My three thousand mile humble abode

A "British Columnbia" about being at home in beautiful BC

October 15, 2014

When we roll our suitcases full of fleecies past the side of the house, into the basement and through the yellow bedroom, it feels like the year is beginning again. It feels like this is where I’m supposed to be, where, despite the year going by, things seem mostly the same, but only a little different. Because now the dog has died, and oh did you see the new trampoline, and look at those apples, and Gemma, when did you get your hair cut. But these are small things. Small things stack up to make big things, but year by year, they are only small things, and year by year, we arrive in British Columbia.

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Myself on the beach in BC, July 2001

At the brutally hot pinnacle of summer, we pack our things (namely fleecies, raincoats, and a sturdy pair of wellies) and set off for British Columbia, where the sun rarely shines and the rain rarely stops falling and black bears roam free.

We always start in Vancouver. We spend days wandering down streets, through parks, by museums– mysteriously drawn to fish and chips restaurants. We spend mornings eating cereal and waiting for the cousins to wake up, we spend evenings with the ginger kitty and a movie. Sometimes the cousins ask us questions about America and we ask them questions about Canada. And if it’s not raining, we might sleep on the trampoline one night.

Then we venture off to different corners of BC. We always take the ferry to Nanaimo and stay on the island, where days seem to pass like waves– the gentle pattern of playing on the beach, and returning to the cabin when our tummies beckon. On Vancouver Island, life is different. Worn paperback romance novels left at the cabins some odd years ago become engrossing tales of life. Sand dollars are the currency, sea lions the entertainment, and salmon (Coho, if you’re lucky)– the nosh. Mornings are consumed by cinnamon brioche eating and goose watching. Evenings are watching the sun set on the Sunshine Coast and reading until it’s too dark to do so without a light. In between are sunburns, swimsuits (not really) drying on clotheslines, salmon fishing, and covering the cousins in wet sand.

During an especially lucky summer, we might venture off to Victoria, Whistler, or Tofino, even Alberta (shh.. don’t tell BC about this), and sometimes its all I can do to look out the car window and take it in. These are not moments you can do justice through a photograph, or film. Even with words, I struggle to portray BC as it is to me. I just have to do my best to remember the ordinary moments, because sometimes ordinary moments become beautiful memories.

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Myself with my mother in BC, July 2001

As the omnipresent departure date looms closer, I always struggle to come to terms with the fact that I will be leaving British Columbia at the end of the summer and I will be going back to school, leaving the sea lions and sandy feet behind for another year.

British Columbia has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. My mother lugged her three-year-old daughters to Canada thirteen years ago, and since then, British Columbia has been my home. Each summer is like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time, but still love all the same. And that’s because, despite my American citizenship and a lack of a single drop of Canadian blood, returning to British Columbia is returning home.

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