Henry Poon's Blog


Day 233 + 10 days back in Vancouver

It seems that since I got back I never wrote an entry about the end of my time in Germany.  When I realized I’d be going home soon a few weeks before, I felt a rush of excitement.  At the same time I felt sort of sad when since that also meant I’d leave all the friends I’ve made when I returned to my old life in Canada.  It was kind of reminiscent of when I left the first time – the idea of leaving everything behind for a little while.  However, unlike Canada, a place that I knew I would return to, the thought of never seeing all those people I met over there ever again made going home a scary thought. 

I never aimed to be good friends with people there.  Being good friends with certain people just happens.  It could’ve been part of my psychology where I unknowingly looked for companionship in the form of friends in a foreign place.  Now I wonder, if I will lose contact with them now that I’ve returned to my old friends again.  It seems like a real possibility to me now.  It will be weird not to see them.  It’ll be weird waking up in the morning and not take the 98 bus to work.  It’ll be weird not taking the U6 to Schlossplatz for our weekly hangouts. 

I suppose it was good that I was not the only one eager to go home.  It mitigated the scariness of it when I knew everyone else looked forward to it too.  A friend of mine who still had four months to go at Bosch was jealous of the fact that I got to go back.  Another friend from Germany was also excited to go back to his hometown.  As I coped with the reality of me leaving I got more and more excited about it.  For a few days before I left, I was so excited about leaving that whenever my mind wandered, I’d be thinking about going home. 

When I landed in Vancouver, I could hardly believe that I was actually back.  The moment I stepped out of the plane, I immediately recognized that I was in Vancouver International, but there was something about it that was strange.  I kept questioning whether I was actually back yet.  After awhile, I stopped getting that feeling and have now adjusted back to life in Vancouver again.

I definitely learned a lot of things in Germany and I think in many ways this experience has affected who I am in some ways (I probably wouldn’t even notice some of them).  For example, I now kind of have a better idea as to what career path to pursue (or not to pursue).  I learned a lot of things about MEMS, but I can’t see myself become a MEMS researcher in the future.  I also learned a bit of German and it’s always good to know an extra language.  The other day, I heard some people speaking German in a store and I could pick up a few words in what they were saying.  German’s even useful for showing off too.  I even have a better familiarity with foods in different European cultures.  I feel that I am now more aware of a lot more of the cultures that exist in this world.

In these eight months, I saw a large chunk of Europe, but I’ve only scratched the surface.  There are so many more places to go that it would take multiple trips to see it all.  There are places like Venice, Copenhagen, Oslo, Dublin, Glasgow, Budapest, and Belgrade, just to name a few.  In total, I travelled to 11 different countries on about 20 different trips.  It resulted in me taking over 5000 photos (I’m glad I was using a digital camera and not film).  Even though I’m already back in Vancouver, I still feel like travelling.  Maybe when I’m done school and have money for it I will start doing that, but for now, I think I’ll be staying in Vancouver.

To my surprise, my reassimiliation back in to life in Vancouver was rather immediate.  Apart from unpacking, I still remembered exactly what I used to do at home.  A lot of it was just little things like where I’d put on my contact lenses or where I put my toothbrush.  I remembered these little differences, and I guess that can be attributed to the fact that I have such an intimate familiarity with the house I lived in that I shouldn’t forget it.  When I first started driving again, it felt so natural, despite what I initially thought.  In a way, that was like riding a bike.  I also notice that now I am no longer as compelled to take photographs as I was before.  I can’t really put a finger on why, but it might be due to the fact that to me being back in Vancouver is just “ordinary”, while being abroad, everything seemed to be to be “extraordinary” and people do like to take pictures of extraordinary things.  I guess my life has returned to normal again.

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