things i’m already enjoying about vancouver:
- the more relaxed feel of the city. the impact of this cannot be overstated – even as stressed as i am about trying to sort out a life, everyone else around me is so much more laid back. people aren’t rushing around like little frantic worker ants. shockingly few people are plugged into headphones, or burying their gaze in their smartphone. people make eye contact and small talk – the humanity of just those little things have a huge impact on your mood.
- everyone being outdoors, all the time. rain or shine, people are out walking, cycling, rollerblading and running. i’m seen very few gyms, and a whole lot of people who seem to just make a point to get out in the fresh air. i need to purchase some proper weather-appropriate outdoorsy gear if i’m going to join in.
- customer service. this is something i’ve desperately missed about north america – even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. in london restaurants, if you drop your fork, or need to ask for condiments after you’ve had your meal served, well good luck to you. you practically have to set yourself alight to get the attention of the waitstaff in most places. shops, ticket agents, phone representatives – all universally sub-par experiences in the main. i think the main difference is that even when customer service in london is *competent* (and that’s infrequent enough), it’s rarely *pleasant*. here, they may often go overboard in their attempts to be helpful or upbeat, but there is still at the core a genuine desire to make your experience a good one. just the fact that they’re usually trying, makes a big difference.
- space. the houses are detached. the streets are wide. the pavements are uncrowded. ’nuff said.
things i’m not enjoying:
- the cost. i never expected things to be cheap… but i didn’t expect them to be nearly as expensive as london. rent is cheaper, petrol is cheaper, public transport is cheaper, and eating out is cheaper – but that’s about it. for someone who’s trying to spend as little money as possible, it’s a challenge. groceries, in particular, are shockingly expensive.
- the hail. now when it’s not raining, vancouver is beautiful. and i am more than used to rain by now. and the weather forecasters have made a point of saying that this weather is atypical for spring, being colder and wetter than usual – but it has hailed three separate times so far this month. in *may*. that’s ludicrous.
but really? that’s about it. that’s the worst i can come up with so far. the weather, and expense.