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Reflections on a Friday night at home March 29, 2008

Posted by Raul in Uncategorized.

Photo credit Raul on Flickr

I had decided a couple of days ago that I wasn’t going to be socializing on Friday night. I wanted to take the evening off, have some tea and curl on my couch watching movies. I did manage to take in a bit of the show “Reaper” (filmed in Vancouver). Today’s episode was filmed on location very close to where I used to live, so it was somewhat eerie. It made me very nostalgic, longing for a past that is long gone.

I went to bed really early (for my standards, 9:30pm) but a nightmare woke me up. Feeling restless, I went to browse some of the blogs on my blogroll and landed on Keira’s beautifully written post. Her post made me think and reflect on how my life has evolved (rather than what I want to be when I grow up). So, in a way, this post takes a departure from hers, but it’s along the same path of reflections.

When I first moved to Canada, I was very unaware of what I was going to be faced with. True, I had lived in other countries and have always had a knack for languages, so I knew that the language barrier wasn’t the one I was going to struggle with. I soon enough found out that the challenge was how to adapt to circumstances I had never been faced with.

It was September of 1996. I was frantically looking for a place to live. Uncomfortable as a guest to a married couple who kindly hosted me when I arrived, I felt the pressure to get out of there and establish my own residence. I ended up taking a room in a house in Kerrisdale. The landlady was a single woman perhaps in her late 50s who lived with five cats. My room was tiny, but at least, it was a place where I could put my head to rest at night.

The first time I went out in cold weater (6 oC), I was wearing a leather jacket and a sweater. Needless to say, that was not enough insulation for someone who thought that 15 oC was the coldest temperature ever. Not only did I feel cold, I felt frustrated. Since I didn’t have the experience of freezing, I hadn’t thought about buying warm clothing. Nor had I learned to layer up.

Fast-forward to today, when the temperature was close to 0 degrees Centigrade. Before heading out to meet with my very good friend SF for coffee at Our Town Cafe, I put on two pairs of socks (one of them from Thinsulate), thermal underpants and three sweaters. I put on my warm jacket and a scarf, a toque and Thinsulate gloves. Loaded my favorite playlist on my iPod and packed my laptop-friendly backpack.

As I started walking down the street, warm and excited at the prospect of seeing SF after a few months of not having had much contact with her (I last saw her in Montreal in September of 2007) I thought about how different my life is right now to when I first arrived.

I have learned to adapt. I am not longer a stranger in a foreign land, I am one of us, one of you. I am a true Vancouverite. I love where I live. This is my city. Vancouver is my home. I recognize its flaws and am fully aware of how much work is needed to improve safety, solve homelessness, clean up the urban environment, the list is long. But I still love this place.

I have a wonderful group of friends, and blogging has enabled me to establish new links and create new friendships. True, I lead a fairly modest and budget-conscious life, but I don’t deprive myself from enjoying the best things in life. And some of those great things in life you can’t really buy them with money anyways.

Going for walks with my friends. Sharing events such as Pride last summer. Having house parties where we get to share stories and laughs. Spending time curling on the couch and taking in movies or simply watching TV. That’s what my life is made of right now.

My life is more than my academic pursuits or a job search. My life is more than that, much more than that. My life is a star in a constellation of love. I love a lot, and I am very loved too. True, I face challenges and can’t deny that sometimes I feel sad, depressed, frustrated and/or lonely. But I always come back to seeing my life as what it really is: a great life.

I live to the fullest and enjoy the moment. Small things make me really happy: spending time with a good friend, reading fun stuff, walking around Vancouver, cooking and entertaining friends, sitting in Lonsdale Quay watching the sunset, the list is endless. I can make myself very happy with very little investment.

I collect Kodak moments. I define my life for what I have, not for what I don’t have. I cherish every single moment I have on this planet. I loved bowling even if I am incompetent at it. I love taking pictures even if I am not a great photographer. I love to challenge myself every day, minute and second of my life.

I am aware of how blessed I am and am grateful to the Powers-That-Be for giving me the chances and opportunities I have. I wake up every morning with the firm desire to do the best I can and go to bed tired but knowing I gave it my all.

I am intense and can sometimes make people tired if they spend too much time hanging out with me. But I cherish every opportunity I am given to be happy. I make the most of it. I am by no means rich in terms of money but I am a millionaire in terms of the love I have. I embrace my destiny with an open mind and a willing heart.

I made myself a promise when I was six years old: I would *never* let a day go by without being amazed at something. So far, more than two decades later, I am proud to say that I have stood by my promise. I am *always* marvelled at something. I am in awe of how smart my friends are. I am amazed by the beauty that surrounds me. I am fascinated and perplexed by the complexities of the world I live in.

I know what love is, I have felt its effects. Intoxicating, exhilarating, fulfilling. I have been profoundly in love and have also had my heart broken. I have fallen and risen. I have been able to survive what I thought were the worst days of my life, and what didn’t kill me made me stronger.

I have flaws like anyone, but I work hard at overcoming those shortcomings. I care, I give, I love. I like myself the way I am. Of course, there’s always room for improvement but I am proud of being who I am. I know myself. Simply put, this is who I am.


1. Barbara Doduk - March 29, 2008

Miss604 has interviewed me and will be posting my answers to her questions (soon?) and when she posts it I think you’ll see a similar train of thought in my responses.

I think you are on the right path when you know who you are and know you can always be growing and bettering that version of yourself.

2. Barbara Doduk - March 29, 2008

PS, Thanks for taking the time to post a comment on my blog. Cheers!

3. Keira-Anne - March 29, 2008

That was a really beautiful post, Raul. Thanks for sharing…

4. Erika Rathje - March 29, 2008

❤ That was beautiful beyond words

5. Phaedra - March 30, 2008

A very well written personal post that brought a smile to my face this morning….

6. Raul - April 1, 2008

Thanks all for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed.

7. An attempt to shift my lifestyle « Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment - September 1, 2008

[…] post, mostly on the state of my own health and wellbeing (although I’ve also written about how my life has evolved). I’ve had some scares before. I once blacked out for 1.5 hours, another time I was sick for […]

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