Falling in love with a small city

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a post about my old neighborhood in Vancouver – Marpole, a small, multicultural area at the foot of Granville Street that was still part of the bigger metropolis that is Vancouver – and I was struck by a powerful wave of yearning for….well, the urban life. I MISS it. Even 3 years after moving away from Vancouver to a mid-size city, I always talk about the big cities and have this perpetual leaning towards urban centres. Case in point: our family vacation earlier this year wasn’t to any oceanside, serene natural oasis, it was to uber-urban New York City.

But but but, lately I’ve been thinking, since one of my values is to become more engaged in participating and helping create a sense of community, if I REALLY want to be engaging in and cultivating neighbourliness (admittedly, something I am not very good at), then I need to focus on the community I inhabit now, rather than yearn for the past or any envisioned future location where we may end up living.

I should really learn to get to know my own small city MORE, take more time to delve into its little nooks and crannies. I mean, Kamloops has lots of things to discover and to take part in, some that we’ve already participated in, but I’m sure there is a whole host of other events of which I’ve been oblivious. I know there are community initiatives springing up all the time, like a new Fair Trade Kamloops grass roots movement that my friend is actively promoting, and the arts scene is small but vibrant. Why don’t I be a part of these things more often?

Achjadi, Merapi 2007 (Photo by Diyan Achjadi)

It’s a good city, with landscape that I love and great people that I’ve met through work and other avenues, but I realize that I don’t KNOW the city very well. So, my challenge is to get to know my own city better. Practical things I will do in stepping up to this challenge is:

  1. learn about new events around town
  2. attend 3 of them before the end of this year
  3. volunteer at a community event, hopefully on a regular basis.

And I hope that along the way, maybe I’ll fall in love with my small city  a little bit.