Sunday, 30 December 2007

Moving houses using the subway

Sorry for not writing before, but I was moving :D To the apartment I showed you in past posts.

The interesting part is that we moved all of the things we had in the other apartment using only the subway ^^ Ok, you win, we don't have so much stuff yet, but have you done it? Have you moved using the subway? :p

First of all, what we had to put things:
  • 1 giant suitcase, I'm not kidding, this one has to pay oversize in the airports going empty!
  • 3 other suitcases.
  • 2 carry-on.
  • 1 reusable supermarket bag.

What we had to walk:

  • Half a block to the park in our street that goes to Charles street.
  • Walk the park to Charles street and the walkway in a parking lot to Hayden street.
  • The subway is in Hayden street and you need to get to the trains.
  • 5 subway stations in the train.
  • Walk to the building.
The first day we only took the giant suitcase and a carry-on, hey, it was a trial, can we do it?

The second day in the morning we took the giant suitcase again (we had to get it empty in the new apartment and take it back to the old one to fill it again) and the black suitcase.

The second day in the afternoon we took the black suitcase again (we had to do the same as before), the blue one and a carry-on (the same one of the first day).

The third day in the morning we thought, this is too easy, so we added some flurries! Kidding, we didnt't think it was easy, but all the same that day we had flurries :p We took the last suitcase and the 2 carry-on (again, 1 carry-on was traveling too much).

That third day was coming to the new apartment Sears and Rogers, so Igor stayed at home, while I headed back to the old apartment to get the last things and do the check-out.

And here it is, the last one all by myself! Again a carry-on (full of food), the printer we had to buy a few days before (to use the scanner), and the reusable bag with the giant box of soap and the softener ^^

So, when you do it, here are my tips:

  • You need a trial trip, with just a few things first, so you can see what you can do and what you can't.
  • You need a subway like ours, with elevators and big doors for wheelchairs.
  • Do it with a friend, you are going to need it when the elevator is not working and you need to use the stairs (believe me, we had to do it a lot of times).
  • Take a few days to do it, is very very very tiring.
  • Have fun! :D

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Festival of lights

This friday 21st we went to the Festival of Lights in Kensington Market. This festival celebrates the winter solstice, the longest and darkest night of the year and it was SPECTACULAR!

The photos and videos that I could show here wouldn't show even half of what it was, even more because everything looks so dark xD

This is a link to the official web page so you can see more pictures and videos:

As always, you can find more pictures in my album, under the category Festival of Lights.

I'll leave you with a video and a pair of photos from the event :D

More videos we took, here:

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Apartament's pictures

We have the keys for our new apartment!!! :D

Here are some pictures we took yesterday morning, and you can find more in my album ;)

Welcome to our new home
The kitchen
The bathroom
The pool :D
View from the apartment

Monday, 17 December 2007

Assesment, Certifications and Translations

Yeah! Now I have all the information I promessed ;)

The reason for everything: A lot of immigrants come to Canada with an university degree from another country. Some careers are regulated and need to obtain a license and some are not. Mine is not regulated so I don't need to get a license but I can get an assesment so I know the equivalent of my career in Canada.

It's not necessary to do this, but there are places like Career Bridge, that ask for this assesment so you can register with them. Career Bridge has employment offers oriented to immigrants, where all the options are paid internships (aprox. $2.000 a month) from 4 to 6 months, with the possibility of staying there full time.

If you decide that you want to do the assesment, you need your university degree and your marks, then you have 3 options, with the University of Toronto, WES or ICAS.
  • University of Toronto: The general report is $100 and it takes between 10 and 12 weeks. If you need it sooner, you can get it in 48 hours for $300, and they accept photocopies of the documents, but you need to pay in cash or debit.
  • WES: The general report is $115 and it takes 7 working days, you can pay with credit card, but the university needs to send the marks in a sealed envelop.
  • ICAS: The general report is $80 and it takes 10 working days (you can have it in 3 working days for $60 but call beforehand to make sure they can do it those days) and you can pay with credit card. They need you to send the original documents with a set of photocopies and they return de originals with the report, or you can send certified copies and they keep those.
As you can see, the best option is ICAS, and thats the one we took; today we sent all the papers ;)
All the options need that you send the documents in the original language and translated to english (or french if you want the report in french). If you are going to translate them here (it's not necessary), we used COSTI. The certified translation of 6 pages was $375.

For ICAS we decided to send certified copies, since the UCV diploma is a little bit big. If you decide to do that, I recommend in Toronto the services of this public notary since are the ones that charge less and do a good service. If you check the diferent notaries, you are going to find that almost everyone charge $39 the first page and a little less the rest, but the ones we used were $12.95 the first page and $7.95 the rest ($52 for 6 pages), plus taxes.

Something funny... they charge less because they don't have an office, so they normally see you in a coffee place, but something happened today and we had to do everything outside in a very warm -5C, so we ended up with freezing, but it was worth it :D

Sunday, 16 December 2007

PR cards and others

Hi everyone!!! We received our permanent resident cards :D Now we can leave and enter Canada whenever we want xD Is not that we want to leave, but it's good to be able to do it in case we need it.

The best part of all is that I had read in forums, Internet in general and immigration told us at the airport, that the cards would take 4 to 6 week to arrive, but we got them in 2 weeks and 2 days :D The paperwork here has been so fast :) I hope we can get a job as fast as that in January!

I can also tell you that we have met so many people these days :D Everyone has been so nice, and we hope we can develop a long term friendship with them, we are really happy :)

I also have to tell you about translating your documents and the assessment of university degrees here in Canada. I guess I'll do it tuesday or later since I should get more information tomorrow.

I will keep writing here later ;) By the way, did you see the pictures we took at the CN Tower? Those are pictures taken while flurries where falling ;)

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Credit cards and Apartment!!!

Hi everyone!! I tried to write before but we didn't have Internet, so I'm going to write fast before it happens again (hopefully it wont).

I wanted to tell you that we got our new debit and credit cards from Royal Bank of Canada, so I recommend it to anyone that wants to start a new line of credit from the very beginning :)

I also wanted to tell you that we got an apartment and were approved!!! It's pretty spectacular and when we get the keys I'll take some pictures to show you :) It's a one bedroom and 1 bathroom apartment, with a kitchen with oven and a refrigerator. The building has direct access to the Yonge-Eglington Centre, so we have direct access to a Dominion supermarket (open 24 hours), a movie theater, a lot of stores and the subway!!! Is one of the best neighbourhoods in Toronto and has a warm pool in the last floor of the building, with huge windows where you can see the CN Tower :D Everything for $1260 a month.

We did it with the company Cap Reit, that has great buildings well taken care of, and they understand immigrants so will only ask for bank statements if you don't have a work letter or co-signer, so it's great!! :D

Well, I'll leave you for now, since I have a lot to do, but I wanted to share the good news :D

Monday, 10 December 2007

Kensington Market

Kensington Market

Today we went to Kensington Market, and is amazing! I'm crazy for going back there several times, specially in the summer.

Kensington Market is a market that has several streets of stores, cafes and places to eat.

The interesting thing is that is a vey artistic place, the clothing stores are most of all vintage clothes and the markets are from all over the world :D

There is japanese, from Jamaica, hungarians, caribbean, hispanic, mexican, portuguese, chinese, italian, from Spain, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Especialties in cheese, fish, meat, chocolate, leather, vegetarians, and others.

We found here Harina Pan! xD

The clothing stores are like this one! No every store is as fun as that one but a lot of them are :D There is clothing of every style, but most of all vintage.

This is an art example of what you will find in those streets :D Too much fun!!

If you want to see more pictures, just go to my picassa album where I have many more ;)

Citizen of the World

Today my friend Zhu gave me this award :D and I'm pretty proud of it!!

I hope I can live to your expectations, talking about the stories of an immigrant and giving all the help I can give with my little knowledge of this new home and all the corners it has ^^

This award is given to people that don't belong to just a country, but to the world in general, always learning and always wondering about something new :)

I'm giving this award to:

Wichmann Stories: Because they are always learning about new places and new cultures, always taking beautiful pictures to share with us, and always trying something new.

Prairie Road: Because I enjoy reading her stories in a new country with similar and no so similar things to her home country.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


You are in Canada, already have your SIN number, your PR cards are in the mail, your credit cards are on the way and you are spending your savings, what is your next step? Find a job and a new home if you are in a hotel.

We are at that point, we are looking for a job and for a new home. We have enough savings to last the whole year, but that is not the point right? You are getting nervous because you see your savings go down and you don't have an income.

Now you are looking for an apartment, great, you found the apartment you wanted, but now you can't rent it because you don't have a job and the only other way they offer you is with a guarantor, but you are new in Canada and you don't have anyone!!! You are stuck again :(

We are like that right now... So, please, if you know of a job for us or can act as a guarantor, you'll be an angel for us!!! We can work in any computer science field (some my husband and the others me) and can do other stuff like working in a store or something like that.

Any advices are welcome too :)

Friday, 30 November 2007

Snow!!! and the YMCA

Today snowed!!

Well, not for long and not enough to be in the ground, but enough for me to take a picture and LOVE it, I don't know how can anyone say that I will hate it before april, I think it's impossible :p

We also went to the YMCA and registered there, they gave us a LOT of information of the things we need to do the first days, tips to find a job (there are some excelents tips I will write about in the future) and now we have an appointment to take an english test on monday to know which level we are, and a lot of jobs ask for that level (I will let you know about the test later).

Then we went to the bank and our VISA credit cards should arrive in 2 weeks aprox. :) and went to the Eaton Centre to buy more winter clothes but there was a huge ad that said tomorrow there is going to be a big sale, so we'll be back :D

In conclusion: I LOVE THE SNOW :D

Thursday, 29 November 2007


We love the TTC, we have been everywhere with our feets and the subway, so you need a way of saving time and money when you are using it that much.

Every time you are going to use the subway, you need a token (a little coin) for 2.25$, but if you are using the subway a LOT, you would do go buying the metropass, wich can be weekly or monthly.

The weekly card is useful from monday to sunday of the ongoing week, so if you need to take the subway a saturday, you are better off buying tokens until monday and then buy the new card. This metropass is priced at a little bit more than 30$.

The monthly card is valid from the first day of the month until the last one, and is priced at 109$, so if you need it on the 27th like us, you better buy the weekly or tokens until the first one of the next month.

You can buy the monthly metropass between the 24th of the previous month and the 4th of the month for wich you are buying the card, and that card (and the weekly) can be paid with credit or debit in the following stations:
  • Debit: Finch, Kennedy, Kipling y Downsview.
  • Debit o Credit: Union, Dundas (east side only), Bloor-Yonge (north side only), and Davisville.
Although we buy them at Bloor-Yonge and the machine (you do it yourself) said "only debit", the same in Union station; I didn't try to use credit ^^

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

First day

Hi everyone! I'm finally writing about our trip and our first day i Toronto :D

This is our plane; the picture is pretty dark because it was taken at night, from far, and behind a security glass at the airport xD
The flight was pretty cool and nice, and I even slept a lot! :D

We arrived in Toronto at 6:00am since we took off almost half an hour late from Caracas, around 1:20am aprox. (flight time of almost 6 hours with the time difference)

We first went to the immigration boots where everyone has to go and they ask you the motive of your trip and how long you will be here; then you go to the immigration booths where only foreigns have to go and if you are doing the landing (like us) you have to give them the residence confirmation and show them your bank statement. Then you look for your bags and go to another area where you have to give them the list of goods to follow (they didn't want the list of goods we carried).

We were ready at 7:30am because one of the suitcase didn't arrive with us, so we spend a while fixing that. It turns out that the identification tag that Air Canada gave us went missing, so be very careful with that. But don't worry, when we arrived at night at the apartment, the suitcase was already here :)

The apartment where we are staying is great! It has a very good kitchen with everything, several closets, the bathroom is very clean and everything is working properly and it's clean; the balcony... is great!!!

That first day (yesterday) we went to get of social insurance number, around 15 minutes, and you need your permanent residence confirmation, an address (it can be a friend's address) and passports. We didn't do it at the airport but went to the Human Resources Centre in St. Claire Ave. where they have free Internet access where you can look for a job.

We went to the bank to open our accounts. We did it with RBC with a venezuelan that works in the closest agency to the HRC.

And last we went to the Eaton Centre to buy our new cell phones, where we sign an agreement with FIDO with the couples plan; you pay 35$, 45$ or 55$ and you get unlimited phone calls between the people in the agreement, and free minutes for calls in Toronto. Another good thing is that you get unlimited free calls in Toronto for the first 3 months, they don't charge you with incoming calls and you don't need a credit card, so you can sign it with a debit card.

The cold is enjoyable and I'm very happy with my new city :D The cold is not annoying and the city is so beautiful and cool that the cold is a fun extra ;)

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

We are here!

HI!!! We are here!!! :D I'll let you know later how it went, but everything is great and beautiful and I'm really happy!!!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Tomorrow is the day

Tomorrow we are leaving to the airport, the first part with our luggage is over y we are in the max. allowed in weight, size and quantity with everything, from checked baggage to laptop bag :)

We are tired but excited, happy to begin our new life but sad that we are leaving our families and friends, but we are leaving them all with the same message "We'll see each other again there!"

Every goodbye has taken a little bit of my heart, and it's so small right now, I never experienced that, maybe it's because I haven't cry?

I have told everyone not to cry because we are going to see each other again, we are not saying goodbye forever, and everyone has a piece of my heart; maybe that it's why I feel my heart so small.

I have said goodbye to a grandmother, uncles and aunts, cousands and their sons and daughters, I'm taking with my pictures of everyone and the most beautiful memories of so much love and care, and I'll miss EVERYONE, I love them all and I hope to see them again.

In fact, I'm leaving a few boxes they have to take with them when they go to visit us, I'll give then a roof and/or food :D. At the end, we are leaving 6 big boxes, 4 small ones and a bag ;)

Now I have to get ready to go to the airport tomorrow and leave the rest of my heart with my parents; if I'm feeling my heart so small right now, could I feel it at all tomorrow?

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Certifying papers

Today I went to the embassy and took my university degree, scores, and more, to get certified by the Canadian Embassy :)

I had to be there in the morning since they don't accept them in the afternoon, with a lot of money so they would certify all of our university papers! They will take 2 days, so I have to pick them up Monday morning, then lunch with our parents and take off!!!!

It's SO close already :D And yet so far with snow falling today in Toronto; I really wanted to be there for the first snow, but it's ok, I'll be there next week! Wait for me Toronto, here we come :D

Friday, 16 November 2007

International Driver's License

More paperwork! xD I came back from Maracay this week and decided to spend time with my family, but wednesday was appointment with the endocrinologist (done) and the dentist (done), UCV work letter (done) and international driver's license (done).

Tomorrow is party with all my family :D

So, the international driver's license allows you to drive for a year without the Canadian driver's license. I also read somewhere that you need it to get the Canadian driver's license faster and easier, I'll let you know about that! ^^

That one is a little booklet with your picture, some information, and your license level (our third one is B), and some pages with the same information in Italian, french, english, german, etc.

I got it whith the Touring y Automovil club de Venezuela, that is part of the AAA in the United States. You need a picture 3x4, your driver's license, and your identification, and photocopies in color of the driver's license and your identification.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

This is my bag

My friend Zhu taged me with another meme xD This time I need to show my bag and whats inside ^^

I'll make it short since I still have a ton of stuff to do ;)

This is my bag :D
I have a few others, but this one is perfect for my everyday , is beautiful and can handle everything I need ;)

These are the items that fit inside and that I always try to carry with me ^^

I have my reading glasses, makeup, a little mirror, my unbrella, wallet, coin bag, book (of course I change it everytime I finish it :p ), cellular phone, pen, check book, pill case, usb memory (1 GB), and a swiss army knife with microlight :D

This time I won't name wich girls I want to tag since everyone is so busy, but you are all invited to do this meme :D

Friday, 9 November 2007

The beach!

Sorry that I didn't post before, I was at the beach :D

We are visiting my husband's family and since we are so close to the beautiful beach and we are going to spend so much time in the snow, we decided to take a lot of sun for 3 days :D

So today I'm back to my mothers in law house ^^ The Internet is painfully slow, and I can't post a link or post pictures of where I was, but it was great there! The 2 of us alone in an apartment and around 10 people in 100meters of beach, so cool!

Update! The Internet is a little bit better, so here it is, 2 pictures of where we were (I didn't take them, I forgot my camara :( )

On a side note, we are so sad with what is happening in Venezuela I can't even post about it, I can't think about it or I'll cry :(

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Power of attorney

I'm sorry I haven't been around commenting in my daily blogs and posting in mine, but I've been very busy with all the things I must get ready as soon as possible. I've been visiting your blogs, just not commenting since I do it as fast as I can :$

This week we got our powers of attorney! A power of attorney is a legal document where you give power to someone else to act in your behalf in all kind of situations, you can specify the situation(s) or be a little more general if you don't have something specific in mind.

For example, my mum can buy a house for me, sell things, close my bank account, open bank accounts, etc. You have to give this to someone you really really trust because is very delicate.

We are leaving a few general powers of attorney to our parents, so they can finish anything we don't have time to do so, or so they can do something for us once we are in Canada so we don't have to come back. This is specially important for us in Venezuela since we don't know if we'll be back even on vacations; we are pretty afraid that once we are outside Venezuela, if we comeback even for a day, they may not let us go back to Canada.

Think about having one of these before immigrating, is very useful and you never know when you'll need it ;)

Saturday, 27 October 2007


I'm so sorry it took so much time for me to post again!!! I finished working this wednesday and I've been busy with all the things we have to do before take off ^^

I have to write about leaving my last job in Venezuela, but they keep calling me asking about a system I made, even today! So, no goodbye for them until they stop calling me for work :p

What kind of things are we doing? We had to go to the "Ministerio de Educacion Superior" to give them our university diplomas, scores, pensum and programs, and then we had to go again to pick them; one they you take them there and the next day you can pick them up.

Then I had to go to the "Ministerio de Exteriores" for the same thing, BUT I went this friday, and they don't like working fridays, so they said "we don't have system today, come back next week" -_-

I had to go to the cleaners and to the bank, and working on the phone for hours :( It's a lot of work, so I'm a little tired, but you know what? I'm happy, I'm closer to leaving and already doing the final preparations; you should see my calendar! It has a lot of medical appointments and legal paperwork everyday xD

Do you think one month of "vacations" are enough to do everything before leaving your country for good? Think again!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Dinner party

"The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their very own "virtual" dinner party."

Thank you Zhu for this great meme ^^ It's going to be fun trying to have a great party, so I'll try my best and hopefully everyone will have a great time :)

1) The Dinner Party Theme
You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?

I would dress confortable, with soft clothes and socks, without shoes, so everyone should come in their pijamas! If you sleep naked or half-naked, please bring some other clothes xD

We would have our party in a log cabin by the lake, with the sunset in the horizon, seating in the deck ;)

2) The Invitations
This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?

Ummm, this one is hard, since I would like to invite EVERYONE I know, it would be much more fun xD

Well, I'll invite everyone plus:
  • Stephen King: I love his books!! I really want to pick his brain and talk for days!
  • Tolkien: Oh my God... Can you imagine Stephen King and Tolkien talking?
  • The Beatles: They count as one, don't they? ^^ I love their music!! I couldn't believe having one of them in my party, let alone the 4 of them :D
  • Robin Williams: We already have writers and musicians, so we need a great actor and comedian!
  • Anne Rice: I know, I know, another writer, but I can't help it!!! Books are the best, and we need a woman!

3) The Starter
You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?

This one it's too difficult for me... not only I don't cook, but I don't know the names in english either xD

So, lets try...
I would serve Bruschettas, cheese and bread (yes, we have cheese as a started and not at the end ^^)...ummm...soup... chupe if I don't have to cook it xD

4) The Main Course
Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?

Oh my God, I suck at this...
  • We'll have spinach, tuna and cheese au gratin with white rice.
  • And Chalupa!, Does this have a name in english? I could only find de recipe in spanish, sorry!
You can bring anything else if you want ^^ These are venezuelans, to show a few of our specialties :D

5) The Sweet
Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?

Chocolate! Chocolate! and Chocolate!
Cocoa, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse ^^
We could also have cheese cake and apple pie :D

6) The Entertainment
The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their ‘party piece’ (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?

Can we play UNO? That would be so much fun! Of course we have writers, musicians and a comedian, please do your thing! :D

7) The End Of The Evening:
The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search through your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?

Oldies! Everything and anything from the 70's, I love that music :D

8) The Dinner Party Nightmares
Okay, so the "virtual" dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?

Ummm... Can I say my wedding? The music arrived 3 hours late! The photographer took us far away from the reception and took our pictures until the music arrived, can you believe that? Of course I didn't pay them -_-

Now, the victims :D

I would like to tag:
  • Tina, I would love to see one of your parties
  • Erin, I think you would have a cool party :)
  • John, another teaching soul ^^

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Canadian resume

When I tell people "I'm going to Canada", they always ask "Do you have a work there?", and I always reply "No, I have the permanent residence :D", they say "And a job?", "No, just the permanent residence -_- and I'm happy with that, I'll look for a job there", "Aren't you scared?", "ehh, no really".

Well, should I be scared? I have a great career, I don't need certification, and I'm prepared with my brand new Canadian resume!

Our CVs in Venezuela are VERY different to Canadian resumes, we have to have a picture in the CV, our marital status, our age, and every little thing you can think up that Canadian resumes don't have and don't want ^^ So I studied a lot what I really needed and made my new Canadian resume, so I'm posting here the information I found so you can follow these great advices :)
What about your resume?

Monday, 15 October 2007

Imagine the pain

Today I was reading one of my morning immigration forums and I found a discussion about why venezuelans want to leave, and wouldn't stay to fight for our country, for a better tomorrow here, in our homeland.

Some people said that we are allowing the government to ruin the country and our lifes, and then someone wrote something that inspired me to write this post, he wrote: "Quizás la cobardía por haberlo permitido se compense con el sacrificio de haber empujado a un hijo a irse, y soportar la tristeza de su ausencia, y la incertidumbre de su bienestar"
--> "Maybe the cowardice for allowing that, will be compensated with the sacrifice of having pushed a son to go, and living the sorrow of his absence, and the uncertainty about his wellbeing"

That phrase broke my heart, that phrase could only be said by a parent, an immigrant's father or mother. I just pictured my mum and dad the first day we talked seriously about immigrating, they were crying, telling us to go, to leave the country, saying that we didn't have a future here.

At that moment I didn't see it as a sacrifice, but reading that I can only imagine how hard must that been to them and will be to them, you are really pushing away your son, hoping they will have a better life.

I can only imagine with tears in my eyes and my heart in my hands...

Blog Action Day - Global Warming

Today is blog action day, I just heard about this today and I'm glad I did, so I still have time to post about it. Today all bloggers should talk about the environment to create a conscience about it.

For me, I would like to create conscience about global warming, since I know it's real, and I know it's a big problem everyone it's living right now. The seasons are all crazy, we have colder winters or hotter winters, we have rainy seasons in the wrong time and a lot of months without rain at all.

We need to do something about it and everyone can do at least a little bit. I loved Al Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth, it's real, and it gives a lot of advices to what we can do at home to help de environment today. He even won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for talking about this, and I admire him for that, we needed someone to grab our attention and say "hey! look at this! you can do something about it".

You can contribute too, do something about our world, it's the only one we have.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Friday, 12 October 2007

From my bed

This is what I see from my bed.

That map of Canada has been there for more than a year ^^ Once we decided that we wanted to go to Canada, live there and eventually get the canadian nationality, I bought that map.

You have to see what you want, concentrate on that, work for that, live for that. We see that map at nigh when we are going to bed, and we see that map when we wake up in the morning, and every moment in between when we are in the bedroom xD

When we read my lawyer email telling us that we could go to the embassy to get our visas, I just sat on my husband's legs, both watching our map, watching our future and crying from happiness :)

I love my bedroom and I'm ready to leave it, but one thing is sure, that map is leaving with me... We are going home.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Banks and credit cards

I should clarify first that I haven't done this yet and that I don't have knowledge about all the Canadians banks, so I'm just posting a tip a friend gave me to get a VISA credit card.

One of the main problems immigrants have to face is the "no credit" problem, and it can probe to be very difficult to overcome if you don't have the money and knowlegde. I have read a lot about different banks, the pros and cons, the personal accounts and benefits they offer, and every single thing people say about them, and I haven't found one bank you can say "this one is the best one" or "this one is the worst one" without finding someone stating the contrary ;) but I'm going to open my bank account with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) or Scotia Bank, since those are the best ones I have found for me.

I got a great tip with RBC to get a VISA credit card, and I'm sure you could get the same deal in almost any other bank.

When you open your bank account, you should get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). These certificates are cero risk, so you won't loose your money with a bad investment, it gives less interests but it can get you a credit card ;)
So you need to ask for a classic visa credit card using this certificate as a guarantee, and assuming you have a $2000 certificate, you could get a credit for around $1800, not bad at all :D

Do you have other tips you would want to share?

Monday, 8 October 2007


Today I'm tired, even though it's just monday and I didn't do anything special this weekend, I'm tired. I want to write here but don't have the inspiration...

I have so many things in my head, everything is a long list of things to do before the trip, and things to say, and things to do once we are there, and things I want to do now but can't, even things about the immigration process that need to be written here but don't know how to write them.

I know a lot of you feel like this once in a while, and I think I feel more like this since the whole process started and even more since we have our visas. I only want to read about others but I already read all of them this morning, maybe that it's why I love books so much, I love to be caught in someone else story, to forget about me for a long while.

I specially love Stephen King, John Grisham, James Patterson, Terry Pratchett, V.C. Andrews, J.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis and would hate to leave my books here. What do I do? Well, I have given away more than half, I gave away all the V.C Andrews, Patterson, and Grisham books, and I still have half Stephen King books and all of the others. I don't want to leave my books, they are my scape of reality.

The hardest material thing for me to leave here (people not included) are my books, what are yours?

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Driver Licence

I don't have my canadian driver licence so I can't say that the information I'm going to post it's the truth and nothing more than the truth, but this is the information I've been collecting for months now and that's what I'm going to use to get my driver licence once I'm in Canada.

In Canada there are a lot of Licence Types but the ones I'm going to focus on are the G and the G1. The G1 it's the one that allows you to drive "accompanied by a fully licensed driver with at least four years of driving experience", and you get this one if you pass the written test but you haven't taken the road test. Once you pass the road test, they give you the G licence that allows you to drive "any car, van or small truck or combination of vehicle and towed vehicle up to 11,000 kg".

If you have an USA driver licence there is a great chance you can exchange that one for the Canadian one without taking any test, it depends of the State where the driver licence is from as far as I know. If I remember correctly, you can exchange your UK licence too and I'm sure there are lot of other countries that can do it. In fact, this is the official list I found for Ontario: "US States, Austria, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland".

If you are from any other country, you'll have to take the tests or prove you experience any other way. I've read that you can take your driver licence (from your country) translated to english and an official document where it says the years you've been driving, and they will accept it instead of making you take the test. I don't know how much you have to pay for this.

I'll be letting you know how it goes with me :)

We are in the Oddities section!

Every morning I read my mail, the immigration forums, my favourites blogs and the canadian news. To my surprise this is what I found this morning in the Oddities section: Chavez to take Venezuela backward in time - 30 minutes, to be exact

I knew our "president" wanted to do that and I'm one of the lot that has to do preparations in our places of work for this change, but I never expected to found this news in this section. This is the section I browse to laugh of people, this is the section where everything funny or weird goes. Ok, I admit it, this change to our timezone is ridicuolus, a lot of work and nothing in return.

Who can think that we are going to sleep half an hour more? We are going to bed half our later so you are going to sleep the same. That the kids are going to wake up with the sun higher? Well, the schools should start half an hour later, we shouldn't change an entirely timezone :S

Don't get me started with the change in our currency, that's even worst!

Well, this made my day, Venezuela it's officialy part of the diversions of others :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Venezuela and the lost dollar

As you know (or should know), in Venezuela we have an exchange control that's been going on for years now -_- so we can't buy dollars, euros or any other currency for that matter and we are stuck with the bolivar or buying a very expensive dollar in the black market.

If you don't know what we are going through and you think we should stick with the bolivar and stop complaining, then bite your tongue and don't speak please, because we are very tired of fighting with everyone that think they know but know nothing about it, but if you are curious and just want to know more about it, just say it :)

So you could ask, "then what do you do to save dollars?, or going to another country without starving?", well, we think of several ways of "cheating" that exchange control. If you have a credit card of your own, you are entitled to $3000 for electronic transactions a year (only the right to buy in dollars for that amount, not the money), and $5000 a year to use outside the country ONLY if you show your 2 way ticket, thats it, not a dollar more.

What do you do? you can travel and get $500 cash from the ATM machine a month (they take it from the $5000) and deposit that money in a bank account in the country were you are (you can't do it in Venezuela). What else? You can buy that dollar from another person that wants bolivares...ohh, but thats easy, right? Well, no, because our official dolar it's 1 dollar = 2150 bolivares, do you know how much is that dollar in the black market? 5300 bolivares! MORE THAN DOUBLE!!!

We are stuck, we can't do much more than buy that dollar in the black market and say goodbye to our savings :( Last week that dollar was in 4800, today its 5300, next week? who knows... this is so sad...

Monday, 1 October 2007

Tagged... My Desktop ^^

I'm still new to this blog world and there are things I don't understand yet, since I've been reading blogs for months now, but new in posting :)

A friend of mine tagged me and if I understand correctly, she wants to see my desktop, so I'm showing one of them here ;) This one is from work, not the most personal but some elements I need wherever I go ^^
I have a wallpaper of the manga Fruits Basket, since I love anime and manga SO MUCH!!! and this one it's my favourite manga ^^

GTalk to stay communicated with my husband and friends, and the Folding@home icon (the red one at the bottom right) to help as much as I can with that great project! The rest it's work related :p

Now I have to tag 5 people, right?

Then I'm tagging:
Most of them are in spanish ^^

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Rogers it's changing...

Ummm, let's start with some theory so you can understand ^^

In Canada there's few mobile companies, and the main ones are Rogers and Fido. Fido is owned by Rogers, so you could say we are talking about the same company here, but I've read a lot that service in Fido it's terrible! so you should stay with Rogers if you can.

Both Rogers and Fido are GSM companies, so you should be able to use you GSM phone there (the one with a SIM card), BUT you should be careful with the kind of phone you are using, because these companies work in frequency bands. There are 4 frequency bands, 850, 900, 1800 and 1900.

If you have a Quad band phone, your phone supports all 4 bands, so you can use it with any company and if it's unlocked, you can even use a SIM card from any GSM company. Now, if you have a triband phone you are in a little bit more complicated situation, because your phone can only support 850/1800/1900 or 900/1800/1900. Let's think for a moment that you have a 900/1800/1900 and you are going to a country where the only GSM operator works with the 850 frecuency band, in that case you wouldn't be able to use your phone :(

Now to the main problem with Rogers... Rogers used to work with the 1900 frecuency band, so you could use almost any phone there, but tomorrow (October 1) it will officially change to the 850 frecuency band! So if you were planning on using your triband phone there, better to check the frecuency bands your phones work ;)

If you are in Venezuela, I'll give you a little hint, Digitel works in the 900 frecuency band and Movistar in the 850. I have a Digitel triband phone, so I have a problem ^^ I have to sell my mobile phone and buy a new one there, since this one won't work in Toronto :)

Did you checked yours?

Friday, 28 September 2007

Toronto budget for 2

Did you do your homework and calculated how much money will you need once you arrive in Canada? We did it, so now we have a good budget for 2 people living in Toronto, and it was approved for our lawyer and some friend that live there ^^

  • Rent: $1.200
  • Utilities: $250 (if the rent includes utilities, then it's something like $1.400 for rent)
  • Food: $600
  • Transportation: $200 (bus and subway)
  • Winter clothes and winter related: $100 (preparations in summer)
  • Mobile phone: $100
  • Internet and TV: $100
  • Others: $600 (Entertainment and others)
Now, a little detail. The amount for rent for example, it's for an apartment with no furniture, in the middle of downtown Toronto, with 2 or 3 bedrooms. If you don't want to pay so much, you can stay a little away of downtown where rent can drop a lot from that amount. It all depends how much you want/need to be in downtown and if you need a pool and stuff like that.

The amount for food is buying all kinds of foods (meats, fruits, vegetables, desserts) in a good supermarket, so you won't starve with that kind of money for food ;)

Our transportation consist of two 99CND dollars passes for subway and buses ilimited for a month ^^

In winter clothes and winter related, you can see that we are planning 100CND dollars a month, so you don't have to make a BIG investment in one seat. You need to include here clothing, shoes, and all the things you'll need to not get frozen in the middle of nowhere :p

As you can see, we have 100CND dollars for mobile phones, this one doesn't include the actual cellular phone you are going to need, just the amount you are going to pay with Rogers or Fido or Bell, for 2 mobile lines to get in touch with each other and possible employment offers.

With 100CND dollars for Internet and TV, you get a good Internet connection and cable at home. Maybe you can live without cable or you won't need Internet at home, so you can cut expenses here, but we need at least the Internet connection ;)

Others it's an emergency and entertainment amount you need to be aware of. You'll want to go to the movies, or the theater, or a concert, so you need to have this in your mind. And you never know if you'll need something you didn't think of, so you have this money saved in case of an emergency.

As you can see, we don't have here one time expenses like the health insurance for the first months because we already mentioned it, the same goes for the temporary accommodation. You can also see that you can cut a little more in this expenses if you need a smaller place, or you don't need the Internet connection or other stuff like that, so this a very confortable budget ;)

The grand total? 3.150 CND dollars a month for a very confortable budget for 2 ^^

Thursday, 27 September 2007

$ vs Loonie

I know it's a little late to talk about this subject since it has been a topic for a few days now, but better late than ever, and it will be usefull for everyone in the immigration process.

As you may know, the dollar is loosing strength, or at least it lost a lot last week, so a lot of people need to think of that when calculating the amount you need for proof of funds.

If you have been saving the money you need as proof of funds in an US account, a few months back you only needed $10.000 for 2 people, but now you need to have more than $12.000, so it's a great difference and you need to be careful with that.

So remember this and try your hardest to have a few hundreds more (at least) in your bank account, since you are going to need to show this amount with all the immigration paperwork and at the port of landing. Well, at the port of landing you may or may not needed, it seems to be completely at the discretion of the immigration official and most often than not, you won't need to show it ;)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Leaving my second home

One of the hardest things I have done so far is leaving my second home, since I haven't leave my home yet ^^ . My second home it's my beautiful university, "Universidad Central de Venezuela".

As a kid I grew up in the university, since my dad worked there and both my mum and dad studied there too. I went to Economy classes while I was in my mum womb, I went to the classrooms when I was a little girl and also played ball, used my bicycle, skated and did all kind of things.

I did my high school thesis in my dad's laboratory and then studied Computer Science in the same Faculty :) While I was a student, I loved to walk the long corridors of my University and take pictures, although I don't have a single one in digital, so these are taken from the Internet. I made a lot of friends and took music and photography classes too.

I met the love of my life in the same career and he is now my husband, I was a teacher assistant in my student years and then, after I graduated, I became a professor for more than 2 years. I really love to teach, to see the faces of my students after they get something they didn't understand before, to be in a classroom full of memories, to give something to the university that gave me all...

I love everything about my second home, did you know that all the university offices smell alike? even if you go to one of the modules in another city, it smells the same!
The motto it's "La casa que vence las sombras", "the house the conquers the shadows", it's so perfect!
And if you go to the Aula Magna, you'll fall in love with it, the smell is special, the atmosphere, the history, the memories...

I can't leave my second home, I'm leaving with it in my heart and memories, I will never forget it.