Could a house really possibly encompass, hold, and accumulate this many feelings and memories in such a short time? I'm sitting on my floor, surrounded by dustballs and luggage for tomorrow morning and there is no question about the answer.
It's the difference between a shelter and a home. And in China, for the first time since I moved away from Cold Lake, I feel like I am at home. The antfarm (my apartment in Edmonton) does hold a special place in my heart, but when I remember that period of time, it was a time when I was very much alone. I lived alone, ate alone and slept alone. I woke up alone, taking comfort in my morning coffee and the grumpy iguana that kept me company.
China has been the polar opposite. It's been Karen, Katrina, Ivonne, Sasha, Brie, Mark, Brian, Scott, Courtney, some random Australian (New Zealand?) guy, Nobu (the Japanese girl who lived here for a month), all the kittens (most memorably Jack) and me. It's been constant conflicts, cockroaches, dirty dishes, molding food, a squished broken futon, a full liquor cabinet, and 25 pairs of shoes at the door.
It's been the comfort of the streetcar shaking my wall at night, snuggling in bed with Brie after a nightmare, a stress-relieving massage from Katrina, taking out the recycling with Court after a good night at Mick E. Fynn's, laughing at Ivonne's oddities and Karen's ability to know exactly what is going to happen next on television shows, and Sasha's sleep-inducing teas when you're sick. It's been a hell of lot of spontaneous dance parties and beers at House on Parliament.
We took care of each other here, and you, China--you took care of us.
And I won't forget what I've learned here. I've learned that you can love unconditionally, that you can make compromises, and I've learned to let things go. I've learned when to pick fights, and when to be thankful for everything I have. I won't miss China, but I know that I will miss this moment in time.
Girls, we've done some good work here.