The Move, The Life, The Update

A brief recap of my recent life.

Holland Point Beach, about 5–6 blocks from home, by me. Day 3 as a Victoria Resident.

I Moved West

I moved across the Straight of Georgia to the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

There, I live in Victoria.

A few numbers about Victoria: Downtown, some 74,000 people live, compared with Vancouver’s 680,000. Greater Victoria packs a total of 360,000 fine folk, compared to Greater Vancouver’s ever-increasing 2.3 million. Vancouver is in a rainforest, Victoria is not. Both are largely coastal, but Victoria has open ocean around it, large waves during storms, and speaking of storms, receives a greater volume of bone-chilling Pacific blasts of weather than Vancouver. It also gets less snow than Hollywood North, as it’s marginally warmer.

And, oddly, it is second only to San Francisco for the number of restaurants per capita.

Into An Even Smaller Neighbourhood

I moved to the oldest neighbourhood north of San Francisco on the West Coast. It is littered with heritage homes.

I live in a great building that has a “no pets” policy but is home to the arthritic cairn terrier Winston, who limps and wags his tail in the lobby when his boss, the caretaker lady, is doing her thing in her office. We love Winston. He makes me smile every time I see him.

And I see the ocean more than I have since I was a child. This makes my soul happy.

Not All Smooth Sailing

My move involved:

  • a ferry
  • five men, four women (four men on both sides, then the odd also-helper on both sides)
  • one 36-foot truck
  • 4,500 pounds of belongings
  • a massive furniture-hoist over a third-floor balcony
  • 24 beers, 2 litres of wine, 3 extra-large pizzas, ferry food for lunch, and an amazing John’s Place breakfast for 4

…And some very scary moments. It was $1,000 for the move itself, $350 for the food, and much more on other related expenses. But, all in all, a low cost for a complete lifechange.

Or Smooth Riding

Last week, upon deciding to take my cruiser bike — which I had not yet ever ridden, and which has pedal-back brakes and not hand brakes (the only kind I’ve used in the last 25 years) — out for a bike ride, I realized the seat was too high and needed adjusting. I tried doing that, but both feet came off the ground for the briefest moment. This is when I learned how steep the incline to my apartment step was, because my bike lurched forward. I had two choices as I panicked because there were no hand brakes (the pedal brake didn’t compute) and those choices were: Go straight into traffic, or turn and let myself stop via smashing into a road sign.

My face hit the metal pole but I luckily had a helmet on, or it could have been much worse. A week later and the bruises are just healing. I spilled to the ground, stunned. The parked car was fine, the car I avoided hitting in traffic was gone. An old lady and a girl who was walking her dog both ran to check on me. The fancy tape on my cruiser’s handlebars was split. But my head would be all right. A minor case of whiplash, and life goes on.

Needless to say, I’ll be practicing riding/braking in the back parking lot before I take my big-girl bike out for a big-girl ride in the real world. *cough*

Sunset at Victoria’s Ogden Point Breakwater. Photographed by me, day five of Victoria residency.

And Then There’s The Spaces

My apartment is great. My landlord cares. I’ve had plumbers in three times and now all taps and drain work perfectly. A new oven is on order. The building’s newly renovated gym will be open in a week.

I’m a five-minute walk from one of Canada’s Top 10 public spaces, Beacon Hill Park, and also from shoreline on all three sides. I’m 10 minutes from downtown Victoria by walking. I have the best of every world within a few minutes on any side.

It’s a walker’s paradise. Now I just need to become a walker. Workin’ on that.

But I’m Not At The New Normal (Yet)

I’m adjusting to the work-from-home life, but liking it. Riding buses once or twice a week is enjoyable and a change of pace. I’m liking the stores I’m discovering but don’t have a shopping routine — not even close — just yet.

In all, every bit of my life is an adjustment. And I’m not even done unpacking!

I’m the sort of person who writes as part of a routine, but when I don’t even have a routine, writing doesn’t occur to me. I think, I do lengthy pithy Facebook updates, frequent tweets, but I don’t sit down long enough to pound out my thoughts at length. Apologies, sorta. I’m doin’ what I gotta do.

This has been an epic month for me, and I really do look forward to obtaining my “routine.” I have strong suspicions this won’t happen until April, after Easter, which is when I’ll have a four-day weekend, my first real chance to breathe and adjust, and my work schedule stabilizes.

Until then, when it comes to EVERYTHING in life, I’ll just take what I get. So too, minion, shall you. Soon, we shall be together with new material, and often, since life here will be much better paced for that.

Because, all the way around, this new lifestyle, new place, new way of operating is doing more for my soul after two weeks than anything I’ve done for happiness’s sake in the last five years.

Sometimes, change is the only way forward. I’m glad I learned that sooner than later, because I can’t wait to hit my stride here.

 

Little girls playing at Holland Point, a few blocks from my home.

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