Having The Time Of My Life (West Coast Girl, Pt 13)

The above photo is from my time on Bowen Island. This is my favourite spot in the island. I remember sitting there after taking this photo and thinking “Wow I am really here. This is my dream. I’m so happy.”

Previous Chapters:

To Write Is An Adventure (Pt 1)

Writing In The Mountains (Pt 2)

Balancing Writing & Travel (Pt 3)

Living The Dream In Banff (Pt 4)

When Traveling Gets Dark (Pt 5)

A Romance In The Mountains (Pt 6)

From Alberta To B.C. (Pt 7)

The Grass Is Always Green (Pt 8)

Knowing What It’s Like To Thrive (Pt 9)

Writing & Growing (Pt 10)

Return To Banff (Pt 11)

Back In My Dream City (Pt 12)

Vancouver 2017-2018

It was the fall of 2017 when I published my beloved Western novel, The Broken & The Foolish. I was a little down at only making one sale that day. It wasn’t the first book I’d ever published and I was doing my best to generate a lot of hype. I got many congratulations that day, but only a sale and a few promises of a sale.

I texted Andy.

So, my book release day was a failure. I only made one sale and I realized there’s a typo so I had to re-upload the whole thing again. LOL Oh well at least I’m starting school soon.

Hey! Just because it didn’t do as well as what you thought, it doesn’t mean it was a failure. I’m sure you’ll get more sales soon.

It sure was something else seeing this book in print. I’d put so much work into it. I’d really written a Western novel!

The supervisor job was very fun, especially in the summer. I had a great team and we’d get into some good conversations when it was slower. I was comfortable in the role until for some reason, the head manager started creating weird conflicts, like asking me to assign seating or to write down who didn’t abide by some silly rules (Such as grabbing a coffee outside of break time or not sitting where they were assigned). For me, it’s very hard to enforce rules I don’t agree with. The last straw was when she asked me to call someone for her and I wrote down literally everything he told me. She was upset that it wasn’t detailed enough and asked me to call him back. She would also step into the office and insinuate I needed help supervising people. In all honesty, the team worked hard when I was there. I think she just wanted to start drama because she was bored. I thought “I’m so done with this nonsense”. I got another role as a fundraiser which paid the same. It was a simpler job for the same pay which was ideal.

I was about to start school in a couple of weeks, work at a new job, and move into a new place. The room I rented on Main Street was the most wonderful place I’ve ever lived in. It was a renovated micro suite and from the moment I moved in, I made it my own. Everything about it I loved and it had the exact design I wanted, too, with big windows, high ceilings, and just enough room for what I needed. I eased into the new fundraising role and loved the environment. It was Monday to Friday and there were no targets or stress. It was the perfect job to do a little reading in between calls – which is what I did. I chose to do distance learning while working full time so I wouldn’t have to be a starving student.

I couldn’t wait to get home and read from the textbook and do the assignments. Studying to be a therapist was my literal dream come true. When I wanted a study break, I’d watch Hannibal. My room was so cozy and beautiful and I was so incredibly happy to finally have my own place. Everything in my life was essentially perfect.

The photo above is me posing in my room. I miss it so much! I’m glad I enjoyed it as much as I could.

Around Halloween, I went to see an EDM show performed by Black Tiger Sex Machine. It was amazing. I love how the DJs blended electronic music with orchestral scores.

I was also working a second job as a mystery shopper. It would usually be after my shift at work, but sometimes it would be earlier or on one of my days off. I still found some time to write stories as well. As odd as it sounds, I didn’t feel “busy” at all, despite all the things I had going on. I think because my room was so beautiful and my job was so chill, it gave me the headspace to focus on the extra things like school, writing, and an extra gig.

The texts from Andy started to dwindle after our relationship matured into what I thought was a true friendship. My crush on him dissolved and I started to think of him as a brother, but when he shut me out completely, I was pretty upset. Because I wasn’t going to date or join any social groups until my school year was done, everyone who was currently in my life was all that I had. He told me that he just wanted time with his girlfriend, which I completely understood, but I wished he would have just told me. He was the one who insisted that we stay friends in the first place. I didn’t have someone to share my cool findings or experiences with anymore – I had grown to rely on his upbeat texts. I always texted my family regularly, but I didn’t want to bug them too much with everything new I was learning. That’s the type of stuff you’d message a friend about. I blocked him and cut it off completely. Looking back on it, it was childish to do it that way considering how much time we’d invested, but I was hurt. In the long run, it was probably better I cut it off, but I will never forget the amazing times we had together as friends. I will always be grateful to him for that – and for the lessons he taught me. Looking back at this situation now, I see how toxic it was to be friends with a guy who had a girlfriend. Let me tell you – I won’t make that same mistake again.

I learned so much from my psychology courses. In one of the exercises, you had to diagnose and counsel yourself. I diagnosed myself with depression based on the criteria I was measured by. The friendship ending with Andy had made me a little sad and another friendship with my building manager had also fallen through. After working through some amazing cognitive behavioural techniques, I was able to rewire my thinking. It was quite amazing to me how CBT can help fix your brain. The things that used to trigger me or stress me out no longer did – and I was able to test that several times since taking the course. This is why I always recommend people at least try it. I was depression-free for two years after taking that course. When it returned every so often in the future, I had the tools on how to cope and overcome it. In all honesty, depression hasn’t been an issue for me since 2017. I’m glad I was able to get my emotions straightened out so I could fully enjoy the beautiful place that I had.

I’d always wanted to write a book set during the Napoleonic War times so I worked on a novella about two boys who need to work together after being shipwrecked. It was such a beautiful time of my life being able to write something so meaningful. Those two characters were dear to my heart and to this day, I’m the most proud of this story. I published The Pup & The Pianist in January of 2018. I didn’t want to say too much about what I was doing, but when I got talking with my coworkers, I’d tell them a little about my school and writing. One lady couldn’t believe I was doing all this stuff.

In the summer of 2018, I visited my family again and we took a nice trip out to Toronto. We ate on the revolving restaurant which was an amazing experience. It really brought into perspective how big Toronto is. We also went back to our beloved area – Port Stanley. This trip, I caught a slight cold, but it was still very fun. I felt so much positive energy from having the life of my dreams. Even my Dad called me “quite successful” with my new place, great job, writing, and soon to be finished college program. I was on a high that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Toronto, 2018

My parents at Port Stanley in 2018

Once I returned to Vancouver to resume my routine, I started talking more to a guy at work. Initially he was friends with two of the other ladies, but over time we started gravitating to one another. The first time we hung out was on a hike to Deep Cove. It was nice to make a new memory there with someone else besides Andy. The next weekend, I showed him Bowen Island. Both trips were so much fun and our friendship grew. He loved shopping in the city, so every weekend we’d meet up and look at all the stores after buying a coffee from Starbucks. Being from Europe, he had sophisticated tastes and a great fashion sense. It was nice to have a predictable friendship like that. We’d also go out for lunch together every day at work. One of our older coworkers scolded us for not saving money, but it’s one of those things you only do for a period of time then you stop. I’m glad we just lived it up when we had the chance. I felt like a true Vancouver yuppie on my excursions with him.

While he was gay, I can’t lie that I had a huge crush on him. He was perfect to me. Of course, over time I learned nothing was ever going to happen between us, so our friendship matured into a place where could share our dating woes and crushes. Sometimes we were like two kids exploring.

I remember how Vlad encouraged me to buy a faux fur coat and when I wore it, people would compliment it. A couple of people even asked if I was an actress.

“You just look like you know what you’re doing. I was sure you’d just walked off set or something,” said a lady who was shopping at the same store as us.

“Sara, someone’s noticed you because of your coat again,” said Vlad, laughing.

“I have you to thank for that, I wouldn’t have bought it without your encouragement,” I laughed with him.

I really miss that coat. With all the moves I’ve done, I always ended up losing a bunch of items I couldn’t fit into my suit case. At least I enjoyed the coat for as long as I had it to wear.

I was reaching new heights in fashion when I was hanging out with Vlad. It was fun experimenting with different styles.

One day I got an unexpected text from Andy. He told me he’d broken up with his girlfriend and that he’d recently taken a hike to Deep Cove so he thought about me since we’d gone there before. He wanted to arrange a dinner with me, so I thought I’d take him up on the offer just to see how things would go. The dinner was really nice – the spicy calamari was so tasty. We then went dancing and played some arcade games at a pub in Gastown. At closing time, we walked over to False Creek, which always looks so amazing at night. It was then I realized he was trying to lead me to invite him into my room – a place I’d never invited anyone into before. It was bold of him to assume that I would hook up with him on a whim like that. He kissed me by the water – his charm was making it hard to say no to him. I let him into my apartment and we kissed on the bed.

Taking a breather, I said, “I don’t sleep with anyone outside of a relationship. I’m sorry.”

He rolled over, angry, and stared up at the wall. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”

I learned then how to turn a guy off. All you have to do is mention having standards and wanting commitment. I was glad he wasn’t a rapist at least. We fell asleep together and I remember waking up to him once saying something in Russian to me. I didn’t give a fuck what he was saying. He was privileged to be in my room and lucky I didn’t kick him out for being rude.

The next morning, he made some haughty judgements about how the halfway house he once lived in was way nicer than my place. I thought I was delusional, but it was him who needed a reality check. He brought up the night we met again, always telling the story in a way that made him look like a rescuer and me like a dumb victim who needed saving. He was wrong. I was the one who stomped on the perpetrator’s foot and lunged at him. Andy hadn’t done a thing to deter the guy. He didn’t save me – I saved myself.

In the fall of 2018, I was finished with my course and received my diploma in the mail. I was officially done! All I needed to do was get my hours then I could start practicing as a therapist. It was around this time I began a moody and adventurous new book that I would later call Sally.

A gorgeous shot of Gastown.

While I have enjoyed every single year of my life in Vancouver, 2017-2018 was the most stable time for me. I’d worked through how to conquer depression and stop it from creeping in again. I had my own beautiful place, a cool friend to hangout with, amazing clothes, and I was writing stories to my heart’s content. This is the “me” that I dreamed of being when I first left Ontario. Now I’m her! There’s no better feeling than accomplishing that.

This was such a beautiful time of my life and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to experience this in Vancouver. I’d come a long way from who I was in Banff and in Ontario. I can only hope everyone else can have an opportunity to follow their dreams, too. You will find no greater joy than becoming the person you always hoped you would be.


You’re italic

I’m in bold

Call me “cocky”

Watch your tone”



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