Yes, Vancouver, I have moved.
So there is a rumour in the blogosphere that I may have moved away from Vancouver, and most people are wondering “where the hell is Raul”. Well, the time has come to put these rumours to rest. And I think I owe Vancouver an explanation, so I hope you can understand it and work with me moving forward. The TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version is: I love Vancouver but when I found the chance to spend time with my ageing parents and a great new era in my career, I couldn’t say no.
A number of people (originally, only my closest friends but slowly, it has been trickling to other folks with whom I may not be as close) knew that I was moving away from Vancouver, and a few chosen ones know the reasons behind my move. Most people have asked me to blog about it, and I frankly didn’t know if I wanted to. At least not in the detail that it would require. Much in the way Mellisa Fung wrote in her auto-biography “Under The Afghan Sun” (about her ordeals while kidnapped in Afghanistan while reporting about Canadian troops), I really don’t like being the story. I like telling stories.
But here’s the truth: I have lived in numerous countries, Canada being the one where I have lived the most, and Vancouver the city where I have spent the vast majority of my adult and professional life. Vancouver is, has been and will always be my home. I am in Mexico right now. Home is where your heart is, and mine is in Vancouver. BUT my heart *is* also in Mexico. My parents are here.
Two years ago, I sat down with the most important person in my life (JT) and discussed the fact that my parents were ageing and I was worried about them. It’s a legitimate concern. And by 2010, I had already achieved pretty much everything I wanted in every field. I was teaching at one of the best universities in Canada, I already had my PhD (from the same university, coincidentally), my consulting practice was burgeoning and my social media life was pretty much at its peak.
But then I realized I missed my parents, very much. I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life regretting being away from them and not spending time with them as an adult. You’ll see, my parents always wanted me to fly away and be a worldly man. They wanted me to explore new land, travel the world, live amazing experiences. But in doing so, I have spent many, many years away from them. And I miss them. And I don’t want to regret the rest of my life not having taken the opportunity to spend time close to them as they grow older. At the same time, I was offered the opportunity to teach at the equivalent of Harvard of Mexico. That IS an amazing opportunity, and thus I did not want to waste the chance to grow professionally as well as personally.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make, nor was it one that didn’t have pain attached. I left a lot behind: close friends, a wonderful group of faculty members and a supportive department to grow as an academic and an educator, a fantastic team to work with, my former students and those who were waiting to take a class from me. And I also left behind some of the people I love the most in the world. But at the same time, my new job is a fantastic career move for me, and the chance to be with my parents is one of the best opportunities I can have. I’m close to where they are and my research agenda is blossoming, at an institution that is the right fit for me.
This was the right decision for me, and the best decision for me. And it doesn’t mean that I have broken up with Vancouver, with British Columbia and with Canada. My heart and my soul are still there, and I will be shuttling back-and-forth for the next few years. Yes, I may not be permanently in Vancouver, but I’m still a Vancouverite and my blog will continue to support those causes I am most fond of: the arts, theatre, dance, lifestyle, food, travel. It will just have a more emphatic travel slant for the next few years.
Fear not, Vancouver. You can take the Hummingbird out of Vancouver, but you can’t take Vancouver out of the Hummingbird. I will be back very, very soon.