Bem vindo à Vancouver

Do you know what a Brazil nut is called in Brazil? A nut. Why am I mentioning this silly joke? Well, we Latinas don’t call ourselves “Latinas” before moving out of South America. We usually identify with our specific nationality, not with the whole continent, particularly in Brazil, where we speak Portuguese instead of Spanish,…

A childhood dream come true…

As a child I dreamed of travelling, exploring new horizons and learning other languages. Whenever my parents took a trip I always hoped that they would take me along on their journey, at the very last minute. Their travels were a time of long absences and tearful goodbyes. Wanting to escape myself, I came up…

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…

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…

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.…

A sense of belonging and tranquility

Vancouver’s multicultural scene can make you feel as if you’re walking around a foreign country for a few moments. As a Mexican immigrant who moved to Vancouver 13 years ago, I constantly find myself trying to decipher what language other immigrants are speaking while out on the street. Sometimes I guess correctly, other times I…

Life in a bubble

On the first day of my journalism class, not only was I late but I was lost. My classroom was located around a corner, tucked away, nearly impossible to find. Unfortunately for me, everyone else managed to find it. As I walked in, interrupting my professor, all of my classmates turned to look at me.…