“I’ve lived in quite a few cities over the years,” said a friend last night after we had dinner in downtown Vancouver. “It takes about a year before you get used to it. For the first year, living in a new city is sort of like a dream, it has an unreal quality to it.”
We had been talking about my move to Victoria last September, and how I was still feeling like it was a new city to me. I had also mentioned to him that I still sometimes miss Vancouver, even though I didn’t really like living here (there?) for the last few years that I did. In fact, when I still lived in Vancouver, I passionately wanted to leave.
What he said about the dream like quality of living in a new city also applies to the old one. Over the past couple of days, being in Vancouver for a course at UBC, I’ve had an unreal feeling. Partly that’s due to the fact that I’ve been getting up obscenely early (5:00ish), but something also doesn’t feel right. The city just doesn’t feel like the city I left ten months ago, which I suppose is natural since time changes everything. (What did I expect? That the city wouldn’t move on without me?!)
Doing lots of cycling while I’m here is fun. Vancouver is light years ahead of Victoria in terms of cycling infrastructure.
The course is going well – inspiring instructor, good coverage of urban themes, excellent reading list and interesting assignments. There’s a lot to get done in the next two and a half weeks though. This afternoon, I started work on a group assignment to critically examine an urban space in terms of the themes of the course. My partner and I are looking at Trout lake, looking at issues of gentrification, affordability, civic boosterism and public space. 2000 words, with maps and photos due Tuesday.
Next week, I have to produce a critical review of a popular movie (not sure which one yet) and how the city in which it is set serves as a “character” in it. How is the city represented in popular discourse?
Also on the assignment list is two exams and leading a seminar on daily readings.