Monday, May 01, 2006
Why I live where I live.... Vancouver, British Columbia (sorry only one pic, something wrong with the blogger site!)
I grew up in a small town (pop. 3000) on the east coast of Canada, living a simple and content life, but always wondering what else was out there. What else the world had to offer. When I graduated university, I took off for the UK and my life changed completely. The world became smaller and even bigger all at the same time, but all I knew was that small town Nova Scotia wasn't going to cut it for me anymore. I spent the next 8 years traveling and living around the world, in big cities like Edinburgh, San Francicso, Sydney and Wellington. But also experiencing small town life in different places, from Blenheim in New Zealand, to York and Oxford and Wimbush in England. Home was where I laid my head for many many years. It was no longer where I came from, but where I was, in the moment, and I loved it! Even so, I always felt like I was searching for something, but I didn't know if it was for a home or simply for myself- the authentic M.
When I met R in Australia, everything changed- life seemed brighter, more alive than I had ever known before. I was Home for the first time in a long time - and it had nothing to do with a physical location. Neither of us felt like where we came from was "home" anymore- home was with each other, where ever that might be. We enjoyed traveling the world and even living in some fantastic places (Melbourne is one of our favorite cities!!), but settling down was a difficult decision to make. With our different nationalities, being in the same country was hard enough, let alone deciding which location to make our homebase.
After our time in New Zealand was up, we were both ready to stop traveling for awhile and put down some roots. We've always been settled with each other, but now we were ready to have an address and some stability in our day to day life for a change. We chose to move to Canada simply because he is a cabinetmaker and having a trade meant it would be easier to get a work permit- much easier than me trying to in England! Neither of us like winter- the cold, icy, dark chill that sucks up four or five months of every year, so we knew being in Nova Scotia or anywhere out east wasn't an option. (I'm very un-Canadian in that way- winter has never been my friend. I don't really like hockey either!) We decided on Vancouver...we'd heard it was beautiful and there was lots of work around, and the lifestyle was healthy and the weather sounded like our style. So we packed up and moved out here last September - no place to live, no jobs, just us and two backpacks and a dream!
This was the best decision we could've made for ourselves! On the first day here, we went to the beach near where we were staying and I was in awe of the beauty, of the incredible fresh air and having so much nature around us. I couldn't understand why everyone wasn't living here! Why would you want to be anywhere else?!! And this was on our first day. This place is heaven- beaches down the hill from our house. Stanley Park down the street, full of acres of trees and walking trails and fresh air amongst the city pollution. A 10km+ sea wall all around the park and False Creek and beyond. Mountains across the bridge that surprise me daily with their beauty and wonder. Neighbourhoods well established all over the city, giving you a sense of community that I've rarely found in a city. Amazing architecture and growth all around us. An incredibly mixed population of peoples from all over the world- some days we don't even feel like we're in Canada, we're the only ones speaking English! Wonderful markets and a strong artistic community. Everything feels very accessible (except maybe the real estate!), and we've been lucky to meet some wonderful people as well. We were lucky to have met a couple in NZ who live here and they have been amazing, helping us meet their friends and find great things to see and do. It's everything we were hoping to find in a home, in a place to live, a place to start a family and a life together. Even the 38 days of straight rain in January didn't scare us off. The constant green and beautiful sunny days compensate for the wet weather.
We both found jobs in the first week, fell in love with the second flat we saw, and have already started to talk about our future being in this place. We will still travel the world and spend time exploring all around us, but having a place that we can come back to and be in love with is such a treat. I am so lucky in so many ways, but this just tops the cake! I've taken a long, twisted, and sometimes bumpy road to get here, but wouldn't change a thing. Everything has happened as it was meant to and I am so grateful we took the chance and came here. And we love showing it off, so let me know if you're coming to town!!!