Two cities. Two loves.

Two and a half years ago, I needed a change. I was tired of the story that I was telling about myself, and I needed to be challenged. I needed to grow. I uprooted my life in Vancouver, and without having ever been here, I moved to Toronto.

And I got what I was looking for. It’s really hard to convey how much things have changed for me since coming here.

In the past two and half years, I’ve taken over running a successful lecture series on creativity, left a job that I hated, and finally shifted sectors after years of waning, found the general direction I want to take with my life, rediscovered the real core of my athleticism, let go of family, solidified bonds with new family, started writing regularly again, and started a writing workshop series. It’s been a good couple of years. I love Toronto.

But here’s the thing – when I am here in Toronto, I miss Vancouver. The feeling of longing for the ocean, and the mountains, and cool clean forest air is buried deep in my bones. In moments of meditation, when I close my eyes, I am running down a soft wooded trail, trees overhead, making my way to the sea. My friends in Vancouver are old friends. They are the friends who know every one of my flaws; who have seen me at my very worst and most distressed; they are the friends who have become my family; they are the friends who are home. The love that I feel in Vancouver is a calm and comforting love. It eases me, and makes me feel safe and whole.

And then there’s Toronto. Still new. And honestly, I still feel pretty lonely here much of the time. I take a long time to feel comfortable in my skin with new people, and so most of my relationships here still feel like early days. That being said, Toronto has shown me a new love. Maybe it’s that sometimes you need to see yourself, or others need to see you, with new eyes to see your true potential. The communities that I have become a part of have pulled something out of me that I didn’t know was there. They’ve made me feel a lot more certain of my own capabilities; more sure of myself; stronger. In Toronto, I have met some of the most incredible women who I have ever known, who continuously inspire me to strive to be better. Not just in big ways, but in the small ways that I carry myself in daily life.

Two cities. Two loves. Two homes.

Can teleportation be a thing already?

the 100 day project – day 79 – 100

I really dropped the ball on the last quarter of the 100 day project. Regardless though, I DID write more in this time period, so I suppose in that way, it still served its purpose. Right? Right.

The summer so far has been an amazing blur of way more running than in the past, pal hangs, lots of creativemornings things, and many many meetings to talk about current and future collaborations. Sometimes I can’t believe the momentum I’m gaining in terms of just meeting incredible people. How many new and wonderful, talented, humble, wonderful humans can one person possibly meet?

ANYWAYS. I’m home visiting Vancouver and the surrounding areas at the moment, and it’s always an emotional, but also comforting experience. I miss the coast. But there are also so many reasons that I’m not ready to return. More and more, I am mulling over the idea of trying to create a life that allows me to split my time between these two cities. Vancouver/the Sunshine Coast are so deeply connected to my heart, and the deep deep depths of my soul. My heart and bones ache for the mountains and ocean when I’m not around them, and I actually can’t help but cry when I’m taking the ferry home across the ocean. THAT’S HOW MUCH I MISS THE GD OCEAN, AND THE LANDSCAPES OF COASTAL BC. Long days running through the forests and plunging into the ocean; harvesting veggies from my friends’ gardens, and feeling all of the love and security of people who love me incredibly.

But then Toronto speaks to me, inspires me, and drives me in completely different ways. It pushes me to grow, and to be better, and to be brave. I can feel myself becoming a better and better version of myself with each month that passes that I live there. I have more confidence, and more sureness of myself and my abilities, and more security in my own strength. I would simply not have been able to reach this level of growth had I stayed in Vancouver.

SO WHAT DO I DO NOW. Two battling loves, and two very different lives, both of which I crave so deeply. I just want them both. Now I just need to figure out how to make that happen.

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!

#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.