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Place Essay

Whether it is the view seen outside a living room window, a playground within a couple of steps, or the people of a community, these aspects can be very special to a person. Even though these are little features, they make a city warm and cozy for someone who is born and raised there. One’s own comfort zones in a huge city go hand in hand with the overall feeling of the city, like a marriage that has success at it’s fingertips. Now imagine all of the coziness and warmth taken away from a person.

In other words leaving your city only to step barefoot in another and having to watch your every step. I was once challenged to a relocation; I remember the exact date, March 18, 2004. I was at the Pearson International airport kissing my beloved city, Malton, goodbye for many years to come. A tear rolled down my eye as I remembered my home. I thought of the living room window through which I saw the stunning landscape of the Italian lady’s garden, which was parallel to my well-groomed garden. I imagined myself walking to the playground that I had collected many memories on.

I doubted that I would ever have a house like the one I did on 3368 Chipley Cresent, Malton, Ontario. I knew the Italian lady’s landscape was nowhere to be found in Vancouver and I couldn’t put my thoughts together for playgrounds. After all, I was going into a City “where a hundred different histories mingle to create a new set of memories”(7) and “I was just beginning a relationship” with the vast land. I wasn’t too optimistic but like Anita Rau Badami expresses in “My Canada”, I was driven by “the desire to go back from whence I’d come. (12)

I had no clue where I’d be living and whether I would be able to adjust or not. For the first time in my life, the place I lived in became something that effected me everyday and in everyway. I closed my eyes as I sat in the airplane and prayed that I would make new memories with new friends and previously distant cousins. When I arrived in Vancouver, there were some difficulties with the school boards and I didn’t start school until a month has passed. I could express that month as an emotional rollercoaster-sadness, gladness, cheerfulness- that just wouldn’t come to an end.

During my sixth day in Vancouver, I decided to venture off into the busy streets of Main and Frasier. I led myself to a playground near Main Street. As I let my eyes examine all the installments in the playground, I noticed a set of swings. I ran towards it as I remembered the Lancaster swing set. As I enjoyed surfing through the wind and swinging up and down, a couple of girls walked my way. After a couple moments of awkward silence at the swing sets, they started talking to me. By the end of our 35-minute chat, we were friends.

I was excited to go home and tell my mom all about my new friends. I had a huge smile on my face for the first time since I had arrived in the new city. As I walked home, I saw an elderly lady watering her well fed flowers as she stood on her stony landscape. She reminded me of the Italian lady back in Malton. I was really starting to make connections and have cliched thoughts such as “home is where you make it”. To top the cherry on the Sunday, my cousins where making arrangements to throw a welcome party for my family.

I felt like the community and family part of “operation relocation, as my dad called it, was finally starting to set in. Once again the people in the community I lived in made it completely worth living there. And saving the best for last, I had learned “ to love [Vancouver] on its own terms for what it was, rather then what it wasn’t”. (13) I thought moving into Vancouver would be challenging for me simply because I wouldn’t have the exact same house, playground and friends but I was wrong.

I thought, “ I would never want to live in [Vancouver]”(15), yet again, I was wrong. Since I’ve moved here and have actually had the experience, I tried to be more positive about moving into different cities, such as Delta. I’ve realized that it’s not about having the same house or friends; it’s about making the same connections and discovering the joy in everyday. “I [know] that even though a part of me [will] always look with love towards the land of my birth, my home [is] now her, in [Vancouver].

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