I’ve been in Canada for almost three weeks now! My time here has been the most unconventional so far, disassociating me from the passing of time and the fast-approaching end of my Watson trip.
Unlike every other project country, I have no permanent home address at the moment. Something I was very clear about since the beginning of my Watson is my need for a stable home base where I can retreat, watch Gilmore Girls, and bask in the joys of privacy. But housing in Vancouver is e x p e n s i v e. I’m talking minimum ~$900 per month, so I simply refused to commit and just booked a hotel for the night I thought I was arriving in Vancouver, but it turned out to be the wrong day!
I left Vietnam on Saturday at 5am, had a layover at Shanghai until 5pm, and arrived in Vancouver at 10am…on Saturday. It was a silly mistake that made me look even sillier in front of hipsters in Vancouver when I checked in, checked out, and checked back in at the cheapest hostel downtown ($35) with the only available rooms.
I stayed there for around three days and then traveled up north to a camp. I had 9 days with no internet surrounded by fluffy pine trees and snow covered mountains. At the end of my camping trip I got the opportunity to help out in the Peace & Dignity Journey, a prayer run that aims to connect indigenous communities across north, south, and central America. Runners simultaneously run from Alaska and the tip of Argentina and gather in Panama, visiting different indigenous communities along the way. The runners were passing through the camp and asked volunteers to help them cover mileage, so a bunch of us left the camp at 6am in cars packed with granola bars and bananas, and met up with the runners two hours from the camp.
There was a beautiful ceremony that helped ground everyone around what we were doing. It was especially good for me since I hate to run and was focused more on that instead of the importance of the run. Each of us runners were invited to carry one of the hundreds of staffs gifted by different indigenous communities. It was explained that these staffs carried communities’ prayers and should be treated with the care and respect of any other elder. I picked one that had four husks of maiz, the most important seed of the Americas.
Our large group split into different cars and one by one, we were dropped off along the highway and picked up when we reached the different checkpoints. As I ran, I tried to recall the names of every woman I had met in the past year. Every step was a prayer; an honoring of them. I’ll never forget it.
There is less than two months left and I’m thankful that for some reason time feels like it has slowed down. Every day, every week, feels full and new. My mind is not focused on the calendar anymore; I’m just enjoying it.
Here’s to ten amazing months!!! Let’s go!