So, that’s that: My Vancouver visit is almost up. It’s my last day today and I won’t have much time for sightseeing and things, but have to get packed, do laundry again, checkout transit time to airport, drop the rental car off etc. etc.
If time permits, I might go check out the Vancouver Aquarium as Mr. Schmörf suggested, stroll around Burrard Inlet a bit, enjoy a snack somewhere and head back to the Between Friends Bed & Breakfast in Kitsilano Beach, where I have been lodging these past two and a half weeks (well, come to think – almost three by now). Let’s start our recap with that:
I have never been better accommodated and barely anyone has ever made me feel more welcome (aside from home) than Simone, the owner and landlord of this place. So, the stay here started on a good note! While the first week was a bit of a shock, as far as weather conditions were concerned – and part of that announced itsself during the trip from Seattle to Vancouver, where it has been raining cats and dogs -, and I didn’t have too great an incentive to venture out, it gave me the opportunity to investigate a few things in terms of coming here to live, work or even study again, at least part time. As a matter of fact, I would almost go as far as to say that hardly any questions were left unanswered, maybe just except this one: What’s the BEST approach to make it happen? (and by saying that, I’m well aware that I might have to settle for a multi-track scenario).
As the rain stopped, the feel to this place also changed dramatically: People would dress in T-Shirts and shorts, as if summer had come (mind you, the thermometer barely made the 10 Celsius mark during the day…), trees would bloom, the clouds subside and the sun magically illuminate the beaches and bays. I took a couple of day trips, one to Victoria on Vancouver Island to meet my flickr friend Chris amongst other things, twice to Bowen Island, to Whytecliff Park, to Stanley Park of course, Granville Island and Lighthouse Park. I’ve met with university functionaries, attended info sessions, made appointments for renting, went shopping, dining and met incredibly nice people everywhere. Another highlight was the get-together with Shauna and Mat for dinner and a second time for the meeting of her flickr-Technical Feedback-group, where more flickerites, e.g. Mylin and Mr. Schmörf, showed up.
And – I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures as I strolled about the city and surrounding area. As a matter of fact, they might even amount to some thousands by now as I keep backing up entire directories from hard drive to DVD in order to free some space for more shots to come…. These two weeks were intense – in every aspect and on every level. They bestowed all kinds of impressions, experiences, feelings, trials and tribulations of the introspective kind on me. I sometimes felt like dirty laundry being tumbled about in the washer, such intensity was there at times – or to use another analogy: It was no less than a roller-coaster, emotionally. There were lows and there were exhilarate highs, moments of complete frustration and discouragement and accounts of elation and (self-) confidence. At times, I wished I could have directly shared this with a significant other travelling with me, but on second thought, much of what I have experienced would not have been possible in a different context, i.e. when not travelling single.
What’s the outcome? I don’t know yet. I will have to allow myself to let everything sink in and “post-process” it at home. Also, it would be too soon to draw any premature conclusions as some processes are still in the making. But for now, I think it is safe to say that – apart from the weather being rougher than anticipated (at least at that time of the year) – Vancouver has almost exactly been as I have imagined it. Well, I didn’t have to employ my imagination all that hard as my Vancouver flickr friends gave me a pretty accurate foretaste of the place. And one experience stands out over all others: People around here are so incredibly nice and helpful, welcoming, appreciative and simply adorable! I have not had one ugly encounter around here and believe me, I just walk up to people and talk to them, so that might as well have backfired at times. But no – no matter, how sophisticated my request, no matter how long it sometimes took me to actually articulate it ( not so much for the language barrier, as rather having trouble to make up my mind at times…) – everyone always treated me with respect and friendliness and wouldn’t budge until they had the feeling I was satisfied. Folks – we have a LONG way to go back home, until I can say the same thing of people in my proximity (not including friends and family, of course).
So, bye-bye Vancouver, you’ve been good to me and I just hope I can return very soon.
P.S.: It really got kind of hard to say good-bye when walking around Granville Island Public Market a last time last night… In that short a time, places, sights and sounds have become familiar and I can’t believe time’s up, already…