Home, home on the ranch

It’s snowed over 20 cm in the last 24 hours. For temperate coastal Vancouver, that is a rarity. But it offers yet another opportunity to appreciate this place we call home.

This morning as I was shovelling the sidewalk, I heard laughter and screams of delight coming from up the street. When I went to investigate, I found over 20 neighbourhood kids and their parents sledding down the street. School was cancelled for a snow day, and people were taking full advantage. Looking around me at my neighbours – some known, others not – I felt a puddle of love for our city.

Being away from Vancouver for a year means returning and re-discovering how incredible it is here. Hands down, it has the most diversity of any city we visited over the last year, and I looked around at my neighbours this morning and thought what a huge asset this is. It shows up in the amazing restaurants we have, with every food culture imaginable. It’s in the film festivals and dance performances available throughout the year. And most importantly, it’s found in the faces and smiles you see around you on your street, on the bus, in the park… and ripping down the hill on a snow slider.

We have been home for almost a month now. Our trip sometimes feels like a dream, the way the present slides quickly into the past. Facebook brings up reminders, “memories” of riding in the Yucatan one year ago. I look at our smiling, sweaty faces in those photos, with 7500 km still ahead of us. What has changed in the last year, for us and in us?

We’ve been settling back in to Vancouver life. I’ve been catching up with personal and work friends, often scheduling one or two catch-ups in a day. I don’t think I’ll keep this pace up long, but I’m enjoying our rich social life for now. It’s a sign of belonging in a place, to “run into” people you know while out and about, and something that I’ve missed during our time away.

Our home-coming dinner. A whole lot of love in this room.

We’ve also embraced learning: I’ve started a 3 month Master Gardener Certification course, filling my Tuesdays until the end of March. So far, we’ve covered Botany, Lawn Alternatives, and Soil Health. We have an expert in Compost coming in next week, and the following week we finally get to head out into Van Dusen garden.

Botany notes, and flower dissections

Paul has registered for Wednesday night Wood-working classes, with several project ideas including a Murphy bed for a flex-room we are going to create out of our old dining room, and a camper set-up for our mini-van. He’s also going to be taking a sewing class, learning to make a hooded sweatshirt. All of these things will help us in the post-apocalypse, right?!

After selling the Bike Doctor shop right before we left, the store re-opened under another name, and then promptly closed nine months later. But the Phoenix rises from the ashes – shortly after we returned home, an email came out from “Bike Doctor,” alerting customers that several employees have banded together and will be re-opening the shop under the original name, picking up the baton in service of the many loyal customers that have been missing the friendly service and range of great bike commuting and touring products they were used to finding at Bike Doctor. Paul jokes that maybe he’ll start working as a mechanic there a few days a week. At least, I hope he’s joking.

Bye Bike Doctor. Hello Garneau. Goodbye Garneau. Hello again Bike Doctor!

It feels like such a long time since I’ve been sitting at a desk for 7 hours/day, and I’m in no hurry to jump back to that. I had resigned from my position at the City before we came home, and now I’m taking my time before committing to my next work position. My current ideal? A regular part-time position for a few days/week, and then starting to dip my toes into consulting another day or two a week. But between my Gardening course, the 10 hours of reading a week associated with it, seeing friends I’ve missed over the last year, and enjoying cooking and puttering around the house, it may still be a little while before I actively pursue my work ideal. In the meantime, we’ll try and keep our cost of living low, and our enjoyment high.

Sunset on the ferry coming home from Vancouver Island after Christmas
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