“I should have just gotten a post box in the first place,” I sighed, as updating your new address with the post office has a fee of $40. This is my second time this month I needed to get Canada Post to reroute my mail from my previous address to my new one. At the rate I’m going, I may as well rent a post box. Addresses are over rated anyway.
But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me flip back a few pages.
Proudly Winnipeg-born, I have lived in Vancouver for just over three years. I have been living an apartment with my sister and her fiancé up until this August, and for over two years have made money by teaching yoga.
I’m a vegetarian, use my bike to get around and I have dreadlocks. I also have the cold-tolerance of a banana tree. In other words, Vancouver fits me just right, and I plan to stick around here for at least a little while longer.
This September, my lovely roommates decided to make the move back to Winnipeg. I was happy —they were taking their crazy cats with them — but I was also sad as I would miss the company, and now I was homeless.
Okay, so I wasn’t entirely homeless (cue mother’s blood pressure rising). I had a plan . . .
The original plan involved moving into an old character building in the centre of Vancouver. Perfectly located, it was minutes from downtown and just a short bike ride to Commercial Drive.
Within five minutes, I could find a coffee, toilet paper or a pizza. If I really wanted to, I could hop on the Canada Line Skytrain and get to an IKEA in less than 45 minutes. Yes, I can see you Winnipeggers salivating at the thought of it!
Inside this building was a quaint little bachelor suite. It was currently inhabited by one of my dear friends, Anne, who planned to move out in October. Since I would be without a place to stay for a month, Anne graciously offered to let me move into her place early. On Oct. 1, I would be signing the lease and calling this place my home!
But that’s not exactly how it played out.
The first few weeks were great! Anne stayed at her boyfriend’s most nights, so space wasn’t an issue. There was no TV, no microwave and just the peaceful noises of the squirrels running around the trees outside. Although I had to share a bathroom with several other tenants, it was made up for by the fact that I had a personal haven in which to hide from the craze of the city. However, it wasn’t long before plans changed.
Anne’s original moving date got moved from Oct. 1 to Dec. 1. Suddenly, the idea of sharing a one person bachelor suite for three months was as attractive as trying to share a piece of sushi. In fact, it only took a few weeks before it was time to pack my rucksack and find a new place to stay.
There are very few people I would call on at a time like this. I am lucky enough to have a few good friends right here in Vancouver for such an occasion. After a few unsuccessful calls, and a mini-meltdown, I finally got through to my friends Dave and Lauren.
“Hey Dave, how’s it going? . . . Great, great. So yeah, um, I was just wondering if I could crash at your place for a few days . . . Mmhmm, gotta move out ASAP . . . Maybe a week, tops? . . . Mmhmm, yeah, tonight . . . Great, I’ll see you in a few!”
Dave and Lauren set up a sleeping area for me, which we calculated to be approximately 26 square feet. It was nice to have company again, and I definitely appreciated being able to use the washroom without having to leave the apartment. The only conflict in this living arrangement was the fact that my new roomies turned out to be light sleepers, while I am an early riser.
In order to be a decent guest, I did my best to make as little noise as possible in the mornings. In fact, I developed a bit of a routine with stealth that would impress a ninja. The night before, I would pack my bag for the following day, including breakfast and my laptop, shower and change into my day clothes (Lauren was really concerned that I didn’t sleep in pyjamas). Once my alarm went off in the morning, I would slide on out of there with the only noise I made being the door as it closed behind me.
I would spend my mornings at the coffee shop down the street, have my fill of java and get to know the local early birds. After brushing my teeth and dusting off in the washroom, I would be on my way to work.
After a mere week of being out-and-about from dawn to dusk nearly every single day, I was exhausted. So, when I found a Craigslist ad for a subletting opportunity just a few kilometres away from Dave and Lauren’s place, I was stoked! For $15 a day — peas for Vancouver — I would have a room of my own in a shared basement suite for just under three weeks. Optimistically, I responded to the ad, and, unbelievably, I got a response.
The house was situated in East Vancouver by Trout Lake, whose scenery is comparable to that of St. Vital Park. There were about four people who share the upstairs, and two who share downstairs. Because no place is perfect, in exchange for a spacious kitchen, on site laundry and a television, this place comes with wolf spiders, backwards temperature control in the shower (a lesson that was fun to learn) and a front door that makes you feel like you’re breaking in every time you come home.
As I write this, I am packing my bags to move to my next location. Although I am sad to go, the fact that a wolf spider just jumped out at me while changing the linens has me relieved that I will be in a new place soon. As of tonight, I will be house sitting for some friends of mine who are going out of town, conveniently, the day that the original tenant of this house returns. Talk about timing! I will have the entire house to myself and enjoy the company of two dogs and one cat for two full weeks.
And where will this nomad wisp off to after her work here is done? Believe it or not, I’ve found the most perfect place to live! And yes, it’s permanent.
Two lovely ladies, on two separate occasions, pointed me in the direction of this so-called yoga house and were adamant that I check it out. All I had to do was Google this woman’s name (which is, coincidentally enough, my middle name) and the words yoga and Vancouver, and there she was. After a few back and forth emails, I went to see the space, met an incredible family and will be moving in on Oct. 24!
So as I sit down to fill out this change of address form — again— I do it with an enormous amount of gratefulness; gratefulness for friends who don’t let you go homeless; gratefulness for the gracious and impressive timing of the universe; gratefulness for finally — finally — having a real address. Yeah, even if they’re overrated anyway.
Names in the article have been changed upon the writer’s request.