This year has been momentous. I have watched as my family and I have adapted to our move from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, to Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from teaching in a public school to an international, private school. I moved from one of the most beautiful places in the world (nah…it is the most beautiful) to a place I haven’t figured out yet. I moved from mountains and rivers to busy streets and overpopulation. I moved from ease and comfort (with a bit of financial challenge) to a place of challenge.
2012…the year of the move.
I never thought I’d miss the sky. I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and I was never short of blue sky. Even in the winters, we’d have more hours of clear, cold blue sky than most people get in a really nice summer. When I moved to British Columbia, the Vancouver area, I gave up a lot of that blue sky. But when it wasn’t raining, the sky was blue. Azure. At times, almost sapphire.
Then I moved to Jakarta. There are moments when the sky is blue. Sometimes, when I’m outside swimming I can look up and see a little spot of blue, between the gray-brown-white-ish clouds. The geography of Jakarta lends itself to a sort of mixing bowl effect. When you add together the ingredients of twenty-some million people, millions of cars and motorcycles, a lack of good sanitation, and a low-lying city surrounded by hills, you get a nearly complete lack of blue sky.
When I visited Palu, there were kilometers in every direction of blue sky. Spectacular. Totally amazing. I miss blue sky.
Deep down, in my thirteen-year-old heart, I love cars like this. They speak to raw power and fun and shininess. Loud noises and pretty curves. The lines are fun to follow. It’s why, despite our need to cut our dependence on fossil fuels, these cars can bring out 15000 people on a weekend to wander around Chilliwack’s downtown and inspire them to daydream.
Had a little fun processing this in black and white.
I’m three weeks away from leaving the country. Three weeks less a day, actually. It seems a little surreal, actually, that I will no longer drive home past this.
There were two inspirations for this: one, this is what home looks like. I love where I live and I don’t want to forget it. Two, we said good-bye to my wife’s family this last weekend and my brother-in-law paid me a great compliment – he said, “I miss your photos.” That’s it, but I love approval, so…thanks Ryan. I appreciate the nice words.
Oh, and for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about when I write “leaving the country”, I’m moving to Jakarta, Indonesia for two years. My whole family is. Cool, but it’s getting really close now.
My house is up for sale. It’s not selling. It’s got the right price. It’s in the right neighborhood. I live less than a kilometer from Chilliwack River and maybe 10k from Cultus Lake. It’s across from a park, a Twin Rink complex, down the street from a middle school and a ten minute drive to the highway for an easy commute.
Whatever. It’s still not selling. I’m getting the feeling that I’m moving to Indonesia and continuing to own a home in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. That’s not a terrible thing, but I’d rather not have to own it if I don’t have to. I want to be in one place, committed to where I am. If I still own – which means renting it out – this house, my mind will always be a little bit here. And I don’t want that.
If you know someone who wants to buy a house in Chilliwack, let me know.
To try to take my mind off all that, I snapped a couple of photos of the azaleas growing in my front yard. They’re pretty. They’re not taking my mind off all this yet, but I’ll keep thinking of them instead of BC real estate.
Actually, it’s really just grass. The ditches are coming alive again and maybe Spring is really on its way.
I guess I’ll wait and see.
Sadly, I think most people who drive by this mountain on a daily basis miss the beauty that is right in front of them. It’s always easy to miss that at which we don’t truly look.
I went downtown in my city, Chilliwack, yesterday and snapped this shot.
I’ve always loved this old theater. My wife and I, when we were dating, went to see a couple of movies in this theater. Schindler’s List and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. It was old then, but it had character.
The company that owned this theater sold it to the city a couple of years ago for something like a dollar. I think it may have been only a dollar. The intent, as I gathered it, was that the city would do something with it and turn it into something for the community.
So far…nothing. The neon tubes, which is hinted at in the shadows on the PARAMOUNT sign, are gone or broken or falling apart. The windows are boarded up. It looks sad.
It could be a foundation for a revitalized downtown area. Instead, it is an anchor holding it down.
Hmm…I wonder if they’re going to the same place.
A classic, old hotel in downtown Chilliwack.
…on Photo Friday’s Challenge this week, but I was having trouble finding anything that met the topic of “Greenery“.
This was taken quite some time ago, May I think, but I think it might be green enough to meet the challenge. It was taken at Cultus Lake, above it, in fact, on the Seven Sisters Trail. The “Seven Sisters” are seven old growth giant Douglas Fir trees. They are impressive. If you ever get out to Cultus Lake, BC, they’re well worth the walk.
We’ve not had much of a winter here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia so our feathered friends have not gone south. To be truthful, it’s not very cold here most winters, but there seem to be many more geese around this winter than previous ones. Case in point…the photo above.
This is a shot of Granville Street in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It is one of my favorite streets in any city I’ve been in. Besides the comic stores and record stores, it also has two of the most amazing theaters: the Vogue and the Orpheum. Both beautiful and classic.
The big mountain just to the right of center is Mount Cheam. Next, to the right, are Mounts Archibald and Mercer and then Mount Thurston to the far right. I drive home looking directly at these mountains every day, when it’s not raining or foggy.
When I was in Montreal last year, I had a few people ask me where I lived. My answer was, “British Columbia.”
“Is it all mountains and rivers?”
“No. No, it’s not all mountains and rivers.”
“Well, where do you live?”
“And what’s that like?”
“Um…I live about 500 meters from a river and about 600 meters from a mountain.”
“Is it beautiful?”
“Yeah. It really is.”
So, anyone want to move out here?
It snowed last night. Right here, in the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia. It dumped snow for many hours, but there’s always a little green to go around. This is kind of what winter looks like where I live.
This is one side of my commute home. Despite my distaste for snow and winter cold, I do consider myself lucky that this is my eyeful on the way home every day. Pretty sweet. Or, maybe, just pretty.
I don’t know who Don is, but his grocery store looks very cool. I particularly like the juxtaposition of a very old building that has been put to a modern use.
I’m a bit tired out this week, though, so I’ll leave it at that. Perhaps all of you have something to add.
See you tomorrow.
I don’t know what’s more interesting – the boats on the water, waiting to take their owners on watery adventures, or the reflections of the boats in the water.
Photographically speaking, I’m enamored of the reflections. I love how everything is mirrored, but not quite exactly. There’s that wavering quality that suggests that the world below is just like ours, but dreamier.
This is the Legislature building in Victoria, BC. It is beautiful and old. Click on the photo above and you can see more detail.
It was built from 1893 to 1896. It is remarkable in its details.
So, my question is, “How can a group of individuals meet regularly in this amazing building and get nothing done?” Someone, or ones, spent a great deal of time and effort making sure that this place looks the way it does. The least we could do is elect people who are effective in their jobs, care about more than getting re-elected or avoiding criticism and are selfless civil servants.
Wow, I am feeling the rants tonight. Sorry. Enjoy the pretty building.
…hope it’s not too crowded out there for you.
Actually, this is the Vedder Canal, just a little west of Chilliwack, BC. It has been lined with fishermen…fisherpeople?…for the last few weeks, from dawn to dusk. I drive over the Keith Wilson Bridge, which crosses the Vedder Canal, every morning to get to work and there have been very few days where I’ve beat these guys to the river.
The worst part of this photo is the smell, which you should be thankful you can’t experience. The river right now is full of dead fish who’ve spawned and died. The river’s edge is lined with carcasses. Yum.
If you can get past the smell, the scenery is pretty nice and the barbecued salmon you’d be eating after a day at the river would be pretty delicious. Come on over. BC’s pretty nice.
If you’re a fisherman (is the p.c. version of that “fisher-person”?), then you know already that it’s fishing season here in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Everyone I know is talking about how they want to get on the river and fish, or what they caught this morning before work, or how many “pinks” are running right now. And me?
I like it when others do the work – catch it, gut it, filet it, flash freeze it and vacuum seal it – and then let me throw some olive oil and lemon peel on it, slap it on a cedar plank in the BBQ and eat it. That’s where I shine. The cooking and eating end of things. I’m not really into the whole fishing “thing”.
That said, I haven’t been fishing since I was 14, so maybe I would like it. Hmm…I wonder if anyone’s got some waders I could borrow?
BTW, extra credit if you can tell me what inspired the title of this post. Seriously. I’ll be impressed if you can remember where you first heard that phrase.
The No 3 Road exit is the exit to Cultus Lake. It’s also the exit off the highway to my back-road route home. In the summer, this exit is well-used by lower mainland traffic trying to escape the busy-ness and congestion of their home cities. Of course, the irony is lost on a great many that as they make their way to an escape from their own highly populated cities they are contributing to a massive congestion of vehicles on the road and people at the lake.
Humans are silly.
Spring in the Fraser Valley seems like it will never quite get here. We have one day of 15 degree (Celsius) sunny weather followed by a series of 10 degrees and rainy days. It seems as though Mother Nature has a crush on November and is unwilling to move on.
That said, the photo above was taken on an 18 degree and sunny day. This shot is typical for the area in which I live: two fishermen on shore, giving advice to the guy in the water (off to the left of this shot). I don’t know what they caught, but they sure thought they knew more than the guy in the water.
This is Cultus Lake. I shot this about an hour ago. I’m pretty psyched at the proximity of this lake to my house. The kids and I whipped over to the lake and ate dinner in the car while looking at the vista. I think I’m pretty lucky.