I’ve learned to keep my expectations low since we moved here.
We have a farmer’s market once a month and the first time I went to it I was brimming with excitement and even had a grocery list. I imagined I’d be able to stock up on loads of local produce and goodies. I had my big city brain turned on.
When I arrived and there were just a few tables set-up: one for a local vegetable producer, another for jams and honey, one for dog biscuits and a butcher. I bought kale, carrots and onions, a pork roast, local honey and local organic free range eggs. Not the bounty I was hoping for but enough for a few meals.
It took a few months but I adjusted my expectations about the services and goods I could expect on the island. Our first few run-ins with outages at the grocery store, no chicken or no bananas, made me put my adaptable chef hat on. The other day there was no sour cream at the Marks & Spencer’s. A while back I was craving chicken wings but had to hunt around for a butcher that sold them. I found them but they weren’t the same cut you would get in North America: it was a full wing with tip attached.
Even the indoor play centre is run differently that it would be at home. Maybe it’s the relaxed West Coast attitude in Vancouver but most of our play centres run on a drop-in basis. Over here it’s in one hour sessions and when they blow the whistle your kid has to get out of the ball pit pronto.
There are lots of festivals and events on the island that we enjoy going to but my big city friends, and my big city brain, wouldn’t be impressed by them. They’re usually quite small and have local talent. There’s a vibrant music scene here but I’ve never heard of any of the bands or artists before. Most of the fairs or events have the same two fun rides at them: the carousel swing and a bouncy castle.
Having fewer options, and less available, has made me appreciate what we do have more.
The other weekend we went to the Southern Agricultural Fair near Castletown. Friends had told us it would be good fun, or good “crack” as they say, for the kids.
We took the train down and then walked over to the field it was set-up in. I hoped there was at least an hour’s worth of things for us to see or we’d be taking Henry back to a park to play as we waited for the next train home.
The fair was beyond what I hoped for. There were loads of farm animals out for children to feed and pet, a fun fair section full of rides I had never seen before, a large arena for shows, vintage tractors and sheep races. We spent a long afternoon wandering around and got sunburns. Henry fed goats and watched chickens and petted donkeys. He ran around with some of his little friends and saw a bee hive. It was a fabulous day and we didn’t even see all of the fair.
City me wouldn’t have been that impressed with the fair. I would have appreciated it and been happy to see Henry interacting with the animals, but it would have been just another event. There is so much for families in Vancouver: music festivals, the Aquarium, the Planetarium, Stanley Park, huge community outdoor pools and the list goes on.
Here on the island we have less choice. There’s almost always something on every weekend but it’s usually just one thing.
I’m thankful for this move overseas and this chance to live in a smaller town. It’s teaching me to appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Hopefully I can hold onto to that mindset when we move back to a bigger city some day.
Heading over to London for the Olympics and will be away for the rest of the week. Won’t be able to respond to or approve comments. Back Monday. Go Canada and go Team GB!!