After posting the first and current version of my About Me, someone suggested adding a list of the places I’ve lived. But what would that tell someone about me? That I move a lot? Why not just say that?
My bio is due for an update soon. In two weeks, I will no longer be “Montréal’s problem”. Yann, the cats, and I will be making our way across Canada in the Jetta Wagon (colour: white with a coating of dried-up street juice) with a U-Haul trailer in tow.
I’m going back to where I came from. Sort of.
Burnaby, BC is listed on my passport as my birthplace only because Mom’s doctor was on duty at the hospital there that day. From age 0-11, I lived in Surrey, where people handed out unshelled peanuts as a Halloween treat. I believe this is where my hatred of peanuts began.
As mentioned 10 or so posts back, my childhood was based in Langley since it was where I received my public education. The good people of Langley handed out high fructose corn syrup candy every October 31st. I did a few years of cross-boundary trick or treating before moving there in 1995.
Langley was also home to one of the province’s largest mushroom suppliers. I don’t mean the psychedelic kind, just the regular kind which also grows out of poop. On particularly sweltering days, Langley reeked of shit.
Somehow, I’m still pro-mushrooms.
My formative years were spent in the Metro Vancouver area, but it wasn’t until 2001 when I became a real Vancouverite.
The following year, the number of neighbours I had was downsized to just 300 when I migrated to the Sunshine Coast. No joke: I lived on a street called Hydaway Place, in a town called Halfmoon Bay, in a region called Sunshine Coast. It’s romantic for semi-retired boomers like my parents were but very isolating for an 18-year-old.
After a few months of being the token teenager of Halfmoon Bay, I relocated nearly 1,000km east to a not-so-small city in Alberta: Calgary.
Two authentic Canadian winters later, I was back in Vancouver briefly. Unemployment forced me off the mainland and in 2004, I was transplanted to Victoria, BC.
Victoria is well-known for its geriatric population, prompting the 20-somethings to try standing out by being extra-quirky. I was just another weirdo here.
After nearly five years, Victoria felt stifling. Awkward encounters were a routine thing, whether it involved former co-workers or people I had met at parties with who–after sobering up–I regretted inciting a friendship.
By late 2008, I was living in Vancouver. Again.
Montréal became my home in 2015.
When a friend found out I was leaving Montréal, his response was, “throwing in the towel, eh?”
No, I’m just getting a fresh towel. I gave up on the idea of having a permanent home years ago. I make enough money to travel, get tattooed, and invest in my bicycles. I do not make homeowner dollars. I’ve accepted my fate as a millennial: I am to spend the rest of my life as a collector of slightly blemished particleboard furniture.
“A young man without power or money is completely free. He has nothing, but he also has everything. He can travel, he can drift. He can make new acquaintances every day, and try to soak up the infinite variety of life. He can seduce and be seduced, start an enterprise and abandon it, join an army or flee a nation, fight to preserve an existing system or plot a revolution. He can reinvent himself daily, according to the discoveries he makes about the world and himself. But if he prospers through the choices he makes, if he acquires a wife, children, wealth, land and power, his options gradually and inevitably diminish. Responsibility and commitment limit his moves. One might think that the most powerful man has the most choices, but in reality he has the fewest. Too much depends on his every move.”
–Mark Bowden, from Tales of the Tyrant
The above quote refers to Saddam Hussein. Clearly, I could never become a dictator, but I believe this is also applicable to non-fascists.
I’m fleeing Montréal after four years, but more was gained by moving here than lost by leaving Vancouver. Before moving to Montréal, I expected to become fluent in French within four years. Instead, I got fluent in bicycles. I expected to stay with the same guy for who I moved to Montréal. Instead, I am bringing a different guy back with me to BC.
And these two furry weirdos:
By moving to Montréal, I lost three months of cycling weather. The cycling season here lasts from May to October: I am a prisoner of winter half the year. I’m tired of having my outdoor adventures be suspended for a good chunk of the year.
I’m also done with being locked out of medical care here. I thought waiting 2 hours at a walk-in clinic was bad until I was turned away from a walk-in clinic before it even opened because it had already filled up for the day!
No more off-roading simulation in the city:
I’d like to say that there’ll be a fresh, warm towel waiting for me in Victoria, but I have yet to secure a job or a place to live.
But I’ve mastered this whole moving thing. Everything will be fine.