Most people are aware of the fact that Tal and I have been wanting to make this move for a long time. I am fickle, however, and often change my mind last minute, so it hasn’t happened yet.
We both grew up in this small town. We know a huge percentage of the population here, we know where everything is, our families (for the most part) are out here, our church is here, we live here. This has been our home for a long time. We both have been spending large amounts of time in the city though.
I remember how almost every day off we had in high school was spent getting up early in the morning catching the 7:20am train and heading into Vancouver. Vancouver was this mecca of art, culture, people, style, architecture, beauty, nature – and we were completely enthralled by it. We’d go with my little point and shoot Kodak and take pictures all day, old neon signs, rainy windows, coffee shops, the streets, ship container yards, you name it I have it photographed. These days were almost a fantasy. We’d step off the train and into the station, out the doors, and all of a sudden, we lived there, in the city with everything about it that we loved. I remember feeling confident, artistic, strong, and unusual when we were in Vancouver, and I loved it.
I haven’t always been in love with the city though.
There were times when Vancouver didn’t look so beautiful, didn’t make me feel so confident. “Hey Vancouver, your materialism is showing!” I’d go downtown and all I could see were all these people trying to keep up with each other. Trends, expensive hand bags, business, the daily grind, faux-originality, this eternity of space between the poor and the rich, it just seemed empty, void of value. That feeling of “fake-ness” eventually melted into a deep seeded dislike of Vancouver, and almost a fear of the city. Those busy streets and skytrain stations that once spoke of bustling creativity and imagination, well, they just stressed me out. We’d go into the city trying to relive those glory days of spending the day in the city with the point and shoot, but I’d just be consumed with this fear that our car was going to get stolen or something, and we’d have to come home and hour or two later.
During those times, I’d take great comfort in the peace, tranquility, and proximity to the mountains of our hometown. We went on many hikes, drove east on our days off, and enjoyed the familiarity of the faces we’ve always known. Standing next to a waterfall with Tal, with no one to be seen or heard of for kilometers gave me that same sense of confidence and beauty that the city once did. My muddy sneakers and autumn leaves.
So, it was love/hate.
The past year or two has been different though. I’ve grown to appreciate both the city and the country, but not in such a romantic way, I see their flaws. It’s almost like when you’re beginning a relationship, at the beginning the other person is this glowing orb of perfection, but as you get to know them more, you start to notice the pimples, hairs, annoying eating habits, etc. BUT you still love them, it’s just a deeper love, a more intimate love.
The country is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, but it’s also hard to find art, live music, or beautiful architecture. Then there’s the city, it’s beautiful, creative, busy, alive, but it’s also hard to find quiet. I appreciate a drive out to Hope, and I love sitting in an over crowded coffee shop in the rain pretending to read, but really just eaves dropping (guilty habit).
So, why did we make the decision? Well I have to give most of the credit to our friends who made the big jump a month ago. They moved out to the city, so now we know people out there. My biggest fear of moving, is not being in a community like I am now, and then if Tal has to go out of town again… I’d be all alone out there! So, now that our friends are already out there, I feel like I have a bit of a community. Seems like a funny reason, but it brought me a lot of comfort to be able to make this decision and feel safe about it.
It’s competitive finding a place out there though. We originally were toying with the idea of moving to East Van, preferably around Commerical drive, maybe in a suite in an old house, then we thought, maybe Mount Pleasant, in an old apartment off Main street, I’d also had a thing for the Cambie area since I had been working at Cambie and 16th for a couple years and liked the neighborhood. It turns out that if you’re looking to live in highly sought after neighborhoods, you’re competing with A LOT of other people for that tiny one bedroom apartment. We applied for one suite right in the heart of Mount Pleasant, E 8th, about a block off of Main. We didn’t go very prepared, I hadn’t done much research on how to nab an apartment in a competitive neighborhood. So we went in sloppy clothes, forgot to take our shoes off at the front door, and didn’t have our info ready to fill out the application. I still thought we had a chance though. We faxed off the application a day later, and two days after that I figured I’d do a follow up email to see how it was going with the application, I received this short email a minute or two later, “The unit has been rented. Thanks.” Ouch, not much humanity (lol).
So, we stepped up our game. We figured we’d just go crazy and see as many places as possible, by the way we were thinking we probably wouldn’t get anything until Spring if it continued to prove this competitive. I even looked at a basement suite way far away from where we wanted to be, keeping an open mind (it turned out to not have a living room, so that was an easy decision). I looked up a “how-to get an apartment in a competitive neighborhood” article, and tried to follow the suggestions. Dress up, look professional, have all of your application info ready, be prepared to put a deposit down right away, show up on time, correspond right away if you like the place, basically, beat everyone else that wants the apartment to it. I’m not that competitive, so this felt very foreign to me, I’m also not a professional type.
Then I saw this ad on Craigslist, no picture, 1 bedroom suite, Cambie and Broadway, December 1st. No details, nothing. So, I thought, well it’s got to better than a basement suite on E 37th without a living room, right? I figured since it’s a nice neighborhood there would probably be a lot of competition, and since only one of us is working full time, we wouldn’t be first on the list of people to rent it. Anyways, we went to see it anyways.
The neighborhood proved to be beautiful, full of apartment buildings, really close to W Broadway and everything going on there, my favourite view of the city is about a block away (shown in the picture above). The street is beautifully lined with old trees, like a little green tunnel. My heart knew, this was the place, and that it would break if we didn’t get it (I hadn’t even seen the suite yet)! We had dressed up, had all of our info, we were ready. The suite was simple, not beautiful, not hardwood floors, not big, but Tal and I felt it was cozy. We loved it. About 10 steps after we’d left we both felt like this was to be our new home. It felt good to immediately agree. We both knew. So we followed our protocol for getting an apartment in a competitive neighborhood, and the next day, we got the call that we got it!!!
So I’m still in shock. This is something we’ve wanted for a long time, and it just seems like a fantasy. December 1st is so soon!
We will be living in the Fairview district, which just so happens to be where my parents met. We’re close to Granville Island, Mount Pleasant, and Kits. There’s an old theatre, organic grocery store, interesting video rental store, parks, and coffee shops all within walking distance. Oh yea, and transit that Tal will be able to take to work! We’ll be saving $500/month in gas.
The biggest perk, although there are many, is that Tal will be about a half hour away from his work. He’s being commuting very long distances, and it’s no good for his sanity, or our relationship. Other perks include, not having to spend gas to go out to Vancouver every weekend and then drive home (we spend a lot of our time out there), being close to a school that I’m thinking about taking a program at, being close to the ocean, and having an urban living experience that we’ve long wanted. I could go on about what we’re excited about, but it would just turn into this big list. We’re excited.
We’re going to miss a lot about Mission, but it’s only about an hour away. It’s not like we’re moving across the country. This is going to be a new adventure.
Please visit though, we’re going to miss our home community, a lot. We promise to come back lots.