In response to Kelly Diel’s Operation Secret Valentine, here’s my not so secret Valentine.
From the mountains encased by frothy mist, that go on forever
And the eclectic mix of granola crunching, Lulelemon yogis, grouse grinding, mogul munchers and high spirited high tech gamers
To the medical and social safety net, albeit worn and torn in places, which makes me quiver in relief when I hear stories to the south of people being forced to do their own suturing, when no other medical insurance is available
From the gritty Downtown EastSide, Canada’s poorest postal code, an in-your-face reminder of how close we are to the bleeding edge and how some of the most generous people are folks I’ve met and worked with there.
To my kids’ school, nestled in a forest of towering giants, which sits beside a salmon bearing river, where the fish run wild and frenzied in their last gasping effort to reach home
From the fact that you can ski and feast on the beach in the same day, is not some marketing guru’s pipe dream but is in fact reality.
And that I can take a ferry and if I’m really lucky, like last summer, watch pods of Orcas breaching and spyhopping along the way.
To the colourful cast of characters that can find a reason to protest something, anytime, anywhere
From the slower pace of the west coast and that business casual can sometimes mean fleece and gortex
To the vibe on the Drive
From the ancient First Nation’s territory we stand on.
To the fact that salmon swims with sushi and maple syrup in the wide range of food found here
From the gloriously accessible waterfront, which isn’t hidden behind some grumpy old bathrobe but is out, bared in public and open for all to walk, boat, bike and run
To the trees that give up their leaves in the fall, bringing eagles nests into view
From the faces, in all their colours, shapes and sizes.
… and that when my youngest told a new friend from Bulgarian that he could teach him, not English, but some Chinese
… and that mostly the faces and their owners get along
… and that temples dot the skyline beside churches
… and that a reassuring melody of languages greet your ears
From our very geography encased in a watery, blue jeweled box means being bound by water we’re not able to grow much.
To being far enough north to have seasons. That carpets of springtime cherry blossoms, give way to verdant green summer forests, whose leaves bend and fall in a wild cacophony of autumn colours that finally give way to the muted grays of winter.
From being far enough south and influenced by the warm ocean air to not experience dramatic temperature differences. While other Canadians are digging themselves out from yet another snowfall it’s quite likely that my spring bulbs are poking their green heads up.
Vancouver is home in all her glorious colour and characters. Gotta love her.