It’s such a joy to be with my friends in Olympia again. The last time I was here it was Spring and we played a lot outside. Now it’s winter and we spend the time inside. Eva, one of the children has the great idea to bake Christmas cookies. First we go to the store to do some groceries and then we go for a short walk in a park with a big waterfall. The weather here is about the same as in Vancouver, a bit of sunshine in between the rain showers. Angie, the mom of the family, explains me that the art is to imagine that it’s not raining. Apparently that’s what most people do here. Rain or no rain, they go out for hiking. Most of the time during our short walk by the river it’s dry and we enjoy some time outside before we go back home again.
The day starts early as the alarm clock wakes me up just after four a.m. I pack my last things, have breakfast and get ready to go. My Airbnb host drives me to the train station. I thought it was just a friendly act of him, but when we arrive he tells me that it costs 50 dollars. I should have gone in discussion with him, but at the moment I’m so tired of all the travel trouble that I just hand him the money. Later during the day I still find it a bummer that I let myself get ripped off this way, but at least I made it to the station in time.
When I wake up this morning I realize that it’s already my last day in Vancouver for now. Tomorrow morning I’ll take an early train to Seattle to meet friends and a few days later I’ll fly to my grandparents in Montana. So tonight I’ll have the challenge again to pack my backpack, but for now I decide to first go to downtown again. As I walk outside around seven AM, I feel it’s colder than yesterday. When I look up I see many stars in the sky. I don’t think I’ve seen them here before and it tells me that it’s probably going to be a clear sky day today. I’m excited about that. At the bus stop I make some small talk with a man who is also waiting. He recognises my accent and tells me that has lived in the Netherlands for a year. The early bus is not so crowded and I have some time to think. The few minutes talking with that man about the Netherlands made me realise that I don’t miss the country so much, but more my family and friends. I’m starting to really like Vancouver, despite its many rainy days.
I’m annoyed by the rain today. So far I didn’t mind it too much, but as I’m waiting at the bus stop fighting the rain and wind with my umbrella, I’ve had enough of it for a moment. It’s probably also the combination of the stress of house hunting and upcoming deadlines of work that make it a bit more challenging to keep laughing in the rain. Fortunately the bus comes soon and I’m on my way to the office. I try to work, but my head is distracted with the choice I have to make for the house to live in January and February. After a lot of doubting I decide to go for the house in North Vancouver that I visited as first yesterday. The people were really friendly and I have a good feeling about that one. It’s also closer to the forest and mountains, plus it has a big desk in the living room to work on. It feels good to have made a decision about this, now I don’t need to worry anymore about where to live next month.
This morning starts with house hunting, because I only got a few days left in Vancouver before I go to my friends in America. I search on Facebook and Airbnb for a while until I find a few affordable places at good locations. I write messages to the house owners and quickly receive a reply from one of them. I call her up and arrange to visit the house this morning. I quickly eat breakfast and get ready to go. It’s about a 50 minutes walk from my current Airbnb, so not too far. It gives me the opportunity to discover the neighborhood a bit more.
It’s raining again today. Someone said to me yesterday: “Welcome in Raincouver!”. I go outside early anyway, because I saw that there is a coffee meeting for startups in the city this morning. I think it might be a good opportunity to meet some more people. The bus is packed with commuters on their way to work. I think by myself how interesting it is that living in a new city can become normal so quickly. I’ve seen a big part of Vancouver now, I know where to go and already met a few people here. It’s a freeing thought to realise that you can live anywhere in the world if you want to. That reminds me of a quote that says “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.”
As planned I start working at 4AM and I really enjoy it. After helping a couple of clients via e-mail, I get a phone call from one of my favourite clients and we talk for a while about the website and business. It’s so nice to be able to work wherever in the world I am. Even though last week was an interesting adventure of getting to Vancouver and discovering the city, I did miss working and being productive.
Getting into an early day rhythm goes naturally here, because I wake up by myself at three AM. I try to fall asleep again, but can’t, so I get up and do some work until eight. After breakfast I go outside and walk to a local coffee place to read a book. Their coffee isn’t really good though and after reading a few pages I decide to go somewhere else. Because it’s Sunday the busses don’t go that often and I try my chances with hitchhiking. A friendly guy stops and as we start talking he tells me that his brother is married to a Dutch girl. What a small world. He also tells me that there are quite a lot of Dutch people in this city. I wonder if I’ll meet some of them. Unfortunately he can’t drive me very far, but he drops me off at a bus stop where more busses depart from. Now it’s only a few minutes waiting before I can travel further.
It’s seven o’clock when the alarm wakes me up. It’s weekend, but I set the alarm, because I want to get into an early rhythm next week. This morning I wake up with a feeling of ‘What am I doing here?’. It’s been only a couple of days so far, but for a moment I miss the comfort of my own home and normal life. It’s interesting that when I’m home I often have the desire to travel, but when I’m on an adventure I can also long for normal life again. Fortunately a friend from Utrecht decides to call me right at this moment and we catch up on what’s new. Even though English is my second language, I do enjoy speaking Dutch from time to time.
When I wake up it’s about 2AM and I’ve slept only five hours. I’d like to sleep longer, but since I’m wide awake I decide I better start working, because it’s still daytime in the Netherlands. I make myself an espresso with the Nanopresso I got from my parents and enjoy some delicious coffee while I sit down at the small desk in my room. I’m glad I picked this Airbnb where I can also work comfortably.