Becoming a British Columbian

So I have finally come around to the idea of relinquishing whatever ties I have left of being an Albertan  and begun the slow, painful and costly process of becoming a Vancouverite. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Not just for the fact that change is hard but also because any beaurocratic system is far from being efficient and quick.

I managed to shell out way too much money to get my car provincially inspected and got my drivers’ licence switched over. I felt a little naked without my ID for the 2 weeks that I only had a paper permit. lt was the first time since I was 18 that I desperately hoped I wouldn’t get ID’d at the liquor store because I did not have photo ID with me. When my new identitification came in the mail it felt like I was getting a brand new identity along with it. I was now Andrea Ross from Vancouver, whatever that meant in relation to ANdrea Ross from Calgary, formerly Andrea ROss of London. 

The most exciting part of getting my new drivers licence was being able to get my library card. Having access to millions of books, audio books, free internet, and the occasional outdated film is so exillerating to me. I am currently listening to “A Week with Marilyn” as I drive from coaching to training to auditions and back to coaching. The downside of getting my BC drivers licence is saying goodbye to free Alberta healthcare and hello to $70 a month so I can still pay full price for my massage, chiro and accupuncture. The tradeoffs we make.

The other major undertaking I’ve had these past few weeks has been my living situation. I can write about this now becasue it has all seemed to have worked out. Last week I wasn’t feelign so great about the whole subject. You go from owning your own condo to bribing and begging landlords and property managers to accept you as a tenant. For two weeks, I stalked craigslist, made dozens and dozens of phone calls which led to daily apartment viewings. When I finally visited a place that was within my budget, that didn’t reek of mould and that had a fridge and a stove that where not built before I was born, I would get to the application portion of the process. 

Anyone who has tried to rent in Vancouver will know that it is extremely competitive. By the time I finished filling out one application, the apartment would have already been leased out. Apartment buildings became odd tourist attractions where one group would be ushered out while a whole new tour group were ushered in. Everyone josteling to get in the door first and then passive aggressively trying to gain favour with the landlord. The other thing I had going against me was trying to explain to property managers how my 5 various jobs made me enough money to consistently pay rent. It didn’t matter how much I stretched the truth and overstated my monthly income, the apartment would still go to the boring person with the steady 9-5 job. 

After almost giving up and drafting floorplans for my cardboard box house in East Hastings I got a little drunk, went for a walk along the beach and dictated a letter to potential property managers with the top 5 reasons why, even with my alternative lifestyle,  I  would make an excellent tenant. Well wouldn’t you know, the second landlord I handed that letter to called me the next day and asked when I wanted to sign a lease. I felt so victorious! I may be trading in brand new, 650 square feet with underground parking, dishwasher and ensuite laundry for super old, 400 something square feet with shady street parking, no dishwasher, and shared laundry for almost the same amount of money. But I have a home now and with a little assistance from my fabulous interior designing aunt from TOronto, I will make it great!



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