April 23 – basement dweller

273/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Sharing and Respect.  I was taught the meaning of these two words my entire childhood up into my teens.  No, I’m not speaking about things like toys or food.  I’m talking about space.  Most Indo-canadian children will understand what I’m talking about – basement rentals!  For as far as I can remember, I shared houses with others.  I don’t really remember much of my early life in New Westminster but I do remember living on Riverdale Drive in Richmond and sharing our home with others.  My parents had a full suite in the basement (2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, washroom) which they rented out from as far back as I can remember.  Growing up, I knew no different – people share homes.  I learned to share our space with others – yard and house.  I learned how to be respectful of others regarding noise, time, and privacy.  I also learned from the various renters.   There was cool George & Glenda – a young couple who were kinda funky, loved taking pictures and told me to focus on my education.  There was Slavo & Jana and their two kids –  a European couple who had just emigrated from Yugoslavia and were learning the language and the culture.  There was Mike and his Grandmother – he so cool with the multitude of Asian girlfriends and she so nice like a second grandmother to me.  I’m sure there were at least a dozen or so “families” that made our basement their home for as long as they needed to.  In addition to sharing and respect, I learned so much more about people by having to share a common living place with them.  Yes, I didn’t love it all the time and my first home did not have a rental unit much to the chagrin of my parents but I understand why my parents needed to rent out their home and don’t fault them at all.  I learned a lot from all the people who passed through our house on Riverdale as they had a small part in shaping the man I am today.  I know I’ll never see them nor remember them if I saw them today but I’m glad that they crossed my path and for that, I thank them.

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