One Month in!

Looks like somehow I missed the one month anniversary of us moving to Ottawa, by a little bit. Nevertheless, it seems like not a bad time to reflect, and look back.

The move was hectic. We had two friends help us move, and they are flat out saints 👼🏽.

Our condo wasn't nearly as tightly packed up as we thought it was, and it took way longer to get everything into the truck than I projected. We took so long that we ended up running into the next elevator booking, and through a goof, we managed to lose the bag full of condiments from our fridge.

The unpacking process went quickly, then slowly. We're still only at about 95% unpacked, with five boxes of books destined for bookshelves we've not yet acquired.

It’s been really nice living in the house, owning it. A little terrifying realizing what we’re responsible for, and that we've got no one to call up and be responsible for problems that occur. However, it’s been amazing, and every day I am reminded of why we fell in love with this house. It's full of light, and quiet, and is so overwhelmingly peaceful most of the time.

We do have some neighbours that party a little later than I'd like, but never loud enough that closing the windows doesn't fix the problem, and mostly, they're done by eleven thirty, which is almost reasonable (says me, 👴🏼).

I'm finishing up this blog post sitting on my rear patio, drinking a coffee, listening to the birds, crickets and chipmunks, as Andrea tends to the garden.

Living here, we both keep sighing in happiness, especially when it's not raining. Ottawa really has been a noticibly more relaxed city for us, and I have adored that.

The smoke bush in our back yard light by the fading light of a summers eve. 

The smoke bush in our back yard light by the fading light of a summers eve. 

There's parts of our life that have really changed by moving to Ottawa, and others that haven't changed at all.

While we still devour British murder mysteries in the evenings, I'm not quite sure yet what to do with all the time I'm saving by not commuting multiple hours to and from work every day. Every day that I am able to bike to work I am practically giddy with excitement from the change of pace, though, my podcast backlog is steadily growing.

We're working on getting to know people in Ottawa, and while we've not yet nailed it, I'm hopeful. Just today we volunteered with a group at IBM trying to turn the grounds into a food forest, an idea that agrees greatly with me, as corporate campuses can be such sterile useless places without care.

In the mean time, we've been taking care of business. I finally got my new learners licence, and have been trying to find a drivers education program (pro tip people: Spell check helps you look professional). I got a library card, and we finally got around to booking a honeymoon in October, and are very excited for that.

We've done a wee bit of exploring of the Ottawa area, though perhaps not as much as we would have liked. Still, lots of time for that. We're pondering a small hike tomorrow. Maybe I'll have good pictures when I get back.

This has been a meandering post, but in summary: We're both super happy.

Postscript: Just seconds before I hit post, we got to meet one of our neighbours! Hooray!

Sitting on the Cliff of Change

 ... waiting for the appointed time to jump. Perhaps the best way of describing how Andrea and I feel right now. We have made some big decisions over the last three months.

After another unsuccessful round of house hunting in Toronto, we were feeling beaten. Another period of record growth has outpaced our savings yet again, meaning that relative to our position a year prior, in a very real sense, we had gone backward in terms of what we could afford.

Sitting on the floor, all I could do was lament that this whole process would be so much less painful in other cities. I found myself feeling a good chunk of jealousy for the team we have in Ottawa, when I thought to myself... "Why can't I work in Ottawa?" I couldn't really come up with a good answer. A couple of minutes of research suggested to me the Ottawa real estate market was markedly different than the Toronto one. So, I wandered over to Andrea and casually asked "Would you move to Ottawa? "

After a couple seconds she asked me "Could we afford a house there?". After I answered, that it looked like we could, she said "Sure". I am not sure how serious either of us were at that point.

Yet, here I am, only three months later: a week away from closing on a house, two and a half weeks away from moving to Ottawa.

In only a few days, I had the answer from IBM that there wouldn't be a huge amount of trouble to transfer.

At this point we started the bargaining phase. We started to reason that if we were willing to relocate all the way to Ottawa, surely some suburb of the GTA should also be investigated. We had been pretty against the idea of suburban living, but in the face of an even more dramatic change we thought we had to at least consider it. So, after some research we started looking seriously at Oshawa, which seemed more reasonable price wise. That weekend we took a car and drove out to Oshawa to see the city. Despite it being better than Toronto, it... didn't really feel right.

So, we planned out first house hunting trip to Ottawa. We got connected though a colleague of mine to a fantastic realtor, and we booked train tickets and an AirBnB.

Early May we headed to Ottawa for a weekend. We saw ten houses on Saturday, and in the late afternoon, we saw a lovely older home. A small bungalow, built onto a hill with a massive front yard, the house charmed us both with the immense love of the home you could feel. It had been beautifully maintained its entire life, and every inch radiated with care. After the day of looking, we decided that we needed to see it again, and Sunday morning, sitting in the basement we started sketching out our offer.

By that afternoon, we found out a second offer was inbound. So, our offer was increased to compete, and we were told we would find out after a 7pm offer presentation. Unfortunately, our train back to Toronto left at 5pm.

On the train, after an enormous quantity of refreshes of our inboxes, we had the news: we had been sniped by a couple coming from Toronto, who had made an offer with no conditions for almost the same amount. We hadn't gotten the house.

So, we returned to Toronto, to lick our wounds, and to prepare for our wedding at the end of the month.

After the wedding, we returned for anothertrip, lessons learned, and ready for round two.

One of the earliest houses we saw that Saturday stood out. Brightly light, and flowing, the house was the embodiment of a singular vision. As we kept seeing other properties it nagged at the back of the mind. The fear of getting sniped again was real. That afternoon we put together an offer.

This time we succeeded.

And so, here we are: One week from possession, two and a half from the move, filled with a desire to just jump into our completely changed life.

Soon we will be

  • In a house
  • With our car
  • Living in a suburb
  • Finding our way in Ottawa

I can't wait.