Today was overcast, but in a way, the gloom felt appropriate and perhaps even beautiful.
I’m currently in my homeland, living in a big house tucked away in the north shore—the family home I’ve known since I was an infant. If people have summer homes, I suppose this was our winter home. As you may or may not know, Singaporean students study very industriously all throughout the summer, and so the word ‘summer’ has little or no meaning to us; we do, however, enjoy a six-week break at the end of the calendar year. And it was during this break that we’d find ourselves back here in West Vancouver BC, our annual reprieve from the relentless monsoon humidity and population density of southeast asia. We’d relish the winter freeze and the stoic mountains. Once we’d gotten over the jetlag, Christmasing in Vancouver was a little bit of magic.
Several things are different now. The last time I stayed in this house was over three years ago. The floors have been re-done; I’m a married woman; people have moved in and out of rooms with the ebb and flow of time, like they do in a game of Cluedo or musical chairs. My baby room—which had glow-in-the-dark fixtures lovingly stickered to the walls—is now a makeshift pantry. Some things we are learning for the first time: somehow we’ve managed to never notice the wild blackberry brambles in our own backyard, and indeed, all over the neighborhood. And then there are some things that are comfortingly constant, such as prices at safeway that will make you balk (avocados are on sale for $2.49?!), and those mountains.
Today we went to our favorite pho place and then took a drive around some scenic spots in the north shore, like horseshoe bay and caulfeild cove. Our family of four is reunited for the first time in nine months. I’m certainly in a different place, but I also feel as if I’m running on a different time.
All in all, I’m grateful (to put it mildly) that I get to be here in this season. I could be working and unable to travel. My travel authorization could have failed to arrive…indeed, that is a saga deserves its own post. But I’m here, with my family and with the mountains, about to make pajeon & bulgogi, and extremely proud to be canadian 😛