I spent the transition from 2008 to 2009 in Vancouver B.C. While I was there, I learned some important lessons that I thought valuable enough to pass on. . .
Lesson 1: If you want to go to Canada, plan to go over Boxing week. Boxing Day is a Canadian holiday that celebrates the giving of gifts to the less fortunate (snopes.com). To honor the holiday, stores have massive sales that allow people who already have a ton of junk to buy even more at a discounted price. Sadly, I didn’t take advantage of this beautiful display of consumerism. Which leads me to my next lesson. . .
Lesson 2: If you don’t pull up to the border of the U.S. with a trunk load of maple leaf magnets, stuffed moose toys, pens that say “I love Canada,” and other useless souvenires the border guard will be suspicious. Who goes on a vacation and doesn’t bring home a ridiculous amount of things they don’t need and will never use? Since you had the sense to not buy things you don’t need and really don’t have the money for, you must be a terrorist.
Lesson 3: Some people’s lives just suck, and they will not hesitate to stop and tell you that and then ask for money.
Lesson 4: DO NOT go to Canada on New Year’s day if you plan on doing the normal tourist-y things like checking out the cute little shops, visiting the local attractions, and eating out. Nothing’s open. Seriously, it’s like a ghost town. As if people didn’t get enough days off with Christmas and the freak snow storm, they chose not to work on New Year’s either.
Lesson 5: Google Maps can’t be trusted. I discovered this fact when I was walking 10 blocks in high heels, a short dress, and 30 degree weather to a theater that was 2 blocks from our hotel.
My new year didn’t start off with resolutions, but I did learn some pretty important lessons that will serve me well into 2009. . . or at least whenever I go back to Canada.