Something I was only too aware of before before coming to Vancouver was that it rains here a lot. I’ve always had a sort of romantic idea about the rain, usually with images of being inside, next to a fire with blankets, tea and books while the rain batters the roof outside. This is what I like to think my experience will be when I think about a rainy day, but I’ve lived in a country where it rains a lot of the time for most of my life and I can say that in reality, rain is just rain.
In June 2018, I moved to Vancouver, BC with my boyfriend on a two-year working holiday visa. We came here with certain expectations of what our life would be like. We saw adventures in mountains, weekend camping trips, exploring nature, and visiting all of the scenic lakes we saw in pictures before we got here.
We also came here taking for granted that these are all things that would simply happen. After a few weeks of settling in, we realised it’s not that easy. Most of these experiences will be completely new to us. When you’re new to a city it takes time just to figure out how to get to the closest bus stop, never mind up the nearest mountain.
We started to feel a bit like fish out of water after a few weeks of settling in, and we didn’t know where to even begin. That’s when we decided to begin with a list. You can’t start anywhere if you don’t know what it is that you want to do. On arrival in Vancouver, we had only 18 months of our two year visas left to fill with as many experiences as possible, and this list is how we plan to do it.
I have, for most of my life, lived in a place where the weather at its most extreme is often considered mild tempered for many other parts of the world. Out-of-the-ordinary weather is an event, something to keep us talking for a few weeks. What would normally be just an inconvenience in one country could have Ireland on lock-down, with schools and workplaces shut and all of us glued to our televisions watching an exhausted Joanna Donnelly move into her 12th hour of weather reporting on RTÉ.