Since I have been in Vancouver for exactly one month tonight, I figured this might be a good time to write a first little post about my new life on the Canadian West Coast. I think it's fair to say I feel really good about my time here so far :) Here are some of the reasons why:
It pretty much goes without saying, but after a month in Vancouver I can say this: it's a gorgeously naturally beautiful place. Snuggled up to the mountains, right at the ocean, clean air (compared to Brussels anyway), plenty of green space. Lots of wildlife too: in these first weeks, we've seen a) a raccoon in our street (which was a first for me, I think) b) squirrels racing across the garage roof c) a hummingbird in the neighbours' tree and d) heard seagulls while lying in bed.
(I've also encountered less endearing animals though. Anyone remember Bambi, featuring a cute little skunk? Well, they might look cute, but they sure do stink. Last week, we were forced to close the windows to keep the smell from coming in. Their smell, when it's far away, oddly reminds of pot, coincidentally also often called 'skunk'. When close by though, it's just fucking disgusting.)
Biking! Biking infrastructure is great in Vancouver, cycling routes are well indicated, there's bikers everywhere - even when it's pouring rain, as it has been for the last month, with the exception of a few sunny days. So far I find Vancouver a much bike-friendlier place than Brussels. Plus: it is simply amazing to ride around and all of a sudden notice those wonderful mountains in the distance. Like during that early morning ride along the famous seawall a group of us did a couple of days ago.
The end of my long distance relationship with Ariane, and the start of an IRL-life together - also the end of our daily e-mail writing & Skype calling. Living together with Ariane is, in one word and fairly understated, fantastic. Not that I was worried about this part, but I did wonder what it would be like, since this is the first time I'm doing this (living together I mean). East Vancouver, which is where we live, is a really cool area. It feels very mixed, very laid back, full of good vibes.
The geeks. Vancouver seems to be full of interesting geekery, much of which is Drupal-related. Ariane and I hosted a Drupal hackternoon, we went to a Drupal meetup, and I've generally been around a lot of good tech folks. I feel right at home :)
THE FOOD. Chunks of salmon marinated in maple syrup, Nanaimo bars, dinner at Nuba, jalapeño/wild berry icecream: I'm really happy about the food options here (there's obviously a lot more than the ones I listed here). There's a lot of excellent local food, a lot of which produced by small & independent farmers/companies. The West Coast-food-thing really rings through here in Vancouver.
Even though a month is a short time to be somewhere new, so far, so very, very good. I look forward to find out what the coming weeks & months will bring for Ariane & I. They will definitely include a number of interesting things at work, traveling, a wedding (not ours though), more biking & discovering the city. I have a feeling it will be great.