just as i was getting used to you
"Vancouver is like the pretty girlfriend with no personality," says my friend.
We have just finished six perfectly executed courses in a strangers apartment.
The dining room looks into the kitchen, a red light brightening the room in one corner. The walls around us are covered in art, carefully placed on the walls that lead to the small sitting room and the long hallway that crawls with more photos and paintings.
We are having dinner at 12b, Vancouver's underground restaurant, and I am elated to find someone running the same kind of business I am. I spend half the night hovered over Todd, the owner and chef, picking his brain and admiring his cooking style.
I met him the day before at CKNW radio where I booked us both in for an interview about the underground restaurant scene on a local talk show. From the second we shook hands, it was clear Todd was someone I would get along with. Over dinner it became evident that we share a similar taste in food, an attitude towards life, a skilled insomnia and love for strong coffee.
It's hard to say what I'll remember most about the evening. Maybe it will be the goat cheese and parsnip soup, graced by dots of balsamic reduction, that had most of us sliding our spoons carefully around our bowls to scoop up every last drop. Or maybe it will be the beef tenderloin so tender my best friend closed his eyes and groaned. I know I won't forget the company, the pleasure over the food-some said "This was the best meal I've ever tasted,"-or my nylons ripping and ending up in pieces around the table.
We left late in the night, basked in pleasure. Just the night before I had cooked a four-course meal for my aunt and her friends. I'm worried my taste buds are becoming a little too used to this. They felt the same way the next night over filet mignon with my brother, and last night over slow roasted ribs at my dinner table, so good I could have been in Memphis. I don't remember the last time I was able to enjoy food so much.
My entire stay in Vancouver has been an awakening of the senses. I have re-discovered a passion for life, food, work, conversation and the ability to live in the moment. Suddenly I have time for the things that matter most to me, and I've stopped making excuses so that I can push people and pleasure away.
Vancouver is more like a beautiful girlfriend with an honest personality. She may be a little dull, but she will wrap her arms around you for as long as you need her to and make everything better.
Even when you're hesitant to go and see her, you never want to leave her once you do.
Tonight I will let myself out of Vancouver's embrace and land sometime tomorrow night into the arms of France.
A whole new kind of love affair awaits me.