Vancouver, Canada

Macarena&Dastin  (174)Well it’s been half a year since my last post which tends to happen when I get very busy, which I have been. Since my last post my life has changed a lot. I got married to my beautiful wife Macarena. We moved together from Chile to Canada in early April. After 2 weeks visiting my friends and family in Saskatchewan we moved to our new home in West End Vancouver. We have lived here in Vancouver for nearly 3 months and I started my new job 8+ weeks ago. All these things have kept me very busy, including selling everything we owned in Chile/Canada and buying all new things in Vancouver, which involved building a truck full of IKEA furniture and setting up an entire apartment of BestBuy electronics. I am very happy and things have been going great. We have made friends here in Vancouver already, many of which are Chilean natives which my wife found on a Facebook group.

All ours, all from IKEA.I lived in Santiago for a total of 194 days and I really enjoyed my time there. I did quit my job as an English teacher so I could focus on all these things I had planned, but I enjoyed the work and the people I got to speak with. Hopefully Maca’s parents can visit us in Canada near the end of 2015 but it is a bit expensive and nothing is for sure yet. We have been dragging our feet on finishing the immigration documentation which will mean a longer wait time for my wife to get her visa, but it also has some positives because it gives even greater proof of our relationship as we have begun our life together here in Canada.

3D movie at aquariumWe are really enjoying living in Vancouver and I think it’s a very nice city. I have been to a lot of cities in the world, as this blog shows, but I think Vancouver is one of my favorites. Also it helps that I am Canadian so I have no legal restrictions on my status here. Our apartment is beautiful with an amazing view and we have had a few small get-togethers with friends already and they have enjoyed it also. I finally have a computer again after 4 years of not having a desktop, it’s nice to get to build a PC again and a fast user experience. I also moved to the Galaxy S6 for my phone which is extremely fast for a phone and I am very happy with it.

Macarena&Dastin  (493)I am enjoying married life and all that comes with it, good or bad. We are getting stronger as a couple everyday I feel and slowly working through any new things that come up. I am happy that the life I thought we could have in Canada has become a reality. I feel very fortunate for having the skills, knowledge and experience required to build a life like this. My time traveling has been invaluable in teaching me social and life skills that have helped me greatly here in Vancouver. Travel will always be part of my life and my history but now that I am married it will be different, and I am fine with that. I feel like these past 4 years I have got to live the dream of travel that I and many others have had. It was fun and exciting and different and stimulating. I think my future travels will be with my family for shorter periods of time to different places for different reasons. I still want to see so much, but I am content to slow down my pace of adventure and to work on growing my family and my life as it is now.

Santiago, Chile (Day 135)

IMG_20141213_142532659It’s been a very busy month since my last post. Maca and my plans have been moving fast and we are getting things organised for our future. We now plan to be in Saskatoon, Canada for a wedding reception my parents are throwing for me in early April. On February 21st we are getting our civil marriage certificate which is the legal marriage document from Chile. It is recognised throughout the world but I may need to register it with the Canadian embassy here. We have a nice little ceremony and reception planned at Maca’s aunts and her family will be there also. Then we have the wedding on March 28th in a nice church before we go to a very very nice reception that her parents are graciously throwing us as a gift. We have our wedding rings purchased on hope to begin wearing them right after the civil marriage.

I am also going to Argentina this weekend because I need to renew my tourist visa again if it’s going to last until early April when we fly to Canada. I had a chance to get a work visa because my current employer gave me a contract but I found out the fee is over $150 USD and I would have to wait 3+ months for it to be processed. I would also have to wait for a $15 USD temporary visa if I applied for a spouse which doesn’t work either. It’s best that I get my tourist visa renewed and in the future if I will be in Chile for at least 3-4 months I will apply as a spouse, which requires waiting and registering with the Police once accepted. Speaking of my job I have sent in my 4 week notice to quit because I need time to focus on my future and I currently only have 2 students that barely gets me $300 CAD per month.

I realised today that my first post on the blog was on Feb 15th, 2011 in which I talked about my plans to travel the world. Now I post today, nearly 4 years later about my plans to get married in Chile. It’s been an amazing 4 years that have shaped my life and future more then I could have imagined. My next post will hopefully include pictures of my civil marriage and possibly the wedding as well. If I don’t post for a while then I may be in Canada and if that is the case I hope to have a nice apartment with Maca and will have much things to post.

Santiago, Chile (Day 98)

Christmas with MacaIts been over 3 months in Santiago now and I got a visa extension last week for $100 USD which has extended my stay in Chile until March 26th, 2015. I hope that my job as an English teacher will be able to get me a work visa in January which will let me stay until early 2016. Work has been going well and I now teach 4 classes a week, twice a week for 1.5 hours each. Half my classes have 2 students and the other half with 1 student. They are at very professional business around Santiago working with companies such as KPMG and NEC. I hope to have a few more classes in the future and to change one class that requires a metro which is something I would rather not use.

IMG_20141226_215502874In other, much bigger news, I am now engaged to be married! I proposed to my Chilean girlfriend on New Years Eve in front of her family and fireworks in the city of Valparaiso. She said yes and we are very happy and in love. We have only known each other for 6 months but it feels very right and we have a very honest and open relationship. Our plan is to move to Vancouver, Canada after the wedding here in Chile. I hope we can move in late May or early June we plan to find a place near Stanley Park in the West End for $1,200-1,350/month. Our finances will be a challenge for the first year or 2 I believe but I hope very much to find a job in IT that can have me making $40,000+/year, which isn’t unreasonable in Vancouver.

Once we are married I hope to sponsor my wife to become a permanent resident of Canada, a process which takes 16-24 months currently. Luckily some laws have recently changed that will make things much easier for her immigration. The first law change in November 2014 was Chile being given visa-exempt status for Canada, an honor that only Chile has in all of Latin America. This means she can come to Canada without applying for a visa and stay for 6 months as a visitor. The second law change is a 1 year pilot program the government is trying which started December 2014 that will fast track her application for an open work visa without her having to wait for processing of her permanent resident application. This rule is just for people apply for permanent resident visas via spousal sponsorship and will make it so she can get an open work visa in 1-4 months instead of having to wait 12-16 months as it has been in the past. So these changes have been great and with time, money, luck and a lot of paperwork I hope to have her as a permanent resident within 2 years of entering Canada.

Santiago, Chile (1 Month)

Me & MacaFor those who haven’t been following my blog or posts in Facebook recently, I left Canada September 26th after being home for a little over 3 weeks. I decided I wanted to move to Santiago and be with my girlfriend who I love and who I have been talking with ever since I left the first time in early July. Things have been going very well this first month. I feel at home here with her and we get along very well. We have had the occasional disagreement and miscommunication but I think it’s very natural and they are very infrequent.

Passport2 Days ago I had a job interview for English teaching freelance work and I did well and got the job. I have already been scheduled for 2 classes, each will be 12 hours a month for 1.5 hours each. These will be with KPMG and I get to wear my suit that I bought recently which I like. More good news is that this job will help me get my Work visa which will allow me to legally work and live in Santiago for 1 year. I hope to have 6-8 students at 8,000 CLP ($16 CAD) an hour, 7,200 CLP after taxes. I have some debt ($10,500 CAD) from my previous year of travels that my parents are graciously helping me with which I really appreciate, although I intend to help a lot with the money I make here. During all my travels thus far I have paid for everything myself but my parents really wanted to help me with this and I decided to accept their offer. This year of travels from San Francisco and through South/Central America cost me roughly $16,500 CAD total. If I added up everything over 32 months of travel since March 2011 I have spent roughly $45,000 CAD on travel.

I have been practicing my Spanish slowly and not speaking Spanish as much as I should be but hopefully this will change in time. I’ve organized some contacts through CouchSurfing of people who want to practice Spanish with me but I have been going at a relaxed pace this month so haven’t setup actual meetings yet. My girlfriend and I have tickets for a Halloween party and decided to dress as fancy modern gothic style vampires which should be fun. I have lunch with her almost everyday during her lunch break and walk home with her after work. I plan to be living in Santiago till at least the end of 2015 and if things go really well I would like to move to Vancouver with my girlfriend who could be my wife by this time. Wish me luck and thanks for reading.