Back in the saddle

It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since my last post! Honestly, where has the time gone? I’ve tried on several occasions to sit down and start writing, and once or twice a few words have dribbled out, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to push any further than that.

The last few years have been rough to say the least. Not that there haven’t been some wonderful moments sprinkled throughout (like finally getting a dog!), but overall the pandemic really hit me harder than I expected. I felt like there was a chronic tension in the air. Even the simplest tasks felt more complicated and arduous. Pockets of grief were hidden everywhere, even in moments that should have been filled with joy. Birthdays, holidays, new babies, new jobs…all these things that should have been celebrated but instead passed by silently during lockdowns. Worse were the tragedies – loved ones who were struck by illness or passed away, layoffs, natural disasters…the pain of all these moments were amplified given the inability for people to come together and support each other during these crises. 

Our wedding was one event on a long list impacted in 2020. Collin and I had been planning our wedding for June before the pandemic hit. We ended up eloping in our backyard, and postponed our non-refundable reception. Twice. We also cancelled a very carefully planned out honeymoon trip through Europe (thankfully that one was partially refundable). It absolutely crushed me that we weren’t able to follow through on our plans the way we had hoped. In fact, I still get a bit sore thinking about whether we will ever have the chance to go on the trip we planned, but my level of acceptance of the situation has improved greatly in the last year. 

In fact, a lot has improved in this last year, which is why I think I’m finally able to get back in the proverbial saddle and start writing again. 

A huge life shift began for us last October when we headed to Vancouver Island to spend thanksgiving with family. It was on a whim that we decided to scope out a few properties that were for sale in the area. One house we almost didn’t bother to view based on the photos we saw online, but the description ticked off all of our dream house boxes. It had space for us to each have an office, plus a guest room, a HUGE fully fenced garden, a workshop for Collin, a large kitchen for me…it seemed to good to be true.

It was the last place we went to see, and that’s when we accidentally fell in love. We tried to find all the reasons why it would be ridiculous to move (there was a sizeable list). We told ourselves there must be something wrong with the property. So we looked at it a second time. After our second viewing, we went for a long walk. We discussed how utterly crazy we were for even considering this, and that we weren’t ready to make such a big move. After much deliberation, I said to Collin, “So…we’re putting an offer in then?” “I guess so.” He replied. 

On October 8th, our offer was accepted, and we celebrated for all of five minutes before we realized what was coming next. We still had to sell our current place…which we were halfway through painting…with a gutted closet we were in the middle of rebuilding…did I mention my brother was still living with us? We also had to find him an apartment and get him moved as well. 

Joan laying on the floor with her dog laying on top of her.
Exhausted after so many days of packing and cleaning.

After 60 days of pure chaos, the movers arrived on December 7th and loaded all of our boxes into a truck. I still don’t know how we did it. In those 60 days, we coordinated inspections on the new place remotely, listed and sold our current place, finished painting, built a closet, moved my brother into a new apartment, purged and packed all our belongings, all while still working full time. We were bloody exhausted. But we did it. 

Collin and Joan sitting in front of their fireplace in an empty living room on moving day.
Our last night in our old house, after the movers had been and gone.

Within the first week of moving into our new place, we had 14 inches of snow, several power outages, and frozen pipes that left us without water for two days. It. Was. Glorious! We had a glistening winter wonderland in our backyard, complete with a view of elk strolling silently through the field behind us. 

Snow covered backyard surrounded by tall trees

We’ve been here 8 months now and every morning I wake up filled with even more confidence that this was the best decision we could have made. We’ve had a million projects on the go since the day we arrived, but they’ve all felt like an adventure instead of a chore. 

All the angst and despair that I felt building up during those first two years of the pandemic are finally melting away. I breathed a sigh of relief the day we moved in. Despite all the literal baggage that we hauled across the water (we had the world’s biggest moving truck…I still dont’ know how we collected so much stuff…), the emotional baggage stayed behind. 

People keep asking if there’s anything we miss about living on the mainland. Mostly it’s the friends and family we miss being close to (especially our amazing neighbours next door – they were very hard to leave behind), but thankfully we’ve had lots of people come to visit already which we’re very grateful for. 

This will be our first fall here, and as much as I don’t want summer to end, I’m also excited to see the leaves change, and to sit on our back porch on a crisp morning with a cup of coffee in hand. We’re much better prepared for winter now as well, with some back up power, bottled water on hand and our snow shovels unpacked. 

We’ve settled in well, and I’m excited and motivated again to start on projects that I couldn’t have coped with tackling a year ago. At this point I’m not going to commit to the same weekly cadence of posts I was writing before, but if I can write another one before 3 more years goes by, I’m going to call it a win. 

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