When I was offered co-op job at Whitecap Books in 1996, I was so scared to move to Vancouver. It was big. Huge. Expensive. And… did I mention big? Plus, between the state of my VW Rabbit and the state of my Creston/Victoria driver’s training, I was honked at about 50 times between the ferry terminal and North Vancouver. We won’t even talk about my parallel parking skills…
Then, a few months into my work term, a friend’s aunt called with an extra ticket to see Maya Angelou speak at the Orpheum (Thank you, Leslie!). Maya Angelou was wonderful, of course. But the Orpheum! There were arches and cupolas and gold-leafed balconies and it was something straight out of a movie set. I spent half the night (at least) staring at the ceiling.
I vowed that I was never, ever leaving Vancouver.
Fourteen years and two children later, the ratio of nights spent eating popcorn at home to nights spent at the Orpheum (or any other culturally inspiring place) is downright dismal. But then, every once in a while there are things on the calendar, events to look forward to, and I’m actually living the dream life.
Last week, for example, we took my (disconcertingly brilliant) five-year-old to see Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomy sketches at the Vancouver Art Gallery and not only did she identify biceps and triceps and quadriceps, she said, “Look, Daddy, there’s vitruvian man!” and, in another room, told us about a fire-breathing lion that Leonardo had made for his patron.
So yes, the city is traffic and strangers and occasionally unfriendly neighbors and worrying about your children and everything else my mother warned me about. But it’s also all the best things, waiting to make me smarter and more inspired and more aware… and it’s all just a few streetlights and a bridge span away.