There is just something about going home.
Don't get me wrong, I love my life in Alberta. I have a wonderful support system comprised of family and friends, and I really have grown to love living in a quiet town outside of the big city. This is where my current home is, and I am happy with that.
But, when you grew up somewhere else, nothing beats the feeling of going home.
Back to the place where you raced your bikes with your friends, and spent hours searching for the perfect rocks on the beach; back to the quiet, tree-lined streets that you walked every day in your youth. Back to that cluster of rocks where you would sit for so many hours, just to watch the ocean and listen to the sound of the waves hitting the shore. It feels like another lifetime, one that couldn't possibly be part of your own history because it was so normal.
Going back to those places as an adult, full of life experiences that you could never even imagine as a naive twelve-year-old girl, can only be described as a soulful experience. Seeing the house that you grew up in with new eyes, simultaneously watching the ghosts of years past mingle with the reality of the day. The new owners ripped out the carefully planned gardens in the front yard, where I remember my mother spending hours cultivating a very precise configuration of Bachelor Buttons and daffodils and tulips. This memory is superimposed over the current owner's generic, flowerless bushes like a poorly Photoshopped image; however strange and off-putting the reality may be, I found a certain comfort in knowing that the memory was mine, shared with no one else.
A few weeks removed from the experience, I'm just now able to find the words that even remotely reflect the feelings that I had while I was in Oak Bay. I've never been able to really share my past with anyone--sure, I have shared funny anecdotes with people or spoke of my school or extracurriculars. But to truly share this part of my life with someone for the first time, to physically walk them through the places of my youth was an incredible experience for me.
I just wish I'd had the words to express it at the time.