A year ago we packed up the last of our things and left Vancouver. A year ago there was a big spaz about our money being transferred properly for our real estate deal so that while on the ferry to Gabriola we weren’t sure we would be allowed in the house we had just purchased. A year ago we got it all sorted out and slept on the floor of our new house, waiting for the next day when the moving van to arrive.
And so it’s been. One year.
There’s a lot of things I can say about this move – but the bottom line is that I am very glad for it, and I have no regrets about leaving the city for a small island, nor a desire to return to any city (even a smaller/cheaper one than Vancouver). We have just weathered a pretty crappy winter, with snow, power outages, and even a burst pipe caused by rats chewing through it in the kitchen- much of which I dealt with on my own while Brian was in the city. And even so ….
Because while some of the “convenience” of city life has receded, so have a lot of other things – noise, traffic, anger, angst, crowded sidewalks, crammed buses, and the feeling of civility ever diminishing around me. These things have been replaced by spaciousness – time in the studio or the kitchen, on the beach, and in the woods – a zendo of my very own – and plenty of room to throw parties when we don’t feel like being quiet. Brian and I have discovered more quality interaction despite the fact he is away three days per week – it seems that full absence on some days leads to increased presence when we are together. With all external life toned down, I meet the pressures of work and my union more gracefully and with way less freaking out! There is simply more time and energetic space, and working from home has allowed for a better integration of my life and my working life.
This is not to say that all things are perfect – all communities have idiosyncrasies, and the smaller the place the more pronounced that are. Living in a community of retired people has meant that it’s been difficult to meet and make friends our age who don’t have young children. Also related to the retired population, there is some real fussbudgeting in the community – people who make a party of filing complaints against local businesses and individuals – which is a drag. And while most of the island is super welcoming, there is definitely a vibe in some quarters that people don’t want newcomers or changes to the island – even though a lot of these changes are just about the greater society changing (you might have noticed this whole boomer to millennial changing of the guard is causing some tension out there).
But you know, people are people wherever you go. And this island is full of pretty awesome people as well – from the local farmers who put most of the food on my table, right on down to the folks who work at the foodbank and keep the Commons project afloat. I’m might impressed with the community-mindedness of this place overall – and although we don’t have a ton of time in our working lives, we try to drop in where we can.
In the last few weeks, we have met some local folks who might actually be friend material – our age, musician types, in our neighbourhood – which is pretty exciting. Not to mention the fact that our proximity to Victoria means that we’ve seen a lot more of our island people – friends and family – over the last year. Since we’ve been here I don’t think there’s been a single month without visitors – which very much plays to my hosting skills.
Although it’s only been a year, we’ve pretty invested here now – and I can’t imagine where else would allow us to be in a rural community and yet still close to city amenities and our families. We still have a place in the city if and when work calls us there – but for the long haul, this is where we have landed – and I’m feeling pretty good about that.
(Picture above is of a 72 million year old fossil that we found on the beach near our house. Video below was taken two weeks ago on the beach below our house at sunrise. Pretty great, eh?)