Posts Tagged: rain

Feb 13

Rainy days and Vitamin D: winter in Vancouver

Yesterday I felt like winter might almost be over. I saw my first crocus; a tiny pop of purple just around the corner from my apartment on English Bay. When I took Freddie out for his late-night walk I spotted daffodils, tightly wrapped in their buds, waiting for that warmer breath of spring air to tempt them to show off their nodding butter-yellow heads.

Purple shoots of spring

Purple shoots of spring

I went home with a smile on my face. I’d made it. Got through my first west coast winter, which had been so much harder than I’d imaged it could have been – and it was mostly all my own fault.

This was all I saw for most of January. Ouch.

This was all I saw for most of January. Ouch.

Everyone told me that the rain and grey skies would be hard. “Take Vitamin D” urged locals, but I smiled to myself and thought well, maybe they needed supplements, but me, with my well-balanced diet? Surely not. And then came the endless days of non-stop torrential rain, serious rain – we think we have it bad in the UK, but London has around half the annual rainfall of Vancouver. HALF! And then there’s the weeks of the sun never really making an appearance thanks to late rising around 830am and early setting around 430pm and the low lying cloud covering any rays.

I felt tired all the time. Grumpy. Peevish. And then came the day when I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. I just lay there, scowling at the gloom and feeling utterly hopeless. I didn’t want to get up. What was the point? What was the point in anything?

My hero

My hero

Something about this dismal state of affairs rang a bell, I could remember reading up something about the symptoms of D3 deficiency. The exhaustion, the depression, yes – maybe this was a chemical imbalance, not me losing faith in life. I dragged myself out of bed to the nearest London Drugs (not being sarcastic – that is the name of a chain of Canadian chemists!) and bought a pack of liquid D3 and a multi-vitamin. Took a shot of both and went back to bed.

Ok, so there was less blood and I don't have that fierce bob but you know what I mean...

Ok, so there was less blood and I don’t have that fierce bob but you know what I mean…

Around six hours later something rather amazing happened. I felt like that scene in Pulp Fiction where Uma gets a shot of adrenaline to her heart. My eyes flew open, I felt flooded with energy, I felt happy and vital and alive again. And that is how it’s been ever since. I take my vits three times a week and even though Vancouver tricked me with it’s whole ‘oh look, it’s spring‘ thing yesterday (it’s beyond revolting again today), I feel fine. And more than that, I feel like I got through a rite of passage. Spring is on its way, the flowers are making their way through the cold hard earth and now, like all good Vancouverites, I know that I need regular shots of D3 to get my head back above ground too.

Yeah. So it turns out it's *not* spring after all...

Yeah. So it turns out it’s *not* spring after all…

Jan 13

Dim lights, rainy city

People in the UK keep asking me whether it’s cold out here in Vancouver. ‘Is it snowy?’ they say. ‘Are you freezing?’ And really it isn’t and no, I’m not. Vancouver has its own nicely protected micro-climate thanks to the mountains and ocean. It’s kind of like Brighton, my old home, in that respect, so it’s never really too cold and never really gets too hot either. The one thing that is making winter tough is the rain.

Somewhere behind all that are snow-capped mountains.

Somewhere behind all that are snow-capped mountains.

Vancouver has more rain than, ooh, almost anywhere. On average, the city gets 1474mm of rain each year, compared to Brighton’s 801mm. That is wet. And cloudy. Oh, so very cloudy. So for days and days at a time I can’t see my beautiful view. The mountains are hidden. We’re so far north that on overcast days we never seem to get properly light either. People here recommend that I take Vitamin D. I find myself eyeing up my dog’s basket and think longingly of just curling up in the cushions and blankets and hibernating till springtime.

Perfectly pink sea and snow.

Perfectly pink sea and snow.

And then… you wake up one morning and look! It’s a beautiful blazing blue sky day, ushered in by heavenly pink early morning light. We’ve had a few days of frosty blue sky and that’ll hold me for a week, but now it’s back to the clouds again I guess it’s like the chorus of the song says, “After the rain comes sun, after the sun comes rain – again... ”

Any suggestions or hints for getting through the RAIN, RAIN, RAIN – let me know ;)

Just keep looking for the blue skies...

Just keep looking for the blue skies…

Keep exploring Canada



Dec 12

Three month-i-versary

So, it’s been three months since I arrived in Vancouver and so far, I’ve not regretted it for a second. Sure, there have been times when it’s been tough being so far from everyone and everything that I love, but thank goodness for Skype and social media! I get to feel like I’m still sharing in my friends’ lives and although talking on Twitter or Facebook is no substitute for sitting down with my mates, well, it’s better than waiting for weeks for an airmail letter.

How can you not just stare and stare?

How can you not just stare and stare?

Vancouver has dazzled me with its beauty. If I was smitten before, it’s a full-blown love affair now. Staring at the clouds and mountains has become my new favourite thing to do. Right next to staring at the skyline at night.

Beautiful at night, with the dazzling city and lights of Grouse Mountain twinkling

I’ve got used to the torrential rain. I’ve started to dress for downpours and have become utterly unselfconscious about stomping around in my rubber boots. I’ve taken to feasting on Kale, the leafy green brassica that’s in every Vancouverite’s shopping basket. Most importantly, I’ve started to make friends.

I made kale chips. This makes me a local, right?

Next week I move to my new apartment. Bye bye Kitsilano, hello West End. I’m so looking forward to living there and exploring another part of this gorgeous city. Small problem: it’s unfurnished and I don’t have any furniture, so, for a while it’ll be awfully minimal! But that’s just so much less to clean, right!? So, here’s to new beginnings…

Stanley Park. Turns out I moved to the end of the rainbow…

Feel inspired: Keep Exploring Canada


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