The other day I went to Toronto with some friends, and as I crossed the Niagara Region on the bus, I realized that in a few weeks’ time I will be making the same journey on my way to the airport.
I stared out the window, taking in as much of the landscape as I could. Just like the trees, farms, vineyards, and roads that we left behind as we made our way to Toronto, I thought about what I would be leaving behind when I left.
I will be going back to my country, but can we truly call it a journey back? Will my experience in the Region end the moment I leave St. Catharines? Perhaps it will occur when I hop on a plane or as soon as I arrive in Mexico?
The journey may be over, but none of us are the same people we were when we first arrived. The Niagara Region has made impressions on us, some permanently inked in our memories and ourselves, other temporal impressions, which will fade away with the passing of time.
Maybe I can’t be certain when the Region will stop being a part of my life, but can I trace the exact beginning? Did it start the moment I was admitted at Brock University? Was it until I got on the airplane, arrived in Toronto or came to St. Catharines? Can I trace down the exact moment in which my adventure began?
I can’t be certain, but the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes. Somehow, most of my memories keep going back to a particular sunny day last September. Attending the Winery and Niagara Falls trip organized by the International Centre at Brock was a turning point in my journey. For some reason or the other we, strangers coming from different parts of the globe, crossed paths that day.
Little did I know then that certain people and I would build our friendship as we built our lives here. My memories and experiences of the Region will be forever weaved with my memories of familiar faces. I can’t help but wonder how my time here would have been different if I hadn’t gone on that trip. Perhaps I would have taken a different direction on this road or maybe we would have found each other at another intersection.
As each of us moves away, the path will continue to extend, reaching out beyond the horizon, to other parts of the world, but with the Niagara Region always at its centre.
After spending almost a year living in St. Catharines, I would love to write that I have visited all of the attractions, eaten at a lot of restaurants, and walked along many of its streets. But the truth is I haven’t. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I walked inside The Write Bookshop located in St. Paul Street for the very first time. While it may seem small from the outside, as I stepped through the threshold, I literally gasped at the amount of books overflowing the bookshelves, waiting to be picked.
The Region continues to impress me, with its endless paths, its sounds, its landscapes, its colours, its flowers, its secrets, its people. As I move on, I will occasionally look back, and I’ll know that at the end of the road there is a place I can always call home.
Sarah Revilla is a Masters Student at Brock University from Mexico enjoying her last summer in Niagara.