Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We're Never the Same Again

Current Mood: Recovering from the intellectual aerobics of yesterday..whew! being smart is tiring!

Current Song: System by Seal

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending ForeignPolicyCamp 2009. I was among many of the various types of people who sat in all day sessions discussing Canada's foreign policy as it pertains to a myriad of things. But I'll write more about that later this week. This is more about something I learned at my lunch break.

The conference was held at Harbour Centre, which sits on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver. This area of about 3 blocks or so was where I worked for just about a decade, going from my highschool job to my first ever "real" job. So, it is an area that feels like home. I even did my graduate degree at the downtown campus of SFU, which is coincidentally at the Harbour Centre.

Many times, I've walked along the streets. I'm familiar with the bookshops that line one side of the street, where I used to go during lunch. I know the coffee shops, some of them my regular stops before or during work. I know how the streets behind the harbour centre light up and glimmer, giving the cobblestone an ambiance of and eighteenth century novel. I think it's beautiful and easily one of my favourite places.

The last time I left there (which now seems like another lifetime), I was sad. A life I had built up personally and professionally had somewhat torn apart at the edges and that year I lost my footing a bit. I struggled a little to regain that footing, but never really did. So I moved on to new endeavours. Every time I've been back to that area, whether it was for coffee, or just passing through to another part of town, I'm enveloped in a bittersweet fog that makes me reminisce about the good and bad times that little nook of vancouver had for me.

This time, however was different. I feel like those days were literally ages ago. I feel like a different person. I look into the water and I'm not sad. Yesterday we had brilliant sunshine in the area and the city was abuzz at lunch time, smells of various foods wafting through the frosty afternoon. I felt new. I shed something during my years away from that area that gave me new eyes and it's something I'm thankful for.

It just goes to show, we are never the same person as we step into the same structures that we do. There is a saying that goes, you never see the same river under the bridge twice. I believe it to be truer than ever now. Call it a process of growing, or of realization, or simply of being able to turn something off inside. But for the first time in a long time, I walked those cobblestone streets and smiled.


Beth Oppenheim said...

I loved this post darling. Honestly. I felt the same way about a neighborhood in NYC that I associated both with college and a horrible breakup. Rather than avoid it I wound up spending a lot of time there, just trying to enjoy the space.

What wonderful insights!!!Cant wait to hear about foreign policy camp because I am a nerd like that.

Mehnaz said...

Beth! Thanks :)

I shall be writing about Foreign Policy Camp soon!
I'm brimming with ideas these days, so it's coming right up.
Thanks for checking in. Appreciated :)

Karim Kanji said...

Good on ya!

Looks like you're gonna have an amazing 2010!

Mehnaz said...

Thanks KK!
I certainly hope so :)