One thing about living here is that it forces more space into my life. I have to take time to walk to the bus stop, to sit on the bus, to buy groceries, to cook food, to wait for our slow kettle to boil water for tea… all things I didn’t have to do in Saskatoon. Space is good but it tends to foster a lot of thinking.
So during these spaces, I’ve been trying to sort out how to describe my state of mind in the last few days. I’m generally content, occasionally excited. I haven't cried at all yet. But I have felt a little... strange. Maybe my problem is that I flew. Sam and I once discussed airplane travel, how you jump so quickly from one bubble into another and don’t get the sense of distance. That’s what happened to me. I jumped from one familiar into another familiar, and it’s jarring, like skipping from one plot line to another. From a lake to an ocean.
It doesn’t feel like it did last time I arrived in Vancouver. Then, it was new, dazzling, something to get used to, something to feel my way into. Now, it feels too normal to live here, too easy to slip back into. It’s little things that haven't changed…like the fact that we still don’t have enough spoons. Our living room is still cold and my room is still hot. We still have the crazy patterned rug on the floor from whence nothing dropped shall ever return. One of our bathroom sinks is still plugged and drains slowly. The number 4 bus runs on the same schedule as before. My rock is still there, and the seal, the heron, the kingfisher, and other friends have already stopped by to welcome me back. Talking to Chris on the phone, with plenty of silences – that felt familiar too. My Regent friends, my Jacob’s Well friends… they’re here, and they don’t seem to have changed much. It feels like I’ve jumped back in time to last April, and this whole entire summer was just a brief dream I had one night.
Maybe that’s why I keep forcing this summer back into my mind. Forcing faces to appear, half-believing that person sitting in front of me on the bus might be Rachel, or Chris, or Robin, or Sophia or Lesya or Olya or Terice or Claire. Remembering them and praying for them. And I’ve been reminding myself that even though Vancouver feels familiar, I am not the same as I was in April. It was no dream - I have had experiences and conversations and developed relationships over the summer that have changed me and caused me to discover new things about myself, hopefully for the better. The old Vancouver will have to catch up to the new me. And I will have to keep learn that my identity is not tied to where I am but to whom I belong to. I will have to work to love people, near and far. It will be a difficult and sweet adventure.
Here is my paradox: can I really have two homes, Andrea? My soul is more tied to Saskatoon than ever and my soul is more at ease in Vancouver than ever. I knew I was missed and loved in Saskatoon, but now I return to find I was missed and loved in Vancouver, too. This brings me a melancholy combination of pain and joy no matter where I am. Each “glad to see you again” is counterbalanced by an “I wish you hadn’t left”. If one of you had the chance, you might tell me to stop living with one foot in each place. I don’t think I can help it.