Consider such a bookworm I am, the library is for sure my most favourite place at Trent. So yesterday afternoon, while occupying one of my favourite sofas in the library, sitting in my favourite position, which means knees equal with chin, I felt so satisfied that I began to miss that very moment. Sounds very much like Xuan Dieu, right?
All I could hear was occasional whispering, the sound of fingers tapping on keyboards, on and off cell phone’s vibration, papers’ being turned under fingertips. Looking out of the window, I could see the frozen river brightly lit under a rare deep blue sky in a winter day. I was reading a journal, written by a Canadian girl going for an exchange program in Thailand. It is such a treat from all the heavy theoretical books I normally bury myself in. I drank in the silence, neither tense nor relaxing, but somehow exciting, probably caused by all the studying surrounding me. That was when I started missing.
Funny how things we think are so real start becoming like a dream once we leave them.
It didn’t feel like imagination. One day not very far in the future, Canada will become a distant dream to me. I will miss it from time to time, like missing a beautiful piece of carefree days in my youth, when I still have the luxury of being tortured by identity crisis, life values and big questions like whether to go for something right or something easy. At that very moment, while I was half sitting half lying, curled up in the blue sofa, Canada transformed from a reality to become almost nostalgia. I looked at it as though I had left it already.
I will miss wandering around the high bookshelves, lost myself in the smell of old dust on yellow pages, some were produced by the end of 19th centuries, even earlier. I will miss the river, which to me forever takes the form of a long and sparkling lady’s hair. I will miss the pure clean air, the colour of vigorous blossom in spring. I will miss the ample size of nature, people and things. I will miss Canadians’ warm hugs and their love for me. Most of all, I will miss myself, the twenty one and a half girl sitting in the library had so little to worry besides some readings and a few school assignments. One day, that very moment and all the images, sounds and sensory impulses as well as my mind will be just another memory. I was dreaming that dream, a dream which hasn’t come yet.
I guess I will miss snow and the cold wind once the heat in Hanoi frustrates me. Pollution will also make me craving for Canada. I will certainly feel guilty about that, don’t I know myself so well now? I don’t drink coffee anyway, so Tim Horton won’t be a big fuss. But I will miss meals in candles, the elegancy in house decoration and camp-fire. I don’t know what random things will turn up but even as I was sitting in the library, I started missing the funny texture of blackberry in my mouth.
How have I been nourishing my love for Trent, for Peterborough, for Canada? Nothing in particular. I gave up trying pretty quick, within a few months after my first arrival on this land. Instead I decided to wait, just patiently waiting for a love to slowly come. I didn’t love Canada before I came, neither at the very first sight of it when I set foot on the country. I didn’t love Canada even after months, and years living in it. Canada didn’t love me easily, either. People have always wondered when love begins, people like Xuan Quynh. I don’t really care about a clear-cut beginning point, but I was quite surprised to be aware of its existence. It has been there since when, I don’t know, but as I contemplated a longing which hasn’t itself formed yet, I know I have fallen in love with Canada. So much that I miss it when Im still in it. Always have, and probably always will.
You know, we humans never learn a most elementary lesson. We only realize how we’ve loved someone when we know we are going to part.