My View of the City

February 1, 2010 marked the (approximate) five-year anniversary of me living in Vancouver. Although I did arrive in the Lower Mainland in August 2004, my first four months were spent atop Burnaby Mountain in an SFU residence, followed by a month of random, miserable south-east Vancouver living (to wit: I moved into a dump near south Main, non-stop January rains happened, it flooded, I moved out).

Five years ago, I moved into the Cambie Village area of town, the area I spied amongst my first days in Vancouver as my preferred area to live in. Every Vancouver native knew the impact that the Canada Line would have on the area but I was naive to it, and I watched in wonder and at times frustration as the scene kept changing: businesses that came and went, the street that was endlessly cut apart, paved, cut again, paved….

When I visit the BFF in Toronto and spend the weekend in her 31st floor apartment that has the Skydome and CN Tower for neighbours, I twinge a little for not living in a glass tower in Yaletown or Coal Harbour. There are the obvious trade-offs in space, cost of rent, and area of the city; and I had also I started renting my place when I was on a grad student salary and merely wanted to be close to my place of work.

It turns out that this area I ended up in suits me very well: there are 3 supermarkets [1, 2, 3], 2 fruit/vegetable markets, 3 Hong Kong-style diners [1, 2, 3], Chinese fresh noodle shops [1,2], several sushi restaurants [1, 2, 3, 4] and a Japanese ramen shop [1], three of those maligned “West Coast” chain restaurants [1, 2,3], 5 “mega” stores [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], a rapid transit line, and that’s not all….*

The actual point of this post is to reminisce about how my little abode has changed quite naturally over the years but gives for some drastic “Before and After” photos. So here goes….

I didn’t know what “unfinished pine” meant until it gave me splinters so I sanded down the table and varnished chairs, stained them dark walnut, and then varnished again. It doesn’t look great close-up but does the job and remains one of my favourite DIY, household “accomplishments”.

To think that I thought my bookcase was full after just a couple of shopping sprees back in 2005. I have found ways to arrange books and display memorability in one narrow bookcase. You may also be able to see how I wallpapered the back wall of the bookcase to give it a more personal touch.

I miss my low Malm bed just a little but I don’t miss the beech (read: orange) veneer that was quickly discontinued after I purchased my bed such that there was no hope of buying matching furniture. When I would visit Lil’ Sis, I would envy her sleigh bed, particularly its height, so in a fit of “mini renovations”, I got rid of the Malm (at a loss, accidentally, oops) and got a dark brown Hopen. Still IKEA all the way at my place.

Fortunately, I don’t have a picture of that ghetto blue upturned Rubbermaid contain-come-TV stand I started out using. The container is in storage, where it belongs. NPY got me the 40″ LCD TV for Christmas 2009 and I started the HD-PVR subscription and got the XBOX 360, the latter primarily for playing files stored on my fun Black Friday purchase of a 500GB WD Passport hard drive. Compared to before, the current set up is purrrr-fect.

Eeek, my closet. It is a perfect metaphor for me: constantly using a small fraction of available resources with the rest collecting dust (!). It’s just the natural order of things, filling out all the space you have.

I had no idea what it would grow to when in 2005, I pinned up the first four medals I had with me here. The board on the right is my “Medal Board” (which resides in my kitchen) as of this month. It’s the truest picture of one big passion in my life flourishing!

On this day..


  1. Mona says:

    I *love* your medal board! You should be very proud of that.

  2. Ben says:

    I enjoyed the before and after pictures. Thanks for sharing them. It’s amazing how much difference it is over all these years. I too have my pix of the early days when I first landed in Vancouver and it is interesting to contrast how different they are these days.
    .-= Ben´s last blog post ..Mis Trucos on Davie, Vancouver =-.

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