Merry Christmas, Michel

 

20151218_211052There had been fewer people on the streets due to the cold and frequent storm/rain. Many times in the past couple of months I had arrived to downtown too late, as people started going back to their shelters at a much earlier time than when the weather was warm. This time, I came quite early to catch them before they leave. Just when I had finished passing out the sandwiches I came across a young man with eye-catching pink hair sitting on the floor on Burrard. I had nothing left on me save for a granola bar so approached to give him that. He lighted up immediately and did not mind how meagre it was. I noticed his accent and colorful ensemble, which I complimented him on. His face was also new  to me, so I lingered longer to talk to him.  The happy-spirited young man was called Michel, and he was from Quebec. He appeared to have come to Vancouver only recently and liked the city so far. Although Michel was friendly and chatty, I noticed he had an awkward pause when asked why he left home to come to Vancouver. “For the weather, haha!” he answered, and did not say more. As he suddenly seemed sad, I did not press for further details and instead just directed the conversation to telling him about some local community resources he may wish to partake. Michel was excited to hear about them, as well as about what I have been doing. He was happy to be featured on my blog and asked that I be not a stranger should I ever see him again. We exchanged holiday wishes before saying goodbye.

I think what struck me most about Michel was his gaiety. The impression I got from him was that he appeared to have been through some rude behaviours and discrimination from people, who may have been taking his pictures without consent and have not appreciated his ethnic background, both of which was implied during our brief conversation. Nevertheless, Michel kept his spirits up and did not shy away when I asked to talk to him. His joy was infectious and really put me in the holiday mood when he wished me a merry Christmas and invited me to talk to him again should we ever come across each other in the future. I only wish that he and the others would have a merry Christmas as well 😊     

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