My girlfriend and I fled to Galiano Island this weekend. We had a wonderful, fabulous two days away from the Mainland. Seven and a half months since we started dating and it still feels like young love!
I took Friday off of work and spent the morning at the passport office trying to sort out my paperwork. Seeing as my previous passport expired more than five years ago, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to explain my situation, just that I needed a new passport like anyone else. Everything went smoothly at the till; I paid with my debit card, handed over my paperwork, answered the administrator’s questions regarding my guarantor and the number of years she’s known me. It felt so easy, so uncomplicated. I left with a spring in my step.
Once outside, I walked toward Waterfront Station to head home and finish packing for my weekend getaway. But not so fast. My phone rang: it was the passport office. She asked me who ______ ______ _______ was (my previous name). I explained that I’d undergone a gender transition and that that had been my birth name. She was friendly enough – asked me which gender I wanted on my passport and whether that was the gender listed on my citizenship card and driver’s licence. I confirmed that I was now legally male and she said that she would make sure my name and gender would appear correctly on my passport. I thanked her and hung up. It ended up being only slightly awkward.
At home I finished packing and met up with M for lunch. We decided to dine at the Belgian Fries place on Commercial Drive. M ordered No. 6 – the Galvaude (poutine with chicken and peas) while I decided to order a classic poutine with a hot dog sausage on the side. That’s the way I used to order it at Chez Ashton in Quebec when I still lived there back in the early 2000s. The food was greasy and delicious and with full stomachs we started our long journey to the ferry terminal: First the Skytrain to Burrard Station, then the Skytrain to Bridgeport, and finally the 620 bus to the terminal. We made the 6:30 ferry with two hours to spare.
This was our second trip to Galiano and our first in the spring. The weather was beautiful all weekend – sunny and warm during the day and slightly colder at night. We made the most of the days by walking to the hardware store to buy groceries, going for a romp through the forest to a beach access point, and lying in the grass in a park behind the island’s medical clinic a few blocks from the yurt in which we were staying. It was super quiet aside from a rooster crooning from a yard across the park. No cars or ambulance horns or honking, impatient Vancouver drivers.
On the Friday evening we lit a fire and listened to piano pieces by Eric Satie while we lay on camp mattresses in front of the wood stove, M’s dog E curled up between us. Saturday night we sat in front of the fire place and read – me, Complexity by M.Mitchell Wardrop an M scrolling through her favourite blogs on her iPhone.
It was hard to come back to the city after the restorative silence and comfort we experienced just spending time with one another. In comparison the city feels dirty, noisy and unwelcome. I can’t wait for our next getaway! This time it’ll probably be somewhere in the States. We’ll start planning as soon as my passport arrives in the mail. Looking forward to that.