Showing posts with label update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label update. Show all posts

Oh Yes We Did

It's been a crazy few weeks! We flew into London and in the two weeks we were there we spent time everywhere from Ystradgynlais and Cardiff to London, Hitchin and Bath. It was the very definition of whirlwind and was genuinely so nice to see everyone. We had a seven day stretch where we didn't sleep in the same bed for more than one day in a row. Exhausting and we both ended up a little bit under the weather from all the mayhem.

Also, did I mention we got hitched in Bangkok on March 21st? No? Well we did and it was lovely and casual and intimate and exactly what we both wanted. I may share a picture later on.

We would have spent more time in the UK, but things started happening very quickly on the job front for me and so we really had to move up our ongoing flight to Vancouver, which is where we are now. We got in on Wednesday night and in the last three days we've spent our time trolling Craigslist and wearing our soles thin house hunting.

The market here is insane. The prices range from the lower end ($1,000 per month) to the high end ($10,000 and up) and the properties are just as diverse. It's a big city and having Vancouver on a listing can mean anything from right downtown to an hour away in Burnaby. We knew we wanted to be either downtown, in Kitsilano, Granville or the Mount Pleasant/Cambie area and we also knew that we wanted at least a two bedroom so that we could accommodate guests and also because we both work from home, it's really important to have enough space and light to want to spend all our time there. Add to that the reality that we intend to move to San Francisco at the beginning of October and thus can only sign a five month rent and you have one tall order.

We've looked at basement hovels and beautiful but tiny downtown apartments, we even looked at an apartment owned by a retired man who is going to Greece for four months. It had an amazing view but was absolutely tiny and it would have meant living with his collection of tapestries and antiques. We looked at so many things, nothing perfect and then we ran into two really great options, both in the same building.

We chose one, filled out the extensive application form (wow! I had to provide more information to qualify for this apartment than I had to provide for my US work visa!) and kept our fingers and toes crossed. We knew it was possibly a long shot because the apartment was extensively shown, but man, we really wanted it.

The call just came through about 15 minutes ago that our references were good and we've got the place. It really feels like winning a lottery in a market like this. The apartment is absolutely lovely (pictures are above) and includes:

  • 1000 square feet of space (you have no idea, this is BIG for Vancouver)
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • A small deck (it's only on the 6th floor, so the view isn't amazing, but with floor to ceiling windows, the light in the apartment is)
  • 1 solarium and one large closet that they like to call a den in these parts
  • granite countertops and stainless steel appliances
  • washer and dryer in the apartment
  • the building has 24 hour facilities that are included: a big swimming pool, a well equipped fitness center, a hot tub, concierge, big screen movie room and game/party room with a pool table. 
It's also downtown, about five minutes walk from Yaletown and about 10 minutes to the buzzy Robson area and very near to a range of public transportation. Apart from the fact that we would have liked to be higher than the sixth floor, it's pretty effin' perfect. 

We're meeting our new landlord at 1 PM to sign the contract and pay the deposit. Everyone, keep your fingers and toes crossed that it doesn't fall through. 

I'm flying out to Palo Alto tomorrow for two weeks of amazingness and my goodness, it would be good to know we've got our long term living arrangements sorted before I get on that airplane!

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Travel Plans Sometimes Change

For those of you who were worried about me after I posted that quote yesterday - don't be. I just thought it was beautiful but yes, a little intense.

Things here are good but a bit stressed. We are working on wrapping up about four projects and are just really looking forward to taking some time in December to relax. Having too much work is really a good thing for people in our situation (freelancers without a stable paycheck), but we're both feeling a little bit burned out. Also, we're half way through our last week in Tokyo and try as I might to stay calm, I always get a little tense as I begin to emotionally prepare to move on to a new apartment, a new city. We've gotten really comfortable here - we have our little corner store, our favorite local pub (Standing Bar Clover in Shinjuku - we love you!), our nightly ritual of ice cream - and as much as I love this vagabonding life style, you do give up that warm comfort of the familiar every time you move on. Occasionally it all feels very sweet and I begin to feel a little less like Kerouac in On the Road and a little more like the protagonist in Last Night in Montreal (a good book - go read it).

On Sunday we'll be taking the train south to Osaka and Kyoto where we'll intersperse working with taking in the stunning turning of the leaves and enough shrines to last a life time. I'm looking forward to it - but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things we're working to get done in the meantime.

In other news, today there was an escalation in the conflict between North and South Korea. North Korea bombed a small South Korean island and South Korea responded in kind. All is quiet at the moment but of course the international heavyweights (America, the UK and China) have all weighed in and it remains to be seen whether this is just a blip or something to be worried about. We are due to take the ferry to South Korea on December 10th where we were planning to stay, mostly in Seoul, until January 3rd. Now we're kind of second guessing ourselves and wondering if we shouldn't just spend the holidays somewhere cheap and cheerful like Laos. I'm going to sleep on it.

For those of you who are interested, we've been involved in a few interesting projects lately:

  • Last week the Groubal Customer Satisfaction Index website launched. It takes social media data from places like Facebook and Twitter and analyzes sentiment to determine how satisfied the customers of over 200 brands are. The data updates hourly. It's pretty cool. 
  • To complement the game, we also worked on a stock market like Facebook game that allows players to try to anticipate how companies will rank, earning or losing game currency depending on whether they make the right bets. 
  • Yesterday I published an article on Contentini called Micro Copy: Content Strategy and Writing the User Interface, which is getting quite a bit of web love. For the most part, I find the content strategy community really encouraging and connected. It feels like we're forging new territory and instead of fighting for a piece of a pie, we're working together to try and build the best knowledge base possible to do truly outstanding work. 
  • I try to update A Tramp Abroad once a week. My last three posts have gotten 18, 36 and 20 comments and it's great to be able to connect with such a great group of travelers over there. 
Good night Internet. 

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