We’re halfway through our slow road trip across the west coast of Canada’s big island and it’s time for a little expectation adjustment. Everyone I’ve talked to over the last few weeks tells me it’s unseasonably cold in British Columbia this spring. We wanted to get a little insight into what the off-season might be like just so we’d have a realistic picture of life in the region if we moved here but we might be scaring ourselves off in the process!
Aside from weather, the last few weeks have been difficult, between managing illness between baby and me as well as tempering expectations. This was the portion of the trip I was most looking forward to as a picture into daily life potential. We knew this before we left – you really can’t scout out a place from the other side of the planet. We did our best researching and booked a few places to try out that seemed to fit for us. We also left holes in our itinerary so we could follow leads that came up along our journey, and I’m glad we did. We are ending our pre-booked two week slot on a farm south of Nanaimo tomorrow and I think I’ll breathe a sign of relief because it felt like we were doing a lot of waiting… waiting for Camille to weather a rough flu and fever, waiting for the sun to come out, waiting for some place or activity or person that would make it feel more like a potential home.
Expectations vs Reality in Nanaimo, BC
Things are not always what you picture them to be. We had a poor sense of scale and pictured the city of Nanaimo to be quite a bit smaller than it is in reality! More research could have been done here ahead of time, but we imagined that our farm just outside of town would still be within biking distance of a lot of amenities and it’s just not.
We didn’t have a great sense of the specific place we’d be staying. In some cases this has worked out great, but for this portion of the trip, the ad for our place just said “farm” so we thought it would be a small but operational farm with food growing alongside animals, which we are very intrigued by. I have enjoyed watching the horses, but it isn’t really the glimpse into farm life we thought it would be. They are free roaming which is very cool but there’s not much engagement over the electric fence.
We thought we’d be less affected by the constant rain. In Thailand during rainy season it pours for an hour or two in the afternoon and then the sun is out for the rest of the day again. Here it’s unseasonably cold and the glimpses of sun are rare. We’ve still been getting out for walks in the woods where the rain matters less but I miss being able to walk to amenities. Tory found a lot of ways to get out and enjoy the forest by running, walking with Cam, or mountain biking and he stayed pretty healthy during this time.
We miss Thailand! Even though we’re glad to be out of the terrible air quality, it’s hard not to compare life wherever we are now to our idealized version of Thailand, especially since we are scouting for a move away from what is a pretty magical place for the rest of the year. So since we’re not loving Nanaimo, the sweetness of Thailand really stands out in our memories.
I imagined my ideal self going on this trip! Instead, it’s sometimes my very tired self, my grumpy self, or my unhealthy self traveling around. I didn’t picture getting sick, getting vomited on multiple times a day, figuring out how to relate to my increasingly aware and self-confident almost 1 year old, or dealing with culture shock. The less healthy I feel, the harder it is for me to keep up with my intentions of doing the morning yoga or meditations that keep me healthy and it ends up being a vicious cycle.
We’ve had some great times despite having to adjust expectations. Camille is growing and changing constantly and is becoming quite funny. We’re getting a clearer picture of life in this area even if it’s not what we expected. “The earth is warming, the flowers are blooming, we come to worship in beauty and in truth. We come because we have hope that the resurrection will enter into each of our lives and transform us.” This was the line that stuck out to me at the Easter sunrise service we found happening nearby. My current personal experience of Easter is thankfully not about suffering, but transition. That in-between time when you think, what exactly is God’s plan in the chaos? I know that facing death is a different thing entirely than the limbo we’ve put ourselves in by living cross-continentally but it does bring me comfort to find myself between the lines in the story of Jesus. Patience has never been my strong suit. It’s a strange process to be looking for answers when you know that there is no right answer. But even if patience is a struggle for me, hopefully my blind optimism will keep me going. Tomorrow we’re off to the next place!