a couple of weeks ago a dear friend inspired me to join her in a creative writing challenge for the month of july. a simple task really, 30 days; thirty different topics. here it is 4th of july and alas i have yet to write one post. rather than catch up i’m going to just jump right in.
today’s theme–‘the place i grew up’–quite fitting really as I wrestle with this lingering angst of being caught somewhere between foreign and familiarity.
a hometown girl from cobourg ontario i’ve opted to write about another place that i recently returned to explore my personal heritage there… a place i consider where i began growing … the wonderful darling capital we call ottawa …
“what could be more interesting than finding something in a place you’d never expect?”
these are the words i read as i sat in planet coffee waiting for an epic 10 year reunion with a long lost friend. my mind’s wandering led me to this recount:
finding everything in a place that is unexpecting is truly grand. ottawa has always been a bubble of nostalgia. my first home away from home. its bilingual flare as frustrating as it is charming. life was tucked into the parameters of sandy hill and the byward market. to grow up meant that you were old enough to dance on elgin street or wise enough to cross the canal and reside in the glebe. since university i have frequented this city often but usually in a blind routine; ignorant to think that there was more to this place. but upon returning and seeing it through well-travelled eyes, a knack for urban nature and a palette more tasted than crackers and choclate milk i am interested to find things in this place i know but in spaces of unexepcted explorations … enigmatic (un)expectations if you will.
so what did find? i found these beautiful things:
a bike ride from nepean suburb through the experiment farm to dow’s lake to the rideau canal to the university campus to the byward reminds me of the magical thing about being a bike–you can ride out into the world, cruise along a single path that connects you to all of your favourite places … savouring in delicious zen with a girl that you madly admire … rekindling an old love that although we’re different people today its a love that will forever last … the kind reminder of the sweet solstice of summer with international festive friends … contemplation that perhaps everything that you endured in the place you grew up was all the result of happenstance … and how a return to an old place can truly reveal many things anew; perhaps the gentle reminder that there is always some more growing up to do further beyond the persons and places … far beyond everything familiar we once knew; foreign bliss come true.