Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Geography's Too Stubborn And People Are Too Clear

Geography Lesson! Or Fun with Paint! Or Hillary's Brain is Fried! Take your pick.

This is British Columbia. Or rather, my poorly drawn interpretation of BC.

See where the little "x" is? That's roughly where Vancouver is located.

The Strait of Georgia (the water between BC and Vancouver Island) cuts into the mainland and becomes the Burrard Inlet once it wraps around the peninsula of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Vancouver is actually quite large but downtown proper doesn't go beyond the peninsula. (Which is why commuting to downtown Vancouver is such a nightmare if you don't take public transit.)

If you follow the Burrard Inlet to its end, you pass by East Vancouver, Burnaby (including Simon Fraser University) and end up in Port Moody. Or, my new city. We're actually going to be living right at the tip of the Burrard Inlet (just the tip, just for a second, just to see how it feels - name that movie!)

Shawn loves Port Moody and has been pushing for it ever since we decided to list our condo. I was resistant, not because I dislike Port Moody (I actually quite like it there) but because it feels so far. It's a bit silly, actually, because my commute time will be the same if I continue to use public transit (only now I'll be using the lovely commuter train instead of the skytrain - Vancouver's version of a subway.) It's just that where we are right now feels so central to me. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work, 30 minutes to get to Turtle's, 20 minutes to get to my parents' house, 30 minutes to Shawn's mom's place, and 40 minutes to get to Shawn's brother's house. Moving to Port Moody is going to double the time it takes to get to my parents' house and to Turtle's place. It will now take about 15 minutes to get to Shawn's brother's house and under 10 minutes to get to his mom's place. Which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong. Shawn's family is lovely and we all have a good relationship with each other. That being said, part of our good relationship is based on boundaries. Physical boundaries. I'm afraid that moving so close to Shawn's family (and further from my family) will create a scenario where I have to either be a total bitch to enforce my boundaries, or accept that people will feel free to stop by because we're so close. I hate it when people stop by. I do not encourage stopping by at all.

Resistant may not be a strong enough word. I really didn't want to move to Port Moody.

So we started looking for condos in both Port Moody and our current location. And the more we looked, the more I began to see Shawn's point. We do not live in a nice neighbourhood. I do not feel safe walking by myself after dark. Crime is high. And not just property crime - in the last year, there have been three fatal shootings and multiple stabbings all within a three block radius of our condo. Our building has a state of the art security system but I would not feel comfortable living on the first or second floor. Our condo itself is lovely. The area it is in? Is not. We live a block from the police station. Our condo is filled with traffic noise and police sirens. Our neighbourhood has character. It's improving. But it's not safe. Not yet.

I wasn't convinced that Port Moody was the answer until we found our condo. It's perfect for us. We're gaining over 400 square feet of space. It has ample storage. It has a massive patio. It's painted beautifully. It has high ceilings and entire walls of glass. I couldn't turn down the perfect condo just because I didn't love the location.

So I'm moving to a new city. And I'm trying to be excited. The lovely magenta accent wall certainly helps.


  1. Port Moody is a great city :) You'll love it! Promise! Plus, you're closer to me which is another plus for your list. ;)

  2. Dude! When Matthew and I first got married, we lived in North Burnaby (Sperling) to split the commute (I worked downtown, he worked in Maple Ridge). We went for dinner often in Port Moody - it's pretty there. I get you on the boundaries, but at least you'll be in a nicer area. :)

  3. The one nice part about Shawn's mom being so close is that you'll have somewhere nearby to drop off the kid when you need some 'Hillary time'. Cause leaving him tied to a tree is just bad parenting.

  4. ps. wedding crashers
    that's what he said.

  5. dammit. Ya, wedding crashers. Funny... I think a few guys I dated tried that one too... terrible.
    Moving on - I'm downtown. You live far. That part I get. Though I hear it's amazing - and as you said, I'd love it there cause I love outdorsy stuff. So, I'll tell ya this much - when there's a ring on my finger and a bebe in ma belly, you'll find me living very close to where you are now. And I promise I won't drop by (cause that's weird) - but I MAY text and bring booze. Cause that's just how I roll :)

  6. That's always been my biggest argument against moving to my husband's hometown - I don't like people stopping in unexpectedly. Boundaries are important. I hope you find people have enough respect for you to keep their space. And enjoy the new neighbourhood!

  7. Wedding Crashers.

    I'm glad your new neighborhood is safer. One thing I have noticed is that neighborhoods change. Perfectly nice neighborhoods go to crime havens in a matter of years and vice versa. But you can't argue with more square footage and a magenta wall.

  8. I understand your hesitation. We are beginning to sort-of kind-of maybe think about looking at houses, and I fear that we're going to choose between our crappy apartment downtown and a great house that is too far away from downtown to walk. It's a rough choice to make, and at least in my mind, location will (almost) always win. I hope you're able to find the home in your new city!

  9. That's kind of how I felt when I was apartment hunting and ended up way out in the 'burbs instead of the actual city. It's worked out well for me and everything and I don't think I could have lived in anything smaller that what I have now, especially living with Vahid.

    But you do have a GORGEOUS accent wall. Oh yes.

  10. Congrats on the new place, my dear. I know how scary change can be... but it sounds like a great place to raise a little bean.


  11. I think you will figure out how to set boundaries without distance. Once you have a kid, it will be much more on your terms.

    It sounds like it's going to be lovely! I totally get you on feeling central, but this might feel very good to you. And if it doesn't, nothing is necessarily forever.

    I like the name, though. Port Moody. I think it would suit me.

  12. I don't think that you have too much to worry about- I live a 5 minute drive from my Dad and Jesse's parent's and my sister. We let them know that drop in's kinda freaked us out and we've never had one!

    Living close to support will be amazing when you have your baby, and how exciting to be in a neighbourhood where you feel safer on your own :)

    You're going to do awesome- and remember: magenta accent wall. ;)

  13. Love the graphics! I've never been to Vancouver so the neighborhoods mean nothing to me, but the geography totally makes sense thanks to your awesome Paint skills.

  14. I loved your maps! Awesome!! I'm guessing you're in East Van based on your description of the neighbourhood. I used to live in Kerrisdale (sniff sniff, I loved that place....being 24/25 living amongst all the families and retired folks, it was super!....really, I'm not being sarcastic). I had a coworker who absolutely adored living in Port Moody. I don't think I've ever heard someone speak so highly of a city in the lower mainland than him speaking of Port Moody. And he's early 30s and unmarried. So, just saying, it must be a great place to live!

  15. I'm excited for your new space and the fact you will be in a neighborhood where you feel comfortable walking the streets with your child! And if there are new boundaries that need to be established with Shawn's family, I would hope he'll be an integral part of communicating said lines with his family. The onus shouldn't fall entirely on you.

  16. It's all "Vancouver" to me ;)

    You'll get used to your new neighbourhood and it'll probably be nice having Shawn's parents so close when Willie comes along (except I totally get your stopping by unannounced thing - that would kill me!) And safety is SUPER important. I would never want to live somewhere that I was nervous to walk around at night!