Ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something? Last winter was the worst my city had experienced in almost 100 years, and this summer is probably going to set a record for rainfall. Some nearby towns and cities have declared a state of emergency, and one of my favourite restaurants had to temporarily shut down because they didn’t have power.
In times like this, it can be easy to forget all the good things about living here. But there are a few, and here’s my list of things I will miss about living here, in no particular order.
1) The people. Originally I planned to live here for two years. The reason I’ve stayed so long can be summed up in one word–people. While this can be a difficult city to break into–most locals have lived here forever–once you’re in, you’re in. I’ve made such incredible friends over the years, and I’ve finally gotten to a place where everyone in my life is amazing. Gone are the bad friends and romantic disasters of my youth.
2) Steady work. The work is another reason I’ve stayed as long as I have. Being a freelancer can be scary, but most editors here know my name and are familiar with my work. I usually have more work than I can handle, and if I ever have a slow time, it’s only a matter of making a few calls or sending some emails. I never take this for granted–I know I am very, very lucky not to have to struggle.
3) Sense of community. I was raised in a small town where I knew almost everyone. Moving to a city where I knew no one was pretty scary. But now I bump into at least one person I know every time I leave the house. It’s taken me years to stop feeling like a newbie, and it feels good to know that if I’m ever in trouble, this city has my back.
4) Supporting cast. It takes time and effort to cultivate a great support system. I have an amazing
|My fight camp at Kwest Kickboxing|
doctor. A wonderful muay thai club with a reliable coach and friendly fellow fighters. A hair dresser who has become my friend over the years. The best drywaller ever. A great accountant. Kick ass references, should I ever need them. The awesome banking manager at my credit union, who is always available with suggestions and advice. Having to start over again from scratch will be more than a little daunting.
5) Familiarity. They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I like knowing how to garden in this city–what will grow, and how to grow it. I like being able to try out a new recipe, and finding everything I need at the local store (well, most of the time). I like knowing the difference between the neighbourhoods, and having a basic understanding of each bus route. When we move to an island, cooking North American recipes will be impractical, if not impossible, which means my treasured collection of cookbooks will be completely useless. Gardening will be vastly different–I’ve heard moving to Palau may mean giving up strawberries–I can’t even imagine that. When it comes to food on a remote island, what’s available is what’s in season, period. While it’s a better way to live and eat, I’m sure it’s going to be a huge adjustment.
6) The arts scene. This city has an incredible amount of cultural experiences available–from a top-flight symphony and ballet to great concerts, festivals, art galleries, museums, and live theatre. There is always something to do here, and you usually don’t have to look that hard to find it. If you love the arts, this isn’t a bad place to live. While the close-knit community of an island will certainly have a distinctive arts scene, most likely including local artisans and traditional music and dance, it won’t be on anywhere near the same scale. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to take advantage of the great arts and culture this city has to offer.
7) The restaurants. Feel like sushi? How about Thai? Or pizza, samosas, gyros, Vietnamese noodle bowls, dim sum and traditional British pub grub? It’s all here and then some. Every cuisine in the world is represented by at least one restaurant, if not ten. Before I moved here, I had no idea that I loved doro tibs, an Ethiopian chicken dish, or Japanese crepes stuffed with fruit, or saganaki–a Greek dish that is basically a pool of melted cheese. Moving to an island will give me the opportunity to try a whole new cuisine, but I’m sure I’ll eventually miss the great variety available in this city. However, I will not miss the ubiquitous coffee-and-donut chains that seem to be on every corner, or the fast food places. I can do without both.
If you were to move tomorrow, what would you miss?