To Vancouver, With Love

Vancouver

Dear Vancouver,

You were my first. And forever I will remember you for all that you did for me. You changed me just enough for me to leave my comforts behind, just enough to step out of my boundaries and explore, just enough to know I’m not ever really alone and just enough to make me lust for more of your kind.

At 34, a mother, a Tamil woman, visually impaired and surrounded by loved ones who have always worried about me and kept me cocooned, I thought I would never do it. I thought I would never travel alone, see the world and become independent of my disability. After all, taking a trip downtown Toronto to a new location in and of itself is a big production of planning and frustration at times. It seemed it was never going to happen; it seemed Toronto was going to be my safe haven always, but this is what impulses are created for…

I woke up one day on a warm July morning, my son away with his father on a 5 day camping trip, packed up my bags and got a ticket to fly out solo the next day for a 5 day romance with you.

Anyone that knows me will attest to my resort going, can’t touch the toilet seat, can’t use anything that’s not new, must be in a 4+ star hotel and can’t travel alone, ways. Yet for the first time ever, having always loved to travel but never having the sense of being well-traveled, I booked a 4 bed dorm in a hostel and off I went to meet you.

From the get go, the beauty that is your city and ocean excited me and gave me a sense of wonder. I met people from all over the world, on adventures of their own and realized very quickly what a small fish I am in this vast space called Earth. The stories, the conversations and the ideas that were shared were simply beyond me. It’s incredible how you can meet those who are so much like you and those whose perspectives are worlds apart and both can capture your curiosity.

My most memorable moment with you was at your suspension bridge, staying long past closing time to gaze into the sky; just me and serenity for company. Solitude, as I came to know is quite far from the feeling of loneliness. More accurately it’s as Thomas Mann once said, “Solitude gives birth to the original in us.”

When I finally left the bridge, well after sunset, I felt anxious about how I was going to get back to the hostel. And then I met her standing at the bus stop, waiting on what I hoped was the route back. She was the epitome of wisdom. At 90 years old, she had traveled the world, visiting over 40 countries, starting at the age of 34, as a woman who hardly got out, as a mother, as a social worker, much like me—how ironic that our paths should cross. We made the 2 hour trip back to the downtown core, talking about life, love and travel. Her motto: fill your life with many roots (God, your children, your love, yourself, your passion) so that if one of your roots becomes weak it will not shatter or break you; all your loves will continue to sustain you just as the roots of a tree do.

My 5 day romance in your city came to an end all too soon, and though we are only 4 provinces apart, you gave me something far beyond the average traveler’s experience; you gave me hope and strength to pursue my passion. Though my love affair with you was brief, you were the “one” that kept me safe enough to take my first step solo, that spread my wings to yearn for more and that filled my heart with gratitude knowing that you will not be my only, nor will you ever be my last.

With love that brought me to LIFE (Living In Freedom Everyday),

Ruby

Related articles:

A Tamil Woman’s Guide to Solo Travel
A Tamil-Canadian Woman’s Experience in Chennai: Part 1
2 Weeks a Year: How a Trip to Sri Lanka Changed My Outlook on Life

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Ruby Ratnasingham

Ruby Ratnasingham

Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Toronto, Ruby is a dreamer and a lover of creative language in all its forms, from poetry to spoken word to blogs. Her passion for writing is in essence her escape from the ordinary, as she is anything but. An Early Childhood Educator and Social Service Worker by day, she has found many roads that inspire her and aspires to use her voice through language to leave her mark in this world. Her motto is to live and love LIFE (Living In Freedom Everyday).

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4 comments
SanjeevKuhendrarajah
SanjeevKuhendrarajah

One of the worst things you can do to yourself in your journey as a unique creation, created to do unique things that will inspire others, is wait around for someone else's approval, have them edit your work and describe it in their own words.


Though I am ecstatic to see your poetry and words be given their rightful place on center stage, I do wish that Tamil Culture did not edit your own words, and take your journey to describe it in their own words. I am your biggest fan so without any hesitation, I want people to be exposed to your own words. Because that is the magical part of the true story that matters the most to me at least.


To Vancouver with love,


You were my first...and forever I will remember you for all that you did for me. You changed me just enough for me to leave my comfort, just enough to step out of my boundaries and explore, just enough to know I'm not ever really alone and just enough to make me lust for more.


At 34, a mother, a woman, visually impaired and surrounded by loved ones whom always worried over me and kept me cacooned, I thought I would never do it...but I woke up one day packed up and got a ticket to fly SOLO out the next day for a 5 day romance with you. Oh what a romance you were.


Anyone that knows me will attest to my resort going, don't touch the toilet, I cant use anything that's not new, please let it be a 4 plus star hotel, I can't travel alone...life. Yet, for the first time having always loved to travel but never feeling the sense of being traveled I booked a 4 bed dorm in a hostel and off I went to meet you.


I was never really alone travelling, the beauty that is your city and ocean always kept me excited, always kept me in wonder. I met people all over the world, traveling the world and realized very quickly what a small fish I am in this vast space called earth. The stories, the conversations the ideas were simply beyond me. it's incredible how you can meet those alike you and those so far from your understanding that it draws your curiosity.


My most memorable moment of my time with you was spending hours at your city's suspension bridge, staying long past closing time gazing into the lost sky just me and serenity and no one around. As I left well into the dark night feeling anxious of how to get back to where I stay, I met wisdom. At 90 years old, (see pic) she had been travelling the world to now over 40 countries, starting at the age of 34, as a woman whom hardly got out, as a mother, as a social worker...how ironic our paths would cross. As we made the 2 hour travel and talked of life, she taught me of love, life and travel. Her motto on life...fill your life with many roots (God, your children, your love, yourself, your passion) so that if one of your roots becomes weak it will not break you as all your loves' will continue to sustain you just as the roots of a tree.


Though my love affair with you was very brief, you were the "one". The one that kept me safe enough to take my first step solo and the one that spread my wings to yearn for more. So to you, Vancouver with love, you gave me just enough to love you and just enough to leave you and I'm grateful to say you will not be my only nor will you ever be my last but you will forever be my first romance.

With Love that brought me to LIFE,
Ruby

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