Tag Archives: moving

A “Hello, How Are You?” Kind of Day

I feel like the change I’ve sought is finally starting to happen. The gears are shifting, things are falling nicely into place, money is sorting out, my body’s pain is settling down, and I’m even starting to feel like a “local” here.

It’s a big week for me, always is. Mother’s Day. It always approaches with a sense of dread. It’s different this year. I’ve upped and moved to a place I think my mom would’ve loved to live in. We came here on a “girl’s weekend” when I was in fourth grade, so, that’s odd for me in a way this week.

One of the first things I did here as a new resident was wind up having dinner with my two aunts, both visiting suddenly, who raised a glass of wine, toasted my mom, and said “Who would’ve thought we’d all meet here, now?”

That was back in March and I already feel a million miles away from who I was that week.

I’ve tried to keep my bitching to a minimum in all that time, but my body reacted horribly to the stress of moving, the sudden shift to a “walking” lifestyle, and working from home. Oh, and the small matter of riding my bike straight into a roadsign and getting whiplash. That was helpful. Suffice to say, in the coming weeks, there was a lot of pain, and a lot of worry.

But I kept my chin up and now, this week, finally, everything is settling down and I’m not so sore, and I’m more active, and it’s a good, good thing.

I’m glad I had that unexpected adversity, though. I think it needed to get worse before I would really appreciate it getting better.

Sometimes we can be very stupid humans that way. I know I can be a very stupid human. Sometimes, getting beat upside the head with lessons is the way to grow.

Sometimes, we forget how resilient we are. That too is a great thing to be reminded of.

I think all the little griefs and frustrations that sprung up in my first eight weeks here have served to remind me of why I needed this move in the first place.

I’m 10 weeks in, I have no life, I’ve only seen minimal parts of the city because I’ve been limited to days I feel good, and YET I don’t feel homesick for Vancouver.

Despite that, I have a trip home next month. I’m speaking at the 2012 Northern Voice Blogger’s Conference. I’ll be on a panel talking about how to write with authenticity. I’m speaking Saturday if you want to grab a ticket for the day, $40.

I’ll be in town for a few days, crashing at a couple different friends’ places. A foreigner in my hometown. A couchsurfer returns. That’ll be weird. And cool. Mostly weird.

Great blue heron fishing. Shot by me.

And I’ll probably cry on the ferry back to Victoria, and homesickness will likely hit me for the first time then. Because, honestly, Vancouver in the summer? Heaven on earth, man. That’s how ya do it. (But Victoria’s gonna be pretty killer too.)

The impending, inevitable bout of homesickness doesn’t matter in the long run, though, because I know this is the right place for me. It’s that gut-check level of intuition. I can’t explain it in words, how it feels, but I wake up and this place just feels right, for right now. And that’s all I need to know.

Monday, I got up, excited to see a big to-do on the beach road, but that was a bust, so, instead, I took a walk along the beach and spotted a great blue heron fishing. I stood there sinking into shoreline wet sand, snapping photos for an hour. It was fantastic. Then, I came home and worked.

Tuesday, I got up, worked for a couple hours, hopped on my bike for a great eggs Benedict breakfast in town, then cycled around to four different food shops (Chinatown and beyond) for all my favourite cooking stuff, and headed home for more work.

That’s two days in a row with the kind of balance I moved here looking for.

This is the first week where I’ve felt like I’ve had any of that going on. It’s something to aspire for. It’s where I’m headed. If I can have 2–3 workdays a week like that, it’ll be a great lifestyle over here, and I know it.

So, change. It’s like that snowball on the hill. Getting it going is ridiculously frustrating and labourious sometimes, but once you get the foundations, once you start moving it and pushing it, it slowly amasses more, and more, and then it has a momentum of its own. If you’re not from a colder region, here’s a video of making a snowman. All true.

And that’s what I’m imagining for my own change: The Snowball Grows. Now gravity is pitching in and my ball of change has begun to roll with a whole lot less of the grunt-work from yours truly.

It’s an exciting time.

Well, this wasn’t what I’d intended to write about but it’s a great snapshot of my headspace right now, I guess. I’d intended to tell you about my jade plant and how well it’s doing and how much it’s got me being pensive. But that’ll be for another day.

In the meantime, I’m doing well. Living life, working a lot, feeling better, getting my groove on, and thinking I’m getting closer to where I need to be.

That’s your update, kids. And, hey, it’s almost Friday! Happy weekend.

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HELLO! AND GOODBYE!

I SURVIVED THE MOVE! HOLY FUCK!

Omigod.

Bonus points if you know where the kid’s decapitated head was found in this Dead Milkmen’s classic, Stuart, that this photo was inspired by. One of my favourite songs ever.

Presently recovering after bingeing on delicious spicy Thai peanut with chicken, and drinkin’ me some wine. It’s my first night alone in my place. I had four guests night one, two on night two and three, and one for the last night. Now? Alone. Oh, alone. ALONE! I should listen to Heart, but that’d be wrong, ‘cos I’m happy about space.

It’s been 5 days of living in Victoria, and I’ve yet to hear a siren around my home. There’s zero traffic. No loud neighbours. No crack/meth smoke wafting into my bathroom from someone else’s vents. I’ve heard one float plane take off from nearby shores, but that’s it.

The area? I’m in love. My brother has fallen in love too and hopes to move here within the year.

The move itself? Epic.

More on that later.

For now? Just reporting that I AM ALIVE and shall live to write again.

Stay tuned, minions. Lots to tell.

I even have Imperial Stormtrooper photos to share. OHYEAH.

Meanwhile, there’s more where that wine came from, and, GASP, there’s even chocolate. Hmm… blogging, or chilling?

Tough fucking answer. I’m outtie.

PS: I have full-blown larygitis, SO NO PHONE CALL FOR YOU.

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Going, Going…

Tonight I have a party thingie so people can come say goodbye to me.

Don’t I feel narcissistic. Holy cow.

I never throw parties for myself but I’m sure liking this “see everyone at once and LEAVE TOWN” deal. Do I get a horse and a cowboy hat? “Ah’ll be seein’ ya, pardners.”

Riding the ferry back from Victoria.

Clearly I was big on the Saturday afternoon westerns when I was a little girl.

Anyhow.

The big day cometh. I’m thinking there likely won’t be a lot of posts once I hit moving day/week, but I’m really looking forward to getting some of my thoughts on moving down on pape– err, down on the screen before I go. Posterity and all.

So, this weekend I’ll find some time for a reflective post.

One third of my life has been spent in this apartment. Somehow I fell into the world’s biggest rut. Whew.

This is the week where I slam the brakes and literally every single thing in my life is changing, except for my day job — but that’s changing in context too, since I won’t be working in offices any more.

I’ll be having dinner Friday night to hash out the plan with my fab friend about how we’re gonna put together my new blog. Like I say, The Cunt shall live and I’ll still be writing this blog. I suspect it’ll be my edgier work more exclusively. Lifestyle writing will go on the new blog.

I can’t wait to get that up and running too. Different writing, all my own photography. A record of the ways my life is changing and the places I’m exploring. Very fun.

It’s great. It’s the era of social media. I’ve got people lined up to meet over on the island, connections introducing me.  I don’t know a soul in Victoria in person, but social media’s opening all the doors.

When I moved to the Yukon in ’94, it took me 3–4 months to make friends. I highly doubt that’ll be the case this time, but I’m not in a rush to get there. First, a month of No Planning, Just Being, which I’m calling my “rat-race detox.”

I can’t wait to flip the tables on my life balance. Work from home. Walk for enjoyment and exploring. Ride buses 2–3 times a month, instead of 2–4 times a day. Be antisocial for the day job, and embrace people after hours. Feel like stopping work and visiting the beach? Sure, I can take an hour or two for that soul-break.

I can confidently tell you now that I’ve been doing EVERYTHING wrong for years. I shouldn’t have still been living in Vancouver. This place started getting too big after 2003, when the Olympics construction began. By 2007, I was losing my joy. After 2010, I lost all my joy. It was just not for me anymore.

Every time I’ve ever vacationed as an adult, it’s been coastal region roadtrips, small towns, remote locations. And I never want to return to the city at the end of the week. Methinks I’m tired of the masses.

Vancouver is an incredible city. World-class. Beeyootiful. But it’s changing too quickly. That nature everyone’s moving here for is getting chewed up by developments. Now it’s one city bleeding into another city, sprawling out with 2.3 million people.

I was born here, man. I grew up with this nature. I remember the quiet, the pristine place/pace. I remember when we were this little hick town no one really knew about.

I never asked for the world to find out about us, and wasn’t thrilled when everyone started moving here. You can’t beat the setting, but the endless crowds of grumpy people and the difficulty of enjoying the nature when it takes me 1.5 hours to bus to some beaches in city limits, etc, have just really made me feel like I don’t even live in Vancouver anymore. I never enjoy the ocean, I’m too tired to get out.

So, that’s all changing.

Leaving town means I take back 60 hours of my month from busing next week.

60 hours! Time’s money — and it’s joy and it’s recharge and it’s awesome. I like Time.

In fact, it’s possible I spend as much as 70–75 hours per month in transit, actually.

I’d like to repurpose that time. I want to do an extra 20 hours of walking, 20 more hours a month working for my bosses, and 20 hours a month writing.

Now that’s some fucking life balance, baby.

So, tonight, the goodbye party ensues, and, I think, it all starts getting Really Real.

I’ll miss stuff. People. But I won’t miss the price I paid for it.

Change is a good thing. Bring on the change.

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Making Sense of the Madness

Hello, minions!

For some reason, there are more of you reading me than there have been in three or so years, and I’m feeling the pressure to post at least a couple times a week as a result, despite the fact that I’m swimming the seas of crazy in these moving days.

God forbid you not get your Vitamin Steff, even if it’s a cheap placebo, like this.

There are 21 days before my life gets the brakes slammed on and I go from the rat race to the slow pace of life on the other side of the Georgia Strait. (For non-locals, that’s the body of water separating Vancouver city from Vancouver Island. Who names an island and a city that’s NOT on the island the SAME? Oh, right. The fucking British.)

My voyage home from the island last weekend, the Strait’s incredible ACTIVE PASS, & the interplay of fog & sun.

Today, and for a few days now, I’m sick. I’m a mouth-breather who’s used half the Amazon to blow my nose since Saturday. I’m this close to buying shares in NyQuil, man, and dreaming of Prozac.

I have the remainder of my home to pack, my dad’s in the hospital, I have people I need to say goodbye to, a blog to nourish, and a job to work. If I’m not batshit crazy in 22 days, I might get over my sorta-atheism and be a believer. (But, you know, not likely.)

Oh, My. What a Load of Semantics!

I was thinking on the weekend that I realize now that there’s a difference between being UNHAPPY and being DEPRESSED.

After a long time of thinking I’d been battling depression, I’ve finally realized I was just unhappy and disliked where my life had wound up. I’m looking forward to seeing what finding my sense of self and rediscovering things I love — like strolling beaches, reading under trees in parks — and generally getting my life in balance does to change that.

In the meantime, my mind’s racing a million miles a minute with worries about my dad, who continues to be sick in the hospital, about whether all my furniture will fit in my new apartment, whether I’ll hate that I have less natural light in my new home, and all sorts of little things that are out of my power right now.

It’s times like these that being a thinker isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

But then I take a breath, I remind myself what it felt like last Thursday to walk down the street to an amazing little stretch of shoreline, what the slower pace did for my mind despite the pressure I had to find a place, and I feel like it’s all going to be all right… in, like, seven weeks or something.

Still, I’m excited. Deep down, I know I need this.

T(w)o Blogs or Not T(w)o Blogs

Have I told you I’ll be starting a new blog?

Right.

I’ll be starting a new blog! Yeah!

Yes, this one will continue. I may even return to writing occasionally about sex and relationships again. Oddly, I’m getting emails from people, and they’re sort of disturbing in their neediness — like no one else is talking frankly about sex. And, hell, I’m not even doing it anymore.

I got tired of being perceived as a sex-blogger, but then my Twitter handle never lets me live that down, and I guess I could’ve changed it but on some level I suppose I want that identity. I’m not sure. It’s something I’ll be looking at and probably writing about once I’m on the other side, and that’ll be happening here.

For instance, today Canadian courts are deciding if HIV status should be legally required to be disclosed before sexual relations, and unlike a lot of people who are sex-positive writers, I say FUCK YEAH. And that’s something I should write about. Maybe if I weren’t sick and could string ideas together, I would. Maybe later.

But my new blog will be where I record my moving adventures, and where I write about the transitioning from an unwanted big city life to a smaller pace in a little city, and what it does for me. It’ll be where my photos of my explorations are shared, my observations, my visits to local businesses, and more will be found.

It does have a name but I need to buy the URLs later this week. It won’t be live until March sometime, I guess.

I Feel Like Listening to Sam Cooke

It’s safe to say that my life in Victoria will be about reconfiguring my world from ground up. A lot of change will come. I’ll be keeping an open mind on things to try — everything from yoga and Tai Chi to adventuring.

I almost left Vancouver 12 years ago. The jury’s out on whether staying was a smart choice, but I lean toward “no” on that one.

I get why people love this city, and I’ll always love it too. It’s my home. But I never asked for the world to move here. I never wanted to be one in a million– or one in 2.3 million. It’s not about ethnicities or cultures, it’s about crowds and capacities.

There was a day last fall when I was working on a documentary TV show (I’m a TV captioner) and it was in the Scottish Highlands and an artist was commenting, “I love the city but after 2 days, I’m done and I want to come back to my quiet and my country.” My heart went through the floor because I could imagine it, and I imagined loving it.

I enjoyed the dead of winter when I knew no one during my one year in the Yukon. I also enjoyed the summer when I had a litany of awesome friends and endless good times. A line from Robert Service hit home for me up there, “…the silence that bludgeons you dumb.”

I like that kind of silence, always will. And, despite considering the rest of Canada for my move, I just couldn’t leave this area — not yet.

The Final Countdown

Today, as planes drone overhead, queuing for the airport landings, and horns blare out on the street as some ignorant ass tries to make an illegal left off the highway, and rain threatens to fall, it’s a silence my soul longs for… and one I know is three weeks away.

I don’t know who I’ll be, how I’ll seem, or what my life will really entail six months from now, but I like the visions I get of what it might be.

And sometimes I think that’s all we can hope for in life — that we like the direction we think we’re headed in, and we like who we are when the morning breaks.

It’s safe to say I’m excited, under all my fatigue.

For now, it’s time to refill the coffee cup, edit this, then put one foot in front of another, remember to breathe, and remind myself I’ll live through this. Change is a-comin’.

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Soon to Come: New Space, New Life

I’m sorry I’ve been away, Minions, but life has been full-tilt of late.

Since the last time I wrote and now, I’ve gotten a lot more of my belongings packed, and took a three-day trip to find my new home. Which is to say, soon I’ll be living in a new and awesome space.

It’s not a bigger space, like I’d wanted, it’s almost exactly the same size as my present home, but it’s got water within 5 blocks of me on three sides, downtown’s less than 10 minutes away by walking, and Victoria’s famous Beacon Hill Park is five blocks, too. Shopping? Everything I need is 2 or 3 short blocks away.

The beach I’ll find just five blocks from my home. Fantastic.

For convenience factor, my so-called “convenient” big-city life is a joke compared to what my situation will be once I’ve moved.

My soon-to-be new landlady makes me smile every time I think of her. So sweet, caring, and knows all her tenants by name, and details about their lives. Standing 5 feet tall, she’s short, squat, and full of love as her little arthritic terrier waddles behind her. She rushes to the door to help people in, talks to everyone. I love that.

In my new apartment, they’ve gutted and replaced literally EVERYTHING except the stove, but I’d be unsurprised if I turned up and she thought to throw in a new one of those too. The deck’s being replaced in the spring. The building is spotless, well-loved by tenants and owners, and I’m excited to be joining what looks like a pretty caring community-type apartment building.

I don’t know why people seem to think I’m so urban and hip. I’m really not. I love the water, I love people-watching, exploring, private time, quiet, and space to think. Just because I can chat with just about anyone doesn’t mean I want people around me all the time.

Somehow, some way, all my quiet space and nature-connecting evaporated on me in Vancouver. Without a car, it’s hard to access the awesome in this town, and the town doesn’t allow for the financial freedom of owning a car, so you know how that works. Where I live, which is about all I can afford and stay sane with in Vancouver, there’s the constant drone of traffic and planes landing at the international airport, there’re frequent sirens and horns honking. There are people and tons of traffic everywhere I go. Even my building has turned against me. There are my weird neighbours downstairs who slam everything because none of the kitchen cupboards close (mine don’t either) so they think SLAMMING will make it better.

I think, like me, Victoria is in a time of transition. I don’t want to be where it’s busy and crazy. I like the location I’ve chosen. It’s close enough to everything, and far from the homeless and the university students. It’s close to everything I need, both spiritually and in my day-to-day.

In my new life, there will be both inspiration and time a-plenty for writing, silence, photography, and just being.

And this, BC’s Parliament Building, is just about 6 blocks the other way… and with more ocean to see. Shot by me, my first night in town.

My friends were all ganging up on me, saying I should live in another area, but after two full days of walking everywhere, and realizing the so-called convenience of Cook Street Village meant “convenient geography but without much convenience in the form of food and other necessities.” I realized they’re all talking out of their ass. They don’t know what’s “right” for me, not any more than I know why X is right for them.

Deep down, I know I need my new space. I think some higher power knew, too. I had planned to cancel my first apartment viewing but never did. After that appointment, I walked out and the place across the way shone for me. An unadvertised place, I walked up to and buzzed the manager. Sure, I could see it, she said.

I still saw everything I had booked, and more, and returned to my new home for a second viewing, and the “this place is right for me” vibe got stronger and stronger.

It seems spooky and awesome that it worked out so serendipitously for me. The gods are on my side in this move, it seems.

There are things about city life I’ll miss, and I know that before I even leave, but my soul needs it. I can’t be doing this rat-race of stupidity any more. It’s not who I am now. I get home angry more often than I’m relaxed. I don’t feel like walking around the neighbourhood or exploring. I just don’t give a shit now. That’s no way to feel about life.

When I walked down to the end of the street after viewing my spaces, and I came out at Dallas Road Beach, my heart swelled. Really. I could imagine myself wanting to walk there daily. When your heart reacts like that, if you don’t listen then you’re an idiot. I’m listening.

Back in my car-owning days, I would be at the ocean for no reason so often. But in Vancouver, being on the ocean means seeing evidence all around me of the fact that there’s 2.3 million people scattered out there. All those lives twinkling in the lights of the city night. I don’t want to be thinking about 2.3 million lives. I just want to think about mine.

To get to ocean where you see no one, you need a car, a hike down lots of stairs on a cliff, and a liking for naked people sunbathing. Oh, right, that’s not “no one” either.

My soul needs slow and simple. My soul needs exactly what I’ve found.

In 24 sleeps, 18 more office days, I’ll be moved, big-city-free, and thrilled about it.

[No pictures for you of my space until I’ve moved in, at the least.]

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We Interrupt This Blog for a Freak-Out: Moving

It was a dark and snowy morning when writergirl hit a block halfway through her blog post and said fuck that shit, and started from scratch.

***

A week into Arcticapalooza 2012 here in Vancouver, and nothing about leaving the house is appealing. Tragically, the French press bottomed out on inky black gold some time ago and the caffeine fumes are dissipating fast.

With 39 sleeps remaining before I move to Victoria, and 13 before the official start of househunting, it’s true to say this blast of winter, all the madness in my moving-focused mind, and the clusterfucked cold commutes, it’s been a doozy of a week. Tonight, evening plans loom after work, and there’s to be a monsoon or dire deluge or something. I’ll get in well after midnight, and sleeping in will never feel so good as it will tomorrow.

Whew. One of those stopping-to-breathe moments. I’m doing that more. It’s helping. I need focus, and it’s hard to find in the middle of my whirlwindy days.

Yeah, WHATEVER. Fuck that. Screw you, guru!

And it’s not like I have enough going on but I now have an apartment-listings addiction. Speak to me, oh property managers and Craigslist. Show me your rental treasures.

I’m now compulsively checking ads, and freaking out. Omigod! This would be perfect. But what if it’s gone? But if it doesn’t go, what’s wrong with it? Maybe one exactly like it will come up. OMIGOD, look at that one! THIS WOULD BE PERFECT.

Which is usually about when I smack myself in the forehead and spazz out.

See, I’m a big believer that we’re a product of our environment. While unhappy in this apartment for a long time, I’d been forever hedging on moving, but now that I’m onboard with the idea, I wanna be gone like a one-night-stand at 4am.

SCHWING-ZING-SLAM. Outta here!

I want to be surrounded by my soon-to-be new world, but I’m aware my choice of home will have a great deal of influence on how my future unfolds. I want to pick well, but the choices I’ll have are completely out of my power. I have THREE days to pick. That’s it. I need the wind at my back, as the Irish say.

On the other hand, I was a big Monkees’ fan as a kid, and I’m a daydream believer, baby. It’ll all come together. And if it doesn’t, you’ll find me crying in my cereal one day. Whatever.

But I’m at that point where I need to decide if I want to live a little further out so I can get a dishwasher and insuite laundry, or would I rather be just a few blocks from natural beach where I can walk and frame my mind in a space I love but have a minimalist place and continue the life of handwashing my dishes? It’s a hard choice. What’s more important for the soul — more time to write, or prettier places to walk? Right now, I don’t know.

I generally find that I panic and worry, and try to shut that down as much as possible, because when I usually get to where I’m going, I somehow find myself making the right choices and getting where I need to be. It usually just… works out. So, under the chaos, I have faith.

That lack-of-having-control panic is one of the qualities about myself that I’m hoping moving to a slower, simpler pace of life will help me to switch off. There are a lot of things I love about myself, and I think they’ll find their way out more when I’m in a place that doesn’t always have me watching the clock or trying to tune things out. I wonder what life’s like when you’re trying to tune into it? That’d be another good switch to explore.

So this is where I am. Very cognizant that a way of life is coming to an end, certain it means I too will be changing from the inside out, and wondering what that all means for what my future holds. It’s pretty fucking awesome, really.

And weird. There are only TWO things I know about my life to come. I know what my furniture will look like, and I know I’m keeping my job. Everything else, I’ll know in about 16 days.

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, obsessing and wondering about what’s the right direction to go in. And, deep down inside, enjoying the moment… because I know I know how infrequently they come, these times of complete uncertainty, when everything can change in a moment, and likely for the best.

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