I paid a visit to my high school last week. Surprising my two best friends and reminiscing as I walked the hallways I once roamed with such a powerful presence, it finally hit me. I’m growing up.
My mother had told me that my personality would form in high school. “It’s when you start making your own decisions,” she said. Of course I believed her. Then again, I believed her because I wanted to. I wanted to feel like I was making my own decisions. I wanted that feeling of control over my life. After all, I was president of the student council, the chief at the local air cadet squadron, a black belt in the base taekwondo club and worked part time as a lifeguard. I had checked everything off. Everything appeared in place.
The thing is, it wasn’t. Continue reading
As I was placing the still hot plates in front of the customers, I listened to their fast paced conversation and their laughter filling up the small homely restaurant. They were four Turkish friends and I soon realized that at that moment, they were all that I wanted to be.
My family rarely took part in the Turkish community. I was taught how to read and write, and with my mother’s strict rules, English was not allowed in the house. That’s how we kept our language “alive”. With the language, came other aspects to our culture. Although we often kept it low-key, we would celebrate all the traditional holidays. It was always just us. My family and I.
Now, as I think of the times I went to Turkey in the past, I am aware that what excites me most about going back to my small coastal hometown, is the people. I rejoice in hearing the cackling of laughter as two neighbours drink their tea on the balcony. Or watching the bright-eyed men and women frantically waving their hands as they call out the prices at the weekly bazaar. With each arrival in Turkey, my heart is filled beyond expression, and I feel as though time has stopped and I have finally come home. Yet, with every arrival, I face a departure. I look back at everyone’s face one last time, trying to remember the small details, despite knowing that I’ll soon forget. I try to convince myself that in some way, we have grown closer this time, but secretly, I’m ashamed to admit that we haven’t. As I disembark from the plane after a long flight, I get hit with the reality of the situation. I am back in Canada, and life goes on as though on a timer, until my next visit back home.
I wish I could find that perfect balance. I wish I could be like those four friends.
Navid – The Man on the Bus
This pleasant man boarded the bus as I was heading down to Ottawa today. Despite his obvious difficulty walking, he had a huge smile plastered on his face. Anyways, no one really made a genuine effort to offer him a seat in the priority area so he rolled on over next to me, by the second set of doors (truth be told, I thought he would roll to his death every time the bus turned but he just looked at me and giggled). Navid (that was his name), a single man in his late forties, and myself, an eighteen year old who’s newly discovering the realities of life, somehow found common ground. After graduating more than twenty years ago with a degree in chemistry and trying his hand in the medical and educational fields, he returned to his initial passion and pursued chemistry once again (now in his 4th year at UofO). Throughout our loud and laughter filled conversation, I learned that this man lives with the sole purpose of attaining personal satisfaction. He doesnt feel the burden of society pressuring him to raise a family or settle on a practical career. He likes chemistry, therefore he does chemistry. After shaking his hand as he got off, I realized that our lengthy discussion confirmed my belief that life is too short to waste on the practical and live as though our days were scripted.
I take joy in the impractical and relish the moments that are unpredictable.