We’re back in Boston, after what I think was a kind of watershed trip.
As Pam noted, we were in a bit of funk before we left. We were focused on the absence of Socrates, and this in turn led us to contemplate the past. This trip to Vancouver helped us make more of a clean break. Instead of dwelling on ‘He used to hang out here’ or ‘Now was the time when he’d usually make a cute noise or sit on your mousing arm.’ it was ‘Here’s where we might live’ or ‘There is where you might work’. We thought about what we’ll be doing in a few months, or what we might need to do a few years down the road. We tried to imagine ourselves in a new house, in a new job, in a new country. My friend Andy calls it a ‘Life Mulligan’. I didn’t understand the term at first, but he explained that a Mulligan is a term from golf, meaning essentially a ‘do-over’. You get them in a polite game. I suspect it’s named after some desperately bad golfer who always asked if he could retake his drives or putts.
(Hah! I just found it on About.com and it’s apparently a Canadian term. According to one of the many mysterious etymologies of the term, a prominent hotelier named David Mulligan (sic) ‘frequented St. Lambert Country Club in Montreal, Quebec, during the 1920s. Mulligan let it rip off the tee one day, wasn’t happy with the results, re-teed, and hit again. According to the story, he called it a “correction shot,” but his partners thought a better name was needed and christened it a “mulligan.” Perhaps because Mr. Mulligan was a prominent businessman — owning multiple hotels — the term was more likely to catch on.’ At any rate, I like that theory, especially since the guy is both a David and a Canadian.)
Anyway, Life Do-Over or not, we definitely seem to be restarting, and this trip made the Restarting line seem a bit closer and clearer. We walked the city of Vancouver several times, took the Skytrain way out into the ‘burbs and back again in a big loop. We walked in parks, over the Granville Bridge (much to my discomfort, as I still do not like walking near the edge of precipitous areas like bridge sidewalks), and to many places we would like to frequent (the Public Library, the Symphony Hall, the Sea Wall — that last one by Pam alone). We looked at potential condominiums, watched for apartment rental signs, read newspapers, watched some local TV and listened to CBC radio. We bought food at local groceries, produce stands and bakeries.
As for me, I hustled, schmoozed and did my best to learn about the local business scene, signing up with 2 recruiters, and already interviewing with 2 local businesses. My experiences were nearly all encouraging. I have a strong resume, lots of great experience, and I just have to work on how I present my portfolio (a little rusty at that, I must admit). I found most people polite, interesting to talk to, and curious about why a person from Boston would want to relocate to little-old Vancouver, which does have a bit of a self-image of being a backwater economically. If this is true, I’m hoping that the ‘bigger fish in a smaller pond’ metaphor does hold true, and I’ll be able to make a name for myself there.
Frankly, given that the culture is so rich with so many immigrants (tons of people from China and India), the climate is so mild, the vistas so breathtaking, the local government enlightened and the populace tolerant, it’s only a matter of time before the world begins to notice that this is one of the best places in the world in which to reside. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I’ll miss Boston a lot, but with it’s political infighting, frigid winters, rudeness, obsession with the Colonial past and theme park exploitation of it’s own heritage, not to mention the abominations of Logan Airport, the Hynes Convention Center and Government Center (ick, yuck and yech! respectively), I’m going to have to say that it’s time for me to check out some new places.
A thought just came to me. At Pam’s and my wedding, some of Pam’s Aunts came over to us after the reception/luncheon, where we served Vichysoise, Poached Salmon withe some assorted sauces, raspberry coulis, and Praline cake for a wedding cake. They exclaimed how they had never eaten anything like that before. In fact, I learned that one of them had rarely ventured outside her 10-mile radius of Quincy. OK. Time to go now.
written while listening to: Strauss — Vier Letzte Lieder — i. FrÃ¼hling from the album “Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder” by Jessye Norman, soprano, The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur