The Redstone Relocation

Home. Home is where we grew up. Home is where family and friends are. Some say home is where the heart is. But can a person have a home with a homeless heart? After all the trans-atlantic/pacific air miles, assimilating cultures from opposite faces of the globe, and traveling like I’m wanted by Interpol around Europe… is it finally the season to settle down?

A number of you may know that from age six to sixteen I resided in China - first Beijing, then Shenzhen, before good old Apartment #0330 in Guangzhou. In 2012, I returned to Guangzhou after five years of university to reacquaint myself with a less familiar Apartment #3802. Nostalgia completely steamrolled over me when I visited #0330 to witness it totally bare, partly demolished and under renovations with steel bars sticking out of concrete doorways and exposed hanging wires (exactly two years ago today actually). Fast forward to the present and there is no longer a return ticket home to Guangzhou or a house key for #3802. The family is moving back to Canada for good. 

Our new home, codenamed or nicknamed “Redstone”, is your typical comfortable suburbia residence north of Toronto with a number of quaint parks, a few public schools, and a shopping plaza walking distance away with a McDonald’s or a Burger King (or both). I’m sure it’ll be absolutely lovely when Mom spruces up the place.

To be honest it’s still a bit of a shock and my mind hasn’t yet registered this fact. Yes, I am Canadian but going home always kind of meant getting on a Cathay Pacific super long-haul flight, watching awesome movies on tiny screens with shitty touch controls, and unlimited instant cup noodles while jet lagged at 4 a.m. in window seat 56A or something. Significant life transitions are moments I need to slowly taste, chew, and digest (unlike those cup noodles). But I didn’t say farewell to #3802, nor will I be there to welcome Redstone on ribbon-cutting day so-to-speak. The drastic change in lifestyle and the unknown of the future also terrifies me. Settling down sounds like the most sensible and stable phase in life ever but it’s strangely unnerving, especially when stepping into my new Redstone room devoid of memories. 

Despite all my anxiety, these are auspicious and exciting times for the family. The parents aren’t getting any younger and my sister isn’t getting any more well-behaved. I’m looking forward to actually living with the family again… the first time in seven years. Save some IKEA shopping for me please. This heart needs a little house warming. 

British Airways, Flight BA 0092

From: Toronto, Canada (YYZ). Sat 15 - Sept 2012. 18:55

To: London, UK (LHR). Sun 16  - Sept 2012. 07:05

British Airways, Flight BA 0392

From: London, UK (LHR). Sun 16  - Sept 2012. 08:55

To: Brussels, Belgium (BRU). Sept 16  - Sept 2012. 11:55

Cathay Pacific, Flight CX 829

From: Toronto, Canada (YYZ). Sun 24 - Jun 2012. 01:40

To: Hong Kong (HKG). Mon 25  - Jun 2012. 05:00

Dragon Air, Flight CX 6782

From: Hong Kong (HKG). Mon 25  - Jun 2012. 08:05

To: Guangzhou, China (CAN). Mon 25  - Jun 2012. 08:55

Decent Day

Although I left the Chinese consulate without submitting my visa application due to a missing document, I still made the most of the day. I finally watched The Avengers and it was epic (but to be honest I only watched it for Ironman). On the way home I picked up Murakami’s newest novel, 1Q84, in a three-volume paperback. A charming stranger commented that she just finished the book I was reading in the subway: One Hundred Years of Solitude. Later, I was invited to an awesome game of pick-up soccer, including a couple goals and assists from yours truly. 

But the highlight of today I think is finally finding a movie similar to Lost in Translation. And just when the hopelessly romantic and lost main character goes into a deep spiel about life… a special letter arrives for me.

Air Canada, Flight AC 998

From: Toronto, Canada (YYZ). Wed 30 - Apr 2012. 09:35

To: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO). Sat 12 - May 2012. 13:25

The city I have a love-hate relationship with. 
Born here but never grew up here, no place to call home, don’t have a favourite restaurant, don’t have childhood friends… 
Oh Toronto, at least fix the TTC.

The city I have a love-hate relationship with. 

Born here but never grew up here, no place to call home, don’t have a favourite restaurant, don’t have childhood friends… 

Oh Toronto, at least fix the TTC.

The Evolution of Great World Cities

Certain cities prosper whilst others fail; Seville, for instance, was the centre of Spain’s opulent New World Empire and seemed destined to become a major financial metropolis, but never did. Others, like former colonial backwater Hong Kong, defied the odds by growing into a major trading centre. So what are the key factors distinguishing the cities that become wealthy from those that don’t?

Ponder Du Jour

I’m already excited at the thought of taking pictures of downtown Toronto in a winter wonderland state after a major snowstorm. The winter album would complement my existing summer album perfectly.

As an aside, I have never been able to capture the beauty of transition seasons very well.

For instance, during autumn, you wait and wait until just the right moment when the leaves are at their reddest but the next day, when you finally remember to take your camera out with you, you’re taking pictures of fallen fall foliage instead. 

Another aside, the most vibrant leaf colours are produced when days grow shorter and the nights cooler, but temperatures still remain above freezing.

Next time, that first frosty morning lawn should be a clear reminder.

Third culture traveler. Caffeine fiend. Tennis nerd. Tech addict. Wannabe photographer. Environmentalist-in-training. #CAN #CHN #DEN #BEL