In 250 Words: Growing Up

In the 250 Words series, one question is posed to the RU Student Life bloggers, who each provide their own perspective.

Question 3: Where did you “grow up”? Interpret and describe.

Jess: Rural New Brunswick

I grew up in a rural community about forty minutes outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick. There wasn’t much in terms of landmarks, unless you counted several churches and the liquor store. There used to be a covered bridge, but a couple guys I went to school with doused it in gasoline and set it ablaze. People would often get around in pick-up trucks, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles (wheelers), and the occasional ride-on lawnmower (helmets seemed to be optional). For entertainment, there was muddin’ (going through mud on your wheeler), huntin’, and gettin’ “drunk as f***”.

I spent most of my leisure time in neighbouring communities, as did most teenagers in search of something more to do. The nearest town was the most popular destination. We’d visit friends and go to dances. For larger excursions, like going to the movies, we would have to spend days coordinating who’s mom was willing to drive us all into Fredericton.

Like most of the kids, I was eager to escape. Many moved into Fredericton, where it’s still quiet, but there’s more to do. I moved to Toronto and never considered moving back until last summer. My friends and I were hanging out and playing music and I started to miss the simplicity of life in New Brunswick. After all, the province is beautiful, and the people are lovely. But, as soon as the thought crossed my mind, my friend looked me dead in the eye and said, “Jess, you’re so lucky you got out.”

Zahra: A Poem for Pakistan

Person: Hey!
Me: Hi.
Person: Where are you from?
Me: Canada.
Person: No, but where are you actually from?
Me: ….

So you want to know what it’s like to grow up as a brown girl?
You want to know how we taste,
If we feel any different,
Love any differently…

As if we were the New World you could
Temporarily conquer,
Violently inhabit,
Ransack into ruins?

Where I grew up,
Nay, grew tall, strong, and unapologetic,
Cannot suffice for an elementary review of an “exotic” culture.

My land is not where you pick a strange flower to take back home to brag over brunch
Without a mention of my roots,
My collection should not be my only perfume.

I am from fields unique to individual flavours,
A taste too distinct for your cravings,
An unpaved soil with an earthy shade.

To touch me would require an understanding of where I came from,
To walk with me demands the courage to keep moving,
To love me would require strength.

So keep moving,
For I am not your foreign country,
Knowing me does not make you a traveller.

Janine: Suburban Teachings

I grew up, and have lived in the suburbs, an area just north of Toronto, for almost my entire life. And in the neighbourhood I grew up in, I made a friend who had a hearing impairment. We were both 8 years old and conveniently lived on the same road. At that age, I had to learn how to communicate with her without using the “traditional” way of communication. This meant learning sign language. So, everyday after school we would meet up, either in her backyard or mine, and practice communicating with one another: her teaching me sign language as I taught her to read the words I would mouth with my lips.

Growing up with that experience made me realize that communication is more than just writing an email or the way we talk to one another. Communication is all around us, from the clothing we wear, our posture, the tone in our voice, and so much more. That experience also allowed me to grow up and realize what field of study I’d like to learn more about, which is journalism and communication. From time to time, I think about how different my life would be if I grew up in a different area or even if I had not met my neighbourhood friend.


Where did you “grow up”, and what does that even mean, to you, anyway? Let us know @RUStudentLife or send us an email at or FB message of your own 250 Words!

Read more 250 Words questions and responses here.