When I stepped off of the plane in Vancouver, I was struck by the scent of warm, strong coffee. Even as I looked out the airport windows searching for the mountains I love, the city was covered in thick clouds. Rain? Coffee? Yup, this is Vancouver.
As I ran from Bubble Tea shops to friend’s homes to the Church I used to attend, it all felt so familiar. I was constantly struck by how at home I felt in Vancouver. Everywhere I went, I was reminded of moments and feelings from days gone by. To the causal observer, a drive from East to West Vancouver includes Pho restaurants, an economic gradient, and a stunning view of the mountains. For me, it’s a a drive past the first apartment we lived in, a unit rotting with mould where our newlywed affection was tested. I see my favourite Bubble Tea Shop, where Varun and I spent late nights chatting with friends, where we enjoyed Green Tea Ice Cream BBT everyday as we frantically packed to move to Ontario. I pass bus stops where I stood in the rain, huddled under my umbrella and pondering my transition to adult life.
Our family of friends welcomed me back with open arms, offering me a place to stay, a car to borrow, meals, laughs, warm drinks and hugs. But more importantly, our conversations were natural, picking up right where we left off. New babies were snuggled and new jobs celebrated.
I filled myself with spicy salmon sushi and miso soup. I went out with Chinese friends and let them order steaming soups whose names I can’t pronounce. It was all so normal, memories echoing into the present: clicking chopsticks, meaningful conversations and delicious food.
Oftentimes, friends travel to B.C. and ask me ‘how’s Vancouver?’ or what they should see. Usually, I’m at a loss. I know Vancouver has pristine beauty, majestic mountains, incredible restaurants…but that’s not what takes my breath away. Vancouver is not simply a tourist town with a beautiful backdrop, a stage with decadent scenery. For both Varun and I, it’s a stage teeming with actors who who have lovingly left us a place in the script.
Varun and I often struggle to articulate where exactly ‘home’ is. India? America? Canada? The reality is, our hearts are stretched across the map. When I returned to Ontario, I kept telling Varun that I just can’t get over how blessed we are. Although it’s been two years since we moved from Vancouver, we still have an incredible family of friends there who love and pray and care for us.
P.S. Thanks for sticking with me through the blog transition. It’s been a crazy week with midterms, travelling and my brother/webmaster being out of commission. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll fix up the fonts and we’ll get cozy again. For now, have some hot chocolate, enjoy the rain and don’t forget to resubscribe!