I’ve been up and down Davie thousands of times, but it wasn’t until recently, after deciding to move back to Ontario, that I felt a deep sense of connection to the street. It was a profound feeling of comfort derived from knowing the shops, knowing many of the people I passed, and from many fond memories of good times spent there. I could feel how much I was going to miss the street and it was a remarkably unexpected feeling.
I came to Vancouver 12 years ago, but I didn’t move here.
I came from Montreal with the intention of staying for three months before heading back to Toronto where I planned to begin the next phase of my life. My grandparents had come here in their 70s for health reasons. The only reason I came to this far-off land was to be with them in their last days.
I arrived on the bus with a friend who was looking for a big change and thought Vancouver would be it. He was happy to have someone with him as he transitioned to his new life. I was happy to not have to spend four days on the bus alone.
As summer began to turn to fall, I decided to put off heading back to Toronto. I was making new friends and convincing old ones to join me in Vancouver. I was having a blast.
I decided to get more involved in the community. I volunteered at The Centre, YouthCO, Out On Screen, and I got a great job with AIDS Vancouver. Suddenly a few months had turned into a few years. I was building community for myself but I still didn’t think of Vancouver as home.
Then recently it struck me; it was now or never. So I quit my job, I told my family and friends I was leaving. I was going to finally move on to Toronto. I would no longer be in Vancouver simply by default. It was time to be intentional. It was time to plant roots somewhere and create home.
But that’s when it happened. That’s when my head filled with truisms and trite proverbs and my life became a cliché. The grass is always greener, a bird in the hand, a rolling stone gathers no moss…etcetera. Ooops. I think I made a mistake.
For years, I’ve been so certain that my home was somewhere else that I couldn’t see what was staring right in my face. I’d been blinded by outdated ideas. But now it’s clear. I’ve been living in Vancouver contributing to what I think of as my community and now it’s time to think of Vancouver as my home.