Count It All Joy - 1 Month In Vancouver
I'm sitting at my local Starbucks, located only two blocks from our apartment. It's snowing outside; yes, it's snowing.
I had written such a long text for this post, but now upon publishing it's all deleted. Someone out there must've realised the rawness of the text and decided the words weren't ready for the public eye. For someone who constantly dreams about hiding and throwing away all tools of communication, I'm surprisingly open in my texts. Lesson learned!
Did I tell you that we've been in Vancouver for over a month now? Seems strange and unreal. It both feels longer, and shorter.
What follows are some things I like and dislike about Vancouver. The photos might have nothing to do with the text, but that's okay.
Photos are all taken in Stanley Park, on a day before the sun came but after the rain left. We thought it was such a glorious, bright day. Looking back, I realise how it's all about perspective. Looking back, the pictures look gloomy. But know we smiled in bliss on the actual day!
Like: There's a coffee shop wherever you go. This is by far my favourite thing about cities in general!
Dislike: They say in general the quality of life here is high in comparison to other cities. And that might be true, but there is a lot of destruction here. A lot of people are not enjoying any of that statistical life quality. A lot of people on the streets. Sure there are lots of vegan cafes and yoga studios and dog walkers, but Vancouver is currently experiencing both a housing crisis and a drug crisis.
Like: When it's sunny and you see the mountains in the background, Vancouver is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. You notice things you didn't look at when it was raining: street art, beautiful buildings, smiling people.
Dislike: The rain, obviously. So far the weather's been 50/50. It was raining pretty much every day for the first two weeks when we got here. Then the sun arrived, and the whole city changed. We changed. Now it's snowing, so you get it all really.
Like: Cute boutiques with local art.
Dislike: The lack of plus size fashion stores, or stores with a plus size section.
Like: Walking trails! Not just in nature, but around the city as well.
Dislike: The lack of smaller parks in the city areas. You have to travel to just visit a park, they're mostly located in the outskirts. Queen Elizabeth Park is close to us, but I just wish there were smaller parks to have a coffee in on a nice day out.
Like: Public transportation. It's really easy to get to places, plan your trips and pay for them. We have a compass card, which we basically can travel wherever with.
Dislike: The fact that we have to use public transportation. Both me and Andrew are so used to driving. When you have your own car, it just means so much freedom to do whatever whenever. A big reason why we haven't explored outside Vancouver yet is because some days you're just too tired to take 3 different buses for 2 hours to get somewhere.
Like: Stanley Park, Kitsilano Beach, North Vancouver!
Dislike: Downtown. I love a good city if it got character and history, but when it's just blocks of tall buildings with general stores it's kind of boring. Downtown is best experienced from a distance, as a nice view.
Like: Our AirBnB, it's a perfect basement apartment in a residential area that's still very local. We're one bus ride away from most things, we got a local pharmacy, local grocery store and a Starbucks.
Dislike: Not having our own place yet, knowing we're only here temporarily and can't make ourselves completely at home.
Like: Spending time with Andrew alone for such a long period of time, for the very first time ever. I love being with him, thank god.
Dislike: Missing my family and friends, the time difference makes it harder to keep in touch. My dad's coming over to Canada in April - June for some work and I can't wait to have him here, even if it's not in Vancouver!
Like: The conversion rate right now! 10 Canadian Dollars is only 6.4 Euros, which is crazy low! We're basically making money (no, not at all.)! It's really saving us right now.
Dislike: Traffic. Andrew says he's never seen drivers as bad as the ones here! Such a silly thing to dislike, but I'm getting to the end of my list and I'm scraping here, okay. Both me and Andrew really need to start driving here. The goal is eventually to get a car if we do well, but the traffic scares us, not going to lie.
To sum it up, it's hard to feel home here. I'm not gonna lie. But then again I always knew it would be a struggle, it always is when you move somewhere completely new. In many ways Vancouver is just like any other North American city, what I like the most about Vancouver is how nature is so close by. You don't have to go far outside the city to get wilderness. My goal this year is definitely to try to stay out of the city as much as possible. That all depends, of course, on what type of job I'll get and how my economy looks like. It's all a guessing game at the moment, which is why I'm trying my very best to enjoy the moment exactly as it is. It's not easy, in fact it's very hard some of the times. But I'm cutting myself some slack; I'm doing the best I can with what I got.