It’s my 44th birthday!
I know I haven’t written much since we moved to Victoria, because our life has changed so drastically – but I learned something funny today and I’m going to share it…. because we all go through uncertain times, and the hardest part is often not knowing how it’s going to turn out.
Well, I know how it turned out!
If you go back to early 2019, you’ll find a blog post from a worried and devastated Past Kate, having received notice of eviction. Our beloved rental home had sold.
I LOVED that place. It was a 3 bedroom duplex, one of my friends was living on the other side of the duplex, I was living my gardener’s dream in the back yard, I’d built the cats an outdoor enclosure, there was a laundry room, I had an office, Sweetie had a studio.
There were deer, migratory birds, a fire pit in our back yard, and a 30 year old rose bush in the front that filled the house with cut blooms from June to October!
God, I loved living there! It was where I healed after my Mom’s death, it was where I created the podcast, it was home to real christmas trees and Sweetie’s art show creations.
The full size kitchen had a window over the sink that looked into the backyard. It was a 10 minute walk from the beach, and the landlords were responsive when there was a problem, but otherwise left us entirely alone.
It was perfect… but it never felt permanent. The whole time we were there, I knew it was borrowed time. Real estate had doubled and then doubled again in the past decade, and our landlords were retired. At some point we figured they would want to cash out – and in 2019 when the market hit a new high, they listed.
So I started applying for jobs. There was literally nothing to rent and nothing to buy under 400k, which we could not afford. When we hosted visitors they all commented how nice it would be if Sweetie and I could buy that place, but it was not to be.
As much as I loved our 11 years in Tofino & Ucluelet, I knew we weren’t making enough money.
We got by, for sure, but it wasn’t sustainable, and Sweetie and I had seriously discussed making a move before – but how could we leave our amazing rental home, a job I loved, and the incredible west coast?
In the end, we were pushed. Facing eviction with nowhere local to live, I was able to secure another healthcare job in Victoria.
It was so hard, those first six months. My job was 4pm to midnight, so i was chronically sleep deprived. The communal office environment with micro-managed tasks was a world away from the autonomy and respect I was used to, and I dearly missed my Tofino Hospital colleagues. I did a lot of crying, but I had a lot of hope – because we had what we needed to make a good life in Victoria, we just needed to figure it out.
It was during the first few months in Victoria that I saw our Ucluelet rental house listed for rent again. The new owners evicted us by saying they were going to live in the unit themselves – but it turned out they just wanted to try and rent it for double what we paid. In BC this is illegal, but I did not have the mental capacity to fight it at the time, which is probably what they were banking on. This hurt. But we just had to keep going.
And then things started to improve. We bought our first home – a 600sq foot condo tucked in the side of a 1980s building, with a balcony bursting with petunias in summer, and an ocean breeze all year. I love this place even more than the house, because thank goodness, it is ours. It has enabled us to become stable, and feel safe, and save for the future. We have great next door neighbours here too, with a little girl we get to watch grow up who waves at our cat when he is perched on the balcony railing and she shouts, “Hi Neighbour!!!”
The first months after we bought our home, the bathroom flooded. Like, we had to rip it out. Insurance claim. The whole deal. The stress! But it gave us a chance to install a deep bathtub, and it’s one of my favourite parts of our home now.
Three months after we moved in, covid happened. What I know now is that covid changed everything about my old Tofino Hospital job. I was so profoundly grateful to not be working in patient care areas during covid. I was SO damn lucky. Most of my old colleagues moved on during or after covid, and because of covid, my new job in Victoria is now work from home – and the hours have changed to 2pm-10pm which is SO MUCH more manageable.
It took four years to settle into our new life, but in every way I can say this life is better. I can still get on a boat and see the *exact same orcas* I used to see in Tofino – the T109s often swim down here.
There are horses nearby to ride (which is a goal this summer) and better yet my close friends have moved to this side of the island! I see them much more than i would if I were still in Tofino.
I heard a funny thing on some TV show recently and it stuck in my mind: “There is a god, her name is Karma, and she is hilarious!”
That thought came to mind today when on a whim, I searched up Ucluelet real estate for sale, and lo: our old home is for sale! For – get this – exactly the same price it was purchased for in 2019! (I remember because I couldn’t afford it.)
It hit me that maybe the new owners are selling because THEY cannot afford it. They possibly got a variable rate mortgage, and by the look of our old unit with a wall torn out and hasty patchwork flooring that wasn’t there before, it looks like the place flooded. (Something that happens if the tenants don’t insulate the outdoor hose in winter and the pipe bursts. Too bad they evicted the tenants who knew that, eh?)
Their payments might have increased by thousands a month because they bought both sides of the duplex, and probably financed both sides the same way.
They haven’t done any of the work the place needed (windows, roof) and they’re using the raised garden beds I installed as a selling point!
Isn’t that interesting how things sometimes work out?
Do I have a bit of schaudenfreude? Yes. I’m not proud of it, but I admit I feel a weight lifting knowing the people who evicted us in bad faith appear to be getting evicted from ownership. I felt such moral distress at the time. We don’t live in a fair or just world, but I have to just believe there is some larger karmic balance at play – and what a sweet moment to actually see it at work. I don’t know what happened, I don’t wish bad things on them, it’s just a fascinating spontaneous phenomenon of the universe – like the aurora borealis, mysterious and beautiful. Karma at work, I am in awe.
I’m not an “everything happens for a reason” person. I don’t believe that’s true. We all go through tough periods in life. Tough periods feel tough because change is hard, uncertainty is uncomfortable, and loss is painful – but through that process, we can end up in unexpected, better places. Places we might not have picked for ourselves, but work out beautifully.
I am so grateful this is how my story of the past few years has worked out.
In some parallel universe where the new owners let us stay in 2019, we would *right now* be facing a possible eviction by yet another buyer, instead of sitting in our own home.
I still love that house, and I’m going to say a little prayer for it tonight. I hope that house sells to someone who will care for it. I hope they fix the roof, update the windows, and replace the linoleum. I hope they put in a new picket fence and I really, REALLY hope they love that rose bush as much as I did.
I hope they fill the front garden with flowers and the back yard with vegetables. I hope they feed the hummingbirds and raise kids and dogs there. I hope they have nice neighbours who gives them wine for mowing both sides of the yard. I hope that house gets a good life, and gives a wonderful home to brand new people. I hope that home gets a fresh start, just like we have here.
5 thoughts on “A house and a home.”
Kate, you are such a marvelous writer! Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world. I am so happy to read about your new life. Xx
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So happy for you and your little family Kate. Things happen the way they happen and it’s your actions and choices that make the difference.
Happy birthday to you!
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Great update! Victoria is my hometown and filled with good magic! Thanks for sharing! Also..I really miss your podcasts!!
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Happy Birthday! I am glad everything worked out for you.
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Happy birthday! It’s wonderful to see how everything has worked out for you despite the uncertainties and challenges. Your positivity and gratitude are so inspiring. Cheers to a new year of blessings and adventures!
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