We had never planned to move to Vancouver. In November, we returned from a glorious trip to New Orleans, and the horrible winter had begun in earnest in Alberta. While we drove home from the airport on treacherous icy highways, I turned to Mike and said: That’s it. I can’t do this anymore.
When we arrived home, I googled ‘Family Centred Care, BC.’ British Columbia had a milder climate and the lure of our extended family. My job leapt up: Family Advisor at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver. Two months and two interviews later, it was a done deal. Just like that. There we were, mid-life, packing up and moving away from our community and hometown of 40-ish years. I know our friends thought we were daft. Maybe we are – we just knew that this was our big chance. I always taught my kids to jump at opportunity, so we had no choice but to do the very same thing.
What I love about Vancouver:
1. The beauty. I still gasp when I drive north towards the mountains, or happen upon a marina on the ocean. The flowers are brighter and bigger. It is green everywhere.
2. The smell. Every time I open the door to fetch the newspaper. Every single day.
3. The sound of seagulls in the morning.
4. The bounty of inexpensive sushi.
5. The ability to pick a food from any country in the world, and find a corresponding restaurant.
6. Being close to my 2 year old niece, Olive – how I love being a first-time aunt. This delightful little girl can do no wrong – and she lights up every room she walks into.
7. How easy it is to be active here. We walk to the grocery store. We walk home from school. We park far away from our destination and walk. Mike and I go on epic hikes. Mike mountain bikes several times a week. Hurrah!
8. We’ve been here three months, and I’ve never felt cold. Not once.
9. How pleased I still am that we figured out a way to move here.
10. My job! Who would have known that a chronic freelancer would love having a ‘real job’ so much?
What surprised me about Vancouver:
1. The massive squirrels, the rats and the racoons.
2. The courteousness of the drivers. They let you in! They wave when you let them in! They don’t run red lights!
3. The number of times I’ve been hopelessly lost.
4. The obsession here with real estate. It is like talking about the weather in Edmonton. A surefire topic of conversation in the elevator.
5. The lack of drive-thrus…but this helps with #7 above.
6. How massive my Alberta SUV feels. Little zoomy Fiat, here I come.
7. The endless number of day trips: Squamish, Whistler, US, Gulf Islands, Harrison Hot Springs…
8. The number of little corner stores selling produce and fresh flowers. Refreshingly, the massive chain stores have not gobbled them up.
9. The amount of people on the streets biking, walking, skateboarding, running, and rollerblading, including the number of kids who walk to school.
10. How happy everybody is when it doesn’t rain.
I’m still crushing on you, Vancouver. No regrets. xo.