Monday, June 11, 2012

midlife monday: things that are true

Tom Nook's house

Way back, when I thought that mid-thirties was midlife (ha ha), I would never in a million years have thought I would be cruising through middle age in a country other than my birthland.

But I am, and about a decade later for the former and 8000km away for the latter.

I've conveniently postponed midlife to a more reasonable age and been happily settled here in Canada for the last decade. When I arrived here, I was full of youth, naivety and curiosity; now I'm just curious. In those early days as a new immigrant, the internet was definitely my friend. Answers I needed to the myriad of trailing-spouse-accompanying-skilled worker questions which dogged my attempts to obtain driving licences (no, an international licence is not valid longer than 3-months), sort out volunteer work (yes, i needed a work visa to volunteer) and learn about renters' rights were available ... but only if I found the right telephone number. Through a lot of trial-and-error I discovered that customer service here though friendly and prompt was essentially useless; it took a minimum of three calls on different days to different people to get all the advice needed.

Life would have been a lot better with a friendly online expat forum, such as the couple linked in the sidebar. Expats sign up from where they have landed and can ask questions or offer advice based on their hard-won experiences in situ. The personal touch always wins and it's a great resource for current residents, fresh expats or those thinking about relocation.

One of these excellent resources is Expat Blog which covers thirteen destinations in Canada, ranging from  Alberta to Winnipeg. It's recently launched another couple of useful services for expats in Canada, Jobs and Housing, both of which can be localised to specific cities. Here you can search the listings and even post your own classifieds. In Jobs, you can also post your resume for potential employers to see. Although they're a little quiet and I'm not a frequent visitor to expat advice websites these days (been there, done that though I will probably post my CV on the Jobs site to see if I can find some freelance writing contracts though), they are definitely worth pinning to your Favourites just in case.

Adjusting to my expat life would have been a whole lot easier with these resources at my fingertips.

PS: Expat Blog approached me to write about their new Jobs and Housing sections, to publicise their release. I haven't used any of the services offered but I do check out the site from time-to-time.
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