time & distance

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted my birthdays to be less about me and more about putting effort into other people and causes that I believed fiercely in. At the time of making this decision, I hadn’t been living in the Northwest for a year yet, and wasn’t connected to folks or organizations.

branside

May ’10, Bellevue, Washington

These days, that excuse can’t really be used anymore. If the recent shockingly sunny weather has been any indication, summer is fast approaching and the season’s all but booked with events I plan on engaging in one way or another. Here are just a few I’m planning on volunteering a bit for:

    • Trans* Pride Seattle. A few local organisations (Seattle Out & Proud, Gender Justice League & the Gay City Health Project) have rallied together to make this happen on June 28. Here’s hoping that a good deal of dialogue and community gathering will take place between trans* and gender non-conforming folk in the Northwest.
    • Genderfest. Entering its second year, Genderfest is a queer all genders celebration going on July 25 – August 4 in East Vancouver on Coast Salish Nations territory.
    • GaymerX. This convention proudly boasts being the first of its kind to have a focus on LGBT geek culture. It’s all set to take place August 2-4 in vibrant San Francisco.
    • Vancouver Queer Film FestivalAugust 15-25 ushers in this festival’s 25th year, offering a beautifully diverse array of queer cinema, dedicated artists, panels and performances.

rainier5

May ’10, Seattle, Washington (Interstate 5 southbound)

This is a fairly tall order of activity, but it should provide valuable opportunities to learn skills, meet people and contribute energy to stuff bigger than myself. Good things to absorb right around the time I get a year older. Factoring in the few days I’m spending in LA in just a few weeks as well, I expect to have great fun travelling the west coast this summer. I am looking forward to the days ahead.

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take a chance

Going away for the last half of December made me feel the most middle class I’ve ever been. (I grew up in a middle class family, but I had no concept of such things then.) Running off to somewhere appealing to most, given a full pass to be absent from routine and free to be in intense like with unfamiliar shiny surroundings. That’s not my reality!

It’s been a week since I’ve returned to the States, and I still haven’t fully recovered. I certainly can’t deny I hop and skip off rather a lot, but I’ve never done so for 17 days.

 

Choosing Vancouver was easy. It’s far enough away to feel somewhat detached from Seattle life and culture for a spell, yet reachable without removing a hard chunk of the day solely for travel. Navigating in Vancouver city proper seems simpler, and I’ve been very lucky in finding folks there to connect with. It’s where I welcomed the new year.

31 Dec ’12, East Van

The fall and winter are very introspective times for me. Both seasons are riddled with holidays that are vital for friends, family and spirit. It’s worth mentioning that the latter part of the year affected myself and people around me more than we could’ve imagined.

Each year we cling to the hope that we’ve done better than the year previous, and naturally look forward for relief from whatever plagued us in the year we’re completing.

If I can analyse my year without feeling anything beyond the average layer of guilt or insecurities I have just by being a living human being, I’d cautiously call it a success.

I haven’t made up my mind about 2012. Could be that I never will.

While I was away, I took comfort in late night walks to my temporary home from Skytrain stations, with fog and frost as my companions. I decided that I had places I delighted in defaulting to (Bandidas Taqueria on Commercial Drive & Rhizome Cafe on E Broadway) because the spaces felt welcoming without being intrusive. I was a busy bird indeed.

These are illegal in the United States!
This ban may be reviewed soon.

I tend to go a little mad on food items while there — sometimes it’s restaurants, often it’s staying in with a crony and putting love into homemade items or stuff from a local shop. This makes sense because the area has a lot available that we in Seattle haven’t got.

I don’t make a habit of visiting tourist spots when I go off adventuring. I’ve not been to Stanley Park, haven’t perused Vancouver’s glorious aquarium (I’ll admit a mild interest). I’ve seen the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, but I’m unaware if that’s a popular destination. My goal is to glean as much of the local experience as possible.

My visits are immensely fulfilling. Something about the last one made me take on a task I hadn’t done in years — writing thank you notes to chosen family up north. I put pen to paper and shared my gratitude. Being given the liberty to roam in a city not your own with or without friends is a gift. Gifts should be acknowledged if you’re moved to do so.

2013 is well underway. As soon as I returned, I assumed the role of doing All the Things in my work (save for model jobs, for the moment) and making greater strides to connect with people here in Washington state. I haven’t stopped much to rest, as I should.

Here’s part of why: if there’s anything that being up in BC for that long taught me, it’s that you shouldn’t hesitate to let people you treasure know they’re special, even if and perhaps especially if there’s been a lull in activity. As a pal said once, “take a chance.”