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After an intense Christmas break, the most genuine wedding I have ever been to, a month of school, many pairs of shoes filled with rainwater, and two new jobs, I sat down this weekend and admitted that I am 100% integrated back into Vancouver life. I carry a pair of sunglasses in my bag while wearing rain boots. I’ve made up for all the sushi I didn’t eat on exchange. I even told someone that they should have put their food in the compost bin. I’m still in the middle of figuring out how Bordeaux-Rebekah and Vancouver-Rebekah are going to get along, but as of right now, I am choosing to be present here in this city (and I know this because I’ve stopped searching up tickets on Skyscanner). The best way I can put how the past few weeks have been is that I have been:

a) slowly and surely closing doors in my heart. So many of them have been opened for far too long; some I know are being shut too soon. All feel like I’ve jammed my fingers between the cracks, and I need someone to pry me away. All are needed. It has been a painful, but necessary process and a process that seems to have no stop date. But the best thing about it is that I know there is freedom at the end of this!

b) learning that I have a community here. Coming home means relearning my good and bad ties. It means realizing that I’m not this lone traveller anymore, and I’m not just putting my questions out into the universe hoping for an answer. I’m still putting my questions out to people who may not be able to answer them, but at least they’re people who know me well. One thing my manager always says to me is, “Be heard.” It sounds strange, but I am relearning how to be heard.

c) seeing that adventure is around the corner no matter where in the world I am! Grace and I went to Golden Ears Provincial Park to shoot, and I’ve posted what we came up with. Videography is probably never going to be my medium of choice. I don’t have nearly enough skills to produce something I’m actually willing to put up for real critique, but it’s so much fun to play with!

d) writing poetry?! I have always tried to be poetic but have had trouble calling my writing poetry, It’s such a weighted word, and one of the bravest forms of writing I’ve ever encountered. But my goal for this semester is to write one poem that I’m proud enough of to share aloud. So to put more of myself out there, here’s something I wrote for my Creative Writing class:

Seabed

The first time I met the ocean
She crushed me in her embrace.
I followed wet footprints on dripping docks
Like a breadcrumb trail of sea salt
Dove into her arms headfirst as if there was a pillow on the bottom
Eyes closed and hands reaching for level eight swimming pool lessons
I was met with green fingertips and a tight grip
My feet scrambled for a ghost step
And missed
I heard thunder in her heartbeat
Saw sinking ships in her veins –
This was the deep end.

The second time I met her
She received me like a postcard.
She was a cradle
Soft yarn like cat’s cradle
She, the silk ribbon waves
I, the maypole
She was the mouth of the whale
That Jonah knew well
I trusted her; toes first
Then legs,
Then hips,
Then torso
Even up to my neck
Loose fingers, no chokehold on my throat
Her arms a winter duvet around my chest
A bed first cold; then warm.

Dear Brother

My friend Sarah wrote a beautiful poem from her experiences in Korea in the form of a letter from South Korea to North Korea. Her words are inspiring, and I love how encouragements from home can always meet me where I’m at no matter where I am in the world.

“That’s the what the Gospel is – it gives us the courage to see things that are dark, and it gives us hope to realize that it’s not the end of the story.”

dear brother // spoken word about korea from Sarah Suk on Vimeo.

Have you ever had a moment that you knew would never happen again, so you tried to soak it all in, but it was too much?

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The most genuine “Thank you” I have ever received was from a man I’ve never met before (but who I’ve felt like I’ve met a million times) with a face that looks like the moon in a room so small that 15 was a crowd. And all I wanted to do was thank him for the ways that he has torn open his wounds out of habit and chaos and then learned to choose light instead.

“What does your tattoo mean?”

(It says: “This is water.”)

“It’s from a David Foster Wallace speech where he talks about two fish who don’t know what water is, because it’s what their entire world is made up of and they can’t see it. It’s a reminder that we need to look at our world from another perspective to see it as it truly is.”

Tonight, I read your book of poetry front to back (again), because it was the only response that felt right. Tonight, I write this for you.

The Things You Deserve

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When they tell you that you do not deserve to say goodbye,
Be humble.
But also know this:
You deserve to have kisses planted on your skin like postage stamps sending you off;
To have fingers wrapped around yours like envelopes and creased letters smeared with jam and ink smudges so you can remember that you have made contact.
You deserve to come with suitcases full of empty jars, and have your loved ones whisper, “I love you,” into them, so you have a hundred different ways to remember that you are beloved.
You deserve to bottle up the sound of wild geese, the Pacific Ocean, and how your voice echoes off mountain tops.
To be humble means that you do not always get what you deserve, but know deeply in your heart that you have deserved every west coast sunset, every thank you, and every overflowing jar.
I once wrote a poem about your atlas hands;
About how God’s east winds carried you to a city that never stops raining –
I wish I did not have to continue writing it.