Feathering the Nest

Well, we’re here!

Boy, that happened fast!!!

It’s going to take me time to get used to living in a city again, but Victoria is a *nice* city, of 94k people or so. It feels smaller than the 60k+ city I grew up in, and FAR smaller than Toronto, city of 6 million at the time. The people are friendly, letting each other merge in traffic, smiling at each other generally.

The cultural transition from rural small town to city where no one knows us has been tough on me, and I dearly miss the friends I left behind, and my hospital job. It has been a complex emotional experience – but I am also deeply grateful for the opportunity to live here. Victoria is undeniably a beautiful, charming, welcoming, clean city which gives us so much opportunity for growth, and in all honesty we did need this re-potting!

The important details went well – the move itself, the parking situation, all the absolutely necessary things fell into place.

Sweetie even got four job offers the second she dropped her resume online.

We are absolutely better off in Victoria, and I have everything I need here, to be happy.

We moved from a 3-bedroom duplex with a huge yard – the largest place by far we’ve been lucky enough to occupy, to a 500 square foot 1 bedroom apartment. I have stayed in larger hotel rooms (upgrades, but still!). That’s not a bad thing though!

I’ve always heard people who downgraded from a house to a condo talk about how easy it is to keep a small place clean – and I find myself raving about the same thing!

We vacuum every day, but it takes 5 minutes. We have a tiny corner kitchen, but it’s well-designed and actually functions very well. I don’t really like cooking anyway. Literally everything you need to make food is within arms’ reach – which makes food prep and clean up fast and easy too.

Most importantly, our place is bright and quiet. We were very lucky to find it. It’s on the top floor, so no one is walking overhead. The living room is south-east facing, and the huge windows fill the place with light.

We have divided the living room into three spaces: a tv / relaxing area with the cat tree and a plant shelf, and our reclining couch, my office corner with my phone & recording setup, laptop, and my office Christmas cactus, and Sweetie’s studio corner with her easel.

We also got lucky being able to get three small storage lockers in the basement – two of which were filled up with Kat’s studio stuff (paintings, canvas roll, market supplies etc.) and one locker for things like suitcases, cat kennels, Christmas decorations etc.

It’s cozy, bright, clean, quiet, and functional.

And I’ve been nesting.

I chose to leave behind most of my plants, rehoming them within the neighbourhood, because in my experience, moving plants into a different climate can really set them back, and if they are well-established and adapted to the humidity and light on the West coast, moving them to the drier south coast, in a building with an HVAC system, into unknown lighting conditions, can really stress them and cause them to die back or become susceptible to pests.

My giant peace lily had to go, as I knew I simply would not have room for it in the new place, and I doubted I’d be able to find a spot where it would receive adequate light to maintain its foliage – so I’d have to witness it yellow and die back as it adapted.

Watching my plants struggle to adapt after moves can be a bummer, as their caretaker I DID THIS TO THEM. I had a beautiful ficus tree I’d grown from a diseased little twig I bought on sale to a thriving five foot tree that felt like it was lovingly embracing our living room – drop nearly all its leaves and sicken over months when we moved from the boathouse cottage in Ukee to a dark ground floor suite in Tofino. I eventually gave it away to another ficus fan who assured me she could bring it back.

Now, I only bring plants with me when I am positive they will thrive in the new place, and as the only plants who survived the last two moves, we arrived just with my Christmas cacti, Sweetie’s 20+ year old philodendron pothos, the only plant we brought from Ontario.

Just like I need animals in my home, I need plants too. Plants are a big contributor to the spiritual health home for me. They are aware, in their omnipresent sensitive way, that they are being cared for, and while I don’t believe they experience emotion in the way we mammals do, I think we can all agree that plants do have happy and sad states. We will name them without realizing it, saying it’s happy in this location, or with the repotting, and a struggling, wilted or overwatered plant we frequently describe as “sad”.

I’m glad I rehomed my previous plants, and it’s been really fun investigating what plants are available in this city.

Raising plants is also a great opportunity to practice intuitive perception. One of my new plants is a gorgeous escargot rex begonia – which I was thrilled to find, but was troubled from the start. I noticed spots on it’s leaved and intuited it had resulted from spots of water sitting on the leaves – then made the logical leap that it must have resulted from Sweetie misting her pothos. I moved the begonia to where it wouldn’t be near the misting area, but unfortunately the plant has not thrived, and the spots have gotten larger and more numerous.

After some more research it appears the spots are actually a bacterial disease, spread by… splashing water from other diseased plants. This plant could have picked up the disease from the nursery, or it may just have been propagated from a diseased mother plant, which I hope not!

Even so, the intuitive sense that this plant hates water on it’s leaves is true, and that the water caused the problem is also likely true.

I’ve moved the poor escargot begonia again so it’s away from my other plants, and I’ve had to remove all the leaves showing signs of spotting – which was most of them! Poor thing only has a few baby leaves on it now, but it’s the best chance I can give it.

The cats are doing well, but Rupert is convinced the entire building is “our new house” and he has no idea why 1) we confine him to these few rooms and 2) why so many other people just walk in and out of “our house” like they live here! There is a gorgeous Cornish Rex cat who lives directly across the hall from us, who meows loudly when she hears us come home from work in the afternoon – which sets Rupert off, so we have two cats meowing at each other through closed doors!

Mikey has adapted pretty well, but it was a stressful adjustment for them too. We live in a pet-friendly building, so pretty much very unit in the building has a dog, cat, or combination of animals, and neither cat was used to hearing so many animals so close by. I picked up some Feliway from the pet shop – it’s a calming pheromone released in a glade plug in apparatus, and it helped ease their transition a bit.

Sorry I don’t have photos this time, I’ve been working on this post in bits and pieces as I have time, and I thought it was better this get this up now.

So that’s the quick update – we’re here, we’re settled, and we are figuring out our new life!

2 thoughts on “Feathering the Nest

  1. its so awesome that everything is falling right into place for you all. like it was meant to be! 😉 its also kinda interesting how you’re surrounded by rexes – your gorgeous escargo tex begonia (holy moly that leave design!) and the cornish rex cat, also quite beautiful! separately, begonias have been tickling my fancy recently too – the flower color of my “california sunlight” is insaaaaaaaane (well, was insane until i overwatered it). my gene daniels begonia hasn’t even flowered yet, but the way the light comes through the leaves is absolutely delightful. happy nesting kate!!


    • I’m so glad you *get* my houseplant fixation, particularly begonias. I inherited a 30 year old Rex begonia at my Sunnybrook hospital job years ago, and that thing was amazing! It just kept GOING


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