Life as I Knew It

Whenever you move to a new city, it takes a bit of time to develop into a new routine. This process is even harder when you don’t intend to have a routine, and you just live out your days spontaneously… like when you’re a student. Work when work is due, eat when you feel hungry, do your laundry when you have no clean clothes to wear. Just five days back in Toronto, and I’m already feeling it – the life as a student. Life as I knew it.

I spent the first few days as a hard labourer, moving stuff to my new place and getting everything set up. I forgot how tough it is to move to a new place, until I went through the whole process again. Even when everything kind of “there”, and you have enough to survive on what you have, it takes a long time to feel comfortable. The bed and desk and drawers are the same, but the place is different. I hate that feeling. It’s one of the things that make me not like this city (although it’s not really the fault of this city). I’m good at forgetting the bad parts, so I can never put it into words when I try to explain why I don’t like this city. But bring me back to face one of these moments, and I remember all over again.

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On Thursday, school started. I was so excited to be a student once more when I was working in Hong Kong. Then I go sit in my lecture, and I wish I could be out of here as soon as possible. Humans are so difficult. Somehow, the grass is always greener on the other side, and we’re never fully content. I remind myself how lucky I am to be here all the time, and yet you still have those moments where you’re just… down. It’s happened the past three years when I was here, and I don’t expect it to stop now.

There’s really nothing much you can do about it, except to make yourself feel comfortable. Force yourself out into the new environment and adapt. So despite all the excuses I gave myself, I forced myself outside for a run yesterday. I’ve never actually ran in the middle of the city before. I had a nice paved trail away from traffic in Hong Kong, and my neighbourhood in Vancouver is very quiet. But here in Toronto, the school is in the middle of downtown, and therefore so am I. It’s tough! You run for maybe 20 seconds, then stop at a red light for a minute. The road along Harbourfront is under construction, so it’s not as nice as it used to be. There’s a lot more people, and it’s easy to crash into things. But I did it! And I’m planning to do it again. Give myself a new routine, and embrace the change. After travelling experiencing so many new things over the past year, it’s the least I can do.

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Before I left Vancouver, I left a little note for my friends there. And just yesterday, one of my friends here in Toronto said he felt touched by what I said. As a (not-very-professional) writer, that was enough to make my day. Here it is again, just for the share:

The way I learned it, things are supposed to get easier with every iteration. You remember what it’s like, you know what to expect; that stretch isn’t quite the same stretch anymore.

Yet every time I come to this place once again, somehow it only ever gets harder. My heart gets wrenched a little tighter, the goodbye gets a bit softer; knowing what to expect has allowed me to know what I’m not looking forward to.

No matter how much practice I get, I don’t think there will ever be a day when it’s easy for me to say goodbye. Once again… Until next time, stay beautiful.

Letting go has always been one of the hardest challenges that I’ve faced over and over again in my life. But God put me in Osaka for a reason, and I believe I’ve trained myself up to be at least a bit better. Not necessarily at putting the past behind, but definitely in terms of faith to look ahead. There is a beautiful world out there, and I don’t have to hide myself in a room to be bitter about what I don’t have.

No, I’m not that good at this yet… but I’m ready for round two.

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