I have been in Vancouver for 4 days now. I spoke to a friend this morning in England who insisted I’d already been here a week and why haven’t I written a blog yet? Pushy, I thought, but she’s right, (not about the length of time) but what have I been doing? Why haven’t I blogged yet? So here’s a blog!
I arrived to this stunning part of the world, after what felt like being packaged and posted to a far off land. Which is exactly what happened. Two days before leaving the UK I organised an Air BnB bedroom in a woman’s house in East Vancouver near commercial drive. If you have seen ‘Orange is the New Black’ then you’ll remember Pornstash the pervy prison guard, it turns out my host is his mother. She looks like him, I think to myself, my eyes narrowing suspiciously. What did she do to him? I pull myself out of fantasyland, reminding myself he’s just acting… or is he? ENOUGH OF THAT LIZZIE!
The neighbourhood is made up of individual character houses, different colours, and different shapes all standing eclectically in fallen ranks along quiet leafy streets. The people are more than friendly, positive upbeat conversations float past me, nods and smiles follow and I can feel a community spirit here that I have missed (maybe from another life.) I know within minutes of arriving that I could live here quite happily. If I take the short walk down the hill (a few blocks) I arrive on the drive, where I am now in a beautiful unpretentious semi trendy coffee shop. How can something be semi trendy? I don’t know, actually scrap that, its trendy… actually I don’t know if trendy is the right word? Oh who knows, who really cares?! It’s very nice. From where I sit I can see a young man, long hair, backwards cap, string vest, sitting on a bench across the road banging on a drum, it’s possible he is a North American Indian.
Commercial Drive, if I were describing it in one sentence is: A cross between a white-knuckling weed addict’s worst nightmare and a vegan’s wet dream. I find myself staying near the narrower part of the drive. I’ve taken a stroll down the drive a couple of times and the road open’s up wider and is less intimate but funky none the less.
It’s known for its quirky non-conformist cafes (stated on their signs), many ethnic restaurants (vegan options as standard), health food shops and arty/music vibe… oh and every third shop is a medical marijuana joint (excuse the pun.) The mountains provide the backdrop to this modern hippy scene. The sun is hot, the people are hotter and it’s lovely and cool in the shade.
Jet lag has had its wicked way with me. During my really tired moments I struggle to connect with the reality that I am actually here. I look down at my physical body, Lancashire is a distant memory and I feel like I’m dreaming. I watch my mind flip through a catalogue of worries weird things though like what is the purpose of being alive. When I’m tired my mental health takes a dip.
Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream. Thank goodness for that childhood wisdom. Go with the flow.
This experience of moving to Canada feels in one swift moment both pregnant and empty. It holds all the potential in the universe, countless opportunities to expand and then at the same time the unknown future brings up fear “will I fail? Will it all be taken away?” Of course not, shut up fear you’re not real. “Love, Love, Love” is my mantra. Love is real, fear you can do one.
The experience of being really tired and thinking about the tasks that need to be done, like finding a place to live, getting my phone up and running, making friends, getting to my mediation retreat on the sunshine coast, even getting a haircut is really overwhelming. It’s a lot to think about all at once when you are super tired. Luckily, I notice that its just my mind sporadically bouncing into unhelpful projection mode and the near out-of-body experience that jet lag lends to the mix makes it quite the task to ground myself. Come back to the moment Lizzie. What can I actually do right here, right now? Take a rest silly.
Life is but a dream.