My Choice to Move: Addressing Your Comments

Time to tackle some of the comments from the last week on my “bombshell” of my leaving this storied city of glass, Vancouver. [My original rant about getting out is here, and the “deeper reasons” posting is here.]
After this, I’ll move on to blogging about the process of moving, the reflections it creates as I go through a lifetime of belongings to ready myself for a new life, and other things one might be lost in thought over during such a process.

The Preamble

First: I’ve deleted TWO comments. Both were from people who didn’t know how to say they disagreed with me or thought I was whiney or whatever without calling me names and generally being dicks about it. I know you have freedom of speech and I encourage you to use it, but there’s no constitutional amendment that requires me to listen to your bullshit when you decide to use said freedoms to be a belligerent asshole about it. So, yeah, feel free to waste your time, but I’ll be deleting that crap.
Second: Let’s clear a few things up. I don’t think the day-to-day things will be much cheaper at all in Victoria. What I think is, I can get a much nicer home for only a few dollars more than I pay now, and live in a much more convenient neighbourhood that’s easier on me in every way than the place I’m in now.
Third: I don’t plan to return to the city every week or two, so travel costs don’t matter. I don’t plan to suddenly become a “concerts/theatre/ games” person because it’s been out of my budget the last couple years anyhow, so I’m quite content for a quiet life of parties at home, reading more, and exploring the world. Fact is, Vancouver’s priced most of the entertainment world out of my reach, so moving to a place where there’s less of that really isn’t a drawback. In fact, it’s a bit of an advantage, because I won’t want what I can’t have. Between my back problem and my lack of writing, being stuck on buses for up to 15 hours a week and not living close to any decent shops, the commuting is killing me. I want a walking lifestyle in a reasonably quiet, convenient area that will be better for me creatively, physically, and quality-of-life-like, and where people don’t drive 70km through the side streets like they do where I’m at now.
Okay? All rightie then.

From Culture to Pace

I get why people love big cities but a lot of the things about big cities aren’t things I’m really wild about. I don’t like the endless bustle and noise. I don’t like crowds and chaos. I don’t need “excitement.”
Deep down inside, a part of me would like to live in the Scottish Highlands and visit society once a month. If anything, I worry Victoria isn’t quiet and small enough for me.
One reader, @NiftyNotCool, commented on the backwater attitudes in the small Saskatchewan town she was raised in, and that’s why she needed to get out and move to a forward, progressive city like Vancouver. I totally get that, and it’s something I DO love about Vancouver — how open-minded it is, how many of my gay friends have found community here, how multicultural it is, and how well it seems all us races get along most of the time.

Clearing Up What “Foreign” Means

Now, let’s address the obnoxious comment I deleted that made it sound like I’m some racist who hates the fact that people of different ethnicities moved here and the real estate market escalated.
No, if you LIVE here, then I think it’s great. Hell, I’ve been an ESL teacher in the past, so the culture shock of moving here has even been my bread and butter.
My problem is with foreign millionaire landlords who don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here, and who buy properties solely as investments in an overpriced market, then charge high rents to reap rewards on those investments, thus escalating the market as a whole for renters and people who are looking to invest in a home to live in. I want the market protected from outside investors for a while, just so the local population can catch up — whether they’re “born” local or transplanted. Buying to live in it? Fine. As long as you’re interested in community and being part of the city, welcome to ya, whatever your background.
I may also have a problem with the number of SUSHI restaurants in Vancouver, but that’s the extent of my racial discontent.

I Think I Need A Drink

And, speaking of restaurants, I regret ever bringing up the motif of the “$10 beer” in my first posting. I know overpriced beer exists in Victoria. Hell, they charge $60 or something for High Tea at the Empress, so you know the stupid’s going on across the pond too. Let’s forget I ever bothered with that argument, since I also have to admit there’s $3.75 sleeves 10 blocks from my present home. I never grumbled about a $10 Guinness last fall, just this sleeve of Rickards. It’s too ordinary to be expensive. Still: You people are right, I was wrong, and there we go. Moving on. Ixnay the eerbay, eh?

When Money’s Too Tight To Mention

Another comment I had came from some 21-year-old shithead who thinks he knows something about life and the struggles that might come down one’s way. I’ve been around too many blocks to even begin caring about that perspective, and that got deleted on merit alone since he was such a mouthy little fuck in his arguments, and the mouthy little fuck knows jack about my life.
It’s not like I’ve been forced to hit up the Food Bank or anything. My argument primarily is: the ridiculous renter’s/buyer’s market is insane and it’s now draining a lot of people like me who’ve “gotten by” for years but need to get ahead finally, and it’s just not happening in this city for us. The cost of living is high, and one would expect that today, but the real estate is off the charts.
If I’m paying high rent to live in the city but still spending a minimum of 10-15 hours in commute for work each week, and getting none of the “convenience” of living in the city, and I can’t afford the “scene,” then, what is it am I paying for? It’s a problem for a lot of us. For some, the solution is moving out to the ‘Burbs. For others, it’s just moving somewhere new entirely.

Ain’t No One-Size-Fits-All Dealio, Bob

I don’t think that the solutions I’ve chosen are right for anyone but me. I’m not trying to suggest I have the answer to anyone’s problems, or even a clue how to solve Vancouver’s market problems, but I think I’ve found the right choice for me, for now. I didn’t grab a Magic 8 Ball looking for Band-aids to life here, I took most of the year to decide when and where I should be going, on criteria that matters to me, and I considered cities across this great country. Ultimately, moving far from home doesn’t work, because I truly love this area.
I’ve been slow and careful in choosing because I think I had a fork in the road many years ago and took the wrong path. I think I’ve spent years struggling because of choices I could’ve made but didn’t.
And that’s life. Making a wrong turn isn’t something that becomes clear in a week or a month. Sometimes it takes years. And, yeah, it’s clear to me now. I think.
The Vancouver “problem” isn’t the culture. It’s not the mix of races. It’s not the beautiful setting. It’s not the fun festivals. It’s not the amazing bike paths, seaside routes, or any of that. It’s not the “Greenest City in the World” plan. It’s either that you can afford to live where it’s amazing, or you can’t.
And, me, I’m over city life. I’m tired. I don’t need the noise or the crowds or the commutes anymore. I don’t need to be an hour from town so I can “live it up” now and then. I need something less on a constant basis, and for quite a while.
For me, for now, less is more.
Now, I’ll assume I’ve said enough on the whys and wherefores. Moving on, kids.

6 thoughts on “My Choice to Move: Addressing Your Comments

  1. BlissfulGirl

    Having lived in both cities I think I can be fairly unbiased in my opinion, but better yet, here’s some facts about both communities…
    1 bedroom 600 sqft apartment in Vancouver’s West End $1,125 plus utilities>
    2 bedroom plus den 1500 sqft main floor of heritage home in Victoria’s Rockland neighbourhood $1,475 with utilities and gardener included
    2 Tickets to White Christmas at Vancouver’s Granville Island Theatre $198
    2 Tickets to White Christmas by Victoria Operatic Society $99
    1 litre of gas in Vancouver today $1.247
    1 litre of gas in Victoria today $1.029
    It is a slower pace of life in Victoria for the most part which is what I wanted – I wouldn’t mind it even a bit slower but that’s just me. Groceries in many cases have been cheaper here for us – especially fresh, locally produced meats and vegetables. The live music scene is surprisingly good and much more affordable. The social media community here is very active, friendly and welcoming.
    The downside – stores don’t stay open late every night, many don’t open on Sunday’s, it took over 1 yr to find a family doctor taking new patients and I have yet to find a good Indian restaurant (this may be an upside too as it made me perfect my butter chicken recipe at home).

    Reply
  2. John R

    Personally I think you are going to love Victoria, depending where you find a place to live, you can find something so quite and isolated, but yet still only be a 10 min bus ride to downtown.
    Dianna and I live on the High Quadra area, I work a 15 min walk to work, and Dianna is a 6 min bus ride from her work. We live right on the bus route, and even being on a major road, it is still quiet; and the road is dead once the bus stops running.
    There are so many great little shops and restaurants around that I am sure you will love.
    And yes, the cost of living here is not any better than back in Vancouver, but it is smaller, very accessible and a lot nicer pace of living.
    JR

    Reply
  3. Dave Macdonald

    Steff, congratulations on having so many people give a shit about your perspective on where to live to actually disagree with you point-by-point. I haven’t caught the original blog, but saw your posts that hinted at your move and I think it’s great.
    Few people are lucky enough to live in a place that works for them on their terms. It’s often not about what works for everyone else in a place or the system that operates there, sometimes it’s just about being able to create that sense of home that works for you (even for a few years).
    I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see how it goes.

    Reply
  4. Harriet

    We went there for a week, and I wanted to sell our place and move to Fernwood. So close to nature and everything you need IMO… and way cheaper. I totally get it. Plus if you aren’t thriving somewhere, you need to make a change.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    Victoria is awesome! Any place can be awesome but seriously–Victoria is the best. I have lived all over the world and hands down it’s the home of my heart no matter where I might be living at the time! Though– it can be a tough nut to crack for making friends. I try to remember to pace myself knowing the ‘year’ for people being friendly but not being particularly close. Congratulations to you for following your heart–Victoria is a damn fine place to land! Email if you need a ‘friend’ or just info. Good for you and your move!

    Reply

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