I love this house. Bought in 2004, just after of first child, Daniel was born. We moved from our downtown Vancouver, 26th-floor apartment, with a stunning unobstructed view of the city, mountains and a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.
Our life was typical for the West Coast of Canada, we went out for sushi, walked Stanley Park each day rain or shine with Starbucks in our hands, and strolled Robson Street the famous strip, shopping at the high-end shops. Swam in our lap pool, soaked in the hot tub, and worked out in the gym, our life was sweet.
I’d bus to work to the Kitsilano Safeway store on Broadway and MacDonald 5 days a week and the 12 minute bus ride was faster than for me to drive my Mazda Miata out of the parking lot 30 turns below ground- the equivalent of 10 floors.
Alfonz worked Ralph’s Auto Parts in Richmond back then. Our yuppie “dink” (double income no kids) lifestyle was not fulfilling.
When Daniel came along, our 560 square foot apartment in the Delta Hotel Suites had been officially outgrown. We said goodbye to the floor to ceiling windows, our posh gym and lap pool our views and headed to the suburbs.
With the help of Sara Pickering our realtor, we quickly found our home and began to renovate straight away. New windows, siding, deck, railings, roof, gutters, floors, we fixed it up from top to bottom. Last came my dream kitchen, after 7 years of waiting, to only enjoy it for 3 months.
Surprisingly the white cranberry speckled granite, new stainless steel appliances, cupboards to the ceiling, new flooring and a giant island meant nothing in the end. It made no impact on our decision to move. At the end of the day, it was a pretty kitchen. At the end of the day, it was only a house, as much as we loved it.
Driving to the beach with the family, we stumbled across an open house, a new build, three floors, and slight water view towards East Beach in White Rock. Our motivation to sell our home initially was to purchase this dream house. Somewhere during the process, we figured out that having a huge a mortgage, working harder for an expensive new home, was not going to make us happier. The question became: What would make us happy? What is our dream life? What does our pursuit of happiness look like?
I feel my home is where my husband and kids are. If that’s a hotel room in Harrison, our VW van on the shores of Campbell River, our apartment in Budapest, our future place in France, or any of the stops along the way, where Daniel, Angelina and Alfonz are, that is my home. The rest, is just stuff.
Someone once told me North America’s built on immigrants who had the ability to cut off from their families and start again. It makes sense if you think about it. How else can people immigrate long distances, some never to see their families again, on the off chance of a better life? I know people who could never move away from their families, even in the more dire situations.
The lack of tying ourselves down might explain our ability to pack up and move, leave everyone behind, to start again with no fear, as our grandparents and parents did. Canada’s built on people who moved here, immigrated here, escaped to here, all on the chance for a better life.
People asked us, ‘How can you leave everything you have ever known?’ Maybe it is that loss and starting again is so commonplace in our society these days, that starting again is an accustomed inevitability. With divorce, broken homes, jobs changing 5 times in a lifetime, moving up to different neighbourhoods and having a constant stream of new neighbours, we simply do not feel the same rooted into our community that people once did.
I can only speak from my own experience, but personally, I relish change. In fact, while I am changing I feel the most comfortable. What does that say? Change junkie?? hmmm