Differences Between Victoria and Vancouver

As I write this I on on the ferry back to Vancouver again, after a week of solitude in my new home in Victoria.

Julie has been doing a workshop in Vancouver with David Diamond of Headlines Theatre. She took level 2 of the course in Forum Theatre. This is a style in which a play is written with participation from the community that deals with a topical issue. When the play is shown, audience members are asked to stop the action in the play and replace an actor if they believe they see a point where they could affect a positive change by playing the character differently.

I have been to several plays put on in this way, and have found them to be engaging and revealing – the topics have ranged from globalization, to bullying in schools, to water privatization, to South Asian gangs. Actually, that isn’t a range, that’s a list of the topics that were covered by the four plays I have seen. It is a tremendously powerful, engaging, educational, and entertaining experience.

But I digress. Enough about Julie, what about me?

I have been working, unpacking, and swimming in the swimming pool in our apartment building while Julie has been away. did I mention there is a swimming pool? Well, there is. I have found the experience to be a lot like being on a business trip. I am no longer in my house, instead I am in a building with hallways and numbers on doors. I bump into others staying in the building and have awkward moments with them while I travel up the elevator, dripping water in my swimming trunks. I don’t really know anyone, and Julie is far away. I have cable (we never did at our old place). I eat alone in restaurants, or preferably, take out and eat in front of the TV.

I’m looking forward to having Julie back, and starting to get out and meet some people here. I relish a professional and social community like I had in Vancouver. I suspect the former will be easier to attain than the latter, but I’ve got time.

There are several differences about Victoria from Vancouver that have made themselves apparent to me:

  • The transit website doesn’t offer a trip planner. I used to complain about the poor design of the one in Vancouver, but I have to tell you, a trip planning application in any form is better than downloadable pdf’s of schedules and gif images of maps!
  • 7 digit dialing. So quaint, and convenient!
  • Nothing seems to be more than a 30 minute drive away. People say things like “That’s way out in Esquimalt!” – what that means is it’s about a 15 minute drive. Anything more than a 10 minute commute is remarkable in this town.
  • The water tastes gross. I thought so many years ago when I originally moved to Victoria from Calgary. Then I started to think that Calgary water tasted gross. Then I moved to Vancouver, where I found the water tasted gross. Eventually I got used to the Vancouver water, and now I am of the opinion that both Calgary and Victoria water is gross. I am sure in a few months, I’ll be thinking it’s the Victoria water that tastes normal, and it is Vancouver and Calgary water that is gross.
  • The sky appears to be of a different colour in Victoria. More stars at night, I am sure due to less light pollution, but especially at dusk, the colours are much appear more saturated. There is a spectrum from peach through yellow to orange, then cyan, and finally the rich dark blue where the stars start to appear. I am observing this with a clear mind, I promise!
  • English muffins are always an option when you are out for breakfast. In Vancouver, you can always have sourdough toast at any cheap breakfast joint. In Victoria, so far, English muffins – go figure.
  • Cultural diversity – there is lots in Vancouver, not so much here. I re-wrote that about a dozen times trying to make sure I was being politically correct. Suffice it to say I miss Vancouver in this regard. Vanilla is nice, but I prefer neapolitan.

On the whole, I can’t say one is better than the other. At least not yet… maybe later.

World Party

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Way back, in the late 80s and early 90s, when I still had a finger on the pulse of the current music scene, I was really into a British pop band called World Party.

World Party is primarily Karl Wallinger, who got his start as a keyboardist for the Waterboys. He is a brilliant songwriter in the tradition of the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. I can remember seeing the video for Private Revolution on Much Music in 1987 when I was in grade 10, and after I got a cd player for my birthday, the album of the same name was the first cd I purchased.

World Party was at it’s peak in 1990 when it released it’s second album, Goodbye Jumbo. In 1990 I turned 18, and moved to the coast to go to art school. That album was the soundtrack for that experience. in 1993 World Party released the third album, Bang. This was the year I met Julie, who I am now married to. For both of us,  Bang was the soundtrack for much of that first year of our relationship.

Julie was flipping through the straight a few months ago and saw that they were coming to Vancouver to play one night at Richard’s on Richards, a bar well suited for live acts, but not so much so that it isn’t still a little dingy and rough around the edges. We bought tickets before we knew we were moving to Victoria, and last Wednesday took the ferry over to catch the show.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. Much of what is great about the recordings is the production of the music – the arrangements and multi-track recordings of vocal harmonies are much of the strength of the music. Sometimes that doesn’t translate well live. You also had to wonder at the age of the music – it was popular nearly 20 years ago – how would it hold up now?

The answer was, exceedingly well. Every song was fantastic and really well delivered. It was a 7 piece band, and the harmonies were well sung. The sound setup was done well, and seeing this band that I had been listening to for nearly 20 years in such a small venue was a wonderful experience. It was great to be there with Julie – you know you’ve been with someone a long time when the music you used to listen to together is now in the oldies category.

I think even if you didn’t have the personal attachment to the band that I do, you still couldn’t help but to enjoy the music. If there is one album I would recommend, it is Goodbye Jumbo, and if there is one song, it is Put The Message In The Box. 

The Big Move

It has happened. Reality is no longer sinking in, it is hitting the ground with a satisfying, but intimidating “thud!”.

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We moved yesterday, from Vancouver to our new home in Victoria. It all went very smoothly all things considered. We hired a moving company this time – it was so very, very, very the right thing to do. By the time moving day had come we were exhausted from all the packing and sorting and cleaning, so having help with the heavy lifting was greatly appreciated. I’d refer our moving guys to anyone – AAA Advance Moving. The crew was friendly, upbeat and professional, which is more than I can say for myself at the end of the day.

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Our new place is nice. It’s bright, and there is new carpet since we looked at it 3 weeks ago. It’s quiet, and like everything in Victoria, conveniently located (you can pretty much drive across town in 20 minutes).

Our apartment was welcoming when it was clean and empty – having populated every room with dozens of boxes it is a much less pleasant place to be. Hands on my hips, observing what we’d accomplished at the end of the day, all I could think was that maybe I should have told the moving guys to throw all my stuff into the Georgia Straight as we crossed over on the ferry. But alas, the burden of our stuff is all here. The weight has been transferred off my shoulders, however. Today is the first day in several weeks that hasn’t involved me stressing about stuff management deadlines. While the boxes are as yet unpacked, it’s nice to have a day that I don’t have to pack, sort, or dispose of anything if I don’t feel like it.

I have heard that as people get older they find the experience of moving to be worse, but they become more efficient at doing the work. That feels accurate to me. We packed each room in our old place on a schedule. We sorted through everything and labelled each box. We made sure we had lots of time at each stage and were ready for every step on the way. However, now more than ever, I don’t ever want to have to do that again.

Luckily, this place looks pretty good. While we’d like to buy a place of our own in the near future, real estate prices aren’t skyrocketing like they have been and the pressure is off. We can relax and enjoy, at least for a while.

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The Kitchen

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The Office

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The “Storage” bedoom

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The Living/Bedroom

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The View

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Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge!

 

 

Good Times

We made a plan for ourselves several weeks ago when we were trying to decide if we had time to go away for a weekend. After looking at each room and estimating the hours required to sort and pack everything in it, we put it all on a calendar and figured out when we’d do the packing. We’ve taken a slow approach, sorting through everything and ridding ourselves of much of our stuff. Sometimes I feel as if we are preparing for an expedition, carefully assessing each object I consider taking with me for it’s benefit to volume ratio.

We thought we estimated liberally, but we’ve been taking longer than expected. When our friend Celeste said she wanted to plan a shindig for our imminent departure we were flattered and releived. Julie and I both loved the idea of having a party, but hated the idea of planning one.

We met at Trout Lake Park and had a potluck barbeque. We had intended for there to be badmitton, bocce and frisbee, but really, everyone mostly just did the party eating talking standing around thing. It was nice and relaxed. I kept thinking, “Why haven’t I done this before?”. Later on we went to Grandview lanes and enjoyed the “Glow Bowling” available upstairs. It was way fun.

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I worry about parties. I am not much of a party guy. I worry about what non-party people like myself will experience at a party I host. I am afraid that no-one will know or will want to know eachother. Here’s the thing though – the people I choose to have in my life seem to be the types that are worth knowing, and the types that are interested in being present in the moment with others. It seemed to me like the company that was present was enjoyed. I know I was feeling the love. I was having a hard time reconciling the fact that I’ve chosen to leave Vancouver. These are my people!

It is hard for me to imagine creating a community in Victoria like the one I have here. It is hard to imagine not being in Vancouver for regular extended periods of time. In my mind, our move to Victoria is about 2 weeks long. I know it’s permanent, but it is really hard to imagine past 2 weeks.

One great thing about moving to Victoria is that it is close to Vancouver. My friends in Vancouver are too important for an hour and a half on the ferry to get in the way. I’ll miss having my good people as accessible, but I sure am glad to have everyone in my life.