Archive for January 2005

The final days in the city

We leave Vancouver on Saturday, four more sleeps in this fabulous city we’ve called home. Last night we went to Rangoli with friends for a goodbye meal, tonight’s our Scotch Club’s Robbie Burns night, and every other night before leaving seems booked with goodbyes. It’s lovely to leave on such a good note.

Moving overseas has made things that little bit more complicated than moving within Canada. Along with the normal packing and changes of address, there’s the fact that our stuff could take 8 weeks to arrive in Aberdeen, so we need to pack our suitcases well to ensure we have everything we need upon arrival. But as stressful as it is (and there’s times when that’s overwhelming) it’s so exciting & we’re starting to look forward instead of looking back.

We expect that posting may be infrequent for the next 8 weeks, until the computer arrives and we can set up internet at home again. We’ll be back though, and we should have great stories by then!
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Bompa’s Quilt

There’s lots to do around here to prepare for our move, but one of my top priorities is totally unrelated. Just before we heard about my job interview, Sue* and I went to the quilt store and picked out fabric to make my grandfather a quilt. (I feel everyone should sleep under a handmade quilt, the one Sue made us for our wedding really means a lot to us. It’s like the maker is wrapping you in a hug each night before bed, and I wanted Bomps to have that same feeling.)

So, with material purchased, I was just about to start sewing when i was offered the job. All of a sudden the timescale of this quilt was compressed; rather than finishing it sometime in the spring, it became important to get it done before we left for Scotland so that we wouldn’t have to take it all the way there and back.

Just to complicate matters, this was the largest and most difficult quilt I’ve done to date (look at all those little triangles, they’re a pain in the ass even with speed-piecing techniques). However, I finished the sewing and basting on the weekend, and there’s now just the handquilting left to do in the next month. While it would normally take quite a bit longer than a month to quilt something this size, I’m counting on appropriate motivation, the lack of employment after next week, and a little help from my mom to get this finished!

When I get in this quilting mode, Cory’s very supportive. Along with taking pictures while I’m not looking, he’s been trying to find quilt stores in Aberdeen, but hasn’t had any luck so far. I might have to find a new hobby, I guess I could always learn to knit…

*C’s mom
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Vancouver Highlights

The reality of this move is sinking in, we’ve only a few days left at work (4 for C, 9 for me) and our furniture has been sold (and most of it has been collected, leaving us in a state that’s starting to resemble camping). We are embarking on this great adventure, it’s very exciting.

But we’re also in the process of saying our goodbyes to Vancouver, and realizing that if the next five years are as good as the past five + years we’ve had here, we’ll be very lucky. In that spirit then, in no order, and by no means complete, here’s my list of things I love about Vancouver:

  1. The Vancouver Giants
  2. Snowshoeing on the North Shore mountains
  3. Vij’s restaurant and Rangoli takeaway
  4. Caffe Barney at Granville and 14th
  5. Sushi, sushi, and more sushi. We’re going to have cravings for years.
  6. Lululemon, even though the yoga culture can be annoying….
  7. Mountain Equipment Coop
  8. Cycling around Stanley Park
  9. Flying kites at Vanier.
  10. Cycling to Steveston and having coffee on the pier.
  11. Howe Sound Brew Pub (Squamish) and the Raven (Deep Cove)
  12. the views, all of them.
  13. and finally, Granville Island, our main destination for lazy weekend walks, nights out, and romantic meals.

And to be fair to Jason, I’m even going to link to a picture of me making a fool of myself stuck in a tree well. (p.s. if any of you super web types can figure out what’s wrong with my css, I’d appreciate the heads-up.)
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I’m going to a memorial service today for the organizer of our Scotch club, a retired professor at UBC, who passed away on the 24th of December. He was a wonderful man, warm and friendly, with dignity and character. It’s not that we knew him well, but well enough to know that the world is a lesser place without him.

The Scotch club has been one of the wonderful things about Vancouver. A group of random people, without pretention or exclusivity, sharing stories and scotch once a month. On the 25th we’ve our annual Robbie Burns party with the group, and the last time we’ll have a chance to attend. I’m giving the “toast to the laddies” this year, and under the circumstances have been thinking about it quite a bit. The thing I’d like to toast men for, as well as the traditional ribald jokes, is the way gender barriers have broken down in the past two generations, such that a club such as ours is not a boys club, but one where we’re all welcome.
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fiddichside inn

The Fiddichside Inn has been run by Dorothy and Joe, and before that by Dorothy’s mother, for over 70 years. The total size of the bar is what you see here, when there are 6 customers the place is full.

There’s always a warm fire (in December at least) that Dorothy keeps going with buckets of coal. Oscar and Brian (see below) drop by with their dogs each evening and chat.

We visited there on our honeymoon and then went back last month. It was wonderful to see that things were still exactly the same. Dorothy chatted with Cory about her time overseas in WWII, Joe had a secret stash of treats for the dogs, and beer was bought in rounds, a community as well as a pub.

Dorothy and Joe live in the Inn, and if you’re the first to arrive each evening, they’ll hear you come in and leave their living room adjoining the bar and come to serve you. The TV is on in the next room, often Joe’s football, and it can feel rather awkward to drag them out to stand on their feet to help us, since they’re over 80 and should be entitled to evenings off. But you get the feeling that they do love this place & the people that live there. They travelled around the world during the war, but came home to a place that’s easy to fall in love with.

In our two nights in Craigellachie on this past trip, we were struggling with our decision to move to Aberdeen or to stay in Canada. We’d just found out that I’d been offered the job, and were so overwhelmed that deciding if we wanted it seemed impossible. In a pub like this, everyone weighed in with opinions. One opinion was that if we weren’t 100% sure, we’d end up staying in Canada, and that evening, tired and confused, we tended to believe it. However, it turned out Joe was right, he simply stated “you’ll be back”, and we’re looking forward to being there this year.

It will be lovely this spring to sit down by the River Fiddich on the patio and enjoy the quiet views. We’re looking forward to telling Joe that he was right, and we did opt for adventure. In such a timeless place it seems like nothing will ever change, but of course it does. I’m just hoping that Fiddichside wont change too much.

(Congrats to Cory’s cousin & her husband on the arrival of their beautiful baby boy on the 7th. We’re thrilled and looking forward to meeting the newest member of Cory’s extended family, especially since his parents, Lindsay and Michael, are two of our favourite people.)
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looking forward, looking back

How do we leave a place we’ve loved? A city that’s treated us well with pubs and restaurants that feel like home? I’m realizing how much we’re going to miss, especially eating out. Vancouver is a food paradise, with affordable restaurants producing world class cuisine of all types. We’re just not going to find that combination of price and quality anywhere else. Fortunately, we’ve also learned to cook while we were here!

Friends have suggested we develop a Vancouver page, listing all our favourites for future visitors. In a city like this, where restaurants change yearly, it can be tough to maintain any sort of relevant list though. One of our favourite pubs from last winter has now gone upscale and is off our list, while another we used to haunt in 2002-2003 is a regular haunt again.

P.S. Thanks for all the advice on the last post about moving, we’re feeling a bit more under control these days!
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The joys of packing

Yesterday’s post made this whole adventure seem a bit more real. Up until now, we weren’t able to announce that we were going, as we hadn’t given notice at work. Keeping it a quiet secret was tricky, especially when we were making the decision about whether or not to move.

As we’re in the throes of planning our move we’d love to hear advice from anyone who’s ever moved countries, especially to or from Britain. We’re finding out all the little things we don’t know, like are North American and British phone jacks compatible, or do we have to get rid of the phones too? And the big worry right now is where we’re actually going to live when we get to Aberdeen. We arrive on the 23rd and are hoping that will give us enough time to find an apartment before the 1st of March – what are our chances of finding a nice place?

This is, of course, why the posting on the site has been rather infrequent. When you can’t talk about what you’re thinking about, finding another topic isn’t easy.
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New Adventures

Things have been quiet here lately, but not so quiet in our actual lives. There’s big news, I’ve been offered a job as a scientist in Aberdeen, Scotland, and we’ve decided this is too big an adventure to pass up. So, over the next month, we’re selling all of our stuff and packing up, then in February we’re moving across the country to visit family before flying to Aberdeen at the end of the month.

Details about my job? I’m not going to post too many, as I’m no longer a student and that’s not the focus of the site. But I am very very excited about every part of it and I feel like I won the lottery. Details about Cory’s work? Well he doesn’t have a job there yet, but we’re hopeful that something will come up relatively quickly, or at worst, I’ll have a fabulous house-husband to come home to every night.
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