Wednesday 2 September 2015

West Coast Shock

One of our new friends asked me what I find different about our new province and home.  There are so many things I could hardly name them.  After more consideration, here are a few:

1.  The roads: The roads on this island are insane.  I nearly had a full-blown panic attack when I first arrived and had to drive up our driveway.  Now that I've been up a few others I realize that ours is quite tame compared to what some people drive everyday.  I often wish I could remember how those physics problems worked.  Plane times load or something.  Will we actually make it up the hill and at what acceleration will will begin to go backward?

2.  The garbage/recycling situation.  I thought I was a pretty good recycler in Alberta.  We recycled cardboard, paper, tin, drinking containers and plastics.  Most weeks we only had one large garbage bin to put out for garbage collection.  Here, we can only put out one medium-sized garbage pail.  Every TWO weeks.  The recycling depot is open limited hours and run by volunteers.  It is a fantastic facility, but nothing gets by these dedicated folks.  We can't recycle garbage bags or hard plastic without a number on it.  With the move, especially, we have a lot of extra garbage.  I'm planning on sending a bag home with my parents when they visit.  So leave a little extra room in your trunk if you decide to come see us:)  Fortunately, they have an excellent organics program here, so there won't be any food in the garbage bags.

3.  Downsizing.  We knew we were coming to a much smaller home.  We planned ahead and sold off any extra furniture we thought we wouldn't need.  I went through a lot of my papers and the kids toys, but eventually, we just had to throw everything in boxes and get the boxes into storage.  Opening them here in our cozy home, we realized we still had far too much.  Thankfully, there is a a volunteer-run second-hand store that will take our extras.  Even so, sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to memory-laced toys, games and wedding presents.

4.  Septic System/ Water Filtration/ Electric Heat - I've never lived in a house without central heating.  Simply adjust the thermostat and your house is toasty warm.  We even had air-conditioning in our last two houses.  I've never had a septic system either.  When I first learned about it and our water filtration system, I admit, I freaked out.  It's laughable now, but when you're overwhelmed with moving, meeting new people and worrying if your kids will survive the transition, the idea of unsafe drinking water or a septic system overflow can really freak you out.

5.  The rain - I was prepared for rain.  I was prepared for trees.  But I wasn't really prepared for the loss of sun and sky.  Say what you will against the prairies, but the open spaces and bright skies becomes a part of a person when they live in the prairies for 16 years.  The only cure is to get out into the new surroundings, give thanks for the rain and hike a trail.  I'm determined to love this beautiful place.  It'll just take a little time.


  1. That is so much to adjust to in addition to new people, new places... It's good you are looking at the positive!

    For 1 I have no suggestions, but for 2 - I know you said there'd be no food, but if you end up with organic waste you could consider starting a compost pile. There are self rotating bins now to make it less work. You might also want to check out this blog: The woman who writes it has gone 2 years producing almost no trash at all. I'm trying to emulate her somewhat, but some of it is a little extreme. But it might help you get your trash down a bit!

    3 is kind of what I'm doing right now, trying to get rid of all the extra "stuff". If we don't love it so much we can't get rid of it or use it at least once a week, it goes. I use the hangar system for clothes; put all your hangars in the closet backwards. After your decided number of weeks (I usually go a month or so) anything still backwards that isn't special-occasion or seasonal goes! And if something is sentimental, take a pic of you wearing, holding, or using it before getting rid of it. Like a pic of a beautifully set dinner table with the serving pieces and candlesticks you are getting rid of. It makes it easier somehow, lets you hold onto a piece of it (that with digital photos takes up NO space lol).

    For the rest I think your determination will carry you through and you'll think it's old hand soon! The prairies had to seem weird after Banff! I've lived in a lot of different places and if those you love are with you, it becomes home really fast. <3

  2. Thanks Katie. So helpful! Somehow I forget the weirdness of moving the prairies, but I was only 22 after all:) Miss you and thanks for your encouraging comments!!