I don’t like finding things from Vancouver. Like the receipt from New Apple Farm Market that just fell out of a stack of papers I was moving. It’s too hard for me to remember how happy I was in Kitsilano. Not that I’m not happy in Los Angeles; just that it’s a different kind of happy.
I miss Vancouver. I miss the way the city is concentrated, city of glass, around the harbour downtown. I miss the way the air tastes, coming off the mountains, as far from the Los Angeles smog as pure spring water is from the L.A. County tap. I miss the ocean, disappearing off into forever. I miss the shape of the land.
I miss skipping down Broadway on a weeknight, in summer light at nine PM, coming back from the store or the gym. I miss going to sleep at night knowing that at least a dozen friends are sleeping within a mile of my 10th-and-Alma room (my friends here being scattered across a five mile, three suburb space). I miss Jericho Beach at twilight, the muted sound of the city drowned out by the ocean.
It isn’t often I have attacks of homesickness like this, where I feel like I’m going to cry. There is nothing I want more right now than to be home, in Vancouver, wandering Kitsilano in the not-quite-dark of the BC summer. It isn’t going to happen – I have almost five weeks before my next visit to Canada – it’s just something I want, very badly.
The song that had just come on when I was clearing that stack of papers was REM’s “Me In Honey”. It’s the last track on “Out of Time”. It’s also the song I had on repeat the day I moved out of Fairview. It’s the song I associate most with leaving UBC campus. To be ambushed by too many memory triggers at once does me no good.
I’m just homesick, and miss Vancouver. And every time I go back, I ask myself – is it time to come home yet? And I’m still not sure – should I hope that changes in the next few years, that Vancouver stops being home? Or should I accept that British Columbia is where I’m always going to dream, and simply count myself lucky that I do have someplace I love so much that I can always go back to? Many people have places they call home. I just have one that I love a little more.
Fortunately, my response to being sad, worried, etc. these days seems to be just to throw myself more into the things that make up my life. It seems to help. I took half an hour tonight to set up a couple L.A. People Connection activities, to send Code Pink related e-mail, to plan a camping trip for this weekend, to sign up for the Oil Awareness Meetup next week. I went to lunch with my step-grandpa, and visited him where he volunteers, at the Israel Levinson Seniors Center in Venice. I watched cartoons with my roomate. I feel a little more alive for doing these sorts of things, and being alive is what keeps me out of the mire of self-pity that homesickness could bring on.
I was doing that too — throwing myself into things to combat feeling down. It keeps me from being alone with my thoughts. It’s a distraction. Doesn’t make anything go away though. I guess homesickness fell away for me somewhere in the 10 years I have been away from NY. I haven’t been “home” in over a year, 18 months, I think, and I am starting to really feel the need for a visit. I don’t know if it will go away for someone coming here from a smaller town though. Most of my “core” split up and moved all over the country after college, so that “12 friends in a mile” feeling of comfort was irretrievably gone for me basically upon graduation. 😦 I wasn’t close to many of my high school friends.