Monday, April 08, 2013

10 Things I've Learned Since I Moved to Chilliwack

Sunday Walk on the Vedder River

1. There are stores. Really. And they are open late.

After living for years in a place where everything closes at 5pm and restaurants aren't open past 8pm, it's downright weird to think I can get groceries at Superstore 24 hrs a day or a Starbucks coffee at 10pm. We are so conditioned to not shopping that when it dawns on us that every store we could possibly want is at our fingertips, we squeal with delight.

The best part is that there's not only stores, but no matter what day of the week or time we go, there's generally still stock there. The store isn't going to run out of sugar at noon on Saturday because there's a sale, and if it does, there's a gazillion other places we could go.

We still need to remind ourselves that we can just go buy something. We're used to waiting, so much so that it took me about 4 months to finally get to Sears down the road to buy Kev a pair of jeans. How's that for self control?

2. People don't like to drive into the city from the suburbs

This makes me laugh. When we were Christmas shopping at Coquitlam Center, people made a gigantic deal about it. Seriously? There's no ferry, people. Any place that I don't have to take a ferry to is fair game. Just wait until your life is dictated by a ferry schedule, and when you're finally free you'll go anywhere and everywhere.

3. I don't need to buy ALL THE PRODUCE.

The first while we were here, I couldn't get over the price and availability of produce. Meyer lemons year round? Asparagus for $2 a pound? Are you serious? Prices of fruits and veggies are 1/3 of what they were on the Sunshine coast. I am still getting used to not buying way too much and having to throw it away because it goes rotten before we can eat it. I still go into Kins Market, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and smile. All those cooking possibilities. Just wait until the Farmer's Markets start up.

4. GPS is awesome.

Awhile ago, I finally got a smart phone. Over spring break it really came in handy as Kevin and I tried to find our way around the Lower Mainland on various adventures, because people, my sense of direction? OY. I'm getting better at navigating my way around here, but I still get lost on a regular basis. I don't think I really could survive here without it, or at least a bunch of maps in the car.  Kevin even told John that "Mom is really good at pulling u-turns, you know."  Oops.

5. I like being anonymous.

After living in a place where you sneeze and your neighbour knows about it, we can go anywhere and rarely run into someone we know. Oh sure, the staff at the stores we frequent know us (mostly because I tweet about them constantly and how much I love their products), but other than that? We're pretty much anonymous. At least now I can buy tampons at Shoppers Drug Mart and not have one of my students ring me through. Now THAT was embarrassing.

6. Farms are awesome, and I don't mind the smell of manure

When we told people we were moving to Chilliwack, some immediately complained about the smell of the fields. You know what? I love farms. I love that I can drive 5 minutes from my front door and there's someone selling farm fresh eggs on the side of the road. Or that in the summer there's little stands selling corn. Right in the middle of town there's a field of brussels sprouts. Across from lots of the schools are corn fields. Where else can you live with farm fresh products so close? So we have to smell some manure occasionally. Whatever.

7. Mountains are pretty too

Living by the ocean all those years was great. We loved watching the cruise ships go by, it was fun to go to the seashore and look for crabs, and the smell of salt air was nice. There were drawbacks, though; enough humidity to make mould grow on the insides of your windows, I was perpetually cold,  and your laundry would take forever to dry. It's drier out here in the valley, which means we no longer deal with any of those things. Mountains are just minutes away and wow, are they gorgeous in the winter with a dusting of snow. If we have a hankering for a beach there's a lake close by too, with picnic areas.

8. Fast food is everywhere

This is something I really, truly don't get. We live in the middle of farmland and hot lunch at school = fast food. Wait...what? Yep. Puzzles me too. How does that even make sense? On the Sunshine Coast we had little access to farm fresh food, and yet often the parents made sure the hot lunches were healthy. Here, not so much. Jamie Oliver would have a field day.

9.  My small town-ness is showing

Occasionally I embarrass myself. Okay sure, I don't have the latest city-like clothes. I'm a bit clueless with a smart phone. I don't know the ins and outs of town and yes, if someone refers to an area of Chilliwack, it's likely I'll have NO idea what they are talking about. I ask a lot of questions. Usually people ask how long we've lived here and when I explain, they cut me some slack. Um, ya. I don't think I'll ever be completely city-fied, but I'm working on it.

10. Living with John only on the weekends is weird

Yep, John is still working in Sechelt. He makes it home for weekends, then treks back across the water early Monday mornings. Being the only parent at home during the week has taken some adjusting. While it has advantages (the remote control to myself!), I do miss having our family all together. We've had fun with John, showing him places we've discovered and giggling when HIS small town-ness is showing.

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