A strange homecoming

When strangers ask about where I’m from, I invariably turn to the most convenient example: Vancouver. If I said instead, the name of my hometown, people will without fail,┬ácome up with a blank. Thus, I would explain that I live in one of the suburbs the metro vancouver area and this way, we are back at the topic of Vancouver. So forgive me, for taking the easy way out.

Less than a few hours ago, I was walking in the Chinatown part of Vancouver. My first stop was a chinese styled garden with bloated fish swimming lazily in the shallow murky pond shaded by drooping willows and bamboo groves. Lunch was at Kent’s Kitchen, Chinatown’s version of fast foods: rice or chow mien served in paper boxes with sweet and sour pork and steamed vegetables. Strolling downtown, I come across the Chinatown arc. A turquoise crescent carving a half-moon above moving cars. The sidewalks are lined with lamp posts decorated with gold dragons draped undulating by the unlit globes, dull gold against a rich velvet red. Every trim, every roof presents the distinctive styled structure of another era.

Watching people drift by, I felt remarkably like a tourist. Strange to think it was my first visit to Chinatown, just a few jumps of the subway. As a Vancouverite, it seemed almost shameful how little I knew about the West Coast. This afternoon, I experienced a strange homecoming. In this journey to understand myself, today I realized one of the most important influences in our lives: the place we share an attachment to – home. Mine’s this green coast of mountains and trees and sky along the Pacific.

Where’s yours?