Tuesday, 31 January 2012

On Life in the City

Living in Vancouver is, admittedly a bit of a dream for me.  I love being close to all the excitement, shopping, people, art, etc.  I especially love that Vancouver is so pretty – with both oceans and mountains nearby.  If my husband and kids were here with me, it would be perfect.  I live in an apartment right on the ocean, I go for Sunday brunch on Granville Island, I run along the seawall for exercise – and, even though it’s January, it’s never colder than maybe -6 (at absolute worst – usually it’s above 0).

But, as most shiny things have a habit of doing, Vancouver started to get a little less “shiny” for me after about a month of being away from my family, getting soaked by the rain on a nearly daily basis, and walking – walking to the bus stop, back to the bus stop, to my first class at SFU, then miles away from that – to my next SFU class, up the 4 flights of stairs with my groceries, up the four flights of stairs with 3 loads of laundry in my arms, from the parking spot to the restaurant (possibly like 4 blocks away), etc.  I’m all for exercise (I’ve even been described as “neurotic” when it comes to sticking to my exercise regimen) but every night I literally hit the bed snoring like a ton of bricks because all this walking is wearing me out!

On top of that is the whole thing about not knowing anyone here … Coming from a small town I anticipated that this would be a struggle for me, but it wasn’t really in the way I expected.  I kind of enjoy the anonymity that comes with not knowing everyone and everyone not knowing me – it allows for a lot of thinking and time talking with God.  But, it was pointed out to me recently that the people of Vancouver just aren’t friendly.  You get on a bus and no one smiles at you – and everyone is just so quiet for the entire bus ride.  If people talk to each other, they do it in a whispering voice.  At this suggestion, I sort of thought to myself – maybe it’s like that for you, but people are generally kind, and if you would perhaps make an effort, then so will they.  In an attempt to prove this theory that I somehow developed about the kindness of Vancouver, I got on the bus in the morning with the goal of smiling and saying hi to random strangers.  This didn’t really work out – no one even so much as smiled back.  I was actually pretty saddened by this.  I went to class feeling a little dejected – not because I am lonely, but because it makes me sad to think that people aren’t innately friendly.

But then, in His way, God brought to mind Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord …

Note that it doesn’t say – “trust in your fellow man and everything will be hunky-dory.”  He tells us to trust Him.  Just as this thought finished sinking in, an elderly Italian gentleman sat down beside me on the bus ride home (which is like an hour long) and proceeded to tell me his life’s story (actually incredibly interesting) and ask me about mine.  He seemed genuinely kind.  When I went to change buses, a lady approached me to compliment my scarf and talk about how beautiful the weather was.  What does this mean?  These are first two bus conversations that I have had since I got here at the beginning of January.  I have this sense that what God is doing here is holding me up – I didn’t feel lonely up until this point, and just when I needed Him, He was there.  Not to provide companionship in the form of new friends, but to remind me that people are not all bitter, lonely and unfriendly.
 Well, once again my post is far too long.  I leave you with a shot of the bus stop (it's across the street from where I am taking the picture) - just to give you an idea of  a) how there is literally no snow anywhere and it feels oddly like a warm Spring and b) how I really do live right in the city.


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