Cancun – 10th June 2018

June 10th 2018

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I’m currently staying at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun resort in Punta Cancun.
I’ve only been here 5 hours and I’m already ready to write a post about how fabulous this resort is!! (And no I’m not getting paid to say that)

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I’m actually here for work, for what Travel agents call a ‘FAM trip’ or a ‘Famil’
Basically we head off to these wonderful cities somewhere around the world and experience the destination so we can then sell it to our clients. This might mean we experience a certain hotel chain (eg Playa Resorts), tour (eg, Top deck or Contiki) or a cruise.
If you’re picked for a FAM, it’s an awesome way to test out a product before you sell it – not to mention you only pay a a couple of hundred dollars or nothing at all to experience an awesome short vacation.

Since moving to Canada, I’ve seen how much of a market there is for travel to Central America and I really struggle to sell Cancun or anywhere in Mexico because I’ve never been before! Coming from NZ, it’s not really a popular destination as it’s so far away for us to travel to.
However, Canadians love an all-inclusive resort!

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If you’re reading this from New Zealand you may ask yourself, what is an all inclusive??It’s basically a package (usually to Mexico or the Caribbean) where your flights, transfers, accommodation, all your food & drinks, nightly entertainment and activities are included in one set price.
You can buy these all-inclusive packages online or through a travel agent (such as myself)
Most resorts in Mexico are ‘all inclusive’. Depending on where you stay, you can experience the best all-you -can-eat food and drink all the while relaxing in the pool or at the beach.

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I have been absolutely spoilt and have started off my FAM at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun which is a 5-star all-inclusive luxury resort situated on the beautiful white sanded beach of Cancun. The resort has beautiful spacious rooms, 17 restaurants, lounges and bars and 3 infinity pools overlooking the ocean. *heaven*

Let me take you back from the beginning of my exciting day….
This morning I woke up to the bright early time of 5am. I had a flight to catch at 8:30am so I had to be at the airport 2 hours beforehand.
After quickly repacking my stuff into a bigger suitcase (I had originally just packed a carry-on bag the night before) my lovely boyfriend Nathan got out of bed to drop me off at the airport. Thank God we only live 9 minutes away because we were basically there when I realised I forgot my passport!
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After quickly driving back home and finding it in a cupboard somewhere, Nathan took me back to the airport and waved me goodbye.
I met some of the other girls from the FAM trip and we all got breakfast at the fast food chain A&W. (Just some healthy stuff like pancakes, toast and eggs haha)

After our semi-satisfying breakfast we went to the convenience store at the airport and grabbed some snacks for the flight before sitting down in the sun and watching the planes take off. Vancouver airport is very quiet on a Sunday may I add! There was literally no one around but the people waiting to go to Cancun.

Our Westjet flight was delayed due to some technical difficulties but we were soon on-board and taking off at around 9:30am.
I’d never flown Westjet before but I’m so happy I did because I thought they were great! The flight attendants were funny, the pilot stood at the front of the plane before we started flying to introduce himself and they even played some Mexican music when we landed in Cancun. Not to mention the legroom was great!
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You can pay for Economy plus if you like (where you get extra leg room and neighbour free guarantee) but I was sitting in the row behind economy Plus and I thought I had so much leg room already! Not to mention I lucked out and had no one sitting next to me the whole flight.

The flight from Vancouver to Cancun took around 6 hours. They don’t provide food on-board but you can purchase it if you wish or pre-order it before your flight.
The also don’t have seat-back entertainment but you can bring your own tablet or smartphone and download the Westjet App.
Here you can connect to in-flight wi-fi and watch TV shows or movies on the app which is really easy to use.

20180610_145226.jpgOnce I arrived into Cancun, the baggage collection was really easy. As it’s not Cancun’s peak season, the airport there was pretty quiet too. I was advised that as soon as I left the terminal there would be lots of companies holding their signs up trying to get me to stay at their resort or to catch a taxi with them so I was prepped beforehand to just ignore them and find the transfer company that had already been organised.
When I found them, everything was seamless. We used Best Day Travel for their transfer service and they were great!IMG_20180610_190956_810.jpg

I got a cold towel as soon as I met them, along with a cold bottle of water. They loaded my suitcase into the van and even attached my neck pillow to it so I wouldn’t lose it (it’s the little things I appreciate)
The ride took about 25 minutes to Hyatt Ziva Cancun from the airport. We passed many of the resorts I usually sell through work but the Hyatt was definitely one of the better ones!

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As soon as I walked in to the resort, It was so beautiful. There’s these gorgeous steps leading down to the infinity pools and you can see out to the ocean from whatever room you’re in. We got a welcome drink on arrival and the bellboy took my bag to my room which was helpful.
I then had a quick 15 minutes to get ready before I had to meet everyone else downstairs for our A La carte dinner. I made such a mess in the bathroom with my stuff scattered everywhere but I made sure to take some pictures beforehand to show how nice everything was!

20180610_184657.jpg20180610_184717.jpgThere was a special set menu for us at dinner time. I’m like the fussiest eater ever (hate seafood with a passion) so I wasn’t overly fussed with the menu. Thankfully, the staff and cook were so nice about it they made me my own chicken dish with vegetables

After dinner we were free to do as we liked. Some of the group went off to the bar to have some drinks whereas me and a few of the other girls went to Pastels, the dessert parlour.
This was my heaven! Hyatt Ziva has a parlour open until midnight every night serving everything from donuts, cakes and candy floss to ice-cream and gummy lollies!
20180610_215145.jpg20180625_134536.jpg20180610_215159.jpgAfter sampling a few treats, it was off to bed!
I know, call me crazy but I was sooo tired. It was hot and I’d been traveling all day, all I wanted to do was to go to bed and enjoy my clean comfy room.
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Remember how I said I left the bathroom in such a mess before dinner?
Well when I got back to my room, I noticed that the housekeeping had tided everything up for me before laying chocolates next to my bed and turning down the duvet.
It’s honestly the little things like that, that I appreciate when it comes to staying at hotels and resorts. Sometimes you don’t remember what the room looked like, however you do remember how they may have left a little note in your room to enjoy your stay or maybe the staff went out of their way to make sure you had a wonderful time. Customer service is a massive thing for me!

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By this stage, it was around 11pm when I video called my boyfriend back in Canada to brag about how much of a great time I was having already 😉
It was then that I remembered that the resort had 24 hour room service….
Now, you might know from reading my blogs that I don’t really splash out on hotels all the time. Most of my travel has been staying in hostels and maybe the odd air b’n’b to save some money so to know that I could deliver food to my room and it wouldn’t cost me a thing was an absolute treat!
This is one of the fattiest things I’ve probably done in my life, I wasn’t really that hungry but I ordered room service just because I could.
I looked on the menu and decided on some guacamole and chips, potato tacos and a strawberry cheesecake.

20180611_000748.jpgI felt like a queen!
I had a bite out of everything, washed it down with a beverage from the mini bar and then headed off to sleep.

My first day in Cancun wasn’t too bad at all!
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Part 2 coming soon!

Vancouver Update!

You can tell I’ve been busy as I haven’t uploaded a post in quite a while!
This whole ‘settling into a new country’ thing actually takes up quite a bit of time.
When I first got here and was staying at the hostel, I was doing so many activities or meeting new people that I found it really hard to sit down and write about my experiences!

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Streets of the city Downtown

However you can now officially call me a Vancouveriette, or maybe one in training!
I’m still getting to know the area but I don’t need to use Google Maps for a lot of things. I know the three SkyTrain routes and where they go, I can even drive to some places without any help – yay! 🙂

I also now have a place to call home.
When I first got here, I pre-arranged a place to live for 2 months from the Facebook Page ‘Kia Ora Vancouver‘ (Check it out if you’re a New Zealander wanting to come live in Vancouver)
I sub-leased a room from a Kiwi guy who was going away for work at the end of January. As I arrived in Jan, I spent the first couple of weeks at the Samesun Hostel and then moved into my new place later on that month. (living with two Irish guys).

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My first home in Vancouver!

The houses here are so big.
The room I first moved into was quite small (paying around CAD$750 a month) but one of the Irish guys ended up moving out so I moved into his room which was a bit bigger which was nice.
As Vancouver has such a housing problem, most houses actually have more than one family living in them. In the house I moved into, we occupied all of the upstairs however there was one guy living downstairs on the left hand side and what I assume was a lady on the right hand side. (I never ever saw her but they had cat curtains so I assumed it was a lady)
Funnily enough, you never run into each other because each renter has their own separate entrance. There’s doors that connect to the inside of the house but they’re completely blocked off so you wouldn’t be able to just walk into someone’s living room. Crazy to think one house has like three separate kitchens!

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Area around where I work

I was pretty organised and got myself a job before I arrived here.
Once I’d explored Vancouver for a few weeks and moved into my new place, I begun working for the same Travel Agency I used to work for back home.
Luckily I got a week of training beforehand because even though we use the same flight booking system as back home, the quoting system and a few other things were completely different! I honestly felt like it was my first day all over again.
Even now, I’ve been there for about 2 months and I still don’t know so many things. The travel market is so different here too. Most people wait till the last minute to book things and so many people go to Mexico for ‘All Inclusive’ packages!
Back home, Fiji, Rarotonga and Australia were the top destinations I always sold, I’d never even sent someone to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta until recently.

Vancouver is such an awesome experience – but how do people ever go away on holiday here??
From what I understand, Canadians only get 2 weeks annual leave a year. (Back home it’s 4 weeks) however I was lucky enough that my company ‘transferred’ my employment over from NZ so I end up getting 3 weeks leave as I’ve ‘been’ with the company for over a year which makes me entitled to more.

20180329_161153-1.jpgIf you follow me on Instagram or read any of my Facebook/IG stories, you probably have noticed that my boyfriend moved over to be with me in Canada!!

I did feel bad for leaving him – as in cried my eyes out and didn’t want to leave on my final day in New Zealand. However, I knew that if I didn’t do this I’d always regret it. I’ve always wanted to live overseas at some stage in my life and I didn’t want to look back and wish I took the chance while I still could.
I’m glad he ended up coming. To be honest, if I didn’t make the move first, we’d still be sitting at home saying “one day we’ll go here or there….” so it was up to one of us to make the first move 🙂

When he first arrived, we lived at the flat for about a month until we could find our own place.
It wasn’t the warmest for our first few weeks in Canada. It even started snowing but it left as quickly as it came.

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About to catch the bus to work when it first started Snowing

As I had to be out of the flat I was in by April the 1st, we started looking for somewhere to live in March. Finding somewhere to live is actually really hard, luckily for us we got the first place we applied for!
It was a bit out of our budget but I’m so glad we chose it.
We live in this beautiful house in a really nice area. We’re literally just down the road from the mall and only a 8 minute walk to the Skytrain. Instead of me taking a bus and a train to work like I used to, I just take the train and it takes me about 15 minutes on a good morning.20180420_154551.jpg
The house is a bit deceitful in that picture haha! We actually don’t occupy the whole thing, We live downstairs in what they call a ‘basement apartment’
Our landlords live in the main house with their 2 teenage children and me and Nathan live downstairs. We have our own entrance, 2 bedrooms, kitchen & lounge area and our own bathroom 🙂
Even though it’s a basement, we have natural light coming through and both the bedroom’s and living area have windows. We even have our own mailbox and recycling schedule so we’re pretty separate from the people upstairs!
We’ve lived here for about a month and I’ve only seen the owners like twice! They’re either really really quiet or I just come home from work too late haha.

Before we found a place, we also bought a car.
Our first big purchase together!
Don’t even get me started on how much it costs to own a car here….let’s just say we pay what the car is worth in Insurance per year. If Nathan ever runs into someone I will strangle him myself.

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First Car, just a cheeky little Ford Escape to get us from A – B

When we moved into our place, we literally had nothing but a few suitcases full of our clothes and personal items. The good thing about rentals here is if you get a good one, they’ll already come with the oven, fridge, (sometimes microwave) and washer/dryer.
As our place is relatively new, all the appliances are nice and in great working order, we just had to buy our own bedroom and lounge furniture which has definitely been the most expensive purchases so far.
Screenshot_20180401-145158.jpgWe splashed out and spent nearly $2,000 on a mattress, bed frame and bed-side tables but we got our couch second-hand from a girl in Vancouver for like $400.

When we moved in we didn’t actually have a bed as it was going to be delivered to us 3 days after our move-in date. (We were planning to just sleep on the couch) however when we went to pick up the couch, the girl was moving out and had a spare bed that she ended up giving to us for like $50. Thank god she did because our bed ended up taking 2 weeks to arrive!!

When the bed eventually arrived and we got it all set up we realized we ordered a bed that was far too big. As in it’s incredibly high!!!
It literally comes up to my hips and I have to do a little jump to get into bed every night.
Nathan and I thought it was funny until the first night when we couldn’t sleep because it honestly felt like we were sleeping in the sky or something haha. I don’t know how to describe it but it was such an un-settling feeling.
When the people from the furniture store called me about delivering the second bed-side table (which we hadn’t received yet) I asked if we could swap the box base of the mattress because that’s what was making it so high and they said yes but they were going to charge us!
I ended up pretty much yelling at the girl saying that the bed was stupidly high and they shouldn’t be charging us a delivery fee of $100 as the bed took bloody 2 weeks to arrive in the first place. For all they knew we were sleeping on the floor!
In the end, they just agreed to deliver it free along with the second bed-side table but now it’s been a week and…..I kind of like the high bed.
I’m so ashamed now. I think i’ve gotten used to it and it’s so much easier to make the bed in the morning without having to bend down. PLUS, it’s the best height to fold clothes at because it’s literally at arm level. Not to mention I talked to one of the girls at work and she said it’s  completely normal for beds to be that high here! Woops…

Anyways, apart from that we’ve got pretty much everything sorted for our place.
The only thing we desperately need are drawers! We had originally purchased them with our bedroom set but they didn’t fit in the bedroom.
(The bedrooms can only really fit a bed and bed-side tables)
The closet’s are good sizes but we really really need some drawers that can go inside them so we can put away our underwear and workout pants etc – pretty much everything you can’t hang up, It’s really frustrating still having suitcases with clothes in them and trying desperately to find socks in the morning.
Oh well….I’m sure a perfect set of drawers are just waiting to be bought at Walmart haha!

In some more interesting news, Nathan and I went to Seattle last weekend.
Nathan plays for a rugby team here in Vancouver and they were versing a Seattle team so we took the drive down on Saturday and stayed the night at a hotel in the city.
Even though it was only for the weekend, it was really good to get away and have a weekend where we could hang out and see a new place together that we’d never been to. I won’t say too much about what we did (because I want to write a separate blog post about our Seattle adventure) but we had fun!
Not to mention the shopping was great. And here I was thinking Vancouver had a good Walmart…

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I’m really loving it here in Vancouver. There’s still so much else of Canada that we need to explore, it’s just finding the time to do it all!
When I started late one morning I decided to explore the area of where we lived. We’re super close to the Queen Elizabeth park which is a great place for morning walks or a visit to the observatory. As it’s Spring, all the Daffodils are in full bloom and the cherry blossoms are thriving! It’s a really pretty city at the moment.

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Not to mention it’s not as cold in the mornings anymore.
I think people have this idea of Canada being absolutely freezing. I’m sure in some parts it is but you really don’t notice it unless you work outside like my poor boyfriend does!

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The thing I love about Vancouver is everywhere is heated!
When you walk into your house it’s so warm because pretty much everyone has central heating or pipes underneath the floor. Even in Winter if you can’t afford your hydro bill they won’t cut off your heating until it gets warmer so you won’t freeze from the cold.
I hear Summer here is pretty great so I’m looking forward to that.
I would absolutely love to stay longer than 2 years (as that’s all my Visa allows) however the type of job I have doesn’t allow me to apply for permanent residency. (It’s quite a complicated process but you need to be a ‘skilled worker’ to apply for PR). Funnily enough my boyfriend is considered a skilled worker as a builder so he can apply and sponsor me as his spouse! I think I’d have to do a lot of greasing up for him to do that for me…

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I will leave you all with some pictures of my time here so far!
If anyone has any questions about moving to Canada just let me know 🙂

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