When I think about my life, I’m actually a pretty darned lucky guy. I’m healthy, my faculties are all intact, I have an interesting, steady job that keeps food on the table and a roof over my head, I have friends and acquaintances, and I live in a nice neighbourhood here in Vancouver. Kerrisdale is one of Vancouver’s older neighbourhoods, located in the southwest corner near the University of British Columbia. The environment is very green; there’s beautiful gardens, plants, and trees all around. Living here, you’re not even aware of downtown Vancouver which is about 12 minutes north via the Canada line rapid transit system. The “village” of Kerrisdale has everything you need within walking distance. It’s very reminiscent of Oak Bay on southern Vancouver Island where I grew up.
There’s a coffee shop called Stock Up on West Boulevarde and 45th Avenue where I go for breakfast and coffee on the weekends. It used to be an old general store dating back to the early 1900’s. Now it’s a really nice place for meals and where you can buy food and sauces to go. The place has a heritage character and the staff are very friendly. It’s here that I read the weekend edition of the Vancouver Sun newspaper and take my time going through many of the excellent, well-written columns. But if there’s one thing about reading the Vancouver Sun that’s bittersweet, it’s that I’m reminded about the wishes for my life that still haven’t come true. Before I go any further, I want to repeat that I really do consider myself to be very fortunate in many respects compared to what’s happening in the world today. But at the same time, I do get wistful about a few things.
There’s an old saying, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride“. In my case, if this saying were true, then I’d own a stable 🙂
What are my wishes? In no particular order:
Visit the great universities of Europe as my overdue reward for completing my Master’s degree
There used to be an old tradition of graduate students from European universities taking a grand tour of study and travel when they completed their graduate degrees. It’s something I wanted to do when I completed my Master’s degree in 2011. I would just die to spend two months travelling and visiting places like Oxford, The Sorbonne, The University of Heidelberg, and other famous historic places of learning.
Own a little place on Vancouver Island near the ocean
I’m a Vancouver Island boy at heart. That’s where I was born and raised. At this stage of my life, I would rather be back on the Island near the ocean, where life isn’t as frenetic and erratic as Vancouver (an expensive, smug city that’s pre-occupied with competition, social status, and wealth). I’ve never owned real estate in my life, so I don’t have the financial means to even scrape up a down payment for something. When I was young, our family lived on waterfront property in Victoria. I so very much wanted to have my own small place by the sea when I grew up. All these years later, that wish is now out of the question.
Go back to Japan and become fluent in Japanese
The best thing I did in my life was take a chance and live in Japan for several years. I loved my life in Tokyo and the many Japanese friends I had there. Getting away from North American society taught me about self-reliance and experiencing other cultures. The history and geography of Japan intrigued me. I walked on the grounds of 2,500 year old temples, climbed the Japanese alps, bathed in live mountain hotsprings, took part in ritual festivals, attended sumo tournaments, and travelled around the country. Looking back, I think I should have toughed things out for a few more years, rather than run back to North America in 1994.
Own an Italian Piaggio Motor Scooter
I miss not driving a motor scooter – it’s been almost 30 years since I stopped using one. There’s something about travelling through the air and feeling it rushing past that I found invigourating. I loved how your bike responded to the slightest shift in bodyweight, like you’re flying. When you’re in a car, you’re confined. Automobiles never appealed to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve never owned a car that I’m not keen on them, but I’d much rather prefer the feeling of travelling on two wheels instead of four.
There’s quite a few other wishes I have, but that’s for another time 🙂
The Grumpy Ferret (Who still hopes that wishes can come true)