My Roots: “Ambivalence” by Vincent Ternida

On May 4, 2019, we welcomed an enthusiastic group of emerging Vancouver writers to our My Roots Free Writing Workshop for immigrants who shared their stories on belonging & home with author and facilitator Aislinn Hunter. We’re thrilled to share a selection of these pieces with you. 

“AMBIVALENCE” by Vincent Ternida

Gazing out the western window I see a mountain, then a river, maybe a lush valley—the green is ever changing. I’ve ridden countless vehicles, always next to a window, my debt to the biosphere adding up. As soon as the image becomes familiar, I long for a new visage—somewhere exotic, always exciting. Though I grow comfortable with the new painting before me, a part of me urges my body to move to the other side of the vehicle, longing for the sights east of my vantage point. I realize, while the sights on the eastern side vary in interest, I long for the comfort and beauty to the west of the vehicle. In four quadrants: sakura petals, floating pollen, falling leaves, snowflakes versus asphalt, concrete, and overcast skies. One learns to love the greyscale and disdain the greenery when motivations change. Like the Lotus Eaters in Ulysses’ Odyssey, I’ve been sitting too long on the western bed and long for the ash of the east.


Lauren Dembicky