YVR

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If you asked me for directions at Vancouver International Airport (or YVR to its closest friends),  I wouldn’t be able to take you far without stopping at the Japanese restaurant where I am convinced that one order of Bento box A is the secret to having a safe flight.

I would show you the table where I broke his heart and then flew across the world. Then there’s the restaurant where my grandma and shared our love for breakfast-for-dinner, and the baggage claim desk where I got Dan Mangan’s autograph. I’d show you the fountain I have trusted with countless wishes, and the security gate where I cried all the way through the line up because I thought I was making a terrible mistake.

Let’s be real: I would make a terrible tour guide, but I could help pass the time between your flights by telling you the story of every single time my heart has come close to bursting in this place.

This airport hasn’t just been there for me on the good days, the family vacations, the daring adventures. It has seen all of me. From just off a nine hour flight, sleep-deprived, doing my makeup in the bathroom mirror to red-faced, sniffling, trying not to get tears on my boarding pass.

Airports are the places where we let ourselves be honest.

Arrivals and departures. Saying goodbye and missing him already. Hugging her twice then running out of the security line up to do it one more time. You don’t have time to hold anything back or tell half-truths.

An eight-hour layover becomes an eight-hour exercise in honesty. Where are you going? Gate B14. How are you feeling? Low, worn out, exhilarated, breathless. Do you need any help?

Yes, please.

Airports are outposts of tough love. They might just seem like four walls with a couple of airplanes parked outside, but every announcement over the speakers leaves one thing unspoken:

Change isn’t just coming, darling, it’s already here. 

Change has been on its way since you booked the ticket six months ago; since you tried to remember all the packing advice you’ve heard over the years but ended up shoving everything into a duffel bag at the last minute anyways; since you picked a seat beside the window and daydreamed of the mountains and valleys you’d spy from above.

I always get nervous when I see the signs at the airport for baggage claim that say, “No turning back beyond this point.” What if I change my mind? What if I forgot something on the plane? What if what if what if

The airport has been there for me at every crossroads in my life. Moving away to school, traveling to the other side of the world, saying hello and goodbye so many times that the endings and beginnings started to blur together into one.

I wish we could always be the people we are at the airport.

Sometimes in a rush, sure, sometimes a little stressed or over-tired because life happens. But always honest. Always willing to ask for directions and gracious when others need help.

Always – always – on our way. Maybe feeling lost or guilty after spending too much money on trashy magazines, but always headed somewhere new.

If I were taking you on a tour of YVR, I would tell you that it takes two hours, one bus, and a skytrain to get to the airport from my tiny dorm room. I would also tell you that – even when I’m dragging a giant suitcase and apologizing to every person I bump into – I look forward to those two hours all week. Because even if I’m not coming or going for too long, I’m already on my way.

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10 things

I wish I could introduce myself in person, over a cup of coffee or tea, while the world bustles along around us. We’d meet eyes, smile sheepishly down at the table, and gesture wildly when the story got good.

In the meantime (and probably for the best, so I can’t knock anything over), it’s nice to meet you! I started this blog to try to be honest and write words that matter. Here are ten things you’ll know about me by the end of our coffee date:

1. I love making lists. My to-do lists read more like New Year’s Resolutions, every day of the week. It’s all wake up early, work hard, be happy. I’m proud of myself if I can check at least one thing off by the end of the day. Sorry if I get a little dreamy-eyed.

2. I’m not from around here. This will probably be obvious when I show up either 5 minutes late or 30 minutes early because I still don’t understand traffic, and hold my phone in front of me like a talisman when I walk, trusting screen shots of Google maps to bring me to you. I was born and raised in a small town way up north, but Vancouver is starting to feel like home.

3. I’m studying International Studies and Communications at Simon Fraser University. I go to school on a mountain and regularly feel like I’ve been punched in the face by knowledge. It’s the best feeling. If you ever want to discuss the Panama Papers or theories of international development, I’ll grab another cup of tea and make myself comfortable.

4. Rainy days are my favourite. I hope it’s raining when we meet, so we both arrive with dripping umbrellas and squeaky shoes. Vancouver’s climate speaks to my soul.

5. I love coffee, tea, or really any warm drink in a cute mug pressed into your outstretched hands by an equally cute barista. If a library and a coffee shop had a baby, I would move there and never leave.

6. I am always happy to talk about books. When I’m not in school (and even when I am, shhhh), I spent half my time with my face buried in a book. Currently reading/being ripped apart, page by page, by Beloved by Toni Morrison. Please send me your recommendations for life-changing reads.

7. I can’t seem to stay in one place for too long. Don’t get my wrong, I love routine. I once ate the exact same thing for breakfast for 3 months straight. But that hasn’t stopped me from reluctantly and anxiously jumping at every opportunity to turn my life upside down. Last fall, I moved to Prague for four months and found new parts of the world to fall in love with. There were tears and bad days, but I’m already planning my next adventure.

8. If you ever need a 2am Denny’s pancake run co-pilot, I’m your girl. Anytime, anywhere, day or night. The best things happen over greasy hash-browns and a lack of sleep. There might not be a pancake emoji yet but you and me, we’ll make it happen.

9. I wish I was a morning person. I’ve been trying so hard to turn myself into one: making pots of coffee and setting my alarm earlier and earlier. But I never get used to it, and my eyes never seem content staying open when they could be fast asleep. 6am is calling my name but it hasn’t happened yet.

10. I am trying to be honest. I’ve been a serial blogger since I knew what the internet was. I would pick a pretty domain name, scatter a few words here and there, and then leave when I decided it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.

But these days I’m learning that “good enough” doesn’t actually exist. There’s only practice, trying your best, and sticking to it. I know there’s a chance this thing won’t last, but I am trying to be honest with both of us.

What you are is already enough.

Sorry if I came on a little strong there, but really, what’s the point of being halfhearted? We’ll see where this goes. And if it ends in a real life coffee, then we’re both doing okay.