Sunday, March 27, 2011

Country Mouse, City Mouse

By 'country,' I actually mean those rural reaches of Kitsilano, but bear with me for the sake of the reference. 

Observations on one week of life downtown:

There are still people in Vancouver who smoke cigarettes.

My eternal question: "Who in God's name wears heels like that on a regular basis" has been answered 50 times over.

I could not previously have imagined being the only person pushing a stroller in a grocery store. I'm on the receiving end of some kind of hard-to-define reverence, like "Lo, there is a stay at home Mom among us. Let us give her full reign over the cereal aisle, as is her due."

People are delighted by Sam in a different way. Baby charm is more of a rare commodity downtown, so his smiles mean a lot to parents who are looking forward to the end of their work day, and singletons who don't have a lot of contact with kids. He's like a mini ambassador, spreading his chubby love around and leaving a path of melted hipsters in his wake. The flipside is that the smallest whine at a coffee shop draws a few terrified glances, but thankfully, he knows that you catch more flies with honey. And giggles.  

It is not implausible to find your Sunday stroll interrupted by folks offering Free Hugs to celebrate their Persian New Year, only to hear the strains of a celtic-tinged big band as a truck full of firefighters playing instruments drives by, waving a banner proclaiming themselves the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Band. Obviously.

Sam is thrilled to pick Daddy up at work and walk him home, and I might just love it, too.

The fountains in front of the Wall Centre are like splashing, liquid delight for a 14 month old baby.

There is a cold beer and wine store around the corner that sells deliciously dry English cider. Viti Cold Beer and Wine, I can tell that we are going to be friends.

I had never thought of a high rise as a welcoming community until I experienced the pleasure of a 24 hour concierge and consistently friendly elevator-mates.

A "concierge" can be a slightly odd but totally agreeable guy named Al or Norman (day shift and night shift) who knows the names of everyone living in a 125 unit building, and genuinely cares about when Sam and I plan to be home from our day trip to the park.

From our window, we can see the sunset over English Bay, the edges of UBC and Stanley Park, the gargantuan penthouse of the building next door, and the strange shantytown-esque dwelling some dude has set up on the top of a four story apartment building a few blocks away. This city really is a gem. Tonight, Ryan and I watched an eagle drift and dip and soar around the Shangri-La, like some kind of majestic embodiment of those cheesy Vancouver slogans: SuperNatural British Columbia, and Best Place on Earth. I gush, but you must forgive me: I just watched an eagle effortlessly stake her dominance over our tallest building, owning the sky just as she has centuries. We've built our way up to such great heights with wonders of engineering and imagination, but she's just doing what comes naturally. I pointed her out to Sam, and he squealed with excitement.

It looks like Sam's going to be a city mouse, at least for now, and I think he's going to like it very much.


  1. yeah yeah yeah, but what about the conclusion of the birth story??? ;) I can't wait to see how it ends, the suspense is killing me!

  2. Ha! I think you've already seen the spoiler of that story.

  3. "He's like a mini ambassador, spreading his chubby love around and leaving a path of melted hipsters in his wake." Love it! The eagle bit was amazing too. Keep it up - since I already know how the birth story ends (kind of anyway) I'm totally happy to read tangent after tangent before we get there. Just awesome, Kat!

  4. Thanks, Leslie! I'm enjoying challenging myself a bit. When are you going to join the party? I want to read about your Smithers adventures! Give me some Jean!

  5. I'm definitely tempted, but still pretty nervous. Maybe I'll start on the sly and post when I feel confident?

  6. Love. Oh, and expect us soon. Sounds like you have room for house guests, finally! ;)

  7. write so beautifully! I'm happy that you are loving your new abode and are delighting in all that Downtown Vancouver has to offer!

    Love, Mom

  8. We so happy to have been part of SAM growing up it was so delightful to see the difference from one visit to another. WE are so good at narrating your observations and looking forward to the new baby.
    Love Nanny and Opa.

  9. Hi Kathryn you have a wonderful gift in putting thoughts in to words .
    We love you dearly ,
    Nanny and Opa