Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let's do this

So I'd like to start my blog now. I've tried a few times in the past but all I ended up with were test posts and pictures. I also wanted to start this as soon as I arrived in Canada but I kept putting it off for one reason or another.

So what I'll do is post what's been going on with me ever since I left (December 25, 2006). I'll keep at this until I finally catch up with the present time. I'll post entries as if I had posted them on the day itself.

This blog really won't have much focus. Sometimes I'll post some information about life here. Some of this could be useful for Pinoys wanting to move to Winnipeg. Sometimes I'll post stuff from my younger days (Well, the days before I started this blog). Maybe some stuff about my work in I.T. I'm a programmer by the way. Well trying to be one here, that is.

So there you go. Let's see how far this goes. (And if anyone cares hehehe)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I Want a Pet!

We went to Polo Park today. And as usual, I wanted to pass by the pet store. Petland is the name of the place. I was surprised to find a pet store with actual pets in them. (If that sounded stupid to you, read about "Puppy Mills") They don't seem to be your typical "puppy mill" pet store though since this store only sells mixed breeds or purebreds without papers. Anyway, visit their website and you be the judge.

One of the attendants let us hold one of the puppies (mixed poodle I think). It was nice to hold a dog again. This was only the 2nd time since I left the Philippines. It was still sad though. Our current situation won't allow us to have pets. When we move out, we'll probably move into an apartment which doesn't allow pets. It's probably going to be a long time before I have a house and lot of my own. So little experiences like this are gonna have to do in the meantime.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nice coincidence

Had 2 interviews today. I kinda had a feeling with the first one that I wouldn't get it. The other one meanwhile seemed quite interested. Interestingly, the addresses of these companies were St. Mary's Avenue and St Mary's Road respectively.

As I got off the bus downtown coming from the interviews, I saw my wife exiting Winnipeg Square on the way to Tim Horton's (coffee shop). That was a nice coincidence.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dog in the Office, Bus stop photographer

I had a couple of job interviews this week. None of them had anything immediate or promising. One of them though was a bit amusing as the company owners (who was interviewing me), had his dog with him at their office. She (a yellow Labrador retriever) was very friendly and approached me several times looking to be pet. I want a dog. I also had an interesting experience at the bus stop today. I was on my phone, checking the bus schedule, when suddenly this lady was in front of me taking pictures. She probably noticed that I was a bit surprised, so she explained that she was doing a photo essay. I just smiled and said "ok", as I pretended she wasn't there (this is probably what she wanted). After that, she went on her way. I kinda regret not asking her if she'd have an exhibit or something.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bus Wars

Me and Mean witnessed a fight in the bus today. There were 2 guys harassing these other 2 guys (probably both groups in High School). I'll call the harassers the "white boys", and the other group the "not white boys". Not to turn this into a racial post, but this is the only way I can think of distinguishing them. Eventually the white boys took their seats but they all kept jawing back and forth. I remember hearing these (roughly):

white boy:"Let's go b**ch"
not white 1: "I'm not a b**ch!"

white boy: "You gonna call your dad?"
not white 1: "You don't wanna mess with my dad, he's gonna f*** you up"

not white 2 on phone: "Get the baseball bat in my room"

not white 1: "Meet us at ___, these guys are harassing us."

not white 1 (mom seemed to be scolding him on the phone): "Mom! I got it!"

A little later, this stocky, kinda scary looking guy got on the bus.

not white 1: "Hey ___, you really look scared seeing my dad"
not white 1's Dad to son: "Just don't talk"

not white 1's dad: "Next stop, guys" (seemingly inviting them to get down at the next stop if they wanted to fight)

As the not whites were going down, the whites followed behind them. After the not whites got off, the whites stopped at the door just as it was closing. Unfortunately for them, one of the not whites was able to get a hand on the door, causing it to open again. They then pulled the white guy closest to the door off the bus. The other one got out too to help his friend. 2 of the non-whites ganged up on one white. The dad probably took on the other one (I couldn't really see them). While this was happening, the bus driver shouted out that the cops were coming. At the end of it all, the white guys didn't look too good when they retrieved their things from the bus.

An interesting trip. I have a few observations
- It probably isn't nice to be known as the guy who calls for his dad when he might get into a fight. (and bragging about it too)
- You can't rely on bus doors automatically closing to get you out of a fight

Then again, I don't know the whole story. I just wish my future kids stay out of trouble.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Police Station

A job opening I found from a recruiter requires government security clearance. A fingerprint card is one of the requirements for this so the recruiter advised me to send her this. This can be acquired from the Public Safety Building at 151 Princess St. (near city hall). So I decide to go with mean when she goes to work (since it's on the way).

For our bus route, there are a few areas where the bus stops for longer than usual. I presume this is for the driver to take a bathroom break and/or to kill a bit of time if the bus is ahead of schedule. In one of these stops, I spotted a bird of prey type on the ground. It turns out that it was eating a pigeon. The bus might have run over it's dinner so it perched itself on top of a pile of hardened snow, waiting for the bus to leave. It probably wasn't much bigger than it's victim. Never saw much of that in the Philippines. I should really bring my camera more often.

Anyway, it wasn't so hard to find the police station. It seemed more like an office building then the police stations I'm used to. I paid the $52 (damn!) fee at a window in the lobby and proceeded to the 2nd floor. The receptionist seemed very nice and was quite helpful. I had to call the recruiter since they needed more detail on the purpose for getting fingerprints. After a short wait they called me in. They took my photo and let me fill up a short information sheet (I think it was straight to the computer). After another short wait, a police officer came in to do the fingerprinting. After cleaning my hands I had my fingerprints and I was done. I was a bit surprised they didn't keep a copy for their records. Anyway, I'll mail these prints out. I hope it leads to some possible work.

Winnipeg police:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Success Skills end

Today was the last day of the Success Skills workshop. I'm still gonna see a lot of them though since they assign us to career counselors who will meet with us regularly to help us with our job hunting. I've been assigned to Sarab. With what I've seen of her, I think I'm pretty lucky. She seems to be the perfect person to help with interview skills which I think is my weakness at the moment. So there, it's time to bombard the IT job market.

Monday, January 8, 2007

First Job Interview

Today, I had my first job interview. It didn't go too well. They kinda criticized my resume and interview skills. They still asked me to revise it so that might be good. I'm starting to wonder if I should stop submitting job applications until I at least finish the Resume writing and Interview skills portion of Success Skills workshop which started it's regular sessions today.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

My Wife the Shampoo Model + Banks

Me and Mean went out today to convert her bank accounts into joint accounts. First stop was TD Canada Trust. We had to wait a bit before they called us in but they apologized. The bank representative was very friendly and did all the typing of my information. Soon we had our joint account and I had my card.

Next stop was President's Choice Financial. PC Financial is under the same ownership of Superstore (I think). All PC Financial branches I know of are located in Superstore branches. We also had to wait a while here since there was only one bank rep serving us. Once we were served, things went fairly quickly and I got my card.

Oh and an interesting incident. As my wife and I were leaving Superstore, an old lady was coming in. She stopped my wife and said something like: "Have you seen the shampoo commercial on TV where the girl had long, black hair and she was so pretty? You remind me of her!". While she was doing this, she was stroking Mean's hair. My wife has long black hair by the way so I guess she remembered those ads where the shampoo model whips her hair all over the place. This is a good example of how differently strangers can interact here. My introverted personality is gonna need an overhaul.

Other news: I'm gonna have my first job interview on Monday with an IT consulting firm. I also have an interview set up by one of the recruiters on Tuesday. This is definitely good news. I'm sure I'm gonna be nervous as hell though.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Success Skills and Recruiters

I got some calls from a couple of recruiters. Both of them are based outside Winnipeg but have some openings here. One of them had an opening that required me to get government security clearance so she sent me the forms I needed to fill out. The other had an opening that required Crystal Reports skills (I've been seeing a LOT of those jobs). Hopefully these lead me somewhere good.

Today I also attended the orientation for Success Skills Center workshop. Basically, they're a not-for-profit organization that assists immigrant professionals find work in their field. This will be a 2 week workshop where we will be taught things like resume format, interview skills, work environment, culture, etc.

Naturally, the first people I was able to talk to were fellow pinoys. I met around 4. There were probably around 30 attendees with various ethnic backgrounds. In addition to that, a fellow Pinoy who I met at Success Skills told me that he thought I was Chinese. Had to throw that in :)

One of the pinoys related how she had self-esteem problems working in a survival job which I totally understand. This is probably thanks to wrong expectations. Thankfully, my expectations aren't so high since my wife arrived here first and told me how it really was. It's easy for one to be taken by surprise thanks to the "points system" where if you pass, you would expect that you can get a job in your field. You are led to believe that you are what Canada is looking for. They seem to be getting better at this though as they mentioned that you might not get a job in your original field in this seminar I attended before leaving the Philippines. Oh well, I hope this workshop helps me, her and everyone else attending.