Raindrops fall at Home -Iris

I wake to the sound of rain falling on my roof. It’s a loud, heavy sound, deadened by the many layers of wall. Wondering what clothes to put on once I get out of bed, the first thing I think of is a nice, dry pair of rain pants.

Rain pants.


The Adventure Trip is over and yet, I am still thinking of wearing rain pants. The part of me that still denies the conclusion of my last TALONS adventure trip wants to take over. To throw me out of bed and tie on hiking boots to conquer the Stawamus Chief. To run straight into mud waist high to rescue a hopeless kayak. To breathe in the sun as it greets the misty clouds we are hiking in. But the other part of me knows better. It knows to just suck it up and face it. My last TALONS trip has come and gone. It’s all over.

It’s amazing how natural it all feels. Being around 60 other humans whom, whether they like it or not, are constantly at the mercy of Mother Nature. We could not outrun the rain that chilled us to the bone, nor could we outpaddle the retreating tide that surrendered our kayaks to the riverbed, nor could we outleap the rockface that rose mightily above our heads. And yet, those moment were when I truly felt alive. As though my breath rose and fell with the ocean waves and my feet climbed with the trees.

Now I stand on my back porch, eating away at my last handful of seeds. They’re still a little crunchy, and still taste a little like home. Home is where our faces are warmed by the campfire and our voices fill the cool night air, where all that matters is right now, and those who matter are sitting around you. It’s a place where I smile at the sweet eyed sun and sing in the swirling rainclouds, where Mother Nature opens her firm yet comforting arms and gently urges us onwards. Home is where I’m with the people of TALONS, a group of lost kids who find themselves in the embraces of one another.

Adventure Trip is over. All that’s left are bittersweet memories that are almost impossible to relive without a stab in my heart. But the moments of happiness are there, and always will be. And as I walk out into the world of scary monsters and empty hearts, I’ll be reminded of the times I spent with TALONS. A whistled tune that reminds me of “Home“. A rain-soaked toque. A garbage bag tied to a stick. A sunflower seed sitting on a table. Things I’ll now never, ever be able to forget because of the past five days we spent in Squamish.

The rain sounds soothing outside my window right now, drumming against the roof in patternless perfection. Carefully, I pick out my last pumpkin seed from my bag of seed crumbs. It’s small and chocolate-covered, so very tempting to eat. A thought crosses my mind to frame it, or at least treasure it until it goes moldy. Instead, I pop it in my mouth and savour its taste. It’s good. Really good. Tastes just like Home.

THE Talons Song (2011, anyways) – Iris

“Home, let me come HO-O-OME.. Home is wherever I’m with you…” If you had been on the TALONS adventure trip, you would of heard that. A lot. Actually, you would have heard it ever since the second night when we all sat around campfire and let that beautiful song fill the night air. After that, well, I really liked the song, and I only ever heard it twice, so I only managed to learn the first few lines. I sang it a couple (many) times over the course of the next few days. Yes, that lovely song was a little bit stuck in my head, and pretty quickly, it wasn’t just me. By the last day, the mildly annoyed people gave in, the noobs like me learned some more verses, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros made themselves heard. The verses weren’t in order and we couldn’t really whistle, but hey, it was a masterpiece.

If you are feeling curious, or one day the question, “What song is that awkward (awesome, and extremely talented, no jokes here) group of kids singing?” passes your mind, I have here an answer for you. I have to say, the title is fairly obvious, as it is in every line of the chorus. And we’ve made some changes, so you might not be able to recognize it. But here it is.. It’s the TALONS’ INCOMPARABLE, INDESCRIBABLE VERSION OF: EDWARDE SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS’ GREATEST SONG: HOME. DEDICATED TO THE MR. JACKSON AND MS. MULDER.

(There’s a video of our debut at in-depth night below. Please, do check it out. You get to hear our teachers laughing at its awesomeness)

Intro (with whistling)

TALONS classroom, 204,
This program I do adore
Not the way that I do love you (while pointing)

Well, Holy, Moley, me, oh my,
It’s the apple of my eye,
Man, I’ve never loved one like TALONS.

Man oh man its my best friend,
I scream it to the nothingness,
There ain’t nothing more I need.

Well, steep and sweaty, humpback hills,
Bikes and hikes and first aid drills,
Ain’t nothing please me more than this.

Ahh Home. Let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I’m with you.

*Trumpet Section*

La, la, la, la, take me home.
Mulder, I’m coming home.

I’ll follow you into the park,
To the outhouse, through the dark
Class, I’ve never loved one like you

Tents, accents, and lots of falls
Biking lanes and tons of lawls (lols)
I’ve been everywhere with you

That’s true

We laugh until we think we’ll die,
shirtless on a soccer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you

And in the streets we’re riding free
like it’s only you and me
JEEPERS (Gee), we’re something to see.

Ahh Home. Let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I’m with you

Trumpet Section

La la la la take me home
Jackson, I’m coming home.

“Do you remember that day we joined the TALONS program?”
“I sure do, you came running in right after me.”
“Well, you realized that this program was the real deal, and you were freaking out all over the place!”
“Yes, I was.”
“Well, there’s something I never told you about that day.”
“What didn’t you tell me?”
“While we were sitting on the couch in the back of room 204, I was falling deep, deep in love with this program.” (chorus: d’awwwww)
“Cool Story Bro!!!”

Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is whenever I’m with you
Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is when I’m alone with you

TALONS classroom, 204,
This program I do adore.
Tents, accents, and lots of falls
biking lanes and tons of lawls (lols)

Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is when I’m alone with you


Lyrics arranged by Jonathan Toews, Iris HungEmily Van der Velden, and all of the 2010-2011 TALONS.

Post written on June 6, 2011

Home – Iris

This is a little piece of writing I wrote the morning after Adventure Trip. I was actually planning on writing something the night we got back, but I fell asleep before I turned out the light. So here it is…

It’s 11:07am, the day after the adventure trip, and I’m back home. Home, as in school, piano, never-ending homework, procrastinated projects… that kind of home. I’m back to time measured down to the very seconds, fattening drivers who are always impatient with bikers, dinner around a table rather than a campfire, no barefoot soccer, no spontaneous singing of “Home”, no running as though you’re flying… I won’t be biking 30km or 70km, I won’t be two hours behind schedule and decide to turn around and sit by a lake instead of continuing to my original destination. I won’t be slathering on layer after layer of sunscreen until I’m ghostly pale. Instead, I’ll be spazzing at a computer, or staring blankly out a window from my desk. I’ll be stressed about piano, finals, even in-depth, as much as I love it.

I’ve found home somewhere else. It’s hidden atop a hill surrounded by trees that are close, but not too close. The sky is our roof and the bushes are our toilets if we get desperate. And yes, we do have an actual washroom, but it doesn’t flush and the toilet paper is half out. Our two precious sinks drip dry of hot water before we’re done doing dishes, but hey, at least we have lights. The grass is soft and the wind is sweet and the rain is quick to come but even faster to go. Best of all, I’ve got a big, beautiful family. There are five (and a half) adults and 35 of the most beautiful, courageous people in world. We can scale Mount Kilimanjaro, we can bike up Mount Everest, we can build 5 tarp shelters and eat dinner at 10pm. Here, I’m always happy. Whether it’s getting “Home” stuck in everybody’s head because I only know the chorus and 2 and a half verses, or biking up every hill with the (slow) Best Group Ever, I’m happy. Even though there’s conflict between us sometimes, with a little bit of love and forgiveness the sun will always laugh with us.

As we all sat around the last campfire, I watched as all six of our Grade 10 girls broke down a little. They apologized and confessed that hey, they weren’t perfect and they knew it and that they were sorry for anybody they hurt. I teared up a little as I listened and watched their blurry faces through the campfire. They were older now, more than just the gossipy, shallow girls my first impression had decided. They were ready to take on the world.

I didn’t want to leave this home. I could finally live each and every moment the way I wanted to. But the final day rolled around, and before we knew, we were 15 minutes away from the ferry. Taking one last look at the place where I knew I would always happy, I jogged passed the irritated ferry ticket collectors and onto the boat, and in less than four hours, each TALONS kid was back in their soft beds.

And I’m back here anyways. I’ve dried my tears after every speech and every hug of closing circle. I’ve said good-bye to the unlockable pit toilets and seemingly-impossible-but-actually-conquerable humpback hill. That’s life for you. It’ll let you have the time of your life and snatch it away so fast you’ll wonder if it was even ever there. But that’s just another hill to climb. I’ve made it up all of humpback hill, so I’m all set. I’ll take them on one at a time. And hey, the sun will still shine and the rain will still splash, and life will keep rolling on.