Canada was a home away from home for me and shall always hold special memories. It’s been some time since I have left Vancouver where I had gone to University to advance my undergraduate degree and as is the norm, some memories vanish with time and yet there are some that hold on to you for life. It is the latter that I shall attempt to write down to the best of what I can recollect from my time there, which was over three years ago. While I may not be very eloquent with words because I write from memory than from immediate events, I have plenty of photographs that highlight the best of my time there, a few of which I share here.
Most memories I have are from my university and my lab where I used to spend most of my time doing research and taking courses. The best memories however, are the times spent in the mountains and with friends. I had not discovered any of them when I had landed though and Vancouver helped me grow as an individual, seek new boundaries, make new friends and to not be afraid to leave a part of my comfort, even if it were little, behind as I discovered that life has much more to offer if only I was prepared to shedmy inhibitions.
My first impressions of Vancouver are from the airport – distinctly petite and green, symbolizing the nature that the beautiful city was going to offer me, this is by far the easiest airport to navigate through, just like the city itself. The city is truly blessed. Despite being in Canada, Vancouver does not suffer from extreme winters, has beautiful (and beautifully maintained) beaches, has close proximity to mountains…all while never having to give up the feel of a city life. The second impression was the university road. The canopy of coniferous trees leading to the university with the myriad of fall colours painted on them when I first rode into the campus in September is a memory that is going to last.
The colours of fall were soon replaced by the wet and long cold winter days and then one day I woke up to snow. For eyes that have never seen snow before, it can be an overwhelming experience. In one night everything had turned white. The barren trees seemed to hold snow in place of leaves. To behold such variations in colour within a span of just a few months was magical. The winters never thwarted any plans of hitting any of the gorgeous beaches though, as the snow lasts for a couple of days at most and the rain just melts them away. It was very easy to find solitude along any of the beaches, especially the ones in the university itself. I do not recall the number of hours I must have spent watching the Pacific or the number of days I must have walked along its shores. It was however, not until spring that I discovered the mountains in all their glory.
Spring in Vancouver was when I started hiking and had begun meeting people. I climbed quite a few mountain peaks, began enjoying the company of people a lot more, discovered food in Vancouver and slowly nurtured the travel bug. I do not recall all the hiking trails or the places I went to but a few highlights in photographs…
I made the best of my time there by crossing the border and visiting cities in the USA. However, the postcard memory from my time in Vancouver will remain my trip to the Canadian rockies. The trip was a long weekend getaway with a very good friend to a town called Jasper. I ventured out of Vancouver into the Canadian rockies for the first time. We took a long train ride into the northern frontiers, experienced nature in closer vicinity and had a glimpse of the beauty of Canadian wilderness.
It was time to move on though and I have left Vancouver for good but it still remains my favourite city and truly a home away from home. As far as Canada goes, it offers a lot more than just Vancouver or the Canadian rockies, which by themselves are pretty awesome anyway. To explore further north is a plan for another day.
I am sure I have not recapped everything in my mind and there are many many stories and events and they all come back to me at random times and hopefully I will remember to write them down when they do. One thing is for sure though, this experience like any of my travels is an extension of me.