The blog launched in 2015 of September right at the same time as I attended the Edmonton Comic Expo showcasing the first editions of Mental Damnation Reality and Dream. Since then, I’ve consistently released Unprocessed Thoughts at the end of each month, trying a new beer and dumping my thoughts into a blog post. I have yet to miss a month in the seven years, even if it is late but not forgotten.
Welcome to July’s Edition of Unprocessed Thoughts
You may wonder why the blog post is about July when we are two weeks into August. Well, let me tell you. I’ve been apartment hunting in Vancouver. If you missed June’s Unprocessed Thoughts, Back to Old, I’m in the process of moving out of Alberta and finding a new home was real work.
The Housing Crisis
Vancouver is a highly dense city, and time and time again, I’ve been informed of how difficult it is to find a place to live. A friend of a friend of mine said it takes about two years to find a place you really like in Vancouver Proper. My girlfriend and I went apartment hunting with prepped minds for the challenge ahead. Little did we know it’d be far more demanding.
Even before the search, Alberta is no better. Edmonton and Calgary are going through similar situations. One friend of mine, back in the spring in Edmonton, couldn’t find a main-level home to rent after a good couple of months of looking and thankfully kept their current place. Another in Calgary, last year, rented their property and was getting offers from people not even in the city wanting to rent it and pay the deposit right away. Then there is Toronto, where people are experiencing historical inflation.
In short, there is a housing crisis happening in Canada. I’m not versed enough to know where else it is occurring. Still, in Vancouver, there were grassroots movements, graffiti, and protests with the common slogan “tenant power” across the city during our visit.
Our Trip to Vancouver
My girlfriend and I have been planning a move for a while now. Obviously, the pandemic put a pin into that for a couple of years, but we’re finally doing it. Thankfully we’ve been able to plan everything on our terms and gave ourselves 10 months to make a move.
We’ve been purging, donating, organizing work, and then bought our plane tickets to find an apartment. Believe it or not, writing fiction isn’t lucrative enough to buy a multi-million-dollar condo anywhere in the world. No concern, though; I prefer a humble life.
Eventually, the time came to fly and find our new home. We were both excited and nervous but ready for the task ahead.
Over seven days, my girlfriend and I scoured the city and internet looking for a place to rent. We realized we had picked the worst possible week to head to Vancouver. It was a long weekend in British Columbia – live and learn.
Still, we contacted approximately 180 places via phone, email, or text. We found places on common sites like rentfaster.ca, Craig’s List, Pad Mapper, Facebook Marketplace, and Kijiji. We even went to some questionable sites that clearly mined data and scammed people. We went up and down neighbourhoods calling apartment complexes, and tallied an average of 15,000 steps per day. We even contacted a real estate agent for assistance just to find a place to rent.
Through our efforts of roughly 180 places contacted, we saw 11 places (with 4 more scheduled), applied to 4, rejected twice, and approved for 2. Many landlords showing us the units said they were getting 30-50 inquiries about rentals; many were overqualified from a financial perspective. Our pickings were slim because of money talks. Understanding the seriousness of the situation, we went with the first place that approved us.
As mentioned before, we knew that finding a place would be difficult, and it was. Our 7-day hunt showed us some places we could have rented but declined. These were places with holes and tears in the ceilings and walls that weren’t going to be fixed or overcharged for 400 square feet “micro-unit,” as they’re called – designed for yuppies. Our quest proved unfruitful, and our flights were the next day. I ended up extending my stay to find a place. Thankfully our good friend didn’t mind me sticking around a little longer, and I can work remotely with the design business.
I contacted many more places the morning my girlfriend flew home. That afternoon I got a text from one unit we applied to say we were approved – woohoo! Staying the extra days let me take care of all the paperwork with our new landlord, and we were set. The next day we were approved for another we liked, but we decided not to mess around.
To our advantage, calling numbers right on apartment complexes’ doors cuts through all the bullshit of hunting online. Landlords get tons of inquiries, and spam, through the usual online posting methods, and going through 30-50 inquiries is a lot of work.
It must be fool’s luck (hence the Maneki-neko cat for the cover photo) because at the place my girlfriend called, the previous tenants had just moved out mere hours ago, and we happened to be in the neighbourhood. The unit is newly furnished, top floor, and in a fantastic location within walking distance of parks, pubs, and cafes.
The reality of the situation hadn’t sunk in, even after how much work we put into it. It still hasn’t felt real because we are packing back in Alberta, in our home of 7 years. We simply know that we must go through the process because the move is happening, and the new place has been signed. Chances are it’ll finally feel real when we’re driving out of Edmonton for the final time with the cat in the car.
Thankfully for us and many others, the pandemic has proven to be a significant case study for remote work life. I’ve been doing it since 2014, so nothing new, but clients are far more open to calls, email, and video calls than face-to-face.
Moving with your partner is a big deal as you leave the familiar into the unknown. There are many uncertainties on the ever-inclining rise, such as economic and environmental issues, war, political polarization, and cultural conflict, to name a few, and no one knows what the future holds. Vancouver isn’t our permanent home, but it’s a great place, and we’re excited to see what doors will open on the west coast. In this strange new world we’re living in, my girlfriend and I can continue our everyday life in a city we want to be in and do it together.
Beer Note: So many
Staying a week and a half in Vancouver gave us plenty of time to try various breweries, many of which will be in our new neighbourhood. On the last day, my buddy and I even went to a meadery. We were so busy I didn’t even think to take a photo of any of them.
With that, I tried another good old Alberta beer for this late July’s Unprocessed Thoughts. Village Brewing Co. Small Batch Season Ale Limited Edition is made in Calgary – hence the cow on the front. Fitting for the last beer I’ll have for Unprocessed Thoughts in Alberta.