Monday, February 8, 2010

Being a Vancouverite

Vancouver, B.C. Canada, February 6th 2010

Vancouver has always been a city with a lot of meaning for me. It was my first international travel destination, it is the city my best friend calls home and when she moved here, I came visit, sometimes just for a weekend, to be part of her setting up process; it was my honeymoon destination and a place where I feel welcome and safe.

This time I’m here on a business trip in a Vancouver almost ready to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. I’m staying with my friend as usual and going for work with her for ten days, weekend included. Ten days already planned based on a daily routine with a constant layout that can be summarized like this:

06:45 – wake up, brush teeth, wash face, take shower and get dressed

07:30 – finish hair and makeup – no time for mascara, take it with you

07:35 – making bed, drink my glass of water and grab cell phone and purse

07:40 – rush out to catch the bus; don’t forget the take out cup of coffee!

07:46 – taking bus to sky train station

08:05 – sky train to Burrard station; get the Metro or 24 daily papers

08:30 – get off the train, walk to the office; too crowded! Take the emergency stairs

09:00 – more coffee and oatmeal; back to desk

11:55 - lunch brake

13:05 – back from lunch

16:55 – taking off to catch sky train back

17:37 – get off on 22nd street station to catch the 410 bus

18:00 – home for dinner; eat, clean and get ready for the after work activity of the day.

And so it went, day after day; a detailed schedule, minute by minute. It was stressful for me, it was like having to make it happen or else… or so it felt. Until I realized the issue was not the plan or the activities or even commuting to work; it was the fact that I was aware of each single moment and how long every single activity took (or should I say how much time was assigned to perform each task). It was the same old things I usually do, only thoroughly documented.

I now know how long it takes to lather and repeat, or to floss and rinse, or the difference in time between a pony tale and hair half way up. I even confirmed that coffee gets cold in 37 minutes, that time goes by quickly if you are looking for 6 down based on the first letter of 6 across. That I can eat dinner in 23 minutes; that 15 minutes of reading mean 10 pages for an adult and 3 pages for a six year old; that a bridal shower can last less than an hour, cheese tray and wine drinking included.

I learned that life is full of wasted minutes we don’t really know where they were used or what for; that we are capable of managing even the smallest things if we really need or want to. It’s all about control and awareness, plans and timelines, with no room for the unplanned. It is a matter of perspective and choices. I realized that my lifestyle is different only because is mine, my own rules my own plan. The layout might not be the same but the content is.

Sometimes, I don’t want to know where time went; I like being open for the unexpected, but love the idea of making every moment count, without having to count every moment.

After having the chance of being part of the life of a Vancouverite, one thing is for sure: I admire and love my best friend even more.


  1. And we Vancouverites are called the laid-back people in Canada, can you imagine how Torontonians must be??? :) I miss my co-pilot every morning when I'm going to work and doing my crossword puzzle. Life is so much better when you are here, even if we have to count every minute!

  2. "Sometimes, I don’t want to know where time went; I like being open for the unexpected, but love the idea of making every moment count, without having to count every moment."

    I love this...


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