Tribute to Vancouver

Dear Vancouver, 

When I was younger, I would try to leave every instance I could, whether that be for shopping in Oregon, spontaneously travelling to Toronto, or visiting friends and relatives in Hong Kong. As I spend more and more time overseas, I have grown a new level of appreciation for you. 

As I sluggishly move back into my dorm, get into the flow of this semester's classes, and endlessly fight jet-lag, I have become more and more confused by the definition of 'home.' Is home the smell of freshly dry-cleaned dress shirts? Is home the sensation of eating home-cooked food? Is home the amazing landscapes that I have taken for granted? Or is home just a place where I am mentally at ease? After one semester abroad, I continue to struggle with this concept.

While I feel like I have found a new home in Singapore, there are many instances where my current circumstances feel strangely foreign. I have met so many incredible individuals: my suite-mates are unbelievably chill, my friends are hilarious (24/7), and my professors are lively. While my Singaporean friends are fun to hang around, I constantly struggle to catch up with the nuances of Singlish, feel the need to explain my West Coast slang, and justify my liberal beliefs and ideologies almost as if I were committing a crime at that instance.

Over the past few months, I have lost touch with a lot of my friends from Vancouver who have taken very diverse paths in their lives. Sometimes, I just wish things were easier.

The question 'what if?' constantly resonates within my mind. What if I ended up studying in California? What if I stayed within Canada? What if I took this year off? How would my life be different? Would I still be plagued with the issues that I am dealing with today? Would I be freed from the shackles of my mind? Luckily, I revisited home over December and found answers to these questions. 

This visit has brought back numerous emotions:

  • Passionate love that existed half a year ago has faded into platonism. 
  • Platonic love that never should have blossomed grew into a relationship (that has since ended). 
  • Familial love for those I care most about.
  • Disappointment that friendships from high school have dwindled.
  • Eternal happiness for friends' and acquaintances' successes.
  • Surprised at myself for being able to grow decent facial hair.
  • Frustrated that I have to constantly explain why I turned down UC Berkeley and Stanford University.
  • Ease for being able to be who I am without others judging.
  • Fear of losing who and what I love due to distance.
  • A sadness in having to move away from home once again.

Now, I am finally at ease. I have grown a new level of appreciation for aesthetics. I can finally lift my head up. I feel spectacular about the prospect of life. 

Last but not least, I would like to end with a quote. 

Vancouver is the square root of negative one. Technically, it shouldn’t exist, but it does. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
— Douglas Coupland

See you in May,

David Zhang


To those of you who have ventured Vancouver with me, I welcome you back. To those of you who have yet to tour my hometown alongside me, I hope these images will transport you to some of the places I enjoyed the most over the past eighteen years of my life. 

 Looking after your city can we done both near and afar. Continue on and you will find out what I mean.

Looking after your city can we done both near and afar. Continue on and you will find out what I mean.


 As the sun goes down, I lose touch with time. 

As the sun goes down, I lose touch with time. 


 East Vancouver. It isn't  that  sketchy, I suppose.

East Vancouver. It isn't that sketchy, I suppose.


 Sometimes, I see today's world from the perspective of an old man who lives in the mid-1800s.

Sometimes, I see today's world from the perspective of an old man who lives in the mid-1800s.


 What is winter vacation without a hearty bowl of poutine? 

What is winter vacation without a hearty bowl of poutine? 

 Delighting in one of the finest gastronomic wonders of the world.

Delighting in one of the finest gastronomic wonders of the world.

 Good coffee + Great Street Art = West Coast Vibes

Good coffee + Great Street Art = West Coast Vibes


 Shadow and light interplay midday in May

Shadow and light interplay midday in May


 ...but not as precious as we were.

...but not as precious as we were.

 You brought me here one morning. The smell of freshly-cut grass permeated the air. The wind blew softly making the water ripple ever so slightly. The sun shined on your skin beautifully as I put my hand around your waist. 

You brought me here one morning. The smell of freshly-cut grass permeated the air. The wind blew softly making the water ripple ever so slightly. The sun shined on your skin beautifully as I put my hand around your waist. 

 We took a long walk. We ended up here. We climbed the stairs. 

We took a long walk. We ended up here. We climbed the stairs. 

 We talked about our futures: California, countless coffee dates, and love that would last an eternity.

We talked about our futures: California, countless coffee dates, and love that would last an eternity.

 We laid here one summer night. We talked our troubles away. We watched the sunrise.

We laid here one summer night. We talked our troubles away. We watched the sunrise.

 Months went by. We sat. We talked. We kissed. More time passed. Love faded.

Months went by. We sat. We talked. We kissed. More time passed. Love faded.

 On this bench we argued. We cried. We lost. 

On this bench we argued. We cried. We lost. 


 This small creature made me do a double take. 

This small creature made me do a double take. 


 Beauty should never be limited in its beholder—even this parking lot knows what's up.

Beauty should never be limited in its beholder—even this parking lot knows what's up.

 But beauty does fades.

But beauty does fades.


 The place of numerous misadventures. 

The place of numerous misadventures. 


 Some days, we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and end up alongside hundreds of zombies.

Some days, we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and end up alongside hundreds of zombies.


 The smell of shellfish, salmon, and the sea linger. 

The smell of shellfish, salmon, and the sea linger. 


 | LONELINESS |

| LONELINESS |

 | LOVE |

| LOVE |


 Perfectly placed on pine.

Perfectly placed on pine.


 Looking at the world in black and white instantly sheds light on what lies ahead.

Looking at the world in black and white instantly sheds light on what lies ahead.


 Look up. Imagine gravity didn't exist. Walking on the ceiling now seems plausible. 

Look up. Imagine gravity didn't exist. Walking on the ceiling now seems plausible. 


 I long for yesterday. 

I long for yesterday. 

 But I do not long for last year. 

But I do not long for last year. 


 Fire hydrants fascinate me–they hold such a practical purpose but no one really gives them love except for dogs.

Fire hydrants fascinate me–they hold such a practical purpose but no one really gives them love except for dogs.


 I used to work at a fabrication lab until I fell out of touch with the sciences. That mask was a product of my boredom. 

I used to work at a fabrication lab until I fell out of touch with the sciences. That mask was a product of my boredom. 


 Blue, green, and red dots merge to become white light streaming down from the sky.

Blue, green, and red dots merge to become white light streaming down from the sky.


 The path ahead only becomes more in focus.

The path ahead only becomes more in focus.


 Why are elements more beautiful when they are reflected?

Why are elements more beautiful when they are reflected?


 Why must we take away from the old to feed into the new? 

Why must we take away from the old to feed into the new? 

 Much has changed. This building has not. 

Much has changed. This building has not. 


 Laying down on hard cement in the middle of a buzzing public space and looking up.

Laying down on hard cement in the middle of a buzzing public space and looking up.


 Easily my favourite campus in Canada.

Easily my favourite campus in Canada.


 The weather is perfect. Time to go on an adventure.

The weather is perfect. Time to go on an adventure.


 How does one even create art like this?

How does one even create art like this?


 A typical parkscape: children frolic and adults watch while urbanity and nature harmonize.

A typical parkscape: children frolic and adults watch while urbanity and nature harmonize.


 Clouds perfectly layered. Skies blue. Boats in motion. 

Clouds perfectly layered. Skies blue. Boats in motion. 


 Honestly, this is the best place to take someone on a date.

Honestly, this is the best place to take someone on a date.


 The sound of her careful pencil strokes enticed me. I looked on in awe.

The sound of her careful pencil strokes enticed me. I looked on in awe.

 A few steps away, I spotted this gorgeous creature. It gave me some shifty eyes for clicking the shutter seven times. 

A few steps away, I spotted this gorgeous creature. It gave me some shifty eyes for clicking the shutter seven times. 

 Capturing someone capture history.

Capturing someone capture history.


 The bridge between three generations. 

The bridge between three generations. 


 "DO NOT FEED THE BEARS" it onced stated. By the time I found this gem, it dawned upon me that I was almost twenty thousand sunrises late.

"DO NOT FEED THE BEARS" it onced stated. By the time I found this gem, it dawned upon me that I was almost twenty thousand sunrises late.


 If you look closely enough, you will find your soul in this work of art. 

If you look closely enough, you will find your soul in this work of art. 


 The secret congregation deliberates beneath the lighthouse. 

The secret congregation deliberates beneath the lighthouse. 


 \ JUXTAPOSE /

\ JUXTAPOSE /

 / JUXTAPOSE \

/ JUXTAPOSE \


 Some days, these landscapes make me feel at ease. Some days, I wish I were in Singapore.

Some days, these landscapes make me feel at ease. Some days, I wish I were in Singapore.


 While I munched on my fish and chips, this seagull sidestepped closer and closer to me until I fed it a fry. It stared back at me for more. I obliged. 

While I munched on my fish and chips, this seagull sidestepped closer and closer to me until I fed it a fry. It stared back at me for more. I obliged. 


 Follow me. Home is this way.

Follow me. Home is this way.


 The tranquil result of a five kilometre jog in -1 ºC weather.

The tranquil result of a five kilometre jog in -1ºC weather.


 The view that brought my life into perspective.

The view that brought my life into perspective.


 Reaching new heights, one tower at a time. 

Reaching new heights, one tower at a time. 


 The night was young.

The night was young.

 The night grew old with time.

The night grew old with time.

 But the night will never die–it is always reborn.

But the night will never die–it is always reborn.

 Take this chance to dance under the moonlight. 

Take this chance to dance under the moonlight. 

 Or you might be like this man who squeals into his phone in the distance during the day. 

Or you might be like this man who squeals into his phone in the distance during the day. 


 Looking after my city, 13000 kilometres away.

Looking after my city, 13000 kilometres away.

P.S. Thank you for reading! I'll work my hardest to publish bi-weekly posts. As always, let me know what I can do better and don't forget to like and comment.

P.P.S I will be in New York City over the summer. If you would like to collaborate, please let me know!