Friday, 5 December 2008

Moving day II - The second and final chapter

A week ago we packed everything in this apartment:


And loaded everything to an uHaul truck, which I don't recommend, since we had many problems with them trying to get an hour to look for the truck and giving it to us in Markham instead of Toronto, but the help was great!!

And we moved to this beautiful house!!

And we've been loving every minute we spend here :)

I'm really really grateful with all the help our friends gave us and we had a blast!! :D You can see many more pictures of the moving and the house here ;)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

High-demand occupations

The list of high-demand occupations for Federal Skilled Workers has been publish! As soon as I read the news, I couldn't leave without posting about it.

You can find the list of occupations here:
Job Categories
If you don't see your occupation in a category, look in another one, don't give up!!

The information in the CIC web page says that everyone that has applied after February 28, 2008 and his/her occupation is not in the list, will be contacted to return them their money and the application form. You can read the news here.

There are 38 occupations in the list and among them I found medicine, chefs and cooks, IT Managers, University Professors, and almost everything in the Oil Industry, among others. Good luck to everyone waiting for this list!!! And remember that it doesn't matter if your occupation is in this list, if you have a job offer!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A year ago...

366 days ago (leap year) we took a plane to an unknown country, with only 4 suitcases, the money the embassy asked us to have, and many dreams of a new life.

366 days ago we didn't know what to expect, we said goodbye to our families and left for a new path of life, a new beginning.

366 days ago, we arrived extremely tired to a new country, but with so much energy that we didn't sleep the whole day.

Today we still have many dreams and hopes.

Today we are one of the most happy people of the world.

Today we have jobs in our areas.

Today is the closing date of our new house, our new home.

Today is our 1 year anniversary of happiness in this wonderful country that opened its doors for us. WE ARE HAPPY!!! Thank you for being with us in this adventure!!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Moving day I - Boxes


We are moving!! Soon :) So we needed boxes of course! There are a few places were you can find boxes.

1) You can buy them at Staples or somewhere similar
2) You can look for them in recycling centres or rooms
3) Do like us, go to a supermarket and ask them at what time is the best time to get their empty boxes, for free ;)

We went to the supermarket at 6am or 11pm and was perfect! We managed to get a lot of free boxes that we are using for our moving day, so you can save a little more for your new home :)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Santa Claus Parade

Yesterday was Santa Claus Parade, so we went to welcome him!!

It was really fun, crowded and cold xD If it wasn't for the kids, I don't think I would have stayed more than half an hour, but they make it worth it :D We went with my "adoptive" nephew and the son of a friend :)

We saw floats:




Bands, and all kind of fun things!




I didn't know about Canada Post picking up Santa's cards so next year we'll have it ready ^^



You can see a lot more pictures here

Friday, 14 November 2008

Home insurance

I'm sorry that I've been so lost, but I've been working so much that right now, 10:48pm I'm at the office with prospects of returning home tomorrow morning!! ;)

My next post was going to be about home insurance, but today I was talking with my friend Hernan and we were just talking about it, so I thought it would be a nice idea to make this post just with the conversation we had, I hope you enjoy it!

The home insurance, I'm confused, I have insurance for all my belongings, now, the home insurance is that? or is something else that covers fires or whatever

I was just thinking about doing my next post about it. My home insurance covers up to 250.000 if I recall correctly, plus the belongings and liability. So it would be water damage, fire damage, someone stealing your things or something happening to a neighbor or someone else because of you. For example, someone falling on the sidewalk of your house because you didn't clean it, or a fire that started at your house damages the neighbor's house.

But, if I already have insurance for my belongings, do I already have home insurance?

no necessarily

I have my insurance for my belongings where I am right now, so I just have to change the address once I move and that's it, but now I understand that I have to get a new insurance for my new home?

yes, but ask your lawyer about it, because in our case they told us that they wouldn't give the keys for the house until we had a home insurance.

So, you already have a home insurance?

We are going to have the mortgage insurance, the home insurance, and the life insurance for the amount of the mortgage.

You get the home insurance a week before the closing date, but we already talked to our insurance agent and she already gave us a quote and the lawyer is going to talk to her from now on.

ok, I'll also have the mortgage insurance and the life insurance with the mortgage amount, so now I have to make sure about the home insurance.
and do you have to get a special insurance for that home insurance or it can be any insurance company?

Yes, any insurance company
We have the home insurance and the life insurance with the same people since they have special packages.

How much are you going to pay for the home insurance? I'm paying $60 for the life insurance and $125 for the mortgage insurance

The mortgage insurance is charged with the mortgage and is aprox. $1600, so I don't know how much is just the mortgage insurance. The life insurance is going to be between $40 and $20, depending on the medical tests... The home insurance is right now $75 and once I get car insurance with them, the home insurance will be aroung $54

so, then the home insurance will include everything, the house and the belongings?

Yeap... until certain amount of course
5000 in computers, 5000 in jewelry, and I don't know how much for everything else.

and what did you have to do to get the home insurance? did they do an inspection or your word was enough?

half my word and half the house listing that the realtor gives the insurance company, or the lawyer.

does the listing has everything about the house?
construction year, etc, etc?

Construction year was my word (which the inspector gave me)... the listing is the one you saw on the Internet which it says how many bedrooms and bathrooms the house has.

So now you know it, when buying a house, don't forget the home insurance ;)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Aclaration about how to buy a house

I'm sorry that I've been so lost from my blog this last week, I have SO much work right now! So please stay with me :)

I want to use this post to publish an aclaration my friend and realtor Pedro sent to me about one of my posts:

"Since you are giving only 5% of downpayment, the mortgage is considered "high ratio", so the bank asks for insurance. If the downpayment was equal or higher than 20% of the price of the house, that insurance wouldn't be necessary, although you still can get it if you want to. The institution most commonly used for that is CMHC(http://www.cmhc.ca/); although there are others. The web site has a lot of information about the type of insurance and the premiun applicable depending of the downpayment."

This ends everything I can remember about buying a home, so the next posts will be about moving! :D

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Buying costs

Once you've found the house and made an offer, you have to get approved for a mortgage with a particular rate of interest, make the inspection and wait... The mortgage broker will let you know who is going to be your particular lender and how much will be the rate of interest you'll pay. If you are giving 5% or less of initial, you have to have a mortgage insurance that will guarantee the bank their money in case you can't pay.

So, how long do you have to wait for the closing date? Well, that depends on different factors, did you sell your house? did the sellers found a house? Do you have the money? etc. The wait can be from 2 weeks to 6 months, in our case we are waiting 2 months from the date of the offer.

What do we do while we wait? Get the money!!! These are the things you need to pay when buying a house of $336.000 with $10.000 of deposit and 5% of downpayment:
- Lawyers and transaction Fees: aprox. $900
- Land Transfer tax: aprox. $3500
- Mortgage fee (CMHC fee+ references): aprox. $380
- DOWNPAYMENT: $16800 (5%) - $10.000 = $6800

So, after paying $10.000 with the offer, we still need to pay aprox. $12.000 more the day of the closing ;) So, don't forget to add all the other things you need to pay when buying!

And when calculating what you are going to pay monthly for your house, don't forget:
- Mortgage
- Insurance
- Utilities
- Taxes

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Today we could go to the office with our halloween costumes!!! I'm not used to this, but going with the spirit of the fun in the office, I tried a little something:

Around half the office dressed up, but I won't post their pictures without their consent, now, this one was SOOO good that I couldn't stop myself xD

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The inspection


The inspection was really really interesting and we learned lots of different things. Normally an inspection is made to the house just to see what problems it has and the client (the buyer) has to decide if (s)he wants the house or negotiate repairs or a lower price.

The inspection includes looking for humidity, cracks on the walls, floor or ceiling, check if the furnace and air conditioning are working, check if all included electric ampliances are working (fridge, kitchen, dishwasher, etc).

They also check whatever they can access from the electric instalation and the plumming, the attic to check the ceiling of the house, water preassure, roofs and whatever they can see about the fundations of the house.

One of the important things to remember is that they can't break anything, so they wont break the walls to see if the plumming is ok (for example) and they can't never ever be 100% sure that everything is working perfectly, but they can always give you a better idea of what you are buying and if everything appears to be in working condition.

Our inspector is reaaaally good, since he is from Argentina the inspection was in spanish, and he explained EVERYTHING he did and how everything worked, like how to change the filter of the furnace, how to control the air conditioning, how to see if the roofs need repairs, and lots of other things :D

The cost? $320 payable with check, and besides the confort of knowing that our house is above average and the great class we got, he gave us that big folder where it explains in much more detail what we need to know about Canadian houses and the kind of things we need to do every month/year. :)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Making an offer

Now that you fell in love with a house, what do you do? You make an offer! An offer may become your final contract to buy the house, so make sure is well done; if you are using a realtor, great! they help you with that, if you are not, sorry but I'm not sure how do you do it by yourself.

The case is that the price the sellers are asking is not exactly the price that you pay, it may be more, it may be less, so you have to be prepared when you find THE house and stablish a final price for you. This is easier to explain with examples:

The first house we liked and wanted to make an offer was listed for $320.000, so we offered $308.000 (which was the price a similar house got sold a month before) and a few repairs that needed to be done. The seller sent it back for $318.000 and no repairs (final offer), so we decided not to buy it; it was too expensive for what it was.

Then, when we fell in love with our house, the listing price was $339.900 (a month before was $344.900), so we went to our realtor's office and saw similar houses in the same area to compare prices and see how much we could offer for the house, and he recommended us to offer $329.000, with a closing date of November 28 (the sellers were asking for October) and a deposit of $5000, and the house had to pass the inspection to our satisfaction.

We sent the offer and we had to wait for their answer, when we got it was $336.000, they accepted the closing date, changed the deposit to $10.000 and agreed to the inspection. Now we could have sent another contra-offer on top of that one but decided to accept :D So that was the beginning of our contract and our final price!!!

In other cases, you will see yourself paying more than the asking price if you have other people fighting for that house too. I have a friend that was buying an apartment, she made an offer and the seller communicated saying no to that offer and that they had another offer they were considering (they don't tell you for how much) so you need to send a higher offer to win the house. I think this one is really stressfull!!!

Another example is a friend that found her dream home. The house was listed at $349.900, she offered $332.000 (aprox. I don't remember this one exactly), they got it back for $345.000 and they sent it back for $340.000 (final offer), and the sellers accepted!!! :D So in this case, she managed to buy for $10.000 less than the listed price and the sellers where the ones to accept the offer.

There you have it, how close are the real prices to the listed prices and what you can expect to happen when making an offer for a house ;) Next step, the inspection!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Housing Area

Once we have the realtor and the mortgage broker, we need to decide what we want and where we want it. You may think this one is easy, but it's not so much when you need to take into consideration what you want, the location and the price.

We wanted a house, either semi-dettach (is like a big house divided in 2 in the middle) or a dettach, at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 and a half bathrooms, open concept kitchen, a private garden, a garage, a finished basement, a nice location close to public transportation, not too old and under $350.000. Easy? not so much.

There is no way you can find a house like that in Toronto, so you need to get away a little bit. Ok, what about Vaughan? Too expensive! A house like that is more than $350.000, less than $400.000 but if it's more that what we can afford, why counting?

Ok, what about Mississauga? Nice choice! Is really close to Toronto and we can get exactly what we want, or at least close to that ^^

Really, for all the ones that are scared/mad/confused that we are "leaving" Toronto and moving to Mississauga when we said we loved Toronto, don't be! For me, all those areas (Vaughan, Mississauga) are very much Toronto, just a little bit to the side and with less buildings; I'll keep saying I live in Toronto, just that my mail will say Mississauga xD I'll still work in Downtown Toronto, I'll still be here a LOT, and I still love Toronto, nothing against it! It's just that our dream house was built in Mississauga!

Next episode, you have the realtor and mortgage broker, you fell in love with the house, how do you proceed?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

First snow flakes Fall 2008

Today we got the first snow flakes in Toronto for this winter!! Wow, really soon eh?

Monday, 20 October 2008

A few pictures of Toronto

To break a little bit the stream of posts without pictures, a post with a few pictures my family took while they were here :)

Downtown:


Old City Hall:


Eaton Centre:


Harbourfront:


Kensington Market:

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Yesterday I got my G2!

Yes! I'm finally able to drive in Canada :D

The test was really easy, especially after the classes I took with one of the Ex-Examiners academy instructors. I thought it would be better this way since I had almost a year without driving and I was a little rusty, besides, they give you the tips to go for a perfect test!

The instructor came to my house and we had a 2 hours first class where he saw how good or bad I was. With that class he told me that I need it 2 more hours and the test. He charged me $30 the hour (which is the price all other academies I asked charge) and $140 for the car the day of the test.

The day of the test, he will give you 2 more hours (included in the price) of practice, and will take you to the testing centre, where you'll have the test in the instructor's car.

The test takes between 10 and 15 minutes, where you have to do regular things like turning right, turning left, stoping at a light and stops signs, parallel parking, three point turn and side parking.

So now I have my G2! :D If you want the name of the instructor, let me know! He is really good ;)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Mortgage Brokers

The second step after getting a real estate agent is to get a mortgage pre-approval. One major advantage of getting pre-approved for a home mortgage loan is that it gives you a firm idea of how much you can borrow. If you know how much you can borrow and how much you have for a down payment, you can easily set a maximum price as you search for a home. You will not waste countless hours looking at homes, only to find out afterwards that you cannot afford the mortgage. (Quote)


It is important to remember that the amount of mortgage you will qualify for is the maximum. It is the amount that the lender feels you can afford, but it is not necessarily the amount that you want to pay. It sometimes is advantageous to be conservative here. For example, if you qualify for a $100,000 mortgage and you have $15,000 available in cash for downpayment and closing costs, you are qualified to buy homes with a maximum selling price of $115,000. So as to not push yourself to the limit, you may want to look at homes that sell in the $100,000 to $110,000 range. (Quote)


How do you get a mortgage pre-approval? The easiest way is to get the help of a Mortgage Broker (which real estate agents normally have). A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary who sells mortgage loans on behalf of individuals or businesses, so (s)he will have a portfolio with different mortgages from different companies, and you'll have all the information in one place without having to go from bank to bank asking for one.


Typically the tasks of a mortgage broker are:
  • Assessment of the borrowers circumstances. This may include assessment of credit history (normally obtained via a credit report) and affordability (verified by income documentation).
  • Assessing the market to find a mortgage product that fits the clients needs.
  • Applying for a lenders agreement in principle (pre-approval)
  • Gathering all needed documents (paystubs/payslips, bank statements, etc.)
  • Completing a lender application form.
  • Explaining the legal disclosures.
  • Submitting all material to the lender.

So, if you want to know how much you can afford is good to get the services of a mortgage broker that will explain everything to you, giving your credit history and others, but please don't do this without a real intention to get a house since they will check your credit history and that will stay in it, telling everyone that checks it that you already tried to get pre-approved.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Real Estate Agents

This is going to be my first part of my housing series, where little by little I want to inform you all about how to buy a house ;)

What is one of the first steps you need to do when you decide to buy a home? You can start in different places but one that is the most useful is finding a real estate agent. Real estate agents help you find the perfect home for you and take you by the hand along the whole process, making it a lot easier!

And what kind of real estate agent you need? A realtor! "The term REALTOR® is a trademark identifying real estate licensees in Canada who are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). REALTORS® adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. The code of ethics is a firm set of rules, describing what kind of performance you have a right to expect from a REALTOR®. It's your guarantee of professional conduct and the best in service." CREA

A realtor helps you find the house, takes care that the price is right, helps you deciding what you can afford to pay for the house, informs you about the paperwork you need to do, connects you with the right people (mortgage broker, lawyers, inspectors, etc.), and that is just a little list of the many things they help you with.

My recommendation for a realtor? Dionis team, any one you choose from that group I can certify that are the best of the best, they work with Royal LePage and I can give you their information anytime!

And how much is going to cost you the services of a realtor if you are buying? NOTHING, zero; the services of a realtor when you are buying are 100% free, so why not? :)

Monday, 6 October 2008

Nuit Blanche Toronto

Nuit Blanche (White Night or All Nighter) is an annual all-night cultural festival. The festival lasts from sundown until sunrise on the first Saturday and Sunday in October and has, since its premiere in Paris in 2002, spread to many other cities internationally, including Toronto!

This is the third time Torontians can enjoy this event and this year is estimated that attracted more than 1 million people ^^

It was pretty amazing with galleries and museums open for free, people acting in the streets and works of art all over downtown; we couldn't see everything since it was too much, but we had a GREAT time and I wanted to share what we were able to see :)

Into the blue: Fujiwara Takahiro’s "Into the Blue" is a giant, illuminated, transparent cone-shaped balloon. Floating in the middle of the Eaton Centre, "Into the Blue" will present two distinct faces. From a distance, it will reflect and refract the surrounding light.

Up close, one will be able to walk beneath the work and experience it as an environment.


Zombies in Condoland: "Zombies in Condoland" is a series of night actions that mimic a film screening set for a low-budget horror film.


Waterfall: Katharine Harvey suspended a "quilt" of recyclable plastic from the north side of the Ontario Power Generation Building, suggesting a suspended waterfall.


LIGHT UP THE NIGHT - Sitting Ducks: Be part of nature in the city and visit the ducks of Devonian Pond - located in the heart of the Ryerson University campus. For one night only, the live ducks that traditionally visit the pond will be replaced by hundreds of environmentally friendly man-made ducks - bedazzled with light and playfullly moving throughout the water.


Stereoscope: Stereoscope is an interactive light installation at Toronto City Hall. This installation by the German group Project Blinkenlights transforms the landmark towers into a huge display screen by arranging lamps behind each of the 960 windows of the building. From dusk till dawn, the fa├žade will serve as an ever-changing and evolving kaleidoscope of graphic animations automatically generated and interactively orchestrated.
video

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Fall...

Fall is here! Well, it has been here for a few days, but I finally have a few pictures to show you :D

The temperature? 11C ;)

Enjoy!




Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Immigration: The Constant State of Doubt

My first invited blogger was really fast! He wrote his post in spanish and I did the translation, hopefully I got it right! Enjoy :)

I've been in this country for 3 years, but if we take the application process and others, then it has been more than 4 years with Canada in my head. It's just that the immigration subject doesn't start the day you arrive in Canada... it starts way before! Maybe even the same day you decide to leave your country, and between the different options, we had this country.

Since that holy day we decided to leave and thought of Canada as an option, the doubts started: "Should I really have to go?", "and will it be Canada the right place?", "Will I find a job?", "How much money will I need?", and like that, hundreds of questions went through our heads and will continue to go until the day we say yes, Canada is the place where we want to go, no Spain, no Australia and no Italy... Canada.

During the whole process we continue to hesitate. During that year and a half (or more) that the immigration process takes, we get so much information, take all the paths that Google offers, read blogs, forums and newspapers, listen to the radio, watch movies and tv, talk to friends and strangers, and learn. We'll be learning for 18 months or more, and filling our heads with information that will help us decide. Decide what we will do about our professional experience, with our studies, where we'll live, what we'll eat... and like in every other learning process, the more we learn, the more we have doubts!

The instant you arrive you'll get doubts about your everyday life, with the new things you'll encounter in your path. Doubts about how to handle the day to day, if the choice was correct, or maybe if the winter boots will be as warm as we thought. The everyday life, our new routine and the one of our family will also give us challenges and doubts. Even though, I think doubt is an essential and necessary part of our lives. Doubt is, among other things, part of our soul food that will makes us learn.

I've been 3 years in this country and every day I have more doubts, because if I have doubts I exist... and I like to know that I'm still alive.

Guillermo
Blog: http://loszieglerencanada.com
RSS: http://loszieglerencanada.com/feed/

Invitation

These days I've been thinking that I have several posts in mind but don't have the time to write them (fall, real estate agents, square one, and others) and that I have so many people that read me and have really good opinions and subjects to talk about, that I decided to make an invitation.

I want to invite everyone to post in my blog, just write me to aiglee@yahoo.com with the subject and the post, in can be in english, spanish or both (even better) so it will be in both blogs. I would like it to be something that will help the readers, for example, if you are in Canada, something you had to do in your immigration process or some interesting experience you had; if you are in another country, some visit you did here or a piece of interesting news you read about.

I won't publish everything I get, but I'll write back telling you why, or the date it will be published :) And it will have the name of the author (you can use a nick if you want).

What do you think?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Great Toronto Area

A lot of people ask me about the different neighborhoods and their characteristics, but they are so many that it would take ages to do, so I'm giving you an idea of how everything is divided.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is composed of 5 municipalities that you can see here:

Each city in those municipalities have its own characteristics and charisma and is up to each person to find which is the right city for them.

More specific the city of Toronto is divided in 6 big areas you can see here:

And each of those areas is divided in a lot of different neighborhoods ^^

In the Toronto Life web page, you can choose an area and a neighborhood to read its characteristics and reviews ;)

Have fun!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Supermarkets

It's time to go to the supermarket, so many choices, so little time... In Toronto we have Rabbas, Sobeys, No Frills, Loblaws and Dominion among others. Rabbas, Sobeys and Dominion are for the most part open 24 hours a day and no frills is the less expensive one of all, which one to use?

A lot of people choose to do their shopping in the less expensive one; a few more choose to go from supermarket to supermarket buying different things in different places, like going to Sobeys for the best fruits, no frills for the rest, and every kind of combination you can think of.

In our case we go to Dominion all the time, and now we are trying to buy shampoo, soap and that kind of things in Shoppers (24 hours Pharmacy), why Dominion? Because is SO close, that's another way of seeing it right? ;)

For your budget, we spend for both of us, around $200 a month. I just heard about $600 a month for 2 adults and 2 adolescents, and in general it depends of the supermarket and what kind of thinks you like to eat :)

And for more specific prices, here you have a flyer for the dominion, or choose any store to see Loblaws flyer, and same with No Frills!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Movie theaters

One of our favourite hobbies is going to the movies, so we try to go every friday! Sometimes we can't manage, or we don't have any movie we'd like to see, but more often than no, you'll find us friday's nights at the movie theater.

There are economic movie theaters and some that are more expensive but in general, you can expect to pay around $11.95 general, and $14.95 for Imax. We pay that in the Cineplex movie theaters, and we really really like them. We have one in the concourse level and we go to another one close to Queen street which has an Imax.

In the food department you can expect to pay around $10 for a food combo (popcorns, nachos, hot dog, etc), and you can find other types of food inside, like eating burger king while watching your movie ;)

Whatever movie theater you choose, try to see if it has special promotions like the cineplex theaters that have the scene card I talked in a past post. That one will give you a free movie every 10 movies, and 10% off in food inside the movie theater :)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

My family was here

As everyone know, my family was here for 15 days, they left on the 20th. I really can't post pictures about it, because I don't want to expose their pictures without their permission and I don't have them ^^ But, for family and friends that want to see them, just let me know! I'll give you the link with a few of them, 3 DVDs of pictures is just too much xD

We did so many things:
- Tim Hortons
- Kensington Market
- Harbourfront
- Toronto Island
- CN Tower
- Wonderland
- Queen street
- Little Italy
- Greektown
- Little Brasil (with a Brasil festival included ;))
- Niagara Falls
- Beisbol game at the Rogers Centre
- The Beaches
- Eaton Centre and York Mills
- My office
- Just walking around the city
- Meeting our friends
- Eating japanese, italian, greek, hot dogs, etc. at home and the street

I miss them, that's impossible not to do, but I know I'll be fine, I know I can do it. I love my new city too much, and my friends... well, they are my new family and I love them!

Besides the memories, my family left me with something else, 6 suitcases of things we left in Venezuela :)

We had to buy 2 new bookcases in Ikea:

And we have back our beautiful wedding album:


With every passing moment, our house is becoming more and more, our home.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

YMCA schedule

For those of you interested in more free workshops with the YMCA, I got the new schedules :)

There were so many classes and so little time that I looked for a better option and found what I was looking for, the online schedules :D

Enjoy!: YMCA

Monday, 1 September 2008

Family life

How do kids and adolescents take it when you take them out of their life and into a new country? A new life?

Kids and adolescents adapt a lot faster than adults, there is no doubt about that, but do they miss something? Most of them miss and need their family... What can you do about it, when your kid is looking for a new grandma or granddad , a new aunt or uncle, and doesn't find it?

Is incredible how your relantionship with other families helps a lot in these cases, since your new friends will be their new family. I found in my new life an adoptive nephew!

This is a drawing he did one day we went out together:

(On the bottom from left to right you have him, his mum and his dad. On the top from right to left you have Igor and me, and we just told him to draw his family!)

A few days ago his beautiful mother, Nelly, told me that Xavi calls me aunt Aiglee, and I went WOW! incredible, I love it, I'm happy of being his aunt Aiglee. Yesterday, we were in his house for the first time and I was distracted doing something when that beautiful boy comes close to me and tells me "auntie, auntie" and I go "yes?" and he says "I love you so much!". I can't start to describe how my heart felt at that moment :) And when we were leaving their house he tells me "I'm going to miss you all day tomorrow and all night!" Ohhh, God, I love my new adoptive nephew!.

Adolescents are not that different. The day before yesterday I met the kids of other friends and she tells me "we are like family now, right?", again, oh my God! so lovely! "Of course, we are family now!".

Please, when you immigrate, choose your friends carefully, since they will be your kids's new family! I'm happy with my friends, and feel honored of them becoming my kids's new second family.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Getting to the airport

There are a few ways to get to the airport:
- Taxi
- Car
- Special buses
- TTC

A taxi from Pearson Airport to Downtown Toronto can cost between $40 and $60 depending of the type of car (if it's a van or a regular car), if you use the taximeter or a flat rate, and what part of Toronto you are going. You can normally pay with credit card but it's always better to ask before hand and is normal to give a tip of 15% to the taxi driver, specially if you have luggage with you and he helps you.

By car you can find directions with a GPS or google maps, so I'll skip that one, and there are so many special buses that you have to look for them and since I didn't use any, I'll leave it to you.

To get to the airport for my family arrival, I used TTC

The buses you have to use depends completely of the time you are taking the bus. I wanted to be at 6:30am at the airport, so I couldn't use the subway and needed to use the midnight bus service. The midnight bus are buses that work when the subway is closed at night and you can take the one to the airport at Eglinton, wich was perfect for me! Is normal price and the duration from Yonge & Eglinton to Pearson Airport is around 1 hour.

Another way if the subway is already open, is using the subway to get to Kipling station and then taking the rocket to the airport (is another bus that only has the airport as a stop); that one took me around 20 minutes the bus and around 40 minutes the subway (from Eglinton to Kipling) and you don't have to pay extra, just your normal TTC rate.

Can you get to the airport using the TTC now?

Ohh, I forgot, the last midnight bus leaves at 4:10am, so when I got to the airport it was like this:

:)

Getting back on track

Hi everyone...

Well, my family is back in Venezuela and I'm almost back to my normal life, so I'll be posting everything soon, just be a little bit patient since I'm still slow catching up with everything and everyone!

I'm also a little bit down since they got back, so my mood is not in writing mode yet :)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Scene card


The scene card, is a points card for the cineplex movie theaters :) Every time you are going to buy movie tickets, you should present your scene card and that will reward you with 100 points per movie.

Every 1000 points you get to see a free movie! So every 10 movies a free movie, no bad at all!! Another benefit is 10% off in food inside the theater, so you get 10% off popcorns, pop, pizza, hamburguers, etc., depending of the movie theater.

The card is free, and you can get it at:
the scene web page or the quiosks at the movie theater. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Average salary

How much can you expect to make?

That's a question that everyone keeps asking, and of course there is no set answer but at least we can have an idea, right? A lot of people have different careers or job opportunities and live in different cities, so maybe this can help.

You can go to Monster salary and choose a job title that it's suited to what you want to know, and the city you are looking for. After selecting those 2 options, you'll be presented with subcategories to what you chose before, select one and click "create salary report".

And there you have it, averages in the area you wanted to see :) Which can go from managers to sales clerk, and a lot of different career paths.

Friday, 1 August 2008

YMCA information sessions

I got an email from YMCA informing me of the information sessions they are going to have in july and august (Sorry, didn't have time to post july), so I wanted to give you the information for august in case someone is interested :)

05/08: Canada: A nation (10am - 12pm)
06/08: Telephone skills & networking (10am - 12pm)
07/08: Your road to employment (5:30pm - 7:30pm)
09/08: Canadian workplace culture (11am - 1pm)
12/08: Your financial rights (10am - 12pm)
13/08: Internationally educated accountants (10am - 12pm)
14/08: You've just arrived (French) (10am - 12pm)
16/08: Ontario education system for students (11am - 1pm)
19/08: Welcome to Toronto! (9:30am - 12pm)
20/08: Internationally educated teachers (10am - 12pm)
21/08: Become an apprentice (5:30pm - 7:30pm)
26/08: Labour market Information (10am -12pm)
30/08: Ontario education system for parents (11am - 1pm)

All the information sessions are free, and you only need to call to (416)928-3362 ext. 2165 to get more information or register to one of them (or more).

Those information sessions will be held at the YMCA at 42 Charles st. east, 3rd floor (less than a block from bloor subway station) and their working hours are monday to thursday from 9am to 8pm, friday from 9am to 2pm and saturdays from 10am to 2pm.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Our work life

I work at Konverge & Know, which is a fairly small company in downtown Toronto for software development. We always have a lot of work in different projects and every day we get more and more xD

The people working with me is from all over the world, we are between 20 and 30 people and the maximum quantity from the same country are 3 from Pakistan and Canada and the rest is 2 or 1 from other countries, which make it pretty interesting :) We all have different cultures and it's really nice to learn from all of them. For example, the latin americans are the only ones that say hi with a kiss every morning (for now, 2 from Venezuela and 1 from Mexico) and the ones from USA and Canada really like how we say hi ^^ 90% of all of them say good morning every morning, and at least half the office likes to talk from anything and everything from time to time, so it's a pretty lively office!

One of them even made me this after the futbol (soccer) game!:

That was my area at one point ;)

We have snacks at the office, a foosball table, and a big tv. We work office hours and if we need to work extra, we can ask them to pay us the hour or we can accumulate them and use them as free days, which is what I'm doing right now, that is why I haven't been a lot here, a LOT of extra hours!.

At Igor's is pretty different, he get's to know a lot of people from all over the world, but they are much much serious (all work and no fun) and they don't pay them extra hours :( even though they work so many!!! He works for Ganz, which is a pretty BIG company that has a "small" project called Webkinz.

Webkinz are small plush animals you can buy almost everywhere, and they come with a code you can use to have your same animal as a virtual mascot in a very big virtual world. Igor is a system administrator for Webkinz and he more or less likes his job :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

My family

I'm so so happy, mi family is coming here for the first time!! I have 2 younger sisters and my dad and mum, and they are all coming here on August 5!

That is why I wanted to tell you that I'll be a little bit lost for a few days (they are staying for 15 days). But don't be afraid, I already wrote a few posts and programmed them so you won't be completely Aiglee free ^^

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Just for laughs

This weekend was the Just for Laughs festival! :)

On friday we went to the Jason Alexander Gala, where we saw 5 comedians at the Massey Hall for more than 2 hours; more than 2 hours laughing the whole while!!! It was soooo good, and we really enjoy it a lot!

Then, we went yesterday to see the street festivals, where you can see living statues:

Comedians:

Contortionists:

And a very big mantis in the middle of the street amoung other things xD

It's really worthwhile and I hope to come back year after year, since it has a lot more things that we didn't have the time or the stamina to see :)

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

In search of...

We are in search of a web designer for a contract of aprox. 3 months where I work, it has to be a permanent resident already in Toronto.

If you are interested, please send me an email to aiglee@yahoo.com with something you've done and your resume :)

I'm sure I know at least a couple of new immigrants with this characteristics but I really can't remember who was it, so please step forward and write to me!!!

Thanks ;)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Batman - The dark knight

On friday a friend of mine asked me what I was going to do this weekend, saying "you always do something big on weekends" and I said "no this weekend, this weekend I'm going to rest and clean the house".

Little did I know that I would wake up this morning at 6am, take the bus south to queen street, raining, take the streetcar west to john street, raining, and be on line at the Scotiabank theater at 7:15am on a rainy sunday, to watch Batman in Imax!!

This is the first time that I go to the movies that early xD specially a sunday, but was it worht it? Oh yes! it was really really good! It's a shame that we didn't have the camera to take pictures of the looong line that was waiting under the rain at 7am ^^

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Air Miles card


The Air Miles card is a point card you can use in several places to gain points you can later trade for something else you want.

So far we've had it for a few months and we have almost 200 points which is not that much but if you manage to forget about exchanging your points, it can be of value at a later time when you already have many more.

So you have an example of where you can use it, we use it at Dominion, Rexall pharmacies, and LCBO; and the whole family collects point to a single account, so you can have multiple cards working for one goal, and the best of all? it's free ;)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Miss Universe 2008 - Venezuela!

No one can deny Venezuelan beauty, and I'm one that loves to say "I'm Venezuelan" and very proud of it!.

We just finished watching Miss Universe 2008 where 4 of the top 5 where latin american women, and Venezuela is the new Miss Universe. We were cheering for her and are very very happy, since the last Miss Venezuela where not that pretty or didn't know english, but this one, inteligent and beautiful, go Venezuela!

Casa Loma

Last week we went to Casa Loma and the Renaissance festival :) I really wanted to go to Casa Loma since it looked really interesting and after looking at everything, I was a little dissapointed.


The castle is impressive but nothing out of this world, and knowing all the money the owner had and that he lost everything buying and doing every single thing he did there, well, it's sad.


The festival was interesting but little, just nice.


We paid $2 extra for the ticket to Men in Tights which was really good and funny and more worth it that everything else in my opinion.


And wanted to see the gardens everybody talked so much about, but it was really a small garden and a lot of trees.

So, if you want to see with your know eyes, it's nice and if you are using a Metro Pass, show it when buying the tickets for $2 off ;) Otherwise, not really worth it.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Toronto Zoo

Yesterday we went to the Toronto Zoo. I've been to a few zoos in my life, in USA and Venezuela, but this one is by far the biggest one and most impressive one I've seen!

It was pretty impressive, the type of animals, the care the zoo gives them, the conservationist programs they have and the freedom some of the animals have, or the interaction the people visiting the zoo can have with some of the animals.

One of the first things we did was to go to the stingray bay, where you can touch the stingrays :D That was pretty amazing, and to make it even better, it turned out that we were there at the exact moment they were going to feed them! That sounded amazing, until they told us, that we (the people there) were the ones to hand feed them!!! They gave us shrimps and sardines and we hand feed them! WOW, you would think it doesn't get better than this.

Then we went to see the rest of the zoo, with ALL kind of animals.

And we even saw a pregnant seahorse!! SO CUTE!!! :D

And we were able to go inside the kangaroo habitat :0


So we are thinking, wow, amazing day, and keep looking at everything else the zoo has to offer, when all of a sudden a little friend walks by!

Yeap, I'm not kidding you, just passing among us!

And last but not least, a beautiful big grizzly bear playing in the water with a ball!

Really amazing, we were so tired after all that, but it was reeeeaaaally worth it! More pictures in my picasa album ;)