Great news! After two and a half months of searching, Danice and I (and our friends Lindsey and Lynn) have finally found a house to move into! The house is on Commercial Drive, which is much further east than we are now. This means we'll be closer to downtown, where we work, and further from Regent. But it's on Commercial and 7th, which is two blocks away from Broadway, where the skytrain and express buses stop, so we're within reach of a lot of places.
The suite is a second floor and a loft in a large house. There are only three bedrooms, so two of us will be sharing a bedroom. There are three balconies (!) which I'm stoked about. The living room has a fireplace, and there's an actual kitchen! (We have a very, very small kitchen in our basement suite!)
Two of the best things about this house are the landlords and the neighbourhood. We've had such excellent landlords at our current house, and as we searched for a new house, we encountered a lot of landlords who seemed much less friendly. But the young couple who are renting out our new place are very friendly. They live on the main floor of the house, and they're excited about gardening with us in the backyard, and getting to know us better. Really, who wouldn't want to get to know us? :)
And the neighbourhood... what can I say about Commercial Drive? I guess for my Saskatoon friends, the closest description would be Broadway to the power of a thousand. Although "the Drive" started out as Vancouver's Little Italy, it's now a very racially diverse community - most of Vancouver's best ethnic restaurants are there. Within a couple of blocks, you can get Belgian fries, Italian gelato, Ethiopian, and Jamaican food. There are tons of independently-owned coffee shops. (Danice is very excited about this). There are dogs everywhere. (Danice is also very excited about this.) Ever since I did a project on a church on Commercial Drive in my first year here, I've always felt like I "fit in" there. I don't know what that means, because the stereotypical Drive resident would be a bike-riding, dog-owning, granola-eating, dreadlocked (or at least matted, greasy haired), baggy-clothes-made of-hemp-wearing, pot-smoking, Birkenstock-sandaled, green-party-supporting, chickens-in-the-backyard, belly-dancing, gender-not-always-crystal-clear person. But really, no one fits that stereotype. Everyone is eclectic. Case in point... as I sat in the Belgian fry place once, I saw a very tall Scandinavian man with a shaved head wearing a baby blue sweater with the name "Dusty" stitched in near his shoulder, walking hand in hand with a MUCH older Asian woman.
Really, even though people argue that it's getting more "trendy" and yuppies are starting to move there to be cooler,
it still feels like a place where people are proudly "themselves." Perhaps obnoxiously themselves. They wear less make-up than people in Kitsilano. They don't care as much when their kids cry in public. They freely talk to people who are weird in different ways than they are weird. I think that's what I'm drawn to - it's a place where I want to be myself, too, even if I don't smoke pot. I will be a proud non-pot-smoker.
And I'm looking forward to a fresh chance to actually get to know people in my neighborhood, to support a few local shopowners to the point that they know my name, and to be generally more 'present' in my community, which is something I think I haven't done well here in Kitsilano.
And I'm stoked about learning to be more hospitable, taking more ownership of a place, cooking in a normal-sized kitchen and enjoying it, and inviting people over to eat and sit on the balcony!
You can pray for me in the next couple of weeks though... we have to pack and move, and I also need to write a sermon, because I'm preaching on the 15th at Kits Church for the first time, a day after we move! Lots to do, and very little time. But it's an exciting time. God is providing for me, answering prayers right and left.