So it’s been forever. I know. The end got quite busy.
Let’s start with the present and move on from there. I am in my bed in Saskatoon. I’ve slipped back into my other very familiar stream of my life. Everything is almost the same. Except there’s a new bench at the side entrance of my house. The Ford Escort had been totaled and replaced with… a Ford Escort, but a newer model, more sporty. Dad has a couple more grey hairs in his beard. Oh, and there is now a neighbor kid two doors down who practices his bagpipes on his driveway every day after school.
Saskatoon is what Saskatoon is once the snow is almost all gone… brown expanses of dead grass, bare brown trunks of trees, and matted piles of brown leaves from last fall that didn’t get raked because the snow came by surprise. Gravel all over the roads, sprayed there over the winter to make them less slippery. Unlike the ice, gravel doesn’t melt – it has to wait to be washed away. It blows around in the wind, creating desert-like sandstorms and making my eyes dry. Nevertheless, everyone is thrilled, because according to many, it is warm enough to wear shorts and T-shirts. I try not to think about the magnolias and the cherry trees and the daffodils and the drastic reduction of my outdoor color palette, and I comfort myself with the thought that I’ll get to experience spring all over again. Saskatoon really does become beautiful. It may actually be beautiful right now, and I just can’t see it because I have yet to remove my Vancouver glasses.
Don and I were talking today about whether it feels like I’m two different people, and whether I like myself better here or there. I like to see it more as a question of roles. I play much different roles here than there, roles with more history. Which can be good or bad - sometimes history is wonderfully rich, and sometimes it is more limiting. I get to be the proud and loving big sister, and that’s one of my favorite roles. I get to sit on the stairs and listen to Daniel practice singing and playing his sax and remember how crazy talented he is. I get to welcome Rachel home from her backpacking trip in Europe, and jump back into our playful banter and we get to laugh at each other as if the months hadn’t passed. I get to be a daughter and feel my parents’ love more directly. I get to throw wood on the friendships that have been slowly burning over the last four months, through e-mails and phone conversations, the ones that remember me and wait for my return.
But I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard to leave this time. Vancouver and its associated relationships are gripping me more tightly than they have before, and the pain of leaving has made me somewhat melancholy over the past couple of days. I have found a real place at Kits Church in Vancouver, and I don’t want to miss out on what happens there over the summer. I have enjoyed being Gospel Choir member and daily beach visitor and transit supporter. Mostly, I have become attached to my roommates. I remember leaving last year and awkwardly hugging Danice, but this time, I was a blubbering mess, crying halfway to the airport. I have no clue how I ended up with such great roommates, especially having witnessed the much more difficult roommate relationships some of my friends have had. And they really love me too, so much that a couple of them are making a road trip to Saskatoon (an unheard-of road trip destination) to visit me later on this summer! I can’t wait.
I guess I could catch you up on what I haven’t written about in the last month, and tell you about singing in the amazing final Gospel Choir concert, seeing Danice play in a Balinese Gamelon, going to Galiano Island with my Christian Imagination class, and touring around Vancouver with my mom, but I’m trying to live in the moment right now, and this is where I’m at. I’m excited to be here, I’m enjoying taking up some good roles in people’s lives, and I’m happy to get caught up with everyone again, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve left a big piece of myself behind in Vancouver, and I’m still trying to sort through the resulting confusion and ache.