I can't tell you how sweet life is in my new home. I thought myself a hardcore urbanite: I loved the grit and colour of Gastown, the mix of upscale, industrial, hipster and downtrodden that made up my neighbourhood of the last five and a half years. And then I found my little oasis in the middle of not-so-glamorous Marpole, and suddenly none of the cool coffee shops, bakeries, clothing stores or bars that surrounded me mattered anymore.
So it's true - most of the restaurants and cafes that surround my new home are...not great, or else not designed to be that welcome to Canadians of the whitey-whitebread persuasion such as myself, with all-Mandarin or all-Cantonese menus and staff that don't really speak English (that being said, I have ventured into a few anyway and found a number of gems). But I have a wonderful dining room that has light that streams in from the east, and with another window that opens up onto views of trees and mountains to the north, so it's not a hardship to eat at home.
Yes, it's a fact that the only speciality food store near my new home is Safeway. But I have a kitchen that I delight to spend time in, and since I moved in January I have spent many happy hours cooking away on my new stovetop. True, I haven't visited a "hot" restaurant in...well, months really, but I have re-discovered my cookbook collection and found some new recipe blogs that I adore. There's no good coffee, true - you can't count the Starbucks at 64th and Granville - but I have a perfectly good machine to brew my own, not to mention a well-loved Bialetti stovetop espresso maker that Edy and I purchased in Rome years ago.
I worried when I moved out of Gastown that the new neighbourhood and the lifestyle (or lack thereof) that it presented would not be "cool" or "exciting" enough for me. Instead, I've found that I nest more - I've looked inward rather than outward to develop a home life. I'm happy to spend a quiet Sunday at home, as I'm not exhausted from waiting for the bar underneath me to close at 4 a.m. in order to get some sleep. I don't mind waking up to hear lawnmowers and birds singing (OK, I like the birds more than the lawnmowers, it's true). I love being able to hear the rain on my roof.
Cornmeal-Raspberry Pancakes, homebrewed coffee, the Georgia Straight on the table and Michael Enright on the radio. The new Sunday.
So, yes. It's been a good move for me. A very good one. When I started looking, desperately, in November, I was trying to escape a situation that I think my body and my heart knew were no longer healthy for me - that I needed peace, and refuge, no matter what my trend-loving, hipster-admiring brain told me about living in Gastown. I felt like I was in flight from terrible anxiety and unrest. So I'm content that today my day will consist of throwing some meals together for the week to come, brushing Curriecat's coat out on one of our two balconies, sitting in my living room and staring at the rooftops, cherry blossoms and mountains that make up my view, perhaps going for a walk in Fraser River Park, and then heading to Granville Island for a rehearsal.
Maybe I'm mellowing, I don't know. Would it be nice to have someone here to mellow with? Sure. But if this is what 34-almost-35 looks like, I think I'm OK with that.