Blogathon 2009 – We (Heart) West End

Comments 2 by Guest Author

Post #19 of #49 – Over the next 24 hours I will be raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission during Blogathon 2009 by writing a blog post every 30 minutes. Please consider donating to my cause to keep my going until 6am PT July 26th.

The following is a guest post, contributed by Terra of Mommy is Moody.

If you were to ask me, the only way I’d move from our home in the West End would be if an amazing opportunity to live in Southern California or Europe came along.

True be told, we make sacrifices to live where we do: my daughter and I share a very small 400 square-foot apartment, a queen-sized bed that barely fits in the bedroom and a tiny closet. We pay the least expensive rent possible and refuse to move to a less expensive neighbourhood for a simple reason: The West End has everything we need, and every lesson I’d want her to learn is right outside our door.

There’s a wealth of cultures, an often unspoken message of health, and trees, flowers, sand, grass, skunks and raccoons are some of the natural beauty we’re exposed to at every moment. We can walk down the street and see moms pushing strollers, dads practising baby-wearing, seniors dragging carts loaded with groceries, homeless people who know us by name and always say hello politely, and men (and women) in love with other men (and women).

This is exactly what I aim for – for these everyday occurrences to be just that: normal, everyday things. I don’t aim to remove stigma, because I want my daughter raised in an environment wherein she’s unaware that a stigma even exists to be erased.

Still, the opportunity does come along every once in a while to really imprint a message into her little soul.

A few weeks ago, we were waiting for a bus when a man came up. He had a particular odour that indicated a lack of bathing, dirt was encrusted in the lines of his hands and he had a unruly beard that blended into his overgrown hair. He was polite, and he was looking for some help. He was homeless.

We heard the usual spiel about needing $5 to be able to stay in a hostel, but this deliverance was slightly different because he explained that the night before, a tourist had – thinking she was helping him out – given him a gift card to a moderately-priced restaurant. She figured he could get a meal, unaware that the restaurant might not have enjoyed the pleasure of the man’s patronage. So, he couldn’t eat there, and he couldn’t cash in the gift card for a bed, either.

He offered it to us, humbly.

I gave him the five dollars he was looking for, and he was extremely thankful. He tried to hand the gift card to my daughter, but I refused it. Instead, I asked him to give it to someone else who looked like they could something to brighten their day. To pay it forward.

He walked away happily and I saw him give the card to an older couple, not even a block away. I was pleased to notice that there was no spiel this time – he wasn’t using the same line on them as he had on me. My faith that I’d made a good decision was reinforced.

Even more, I felt confident when my daughter asked why we didn’t take the card for dinner from the man and I explained to her that sometimes, it’s just nice to do something for people that will make them happy or help them, and to not get anything in return. How, because we’d helped him, he had decided to try to make someone else happy, too.

“And that will make every one have happy hearts, Mama?” she asked me.

I couldn’t help but beam, knowing that she was getting the message without really needing a lesson. This is already something we get to see glimpses of, every day in the West End.

About Terra: When she’s not rocking a one-woman, one-toddler mosh pit in her Vancouver living room, Terra blogs her angst out as Zoeyjane at Mommy is Moody, works from home as a freelance blogger and virtual assistant, and Tweets like it’s going out of style.

Post #19 of #49 – Over the next 24 hours I will be raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission during Blogathon 2009 by writing a blog post every 30 minutes. Please consider donating to my cause to keep my going until 6am PT July 26th.

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2 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Barbara DodukSaturday, July 25th, 2009 — 3:30pm PDT

    Great story.

  2. ubringlitenSaturday, July 25th, 2009 — 5:14pm PDT

    Inspirational story, Terra. Why would you want to trade Vancouver for SoCal when SoCal doesn’t have all those things you want your kid to know no stigma? Okay, even if you have a bigger home, you won’t be content living here. Right now I live in SoCal (have lived there for 28 years) and I can’t wait to move to Vancouver to raise my kid(s) for the same things you have listed.

    Anyhow, I enjoyed your story very much and the homeless guy incident just cheered me up.

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