We spent Black Friday in blue Vancouver. Chilled to the bone. The weather was gloriously beautiful, something that rarely happens in Vancouver anytime between October and, um, June. Perfectly clear blue skies. Blue water. Blue, blue, blue. And cold.
We headed into the city, and our first destination was Granville Island. This had always been a favorite destination of my family during return visits to Vancouver since moving to Utah 18 years ago. Could it possibly be that long? When we lived there in the late 80's and 90's, we rarely went there; or at least I didn't. I was busy going to law school and working. It was only once we left that we came back.
Granville Island is a special destination. It is one of those places, such as Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco or Pike Place Market in Seattle, that captures and concentrates the essence of a city. It is a place where memories are made. It is in the heart of the city, yet removed from the bustle of downtown, nestled against False Creek with views past the Burrard Street Bridge to Stanley Park and Burrard Inlet. The water taxis bustling back and forth. The seagulls. The variety of the Market, the quaintness of the various shops, studios and places of business.
Hannah and Hazel accompanied us, and it was fun watching Hazel chase pigeons outside - at least until the cold drove us inside the Granville Island Market.
|Nathan took this panorama shot of the city and the Granville Street Bridge with his iPhone. Pretty cool.|
Later, we headed out to the University of British Columbia where I went to law school in the late 80's. The university is situated on a point of land on the far west side of Vancouver and offers beautiful views of Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet and the Georgia Strait. I recall sitting in lectures watching ferries go back and forth from Nanaimo (on Vancouver Island) and Horseshoe Bay. Again, the visibility and clarity resulting from the cold weather offered us breathtaking views.
The building where I went to law school has since been torn down and a new building erected in its place. But at least I was able to show Mark the site and a bit of the campus.
Thence over to where we lived in student housing during the years I was in school, where our first two children were born. Of course, everything is a bit different now, but the same structures are there.
|Me and Sarah, my oldest, chilling during those years|
|My study alcove during my third year in law school|
|The way it looks today|
It was good for Mark to see all of this. As I looked forward to this trip, I had anticipated some sort of healing in my memory bank of those years. But it was while we were out at UBC that I realized that the trip had more to do with now than then. As Mark was able to see the places where stories I have told him about my past took place, I think he gained new insight into who I am, just as visiting Japan last year afforded me new insights into who Mark is. He better understands choices I had made back then: to marry, to have children, to commit myself to a life in which Mormonism was everything.
As I've written before, I don't regret those decisions. I can't. I made them; life happened. There were some good times, but a lot of bad times. I wish things could have been different, but they weren't.
Meanwhile, I count my blessings ... for Mark, for my children and where they are at, for the growth I've experienced over the past several years. For where I'm at. Despite challenges, life is good.