Shelli: how's it going, eh?
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Vancouver, etc.
Hi! My name is Shelli, I'm a Japanese American Valley Girl from Los Angeles! I officially moved to Vancouver in July 2012!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
When my husband and I were married in Kauai in 2010, I started blogging as a way to have my friends along for the all the antics leading up to the big day! Then, it became a way to keep friends and family up to date with my life. Now, it's been helping me connect with new people and friends!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My favorite post is of our wedding day.
Another post is about Calgary and a behind-the-scene look at the TV show, “Hell on Wheels”.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Vancouver differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Even though I'm only a 2 ½ hour flight away from Los Angeles, life in Vancouver is VERY DIFFERENT from Los Angeles! Well, the weather for one thing is like night and day! Rain, rain, rain, rain as opposed to almost 365 days of sunshine! Also, the sense of humor here in Canada is different than what I'm used to.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Vancouver? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think it's been pretty easy to adjust to Vancouver coming from America. The only thing I would have changed is to hire an immigration lawyer A LOT SOONER!!!!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I would say the different words that Canadians use. At first, when someone would say something to me, I would give them a blank look because I didn't understand what they were saying! Toque=hat, till=register, buggy=shopping cart! Whaaaat?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Vancouver?
I'm glad that I grew up driving the mean streets of Los Angeles, because I feel that it gave me the skills to drive in Vancouver. Not necessarily because Vancouver's streets are crowded or aggressive. But, you DEFINITELY have to drive defensively! Be very aware when you are driving in Vancouver, because many drivers here don't really adhere to the rules because there are a large amount of new drivers and to add that with the low visibility in the rain, you really have to pay a lot of attention!
Don't let your guard down. This is still a city, where people can try and get the best of you. When I first moved here, I was taken advantage of by a horrible locksmith, who overcharged me and did a really shoddy job.
Explore!!! There are so many great communities in Vancouver! It's amazing for me to live in a city where a short, 25 minute drive can take you to a place where the birds are singing, there are no crowds and you are surrounded by gorgeous nature!!!
How is the expat community in Vancouver? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Yes, I'm having a hard time meeting new friends in Vancouver. I'm going through immigration right now, so I'm not allowed to work – this makes it more difficult to meet new people. But I just signed up with Meetup.com, so I will try and get out there more!
How would you summarize your expat life in Vancouver in a single, catchy sentence?
A Japanese-American Southern California Valley Girl marveling at the wonderful, wacky ways of Vancouver!