I spent four hours explaining myself to a stout customs agent, and walked out of Vancouver airport into a brisk late evening surrounded by the kind of bustle you’d expect at a mid-sized American airport, with unfamiliar signage the only hint that I was dragging my belongings over foreign soil.
Temporary permit aside, I was actually in the next stage of my life.
I was walking towards a new home.
That’s something you do a few times in your life, at most. I’d imagine most of us can count the places we’ve called home quite easily. I know I can.
I was born in New Jersey, gained a sister in Connecticut, and spent the following thirteen years in St. Charles, Illinois. My little little was born in Illinois, and I entertain a hunch that moving somehow equated with children, so we stayed.
College in California, back to Chicago.
Aside from stints in other places that mostly relate to soccer, and certainly don’t qualify as homes, that sums up my living locales over the last thirty years.
Yet here I was, hopping in a cab because my ride couldn’t outwait an overly inquisitive border patrol, skimming through a city I knew almost nothing about aside from the facts purged from a visitor’s guide I’d received from my adorable mother when plans began to formalize around my move.
Loonies and toonies. Stanley Park. Kits Beach.
What are people like in Vancouver? What will I really miss from Chicago?
The questions were endless, and I consciously decided to ignore them completely. I was tired, feeling a bit violated, and still extremely unsure about the near future. Work permits, a fledgling company, and no plan as to where I’d live just seemed as if they’d still be waiting for me in the morning.
The cabbie remained silent throughout the trip across Vancouver to Anthony’s home, where I’d be holed up in the basement until I found an apartment. I preferred his silence. I welcomed it, actually.
I watched yellow and white lights wiggle across my window and guessed at the forms they hinted at, buildings in a city I’d soon know my way around.
This is what the edge of a cliff looks like, I thought.
Tomorrow will look nothing like yesterday.