Thursday, 2 May 2013

A place to call my home...

My favourite maple

Every once and a while I have a moment, an epiphany, if you will, and this week I had one of those moments. While walking home with my daughter from school one sunny day, the same route as always, two simple yet surprisingly important things happened. On our walk, I passed under the most gorgeous of red maples, brand new leaves being light up by the sun's light blazing from above. I have always enjoyed walking under this tree, but somehow, that day, I was in awe of its natural beauty. As we continued on, a neighbourhood dad passed on his way to pick up his child from school, riding on his skateboard and carrying his daughter's scooter for the ride home. Instantly I thought, "Only in East Van". And that's when it hit me, I love my 'hood'!

Since leaving my parents' home and heading off to University, I have been searching for the place where I felt like I was home. While living in Toronto for four years during University was truly a blast and helped me grow personally, I just never felt like I belonged in such a bustling city. So when my boyfriend, now husband, found a job in Guelph, ON, I had no qualms about leaving the big city and trying somewhere new. I did love living in Guelph, for a time. I loved walking through its small downtown, visiting the markets and frequenting its many fabulous pubs. Then we visited Vancouver, and I knew it was time for a change.

I love that at any moment I can settle into a coffee shop for a great latte and write about my life here
Biking down these tree lined street is so peaceful
When we moved here in 2007, we lived a bit further south of where we do now. It was a nice neighbourhood, and we had a fantastic view of the North Shore mountains, but our apartment seemed a bit removed from where we wanted to be, which was the Commercial Drive area. In December of 2008, we moved into cooperative housing two blocks away from Commercial-Broadway, and both my husband and I knew we were set. We were so close to all possible transit options, whether skytrain, bus, car share, bike routes or by foot, that it made it easy to decide to sell our car in 2010. It seems funny now that it has taken me over four years, but that moment I had this week made me realize I have finally found the place where I belong, car-free, bicycling, tattooed, vegetarian me.
Some kids think of something else when you say "Donald's".
Our kids think of this place, our favourite local market!
Our neighbourhood, known as "The Drive", is full of character, and while it's nestled on the East side of Vancouver, feels like a small community in a big city. There's always something to do, whether it's street festivals like Italian Day and Car-Free Day in June, visiting on of the many parks with the kids, or enjoying a delicious coffee in one of the dozens of independent coffee shops along the main strip, as I'm doing now. Almost everyone we pass will smile, and say hi, and the people around here seem so down-to-earth. Really, what more could a girl ask for?
Graffiti can be found all over the neighbourhood...these guys were hard at work!
One of our daughter's favourite graffiti pieces
This may just be the place my kids will grow up loving, too!

I realize Vancouver has numerous neighbourhoods, each with their own personality, but there's just something about the one I live in that makes me and my nomadic heart want to stay. In the years to come, I plan on visiting many cities, some of which I've seen before, and some new ones, all of which will be sure to inspire me. It is so nice, though, to know that when I'm done travelling, I will have a place to return to that will welcome me back with open arms. It really is nice to finally have a place to call my home!

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