You know those Cosmo quizzes they have? Things like "5 questions to let you know what you're man is thinking!" (You don't need five questions. We're hungry.) They should have a quiz like that if you plan to move somewhere. Something that can test out whether you and your new city are going to be compatible. My questions would go something along the lines of:
Does it almost never snow?
Is it near an ocean?
Does it have a major league sports team?
Is there a major airport?
That's what would be important to me if I was looking to move to a new city, so it's understandable that when Lori and I decided to move from Vancouver, which scores a perfect 4/4, to Kelowna, which scores 0/4, that we took some grief.
Of course some of that grief was because we told people we were moving to Edmonton. It's not that we were trying to do anything covert. The original plan was to move to Edmonton, so we packed up all our stuff and told the movers that we would send them the address in Edmonton to bring our stuff to. Then we went to Edmonton to find a place to live, but something didn't seem right. Our house search was futile, the weather was dreary (it was August, we weren't asking for miracles here), and the sales at the mall weren't very good. Basically it was a giant sign from the universe that Edmonton wasn't the right place for us at this moment in our lives, but since we'd already packed up in Vancouver, we needed to find a place to live. Thinking back on our drive to Edmonton, we remembered a pretty place that we'd driven through and decided that we would go back there and check things out. That's how we ended up in Kelowna.
Now I'll be the first to admit that "It was pretty" is kind of a dumb reason to end up in a city, so I figured I'd ask some other people how they ended up living in Kelowna. My not-so-random sampling of people I come in contact with every day (and thus, people who are most likely tired of answering my questions) proved that maybe Lori and I aren't quite as strange as it seems. Out of 100 people surveyed, the reasons for living in Kelowna were:
34 - Just liked it here
17 - Moved here for a job
16 - Always lived here
15 - Moved here for a boyfriend/girlfriend
8 - Moved to be near family
4 - Moved here for school
3 - Wanted to live in a small town
3 - Other
Obviously we're a city of fickle romantics. 34% of us just thought it seemed like a nice place and 15% of us came for love. These aren't exactly the statistics that great cities of industry are built on, but it does kind of explain the optimistic feel of the city. I don't know how much longer the people who moved here to live in a small town will be happy though. Unless you came from New York, I don't think Kelowna is going to qualify as a smaller city for most people.
The best part of taking this survey though, was finding out that people ended up in Kelowna for far stranger reasons than us. You see that category at the bottom that says "Other"? These are the people with the truly strange stories of how they ended up here:
"I came skiing with my buddies but at the end of the day they left without me. I've been here 8 years now."
"I took a job in Kamloops, but I thought it was Kelowna so I moved up here then found out I'd moved to the wrong city. I decided it was easier to find a new job than to move everything again."
"Technically, I don't live here. I'm housesitting for somebody while they try and sell the house, but I've been here almost four years now and the For Sale sign disappeared about two years ago. To be honest I wouldn't really know how to move out if I wanted to, as the guy who owns the house moved back to Calgary last year and I haven't heard from him since."
Those answers make my path seem downright normal, so I feel a little better about how we ended up here now. A quiz might not have pointed me to Kelowna as the ideal place for me to live, but it's worked out pretty well. Our lake is almost as good as an ocean, everybody up here roots for the Canucks anyways, and our airport is growing every year. There's just the little matter of that snow...