So it’s taken a while, but I am finally giving in to the gentle—well, some of it not so gentle—prodding from my substantial fan base (thanks, Wilf…Lucas…Jenn) and jumping back on the blogging wagon. And really, I shouldn’t have any excuses. I finished my thesis in May, and defended it (successfully) at the end of July. So I am now a MSc.-degree-holding fisheries scientist. Without a job. But that’s cool. It means I have a ridiculous amount of time to blog again. I did spend a few months over the summer working as a naturalist with one of Vancouver’s local whale watching companies. It was pretty epic; the perfect antithesis to working at a desk all day if ever there was one. And, while the natural highlight of the trips was the whales, I have to admit, the intelligence of the human race was a close second. Some of the questions the boat staff fielded this year included: “Do you sell fish so we can feed the whales?”, “Do they ever swim under the islands?”, “How do you know they’ll come back to the surface?”, “Are they extincted?”, “Where will we see the whales? Like, could they be anywhere or do you guys keep them in certain places?”. Those were all from people over the age of 30. Amazing. I try not to judge too hard though and just put it down to the excitement of the moment. And, fortunately, I did meet some wonderful people (from all over the world) while working on the boat. And, when I wasn’t talking about whales, this job also gave me a good chance to incorporate a little of my own work and chat with our guests about fisheries and sustainable seafood initiatives. I found a lot of people were really eager to learn more, and were curious about what I had to say and how they could make smarter seafood choices. So that was pretty cool.
I had nothing but the best of intentions when I sat down to write this post. I was even going to write about something important (i.e., five new shark species being included in CITES). Then I remembered a conversation I had with some homies last Friday in which they pestered me to write an entry about online dating. So, because I would do anything for my loyal fan base (all five of you), I figured I could accommodate their wishes. And this means that the sharks—which (needless to say) reign far supreme to my non-existent love life—will be the topic of my next post instead, once I’ve had a bit of time to go over some of the finer points regarding last week’s listing.
One of my closest friends, Caitlin—whose judgment and advice I would trust with my life (seriously)—recommended that I give online dating a shot after she’d had some success. I was incredibly skeptical. Mostly because, despite the fact that Cait and I do see eye to eye on most things, we are very different people when it comes to our views on men and relationships. Thus I assured her that I would have absolutely zero success in the realm of online dating.
My main reasoning was as follows:
- I prefer to meet people in a natural setting, under spontaneous circumstances, without any preconceived notion of how the evening is supposed to turn out;
- I’m actually quite content with the benefits and freedoms of being single and don’t feel remotely desperate to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship;
- I don’t have a normal work schedule and this can be difficult for people to understand. I also have absolutely no idea where I’ll be in a year (both geographically and career-wise) and don’t want to get involved with someone only to tell them I’m moving to Scandinavia in six months to do my PhD;
- While unsuccessful thus far, I tend to only get into relationships that I can see lasting indefinitely (i.e., I’m about as far from a serial dater if ever there was one);
- Although very easy going in many aspects of my life, I’m incredibly picky when it comes to men.
She said I was just making excuses. And also something about my personal mantra of not judging things before trying them…
Despite the fact that I really liked the apartment in which I spent the last 18 months, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to move. Nowhere far this time. In fact, it’s basically just around the corner. (Or, for the Google Maps inclined: 1.41 km northeast.) And, although I did consider several realistic housing options, my decision to acquire a new address was influenced largely by two factors:
- It feels like nearly three-quarters of my monthly income goes toward rent. Oh, no, wait…it does. (This is clearly not a sustainable situation. At least not if I want to keep enjoying life to the extent that I currently do.)
- One of my colleagues, Kaz, was looking to find a roommate for her two-bedroom apartment.
To touch on point #1: it’s no mystery to people living here that we have an insanely high cost of living. I recently read an article stating that Vancouver had surpassed New York as the most expensive city in North America. And I don’t know how accurate that is, but without a doubt, the joy we get from our world-renowned mountains, ocean, and other noble vistas is firmly balanced by a permanent dent in one’s bank account. Sharing accommodation with Kaz will save me about $400 each month. Which means I can save for some more travel. Or at least fully pay off my VISA for the first time in a while…
I think it’s safe to say that if someone started a blog that was predominantly focused on a particular city’s daily life, culture, and people, then that person should probably exemplify the typical local. And while I’m actually a pretty big anomaly in Vancouver – that is, someone who was born here – I also don’t really fit many of the social stereotypes associated with my beautiful home. So, before anyone gets too attached to this blog (other than you, Mom) or forms the impression that I am the quintessential human embodiment of the renowned ‘wet coast’, I’ll briefly cover a few of the standard impressions we Vancouverites incur, and whether or not they apply to me.
Stereotype #1: We’re all vegetarian hippies who only eat organic food.
Although I gave veganism a very brief go a few years ago, I’m not currently vegan, nor vegetarian, despite having several friends who are. And, after spending the majority of my undergrad not eating right, I’ve finally learned to properly enjoy good, tasty, nutritious food. Often, this does include dishes that are vegetarian or vegan. I don’t have a vegetable garden in my backyard (although I know some people who do and I think it’s fantastic), but I try to get to the Farmer’s Market on a regular basis. I typically go to Whole Foods only if a recipe calls for something peculiar like fresh gooseberries or white chia seeds, or if I feel an uncontrollable desire to get up to speed on current trends in obscure produce. (This usually strikes at about 9 on a Friday night.) But mostly, since I still fit into the social bracket of ‘starving student’, that’s pretty much the extent of my relationship with organic food.