Today marks one month since we landed on the Island on May 27! While there are lots of things from Ottawa that we may miss or do not have here, we have learned there is so much to enjoy here, partly because it’s so new for us but more because it really does feel like home. We still remark daily that we feel so fortunate to live here and I’m sure that the feeling will grow stronger, so we know that moving here was absolutely the right thing to do.
I am working on our “Farewell Ottawa” alphabet and when that is done I will try to share in some format but it’s not quite ready.
So instead I’ll share some of the things that we have enjoyed and learned in our first month here.
First and foremost, we love our home. Of course, if that was not the case, living here would be an uphill battle (pun intended). We have spectacular views any time of the day. It’s a great layout, lovely finishings and it’s essentially 1-floor living. Our main floor, with its huge windows, has kitchen, living/dining rooms, master, my office, bathrooms and access to our deck. Downstairs which is walkout to the main level, Bill enjoys his ‘man cave’ with his office, tv area. Our guest room (for all you who will come to visit) is downstairs as well, with bathroom. It’s perfect. Pictures are not up on the walls yet but that will happen in the next week. When that is completed, we will be settled. But we have been enjoying the space, even without pictures, both inside and out and will continue to do so!
Almost every night so far we have been able to enjoy eating dinner on the deck and usually have a sunset show to close out the evening. As mentioned before the sunset views are an unexpected bonus. We thought, when we bought the place, that we were east-facing and we would be sitting in the shadows in the evening. In fact with the northern exposure we are treated to sunsets to the west. I hope we never take them for granted. If we were up early enough we could see sunrises as well (as we did that first day) but in the summer that is just too early.
Hills are a way of life on the island. It’s mountainous and whether it’s by car, foot or bike, you are always going up and down with varying lengths and steepness.
We are so glad we bought the e-bikes; we have no limits to our exploration which is quite liberating and allows us to enjoy what the island has to offer to the max. We have ridden roads, we have ridden trails with hills and the bikes allow us to fully enjoy the experience. The trails are beautiful, often through stands of thick, tall fir trees; and we have also been treated to farm views, ocean views, garden views, wildflower views. Such a refreshing variety!
Water, well OCEAN, is the other way of life here. We see it from our deck, with lots of ships, boats, tugs, log booms, fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks plying the waters. We will explore seashores and marine life closer up once we get our boats in the water. For that we need our car, which we hope will be here very soon.
We know that our monthly strata (condo) fees is money well spent. We take great delight when we see people from the landscape company mow the lawns, trim the trees and shrubs and essentially keep the grounds in beautiful shape. The landscaping is beautiful and we don’t have to lift a finger! We love it!
Recycling is a science here in BC. Deposits are paid on pop cans, any kind of Tetra Pak (orange juice, milk cartons, juice boxes) etc. which you can get returned of course if you take it to the bottle depot. What gets picked up at curbside is different than Ottawa, so we use our cheat sheet kept within easy reach in a kitchen drawer. We have to take some materials to a recycling centre, thankfully very close to our house. So we are doing a part to help out, but it’s taken some adjustments!
Small Town Life
We left the big city with 1 million people and are now live 4km out of a small town of 8500 and we love it. Access up and down the island to Nanaimo or Duncan is easy – just straight up the highway. No lights, less traffic – easy peasy. But small town/island living has also taught us that selection in grocery stores is more restricted than we are used to, and overall inventory management is obviously challenging because many things that we have looked for have been ‘out of stock’. Whether it’s due to Covid-19 or that is business as usual we are not yet sure. Life is more relaxed, people are friendlier. What’s not to like?
Mosquitos? Black flies? Ha – not here! We love that there are NO bugs and that we can leave the patio door open in the evenings as we enjoy the deck.
I’m a color person – I need color in my life. Around here the predominant colour is green because of the large trees and forest and cover the island. Whether walking, biking or driving you can’t help but be mesmerized by them.
But of course we see lots of wildflowers along the trails, beautiful gardens and flowering shrubs and trees so there is always more color. I am curious to see what fall will be like. I’m sure it will be mixture of golds and greens and will be beautiful but I suspect we will miss the reds and oranges of Ontario forests.
They grow like weeds here. The bushes are in full bloom right now so berries will be around soon. I remember Eric feasting on them by the roadside when were were here many years ago.
We have already been welcomed to the neighbourhood with a jar of homemade blackberry jam. It’s pretty tasty. We’ll have to try more of the blackberry cuisine items.
We are so blessed to have such great family support here. Nicky and Derek have been so generous with their time and supported us so well. They provided kitchen basics, bedding, etc so we could stay here until the moving truck came. We have used one of their vehicles for the month because our car has still not made it here. We have taken bike rides together, and we have enjoyed several dinners on our deck or by their lake. They provide a lot of local knowledge to get us started. It’s great to be close to them. Thanks Nicky and Derek!
So it’s been a fantastic month so far. We are excited to settle in completely, and then really start exploring by kayak, feet, bike and car and to build a life and network of new friends to fully enjoy this beautiful place.