The move to Canada

One day I came home from work and opened my Gmail to find the golden email from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – a request to submit my passport at the nearest Canadian High Commission. Finally, a new adventure was about to unfold. I was going to be a Permanent Resident in Canada (Kanedaaaa!). I…

Haggling in India

It feels as though everyone in India is an entrepreneur. A fair assumption when travelling the country is that no product or service is too insignificant to bargain over. Even those already in employ, such as IndiGo baggage charge collectors, appear somewhat disappointed not to be cajoled. An expectant look, daring you to twist their…

Here, my idealism is almost realistic

I left France mostly because my interactions with my compatriots no longer suited me. It was as though every conversation I engaged in was met with a narrowness of spirit, a rejection of differences and an unjustified superiority. Two years later, I don’t feel sorry. For the first two months of my stay, I did…

La Chanson de Tadoussac

Arriving near Tadoussac, Quebec, we were immersed in fog, which spread across the breadth of the St. Lawrence River. Crossing the Saguenay River by the free public ferry, one could see just the tops of other vessels. This cold foggy shroud enveloped the little community of Tadoussac until mid-morning. When the fog lifted, we were…

Strength in diversity

I cannot guarantee the experience anyone else will have in Vancouver. The collection of events in my experience here have been utterly unexpected and unique and formed with the privilege of being bilingual, white and male. There is an endless variety of people gathered together in this city, interacting and communicating in almost random patterns,…

Strange paradox

For a European, immigration to Canada, whether well prepared or not, is a great adventure. When one is a francophone and chooses to go to Vancouver, it is first and foremost to be in an anglophone environment. One comes to learn, to discover, to be challenged. In other words, to leave one’s comfort zone. The…

Home for now

You only live once is a truthful concept, and in many ways it played a role in inspiring my husband and me to relocate to Canada. My home – the UK – is a mess as the international world looks on amused at the fall of the once dominating nation. As a gay couple living…

The Canadian paradox

I landed in Vancouver a little over a year ago. Coming to Canada is not an obstacle course for a Frenchman. If you are under 35, you can apply for a Working Holiday Permit, which allows you to stay and work on Canadian soil for up to two years, although you do still have to win…

From the Prairies to the Pacific

By the time I turned 18, I was desperate to escape. Growing up in the blistering cold of Prairie Manitoba, my life was sheltered. My parents built a loving home, my grandparents were within walking distance and my friends, literally, lived next door. But I wanted experiences; I wanted adventure. I wanted a place where…

On a tightrope

You, yourself, arrived in Vancouver three months ago, a year ago, ten years ago maybe. So perhaps you too have had that feeling of dancing in the rain, of walking on a tightrope. I chose Vancouver for reasons that were commonplace: the weather, the language, the price of the plane ticket. The important decision had…

Here, no one fights with anyone

Everything smelled like cookies. It had been a week since I had slept in a comfortable bed. It had been a 48 hour flight and a two hour wait in customs. But, we made it from South Africa to Canada and now, everything smelled like cookies. The tumultuous ’80s in South Africa was my childhood.…