Leaving for Canada was a choice I had made a long time ago. Originally from the French countryside, from a family that takes little or no vacation and where we work hard, travelling is somewhat foreign to us. Despite that, leaving my comfort zone and leaving alone for far, far away from home tempted me. Having had the chance to have a childhood close to nature, in Normandy, France, I was looking for a place that allowed me to achieve several travel objectives. I wanted to improve my English but also to have easy access to the outdoors. In short, I wanted another way of life. The Vancouver option fulfilled both of these objectives.
First of all, if there is anything that surprised me about Vancouver, it is the multiculturalism. Through Caucasian, Asian, South American, African, etc. communities, Canada has developed a society where origins, colour and religion matter little. Everyone has their place; everyone is welcome. It is absolutely impossible to proclaim loud and clear that discrimination does not exist in Vancouver, but it is fair to point out that the environment is calmer than in France.
The great diversity of Canada and Vancouver has enriched me. And my first (and still current) work experience confirms that. Daily, I hear English and French, but also Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Hindi and Italian spoken at work. This diversity has fueled my curiosity and opened me up to many other cultures that were completely foreign to me before, especially Asian cultures. These differences push us to adapt to others with respect, indulgence and empathy. This cultural diversity also brings a lot of variety to the level of cooking and music. In short, there is something for everyone!
I was fortunate to have some of my intercultural relationships turn into friendships. And it’s with the same good fortune that I was able to achieve two goals: explore the Canadian outdoors and be part of an anglophone environment!
Outdoor activities in British Columbia appeal to me. This city makes outdoor sports easily accessible and opens doors for anyone wishing to try skiing, sailing or hiking, for example. But more than that, the outdoors is, for me, a way to appreciate the simple things. Far from the frills and superficiality of any city, the outdoors is a way to remember that happiness can be simple. Walking and camping in the wild with little equipment always makes me more aware of the comfort I have at home.
Vancouver was my first and still current “home” in Canada. My arrival and the beginning of this experiment was not easy, for example, the notorious cost of living on the West Coast put a damper on me upon my arrival and did not help the first few months. As well, making international friends requires effort and time. But despite these barriers, this outward-looking city has allowed me to develop another lifestyle that I like at the moment. I spend my weekends mostly in the mountains or on the water and with friends from all over the world!
Translation by Barry Brisebois