10 Things I've Learned Living in Vancouver
As I’m currently more than half way across Canada, I wanted to sit down and share what I’ve learned having lived in Vancouver for five and a half years.
1. Opportunity is out there, you just have to go to get it. This is one of the first things I learned when I moved here – that nothing is handed to you and it’s easy to become complacent. I spent a few months feeling sorry for myself because I was not being given the opportunities I was promised when I moved here. I moved here to start my career in Marketing and I learned quickly that I was not on the path I was expecting. Once I came to this realization, I began to hustle and work towards something better. I landed my first job as a legal assistant and began a career that has not only paid me well financially, but has given me chances to always strive for more. I never stopped working towards more and I have been blessed to continuously move up in my career.
2. You get what you put into friendship, it is not to be taken for granted.
Before I moved to Vancouver, friends were everywhere, always. I never had to plan ahead, make sacrifices or really put a consistent effort into my friendships. After moving here I realized that’s not the case. Life here moves so quickly and people grow so exponentially in such a short period of time that if you put your friendships on the back burner, they will quickly fizzle out.
3. It’s not an easy place to find love.
I know it sounds like a stereotype, that Vancouverites are not looking to settle down or commit to any romantic relationship – but I’ve found this to be true. I went on a lot of first dates living in Vancouver and had what I felt were genuine connections with a few of them (I even got a couple second dates!). I noticed though, that taking anything to even an exclusive place was a struggle for the most part. Now, maybe it was me, and I understand that, but I’ve spoken to some other people who live here and they’ve noticed this too. A lot of people are looking for a connection, but nothing serious.
4. It’s difficult to truly enjoy Vancouver without money and a vehicle.
I’ve been absolutely completely destitute here, I’ve been comfortable financially here, I’ve lived here without a vehicle and I’ve lived here with a vehicle. It’s no secret that Vancouver is EXPENSIVE to live in, but there’s also not a lot of cheap things to do when you’re not working. Going out is expensive, events are expensive, experiences are expensive. The things that are cheap or free include being outdoors, hiking, camping, etc. Those things generally require a vehicle, especially if you’re wanting to not go to the same beach every weekend. It’s genuinely difficult to enjoy living here without at least one of the two.
5. The lack of snow is not worth the 10 months of dreariness.
I remember when I moved to the coast, people told me all the time that it rains a lot here. I thought then that it was completely worth it to not have to deal with a true, cold, snowy winter. What I neglected to realize then was that in a real winter, you see the sun semi-regularly, in a “Vancouver Winter” it’s very easy to forget that the sun even exists. Which leads me to…
6. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and you can feel it everywhere.
What happens when a million people don’t see the sun for 6 months? Everyone and everything becomes worse. The people you socialize with begin to become more grumpy, the people who work with and for become more difficult and the people you love become sad, which also makes you sad.
7. No one cares.
Okay, this sounds more negative than I meant for it to – but we’ll get to the negative side of that in a second. People not caring is obviously a blessing and a curse. It’s nice because you can be a complete fool and no one will notice, care or remember. You want to bring a selfie stick on the sea wall? Go for it! You want to fall down a flight of stares in a busy intersection on lunch hour, you’re fine – no one will even look down.
8. Vancouver is exactly what you make it.
Some days I wake up and think Vancouver is the worst city in the world and some days I wake up and think Vancouver is the best city in the world. I’m always right. Vancouver has so much to offer if you allow it, but can also be cold and unforgiving if you make it out to be. Some days no attitude can change your experience here, but it’s always worth a shot.
9. It’s a great place to leave.
Vancouver is overwhelming, it’s expensive, it’s unfriendly – these are all facts. I love getting out of the city for a day, weekend or week. I always feel like I can finally breathe the minute I leave the city borders. I can’t afford to live here anymore, cost of living keeps skyrocketing and there’s nothing left here for me.
10. It’s a great place to come home to.
Every single time I leave the city to go on a vacation or a city break, I’m always overjoyed to come back home. It’s such a beautiful place with so many amazing things to see and do every day, and I’ve been so blessed to have lived here for the past three and a half years.