings and soak up the history of it all.
Halifax is a great city, it has the conveniences of a city (culture, night-life, great restaurants, movie theatres, a variety of shopping options) with out the drawbacks (major traffic jams, noise, crowds etc). The city is vibrant due to the 6 universities keeping down the average age of the city’s inhabitants. It’s a slower way of life in Halifax, which is a good thing I learned after living in Vancouver, people have time to stop and say hi, chat, help each other, even if they don’t know one other (without being considered crazy).Read More
I’ve rounded up the various posts I have done on moving to England (and/or London) in one place here. Hopefully putting them all in one place will make things easier for those of you out there making or thinking of making the move.
Moving Abroad – Why?
Packing Up Your Life – What to do with all your stuff?! - How to get organised.
Should I Being it, Or Will it Blow Up? - Wondering if your electronics will work in the UK?
Bringing the Furry Members of Your Family to England - The ins and outs of bring a pet to the UK.
Online Resources for Moving to England - Various Links to help you find the information you need.
Answered! 5 Questions from a soon to be expat Canadian moving to London - You’re not alone in your concerns, here are some of the frequently asked questions I get emailed.
Finding A Home
Flatmates Make a House a Home - The right flatmates make all the difference.
I Wish I had this site when I was flat hunting - Great site for organising your flat hunt.
Making Friends - Building a support network is an essential part of making life in your new country sucsessful.
The Moment You Realize – I Live Here! - The moment you realise you are now a local.
Where’s Home? – It’s all relative.
Moving abroad is a huge under taking, there is a lot to organise, and when you get there, there is a lot to learn. Everyone has a different experience. If you have any questions about moving to England please don’t hesitate to ask.Read More
Bringing you pet with you when you move to England is about to become a lot easier and quicker as of January 2012. The new procedures are a huge improvement over the old procedure which meant having to getting blood work done and waiting 6 months, before that there was a 6 month stressful, very expensive, quarantine that was required upon arrival in the UK.
1. Have your pet Microchipped. If already Micro chipped make sure it can be read by an ISO (International Standards Organization) compatible scanner.
2. Have your pet vaccinated for Rabies. If the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait (below) will be from the date of the second vaccination.
3. Have your vet fill out the official third country veterinary certificate.
4. Wait 21 days.
5. Tapeworm treatment. Tapeworm treatment is expected to be required, but the tic treatment will not be required under the new rules. The treatment must be given not more than 48 hours before the flight, but not less than 24 hours.
During the 21 days you book your pet’s ticket (they will have to travel as cargo, you do not have to be on the same flight) can make sure you have the correct pet carrier for your pet’s plane ride (as per the airline’s rules). DEFRA requires the carrier to be large enough to allow your pet to stand in a natural position, turn around and lie down. It must be with an approved carrier. Here you can find the list of approved routes and carriers for across Canada.
It is a stressful event putting your pet on a plane, for both you and the animal, but as stressful as it is don’t give them any sedatives because at altitude they are very dangerous for you pet. In the end you know your pet best and making the decision to bring them should be made in their best interests.
I was 18 months without Tweasel (I had finding a flatshare I could have with a cat) and missed her a lot. I was finally lucky enough to end up in a flat that I could have her join me. I knew that she wasn’t a timid cat, and though she wouldn’t like the plane ride, I was sure she could handle the stress. Tweasel was on the direct red eye flight from Halifax, I didn’t sleep much that night as she travelled from Canada to England, and the wait for the call that I could pick her up from Heathrow was excruciating. It think possibly I was more stressed than she was.
Tweasel Recovering from Jet-lag after arriving in England.
In the previous post Packing Up Your Life I talked about packing up on a large scale. Hopefully this post will help you when you’re packing and coming across individual items you wonder whether you should or can bring or not. With electronics, will it work or will it blow up? Can you get your favourite products, treats etc. in Canada/England?
Electronics (including computers & laptops)
Start with checking the back of the power supply if it says input 100 to 240V it can handle both countries (Canada is on 110V and the UK is on 220V) and all you will need is an adaptor (not a converter) so that the plug will fit into the wall socket. The good news is most camera battery chargers and laptops these days can handle this.
If you have something electronic you want to bring to England (I brought my wireless earphones) then you can get this handy little converter from Maplin once you arrive in England for those things up to 100watts (it seems to go on sale regularly for about £15). There are more heavy duty ones as well should you need it.
In Canada you can buy similar items from The Source, or ebay is also a good place to check (search for voltage converter).
Personal Grooming (looking good)
Some hair dryers have a switch for travelling that allow you to switch between 110 and 220 volts. For most other things the above applies. Those appliances with the 110/220volt switch don’t always work the same, my hair-dryer went from 3 speeds in Canada to one speed (high) in England, but it did the trick for the interim until I could buy a new one.
For me, as a Canadian I always stock up on deodorant when home, deodorant in England just doesn’t seem to work as well. (As a side note I found this blog post by an American Expat about the use of spray deodorant amusing: Pffffffttttttt.) They don’t have Cover Girl make-up in England, so I make sure to have my favourite blush stocked up, though if I made the effort I probably could find one I liked as much in England, there’s no shortage of beauty products here.
For those moving to Canada it depends where you are moving, but most likely you will have to set aside some funds to buy a decent winter coat once you get to Canada and winter arrives, with the exception of the coastal areas of Southern British Columbia where they have similar weather to most of England.
For those moving to England it is all about layering, some days you can experience 2 or 3 seasons in a day, going from damp and cold, to the sun coming out and it turning warm and sunny. As well houses can be drafty, single panel glass windows are not uncommon.
Dairy can’t be brought into Canada from another country, I sadly found this out when my clotted cream was taken from me by customs on the way into Canada when I was returning from a visit to England (such a waste).
There are some shops (online and storefront) that specialized in selling things to expats, those things that you miss and can’t get at your usual shops. So if you find yourself in a bind with a mad craving for say Fruit Loops (Canadian)or Monster Munch (English) and don’t mind paying for it there are options out there. Then there is the obvious, friends and family, be sure to ask your visitors to bring a few things with them.
For the Canadians in England, make sure to check out the Caribbean section in the large Tesco’s where you will find Kraft Dinner and Kool Aid at “normal” prices. As well keep your eyes open for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my personal favourite) and Pieces, they can be found in local shops (aka corner stores). If you come across Budgens they sometimes have the odd random American selection of things not found elsewhere.
For the most part if you make an effort to find it, or have a local see or try out the item from home, there will most likely be an alternative or equivalent for you. Before you know it you will have new favourites and can’t live without items in your new country.
That leaves, pets and phones (and for the Canadian’s Tim Horton’s), well those are whole other blog posts, and they are soon to be written so stay tuned!
Here are some links to lists of banned and restricted goods:
Information on importing your personal possession when moving to Canada, or England here are the links for that:Read More