Monday, August 29, 2005 midnights, in cups of coffee

That's how you measure, measure a year.

It's been five days in this new city and I've managed to secure a steady income for the time being. With 26 resumes dropped, slightly sore feet and a sunkissed nose, I sat down to wait. The next day I received a phone call from...the first place I applied! The store named after me (JJ Bean--Vancouver's own micro-roaster) decided that they indeed needed me as their poster-girl. I sighed modestly, tossing my hair over my shoulder in the light breeze. "I think I could fit you into my busy schedule." They complied. Drama aside, the "interview" yesterday went smashingly well. I stopped by the cafe to chat over an americano with Kyle, the manager, and 45 minutes later--not having covered anything "work-related" really--started my first "muffin shift" at 5 am this morning. Phew. Out of the fire and into the muffin pan.

I've now added Granville Street to my avenues of exploration. That one was alone, on Friday, and took about 5 hours as well. I bought a bed, in great condition, from a thrift store right downtown. Delivery, frame, and decent mattress for 130.00. Take that, IKEA. And the guys running the place were good for my days' entertainment. Downtown Vancouver can't seem to decide what it would like its identity to be. Or else it's just content being the eclectic, bustling yet laid-back, modern ugly-bluish-tinted condos meets turn-of-the-century "Gastown" architecture, tidy business suits brushing boho-beauties, cafe doors swinging open into outdoor stores and upscale restaurants, the fresh air of Stanley Part tickling my shoulders. I stopped at the Granville island market, which is the Forks x 50. The Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival was in full swing, and I stopped to listen to a small kitchen band play Eastern Canadian folk songs (and wished Anna was sitting there with me. ) I took a little water bus across for my 5 minutes of touristy fame.

Moving via public transit is an experience I recommend to all for the building of character, and shoulder muscles. With my water bottle and iPod in tow (Help! I have acquired a cell phone, an ipod AND a blog in less that 3 weeks. I'm barely a week here and already modern life has engulfed me!), I proceeded to move my stuff from our temporary condo on 41st to our new digs at east 38th and Victoria. Don't let the proximity of the street numbers fool you--it was not a quick jaunt. And being the frugal female that I am, I had to race against the clock so my transfer would remain active for the duration of my move. I was done in roughly 3 hours--almost but not quite!

Our new place is clean and seems safe, though it is lacking in shower curtains and its kitchen colours seems to boast of bygone days. (ie: the early 80s) It seems we are smack dab in "asia-ville," not Chinatown proper, but a more southeast asian stew of mom-and-pops, family-run grocery stores, hairsalons, and yummy bargain restaurants.

As I rode the bus today wondering how our culture produced the neccessity for getting up while it's still dark (no, haven't done this in awhile, guess that makes me bourgeoise by comparison), excitement washed over my sleepy consciousness. Part of it was admittedly the free coffee I would soon put my grateful lips to, but more of it was the sense of newness the early morning mirrored in its crisp not-yet-sunlight. I feel alive.

I just finished reading "the Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo. It's gained a bit of a cult following, but aside from its at times cliche newageiness, offers some valuable wisdom. One of the things I came away with was a reminder to live for the present, which he ties in with the Biblical mantra, "where your heart is, there also will your treasure be." The book gave this little lesson new life for me. The promise of something inspires us to pursue it, and there is definitely something to be said for relentlessly chasing after things of we value. But perhaps it is better to love first. Perhaps treasure follows the impulse of the heart. For right now I am content to live less for the hope of a sparkling future, or in a state of pining for the sweetness of the past. The blessings of the present moment are rare and fleeting things, like tiny minnows in a great sea. They are asking of me only one small thing. My whole heart.

title courtesy of the Broadway production, Rent

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