The Weekly Coastal

Weekly updaaaaaaaaaate.

The weeks are flying by; it’s true. I can’t believe that I have been back in BC for almost two months.

As promised last week, I’m kicking off this week’s post with some photos of my new home on the coast.

The walls are v bare at the moment, but waiting on picking up some frames to start hanging things rather than using my usual lobster clip approach. For two weeks in, and not having moved with any furniture, it’s coming together pretty well! I basically scour CL and VarageSale every day for bits and pieces that could work. This past week’s find was a teak coffee table for 50 bucks. Not bad! There seems to be a trend at the moment of older retirees selling their houses and getting rid of EVERYTHING, so it’s not too difficult to pick up some pretty great stuff if you keep an eye out, and you have access to a truck. Next up, learning basic furniture refinishing skills.

Coastal moments this week

There were chicks. Little tiny adorable baby ones. Ian and Miranda got Theo an incubator with eggs for his birthday, and some of the chicks hatched this week! I died.

I realized that this really beautiful tiny hike is super close to my house. MORE HIKES. I need them. And not just because they’re beautiful! I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to do my first 100km in 2018, and regular hikes will help me to start to build towards this. Not gonna’ lie, I’ve been thinking of hiking up Elphinstone by myself, but am also a tiny bit afraid of bears? I used to hike a ton, and have never been too worried about bears before, so not too sure where this fear has come from, but whatever. Just bring a bear bell with you, Altaira!

It was Jac’s birthday. I didn’t take any photos of this, but it was a backyard, bistro light, taco potluck feast that included a million amazing taco fillings, plus some fresh from the ocean crab. It was also a super pal fest, and was just the loveliest evening.

Running with Grace had become a regular thing, and schedule’s willing, we’re going to sign up for this adorable 10k in August, and also probably a longer trail race in North Van in the fall. Woo! It feels sooooooooo gooood to be running regularly again. Getting back into it, but also trying not to push too hard, because I am done with these fucking injuries! On that note, discovered that the rec centre had 2 dollar dropins weekday afternoons, which is amazing. The rec centre here is actually the best (last time I went, there were two grandmas playing pingpong in the atrium); it’s a v well stocked gym, and at this time of the day, it’s usually just me, one or two jock dudes, and a bunch of seniors. THE MOST CHILL GYM EXPERIENCE OF ALL TIME.

I also finally feel like I am getting work days on track, and started properly reaching out to folks about getting CreativeMornings Sunshine Coast up and running. Thank goooood. It feels like it shouldn’t have taken this long for me to kind of start finding my groove, but the settling in process has been slower than expected. I don’t know how I thought that I was just going to hit the ground running straight into organized work days, and new CM chapter set-up while also searching for a place, and sorting out my life, but that was my expectation.  Turns out, some things take time.

What else? I keep meaning to mention – people on the Sunshine Coast apparently loooooooooooooooove PT Cruisers. LOVE THEM. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I see at least 4 PT cruisers a day. In a town of 5000, that is a whole lot of PT Cruisers.

I drove this week. It feels super weird to be my age and learning to drive for the first time. At least in Gibsons, the speed limit doesn’t really go over 50, and unless there’s ferry traffic (the rush that happens when people are getting in from the ferry, or trying to speed their way to make the ferry) then the drivers here are super chill.

Ended my work day doing a little writing at Gibsons Tapworks, then chatting a bit with the bar tender and some other Gibsons beer scene folks who I’ve met before. It was just a small moment, but walking out afterwards to grab my bike and head home was one of the first times that I’ve really felt local. Not just like, oh, I live here now. But like this is a part of my routine, and this town is my home. It was pretty nice.

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the 100 day project – day 19-25

First off, I just want to say that I have not been intentionally slacking on writing this past week. I moved over the weekend, and though we scheduled our internet hookup for the very next morning, that just didn’t happen.

The internet guy told us that he needed our landlord’s written permission before he could drill a hole to put in the cable, and his only response when I told him that this was ridiculous and should have been mentioned in advance was to tell me to “be cool” over and over again. “Be cool, man. Just be cool.” Umm… ok, guy. Thanks for the advice.

That night, my roommate and I realized that our house also wasn’t equipped with any modern plug ins. There might be one in the living room? But elsewhere in the house, it is old timey outlets all the way. I can’t even plug in my lamp :|

THANKFULLY, our landlord is coming by to swap them all out for new timey outlets tomorrow morning, but as you can imagine, the past few days have been pretty low tech. This coupled with the fact that Toronto is not really a coffee shop culture, and everything here closes at 6pm on the dot, has made it very very easy to make excuses in the writing realm. Phew.

So what else? Though the new house is in a state of disrepair, it is also lovely, and even though we’re still settling in, it already feels a lot like home. I can’t wait until we’re ACTUALLY settled in. Our housewarming later this month is going to be just the best.

I’m running a half marathon this weekend.

That fact still hasn’t quite sunk in. Sooooo… we’ll see how that goes. Well, I hope?

Spring has sprung, and I’m now riding my bike to work, and coupled with the fact that my route from the new place takes me along an actual bike route instead of a death trap route is HEAVENLY. I love zipping to work in 15 minutes flat. The fact that part of my ride is also through a big park certainly doesn’t hurt. Woo!

So there you have it. Updates for the past week. New Internets coming on Saturday, and more complex updates to follow.

The end.

the 100 day project – day 17

Packiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

In a few days, I will be moving out of my little one bedroom apartment and into the most giant, old house that I will ever have lived in. It’s pretty exciting. But let’s face it; the actual packing process is the worst ever. It always seems like your juuuuuust about done, and then somehow it takes hours and hours longer than you ever imagined.

Just realized that I wrote about the same thing at the beginning of my blog post yesterday. CLEARLY I am on a loop this week! Packing. More packing. Writing. Work. CreativeMornings. Running. Packing. Full steam ahead until Saturday evening, when the moving truck is all unpacked. Woo!

I realize that this might be one of the most boring of my blog posts, but halfway through I remembered that a deadline I’m trying to meet for a personal essay competition is tomorrow at 5, so I spent my evening writing that instead. GREAT.

On that note, that’s it, that’s all, folks. This girl’s gotta’ sleep.

The end.

the 100 day project – day 16

Sitting in my living room surrounded by boxes, and marvelling at the fact that I will be moving in a matter of days. I’ve lived almost exclusively on my own for 7 years now, and this Saturday, I will be making the shift into a giant house with 3 roommates. I’m nervous and excited. I’m worried about what might go wrong, but also soooo looking forward to the possibilities. Having pals over for Sunday dinners and brunches, gardening in the back yard, roommie movie nights, and so so many evening beers and morning coffees on the front porch.

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I spoke to my mother for the first time in months today; not because I hadn’t wanted to. The last time that we saw each other was… awful. So incredibly awful. It was a turning point for me that sparked so much reflection, and began a journey that I’ve been on ever since to make change in my life. I needed time away, and now that the dust has settled, it’s time to make amends.

My relationship with my mother has always been incredibly fraught, but this year I am making a serious effort to stitch some of it back together. In her old age, I am doing my best to accept and let go of all of the things that she does that are painful, and to just give her the closest version that I can to the relationship that she wishes we’d had from the start.

Here’s to spring and new beginnings. Wish me luck.

the 100 day project – day 15

I should probably start doing this in the morning, because I KEEP FORGETTING.

Also, maybe one of these days soon I will plan out a post about something that I’ve actually been reading/researching about instead of just doing a mad type out of whatever’s in my head that day, MAYBE! Probably after I’ve moved? But in the meantime… WHAT HAPPENED TODAY??

Work. Which was fine. Rain. Some packing. No running.

Caught up with a few friends, planned some CMTO stuff, and potentially made some interesting connections for upcoming informational interviews about cool health start-ups in Toronto. Oh, and also got a really amazingly lovely note in the mail from a past CMTO speaker, and that made me feel so great. It also made me definitely want to start sending ever MORE MAIL. Woo!

I can’t believe that I am moving in 5 days. Again. This will be my 6th move in three years. I am REALLY HOPING that it will be the last for a while.

ANYWAYS. There. I wrote something.

The End.

tiny and emooooooooo

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Life is hard sometimes, guys. I have reached the part of my first year of moving that is HARD. I miss my Vancouver friends, I’m still in Toronto social limbo (meaning I have friends, but not yet CLOSE FRIENDS), I still have no more furniture than a couch and a bed, winter is lingering, my job doesn’t pay enough, and I’m wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake. Have I made a huge mistake?

I had a dream last night that I went home for the summer and no one had any time to see me, so I spent most of my three weeks in Vancouver hanging out alone in parks. The zombie nightmares have also returned. Along with the panic attacks. I find myself resisting the urge to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes every single day. Uggggggggggh.

I’m lonely. But not. Isn’t that always the case? But seriously, this is the first time in my entire life that I feel like I am missing my family. Not my biological one. But my friend one. My heart hurts so. There are exciting things happening, and I’m meeting new people all the time, but do I really care? At the end of the day, don’t I just want to cook and share a wonderful meal with people who I love?

I just don’t know. 

Toronto updates

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Hello Blogworld!

It’s now been just over four months here in Toronto. Things are going pretty well so far. I’ve done some dating, made some friends, found a yoga studio, done some side contract work, and joined a pretty awesome running club.

Life is good. I guess that this post is going to be a little summary of life to date, as well as some general observations about moving to a new city and life differences between Toronto and Van.

LIFE TO DATE!

Like I said, I have finally settled into a new yoga studio, which is great, because I was really missing something from my life without it. Over my four month break, I lost a lot of my flexibility and arm strength, which is a MEGA BUMMER, but I am looking forward to getting it back. I’ve also started running with the Parkdale Roadrunners a few times a week, and it’s been so amazing in terms of fitness, and just making me feel great about life. I’ve decided that I’m going to do a long slow train for the Detroit Half-Marathon in October. It’s gonna’ be great. It’s been wonderful to feel FIT again. For years, I’ve been doing cycling and yoga, with maybe some dodgeball or other sport thrown in there, but something was just missing. I was very slowly putting on weight, and just feeling like I needed more in the physical activity area of my life. Now, a few months into running, I’m feeling stronger and faster, and I’ve melted off that extra ten pounds of love handles. The love handles were not a huge deal, but I am just happier that they are not there anymore. Plus, slowly making pals with this group of runners is awesome. I can’t wait until 6-8 months from now, when we are actually buddies, and running is this great healthy and fun social activity that is a big part of my life. ANYWAYS.

Other things… also did some contract work with Emily Carr again, and work is going well, and I am feeling more competent and awesome about career stuff than I have ever felt in my life. It’s amazing.

I also seem to have more confidence about dating than ever before? I have a long history of being kind of “why doesn’t anyone loooooooove meeeeeeee????!?!” And now I know why. It’s because if I’m honest with myself… I was kind of desperate. I was so eager to have a bf, that I would just bend over backwards to accommodate any kind of behaviour or schedule, even if it didn’t really suit me. I didn’t even really have to like the person like crazy. I would just do it. This is not an attractive characteristic. It wreaks of nervous insecurity. I’m not sure what happened when I moved. But after about a month of being here, that characteristic was gone. I feel calm and confident, and like I know what I want and what I don’t want, and like if something is going to work out then that is great, but I do not have to strain myself to make it happen.

OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MOVING IN GENERAL

It takes a long time to get settled. A really long time. I am still in a kind of mid-way home, where it’s good, but not quite HOME. I often miss my Vancouver apartment, which was not perfect, but reflected me so well, and was definitely mine. I miss sitting on my porch and listening to the rain, and having friends over for dinner. I miss my books, and my art, and my kitchen corkboard full of mementos.  I miss getting home late, and turning on music to dance around my livingroom, and smoke on my porch.

I miss my friends. So much sometimes that it hurts. The Internet helps things, but I miss the everydays of our lives together. I miss J and Clayton on the weekends. I miss easy hangs. The thing that is both wonderful and exhausting about being in a new city, is that there are so many new people to talk to.  It’s so great, but it also means that most social interactions take a lot of energy. There is no “Just come over with some chips to drink beer in my livingroooooom. I’m still in a housecoat, but can we just watch trashy TV and talk about our love lives all afternoon?” I don’t know how else to summarize best friends level of comfort differently right now. So, I miss that.

Again, as with friends, places are easy to miss. In a new city, when I want a specific thing, I might not have any idea how to get it. It took me like 3 weeks to figure out where to go for my birthday, because I didn’t know where the type of place that I wanted to go to existed. In Vancouver, it would have been easy. Or like, if I need weird cheap crafty things… where do those come from?

Anyways… so things are great, but hard. Exciting, but also lonely sometimes. I can’t wait until the summer, because it will make everything way more awesome. I can almost taste how awesome summer will be.

TORONTO VS VANCOUVER

I lied. I actually am going to leave this for a future post. I am so sleepy right now, and I’ve been writing/working on different projects on my computer for like 4 hours now, and it’s time to hit the hay.

The one thing that I will say, is that despite the cold, I am really loving the snow/sunshine as opposed to RAIN ALL THE TIME. The snow is still a magical novelty to me at this point, and even though I am dying for summer, the snow is so beautiful and I love it.

I also love how friendly people are in Toronto. I was warned before moving here that Torontonians are cold. I’m not sure what happened that those people had that experience here, but I personally find folks in Toronto so incredibly friendly, and non-flakey, and genuinely interested in other humans; I think that people here are about ten billion times more friendly, and more likely to make friends with strangers than anyone in Vancouver. But that’s just been my experience.

ON THAT NOTE – SLEEP TIME!

Until next time.

SLEEP! SLEEP! SLEEP!

Tron – week 3

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As I round out my third week in Toronto, I’m slowly starting to find my stride and figure things out a bit. I go running a few times a week, I have a few pals who I can call for hangs, or text to say hi if I’m having a good or crummy day, I’ve found a permanent place to live, and I’ve biked to most neighbourhoods in the city. It feels like I’ve been here both for a much longer, and much shorter, period of time than three weeks. This might not make sense to anyone but me, but it kind of feels like I am in a weirdo-limbo-dream-zone where nothing is quiiiiiite fully real? Maybe it’s because I still have no idea what my life is really going to be here? It’s all still pretty mysterious in so many ways. Oddly, I also keep running into people I know on the street, so that adds a bit of familiarity to the otherwise mostly unfamiliar veil over the comings and goings of my everyday life.

I’ve been on a few dates since getting here, some better than others, with one individual in particular who just seems so earnest and involved in life, that this weekend more than ever I felt the need to kickstart myself from settling in mode to settled. Consequently, I spent most of today scouring the Internet for book stores, and markets, and other things that I think that I would love in Toronto; then finished of my Internet scour by signing up for a beginner sewing class at The Workroom, and applying for volunteer positions with The West End Food Co-op and the Royal Ontario Museum’s Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity. *fingers crossed*

Ummmmm. What else… I guess that that’s it for updates. I’m not actually feeling that much like WRITING tonight, but in an effort to be somewhat productive decided that I should just do it even if it’s nothing too exciting. Right?! Right.

Topics to be covered in more seriousness in the near future:

  1. the irritation that I feel when people say things like “Oh! You write about science, but you’re still interested in creative things too? That’s great!”
  2. something about the reasons I hate the Big Bang Theory, and why it’s actually kind of offensive
  3. something in-depth about my new job
  4. maybe something about insecurity, and self esteem, and the displaced feeling of being in a new city when you’re a person who is used to being really well connected/informed and all of a sudden you’re the person being like “I have no ideas for plans! GOD, I AM BORING!”
  5. the plight of my ongoing insecurity with regards to pursuit of my own artistically creative endeavours

THE END.

#YVR –> #YYZ

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OMG! An update! 

What’s happened since my last one many months ago? My best friend got married, I went on several quick little weekend getaways around BC, I spent several months doing interviews over Skype, had a bunch of parties, and then picked up and moved across the country to Toronto. Woo! I’ve known for a while that I needed to shake up my life, and when I was offered a job writing for SickKids, I packed up, sold, and gave away all of the pieces of my life to jump into a new city. I’ve been here for all of a week, and it still does not feel quite real. 

Let me tell you, if you’ve never made a LONG DISTANCE MOVE (especially one where your job is not actually paying any of your moving expenses…), it’s an ordeal. During a normal move, all of those bits and pieces that you’re not sure about can just be conveniently tossed into a “misc” box on moving day. When you are moving across the country, however, that shit has to go somewhere!

Aside: Don’t start finally letting it sink in that you really miss all of your pals when you’re out in a “cool” coffee shop mid-afternoon on a Saturday. You might almost start crying about it, and that is not fun when you are out in public and also wearing eye liner.

REGAINED COMPOSURE

The first week in Toronto was spent meeting friends and acquaintances for drinks, biking around and looking at maps many many times, shopping for work clothes, manically checking craigslist and viewit. Work was breezy, with a slow calm ease in; it seems like it’s gonna’ be pretty great. I know that I have been working real, serious, grown-up jobs for a while now, but this one feels different. It feels like the biggest step so far that I have ever made into middle adult-hood. I am part of an editorial team now, and I already have assignments for some pretty cool writing projects. 

I will slowly find the stores that I will shop at, the markets I will go for groceries, the bars and coffee shops that I will haunt, the lectures I will attend, and the places where I will volunteer. Fall will turn to Winter, and for the first time ever, I will experience living somewhere that it actually gets cold. Old friends will visit from Vancouver, and I will make new friends in Toronto, and so many things in my life will change. 

I feel nervous, and lonely, and brave, and most of all, excited for the year ahead. 

More updates to come. 

THE END. 

Settling in doesn’t have to mean settling

After years of living in a bacheloresque apartment for fear of committing to this city, I finally realized that nesting and giving up were not the same thing…

So here’s the thing… I love Vancouver. Vancouver is my home. But at the same time, I have never been able to help thinking that I actually want to live somewhere else. I have lived in other cities, and I have loved it, and my dream has always been to move away to somewhere that I imagine to be more cosmopolitan, more fast-paced, more interesting than Vancouver. I have always sort of felt that I don’t fit here. And so, while living in this city, I have always felt a strange limbo, where my physicality was here, but my heart was looming out on the edges somewhere else.

So how did this manifest? Well, it manifested in me living in an apartment that I felt really lukewarm about for many years. It also manifested in me never really investing any time/money into said apartment because I was worried that this meant that I had given up on my dream of moving away. Somewhere, somehow, my brain had decided that committing to paint and a couch meant that I was committing to a 10 year lease.

On the career side of my life, while scouring job boards in other cities, I was also working a full-time job here, but on a million teeny tiny contracts as a ‘casual’ worker so that if need be I could still leave at any moment.

Basically, I set up my life so that if at any point I needed to drop everything for my dream job in New York, I could easily do so  with less than a month’s notice and not have any messy contracts to get out of, and also not really have that much stuff that I needed to get rid of to leave the city. To be fair… I DID have an interview for a dreamy job in New York at one point… and in that case, I would have actually had to leave at a moment’s notice… but that was only one interview. One interview. In four years.

So here I was talking about how much I hate my apartment, and talking about the uneasiness of my job, and doing this FOR YEARS because I was afraid of committing to one thing, only here I was just committing by default to things that were not serving my well-being in any way shape or form*

Then I went through a weird breakup. It was my first breakup in YEARS (though it was pretty minor), and it completely catapulted me into the mode of “ok, missy. Time to get your life together.”

I took the plunge, and one month later, I was giving notice at my shitty apartment of 4 years. Let me tell you, giving notice for a cheap giant one bedroom that allows cats (also sketchy, on a loud street in a bleh neighbourhood) is no feat to take lightly. It was terrifying. What if I just did not find any place to live? What if I only found somewhere SHITTIER for MORE MONEY? What if I had to move out to the suburbs? WHAT IF?!?!

After many a sleepless, panic-stricken night, and anxious days filled with calls and emails to every apartment posting within a 20 km radius of where I ACTUALLY wanted to live… I DID find an apartment. It was not my DREAM apartment, and it was also more expensive than I would have liked, but it was about a million steps better than the one I had before, and the moment that I brought the last box out moving truck, I knew that it was home. And you know what? After having lived there for about two weeks, it LOOKED like home. Two weeks! And it was more of a home than my old apartment of 4 years had ever been. Why? Because I decided to commit.

Two weeks later, I accepted a new job. A permanent one. Which, again.. is not my magical dream job love of my life, but it is better than the job that I had before and it’s a place that I can really sink my teeth into without having to worry about relentless contract renewal and piecing together projects just to justify my existence.

So what have I learned here? Well, committing to something doesn’t mean that you can never ever have another thing that you want ever again. Do I still want to live in New York one day? Yes. I sure do. But can my experience living in Vancouver be a whole heck of a lot better while I’m working towards making that happen? Yes. It sure can. So here I am now, in a home that I love, though I know it’s not forever. And not committing to this city forever, but at least committing to it for the time that I’m here.

THE END.

*disclaimer while my job WAS a variety of tiny contracts, it was also incredibly interesting and satisfying in many ways. I actually learned a whole heck of a lot. It just was not a place where any kind of real LONG-TERM growth was going to happen for me career-wise. Plus… contracts. Yeesh.