It's been an interesting past two weeks, to say the least. Aside from the peacefulness of having a work-free vacay , the busyness of slotting people into an alreday packed schedule, and the shock-damage caused by unexpected ownage, perhaps the emotion that most frequently invaded my thoughts during this time, and continues to shadow me now, is that of nostalgia. Perhaps I use it in the wrong context, but for me, nostalgia is the feeling of comfort associated with what we know and are familiar with. For me, I am familiar with home. The past two weeks have afforded me opportunities to revisit moments and memories all the way from my childhood in Abbotsford to my developmental years at Porter, Banting, and Best, and finally, my journey away from home.
That was home then. Now, I'm not so sure where home is. To say Ottawa has grown on me during my past three years there is an understatement in the slightest, as I now carry an odd, if not somewhat unwarranted, affection for a city that, in all honesty, really isn't that special. Or at least, that's what I used to think. Nowadays, I find myself wandering the city and its outskirts with the familiarity of someone who might've been born there, not even bothering to admire the architecture of the Parliament buildings or sit in the shade by the canal, because it's so passe. Perhaps that is the first sign that you are at home - you start to take things for granted. I am comfortable in this city, significantly moreso than in Vancouver. It's something that bothers me.
That being said, BC is and will always be a special place for me. For someone who loves the outdoors, it really doesn't get any better than the West Coast. And if that's not your thing, there's plenty of city to enjoy. But more than that, BC is where I grew up. It's where my roots are. So does to leave mean to uproot? Am I uprooted?
The past two weeks have given me a lot of time to reflect and ponder on the upcoming year. God-willing, I'll be graduating in April 2011, a mere EIGHT MONTHS from now. It's both relieving but also off-putting, as I feel that it was only yesterday when my family accompanied me to Ottawa to begin a new chapter of my life. And as is the case with all good chapters, sometimes they seem to end far, far too soon.
The question that was posed to me most during this vacation was that of whether I would be returning to Vancouver once I graduate. It's funny, because I used to answer this question with an immediate and adamant affirmative. This time around, however, my answers are a little more shaky and uncertain - I no longer know where I'll be returning to. "Will you be coming home once you're done?" I would like to say that I am going home, but therein lies the problem - where is home to me now?
Is it the city that I've come to know and love and make my own in the past three short years?
Is it the province that holds so much natural beauty and 18 years worth of memories?
Or is it some glorious unknown that the One is calling me to? To find my home in some backcountry town in Australia, or in a 12-man cabin at a ski resort in New Zealand? To find my home at Kaleo at Qwanoes on Vancouver Island, learning more about Jesus and about myself? To find my home in the crags of some mountain village in South America, or in a high rise in Hong Kong, or in the dorms of Briercrest in little Caronport, Saskatchewan?
They say home is where the heart is, and after 21 years of figuring out what that means, I'm finally inclined to agree. But at the moment, I don't know where my heart is. And really, until I find it, home for me will remain but a memory from the past and an unknown from the future. I'm waiting to see what happens.