It’s 12 years ago to the day since I stepped off the plane at YVR, after spending a very entertaining 10 days in London that included a lovely boy from Tunisia and a trip to Brighton, and thought “WTF was I thinking?”
It was a whirl of emotions (excitement, terror) and a flurry of finding the right transportation downtown to the backpackers that was part of my visa deal. I think by the time I’d chosen my bunk and sat down, I felt like weeping. And then I began to explore.
Those first few days are a blur, but certain things pop out for me:
- seeing a sign that said zero degrees and thinking they might find my frozen corpse underneath said sign
- marvelling at the girl at the backpackers who had already got 2 tattoos and a piercing in her first week
- thinking that 99c pizza must be code for free botulism and that 25c peep shows* were rather expensive in Rand terms
- buying a very large muffin and making it stretch out for several meals to save money
- meeting a lovely Aussie (who is still a friend today) and going out for a very good beer and a burger
- walking down the road and feeling… free? which sparked a joyousness
- pausing at the Sails at the Convention Centre, seeing snow dusting the mountains, and Japanese maple leaves on the ground and hearing a loud voice bubbling up from my insides saying “It will be okay. You will be okay.”
I feel that it’s important for me to remember my Canuckaversary and celebrate it every year. Because it reminds me of that person who, despite her fears, went all the way to the other side of the world on her own, and took charge of her life. It reminds me of that feeling of being more competent than I’d ever thought. It reminds me that I can take risks and they will pay off (sometimes in unexpected ways). And it reminds me of how far I still have to go.
*this was when Granville street was significantly less chachi than it is now!