About Me

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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kate's Vancouver - a week in the life

I'll give a little geography lesson to start with. Yes, Vancouver is in Canada. No, it doesn't snow all winter, in fact, we very seldom get snow. Our weather is more like Seattle or San Francisco than it is like anywhere in the Midwest or in the rest of Canada. Vancouver is on the far west coast (about 200 miles due north of Seattle) and about 10 miles north of the U.S./Canada border. It's surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, mountains to the north and the east, and the border to the south. It's a city where walking is the only way to travel.

Downtown Vancouver is tiny. You can walk from one end (Stanley Park, a 1000 acre park on the far west) to Chinatown on the east (the second largest Chinatown in North America) to Yaletown on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west in not much more than a couple of hours. Not that you would, because there's way too much to see.

And Vancouver is green - all year round. I look out my window today and the grass across the street is brilliant green, the cherry trees are starting blossom just as they are meant to do for Chinese New Year, the ocean is gently rubbing against the beach, and there are dozens of people of all shapes and sizes and ages walking or cycling or rollerblading along the Seawall.

Vancouver is a great city to live in, especially when you live where I do - right on the beach. It means that I can walk the Seawall any time, I can hop on the ferry and go over to Granville Island for fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and seafood or just entertainment (there are always musicians playing, rain or shine).

One of the weirdest, most interesting and often aggravating things about Vancouver is the weather. It changes all the time. And I'm not kidding when I say that. The pictures above are ones I've taken in the past week - we had a foggy wet day, then a couple of gorgeous sunny and cold days, and then a snowy day. Tomorrow, though, the snow will all be melted and it's either going to be raining or sunny - or maybe even both. The good thing about living on the beach? I can watch the weather arrive because almost all of our weather comes off the ocean because of the prevailing westerly winds. We generally only get snow when the wind shifts and comes at us from the north or the east. It also means that in a single week I might have to wear my winter coat and scarf and boots, then a heavy sweater the next day, then a t-shirt the following day. It means I can have coffee outside almost any time of the year if I wait for the right day. There's no waiting for seasons to change in Vancouver, they can change from winter to spring to summer in a single day.

And I'm not complaining - because all that moisture - whether it comes as fog, mist, rain or the occasional snow - means we have that gorgeous green background all year round, it means our flowers and trees grow fast and very early, it means the women have that lovely English clear skin because the moisture is so good for your skin, it means there's seldom a day that you can't walk wherever you want to go - just as long as you have an umbrella in your backpack or over your arm. It means I have a collection of 10 or 12 umbrellas because I grew up here and 9 times out of 10 I walk out of the house in the morning without one and then it begins to pour and I have to buy yet another umbrella. But I always a spare one for guests so if you drop by and it starts to rain - you can borrow an umbrella from me.


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