It has been a few weeks since I last wrote in this journal-blog. I have been busy with the move and the job search. Now I have time to pause and assess the progress of my work and move.
I am proud to say that the blog viewings have been increasing despite the lack of production recently. In fact, over 6,000 views of my website occurred in the past sixty days, which is more than ever in a 60-day period. I have been receiving comments, too.
The aftermath of moving
Spending more and earning less but feeling good to be in my own place and living the way I want in a more suitable environment. Still excited about prospects despite some worry about employment.
Naturally, I must be conscious of bringing in a better income and I must remain vigilant regarding business and employment opportunities. I stop myself from worrying now and then to tell myself how lucky it is to have free time during this gorgeous summer in this pleasing setting of Burnaby, British Columbia. I have had ample time to unpack and set up new living quarters, as I have had ample time to enjoy the sunshine, slow down and relax. I have my nest egg, and have been able to avoid consuming it, so far. As an ESL teacher, I am sure that I will get busier in the fall and will not have the luxury of long leisurely days of warm weather. Work and money will come as they always have. I should have no fear. Indeed, the author Juan is sending a payment this week and has more editing for me in store.
While teaching at the children's after-school academy is slow, I got the new subbing position at a private college downtown. The latter is experiencing their busy period because the clients are adults on short study holidays, presenting an opportunity for a teacher wanting a job to get a foot in the door. I am on call as a substitute for daytime teaching, which offers more hours of work than the other place where one can only work up to four hours a day starting late in the afternoon. The daytime school knows about the other place and accepts that I intend to keep that job. That is fortunate.
I have been occupying myself with unpacking and organizing this one-bedroom apartment. Even after getting all my things and opening up the boxes, it seems so big compared to what kind of living spaces I have had in the past 20 years, so that I feel I am living in luxury even though the building is rather old and outdated and my possessions old and minimal. It and my stuff, however, have generally been kept in fairly decent shape, another aspect I relish. Too, I revel in the openness and the light from the sliding doors at the veranda that brightens up the living room and dining area. I shall keep it open, though I have purchased new rugs, a large round one for the living room and a runner for the front hall.
You might think the rugs an unnecessary and unduly huge expense, but I think they will bring balance to the atmosphere, tempering the worn hardwood flooring and my collection of vintage furnishings by adding a modern and light touch. The rugs are to be delivered next week, and I can barely sit still waiting for them.
It might surprise you, dear reader, to learn how little I have spent on furnishings and supplies for this place, actually. It is uncanny how I have happened upon items I have noted on my shopping list being offered for free in the neighbourhood, and come across at bargain prices in stores. For instance, I had a lidded trash can in mind for the kitchen, thinking I might have to spend $50 on a new one, when I discovered such a can sitting on the curb. Aside from a few tiny rust spots and dust, it is fine. Scratch that off my list! I was also thinking about chairs for the veranda and the interior when, presto!, two chairs and a set of pots were waiting on the side of the lane to be taken care of. The chairs were a good colour and style for my place, and in very good shape. I am sitting on one of them now. The pots were a lucky find as well, for I had not yet received the household stuff from the storage company, and was hard pressed to get my hands on something by which to boil water for coffee and tea. Scratch chairs and pot off the list! (Might have spent up to $300 on chairs!) One recent afternoon, I was thinking hard about acquiring a desk and was preparing myself to spend $400 to $500 in order to get a largish one with plenty of drawers. This topic was on my mind as I dismounted a bus and walked towards my apartment. Out of the blue, there before me was a sign for a garage sale. The thought struck me that I was a perfect client for a garage sale and must go have a look. Behold! A clean and sturdy writing desk with six drawers presented itself and beckoned. I claimed it and the owner even arranged to have someone bring it over to my suite a few hours later. I also picked up a sort of sweatshirt to wear around the house because I find it cool here in the mornings but had nothing appropriate anymore--until I went to that garage sale. Scratch desk and sweatshirt off the list! I also was thinking about finding a used bike when--what do you know!?--a neighbour offered to give me a castaway he'd found and was no longer using. Despite a few scars, it is fine. Scratch bike ($80-150) off the list! Lastly, there is the big planter. I spied it sitting in the parking lot outside my building and wondered what it was doing there. Wanting to place potted plants on the veranda, I kept it in mind while it just sat there. Finally, I realized it had been abandoned and was up for grabs. It even came with good quality top soil. Scratch planter with soil off my list! As for store-bought items, consider my purchase of pillows. Knowing how uncomfortable my sofa is without a cushion, I thought about getting one but thought it best to find shams for the gaudy-looking ones I am using to sleep on. Upon entering the Sears store, I immediately stumbled into bins with pillows and cushions at clearance prices. I hesitated to see if there were better quality items worth buying around this store, but the bargain bins actually offered the best fare. Pillows and cushion off the list for a total of $22!
I have already taken the bike out for a short cruise to survey the area. I came across the Burnaby Urban Trails and followed a couple for a short way. There are many recreational cyclists around here, and lots of paths. Cool!
I had supposed I might need to rent a car and go on a spree buying household necessities but all the freebies plus "dollar store" bargain hunting have resolved the need for the time being. I can make do for now.
I am really enjoying the food deliveries. I am ordering food from "spud.ca" which delivers to this area for free. It is nice not to have to make the trip to haul a week's worth of food home, and still get good quality and organic food to boot. It is brought to me on Sunday afternoons, just before dinner time. So convenient and practical! I am able to restrict my spending and keep to a tighter budget this way as the weekly bill is $40 to $55 and I just buy around $10 of other food that I can easily carry home from local stores or the markets near my workplace in Coquitlam. It's adequate so that I eat way fewer meals out.
Yes, I have a long veranda! True, it looks out to nothing but a lane and foliage, but it is nevertheless a real veranda! I can stare out at the leaves and watch the twittering chicadees, scampering squirrels and rude stellar jays arguing. I have already hung a flower basket, with fuschias, of course. I have mounted wind chimes, too--glad I kept a set given to me years ago despite not having anywhere to hang them for so very long.
I have already met many of the people who live here. There are only two couples and one child. So fortunate to have the company of other singles! The residents are of mixed ages and occupations, with at least two other seniors. Two guys have helped me. One drove me to the recycling depot to deposit numerous cardboard boxes and the old Hitachi TV. I have carried through with the writing and distribution of a local newsletter in which I tossed out the idea of holding a block party and invited people to join me to do a neighbourhood street clean-up. Nobody met me for the clean-up, but I did it for an hour, anyway, filling a medium sized garbage bag and expending more than a little sweat, but I wanted to do it for myself and set an example. They are being passive but no-one is complaining about me cleaning up or providing the newsletter!
I have organized the closets, set out knick-knacks and souvenirs and mounted a few wall-hangings, the ones from Asia and the heirlooms. Actually, I was a little spooked at first as I brought out all the familiar items into a setting that is similar to the one I left in Vancouver before I went to Korea. I mean, the age and type of this building is similar to the last. Some old unpleasant feelings started to creep in. Yet I am arranging my things differently and have the light and space of the large veranda entrance plus the addition of the bedroom in a suburban location, which is markedly different to the basement-level bachelor suite in the run-down building sitting in a busy street near downtown with its incumbent street traffic and troubles. In this area, I hardly ever hear sirens and I have yet to spot a prowler or loiterers.
I sleep very well, never getting up in the middle of the night, not even to go to the bathroom. It generally takes a few minutes for me to fall into a sound sleep.