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19082023 - vancouver, not a home but a pit stop

after spending 2 of my most formative years in vancouver, i am departing the city that hosted me while i expanded on every possible direction my life could head. i started my first venture to much success, fell deeply in and out of love, and figured out my core values. i think for the first time in the last few years, i’m changing cities with really no sense of why i’m doing so. i’m just seeing how life can be different elsewhere!

i pass by 70 blocks of neighbourhood and notable bus intersections on my frequent bus ride to downtown. vancouver feels like home in the way that i recognize most streets and, if placed anywhere on the lower mainland like a google maps bald human icon, i could likely navigate my way back to the apartment i’ve called mine for the last year.

but my experience walking through vancouver is different than the way i feel whenever i visit my other homes. there was a back alley in hong kong that brought me from my childhood apartment straight to the wanchai wet markets in 114 stair steps. i followed a tree filled bike route with the best view of calgary’s minuscule cityscape to my sandstone bricked high school. these places make me feel a comfort unlike anything else and a deeper, unresolved ache whenever i am forced to leave. in vancouver, i am always, always an imposter of the beautiful summer greenery and gargantuan mountains in the horizon. i crave the endless fields of canola that lead me to the alberta rockies; the textured concrete with steepness beyond imagination that transforms skyscrapers to the lush, tropical peaks of my favorite asia hub, overlooking the other side of the pacific. i never found a place in vancouver that has made me feel at home the way that the former have. i have never felt upset to leave, but always upset to return.

though, there are many reasons to be sad about leaving such a wonderful city. i will miss the beautiful sunsets, old long bus rides back to old homes while sharing earbuds, picking berries on the arbutus greenway, waiting 2 hours for a diet coke at the kerrisdale w 41st mcdonald’s, spending $20 on a mediocre cocktail, the random (but substantial) amount of times ive found myself on yachts (?!) by harbourfront...

this is, again, countered by the countless reasons for me to finally exhale and leave this city. i don’t think there’s much use in dwelling on my melancholy, but i do feel the bittersweetness of my situation at stake and the sad, mature realization that sometimes the best decisions are the hardest to make. i am giving up my own autonomy in dictating how i would have enjoyed living my life and taking others into utmost consideration. i walk down granville in the absence of my old lover and it’s a ghost that never leaves my side. the daunting real estate prices are a slap to the face deterring me from moving my family over. when i cry on the bus, i don’t go home to a warm meal from my mom. i just smoke a cigarette on my balcony and fall asleep pathetically listening to playlists that begin with the phrase “super sad”. vancouver was never the city for me and it has made it apparent to me on multiple occasions.

i do think life would be much more different if i grew up in vancouver over alberta. i do not think i would be as resilient, or feel any of the angst that propelled my ambition to (frankly) insane levels. but i do think i would have never wanted to leave. vancouver is a wonderful city for taking life one step at a time, for stopping to smell the flowers, and for enjoying moments as they come and go.

vancouver is not a wonderful city to spend my most determined, wistful & jovial years. but, i say with utmost thankfulness that it has allowed me to experience my greatest, mundane moments.

my first day

my first sunset

ubc jp gardens

my ubc legacy


yvr spring

unfiltered joy

grumpy dude smiles

pt grey park

richmond bunnies


my lovely office
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