Where I come from

I think that for travelers, whether over the short or long term, the search for meaning and identity follows them everywhere. Having arrived in Vancouver on October 22nd 2019, I would never have thought of being part of such a mix of cultures. And yet, diversity is something I had always experienced in my native…

Multicultural belonging in two acts

Act One I remember a smooth landing, except for three hours of wait time afterwards to go through customs at YVR. My flight arrived in the afternoon, but it felt like evening in the waiting room. The waiting area was packed, and luggage sat or stood in the aisles. Bags of various sizes, colours and…

The twelve-year itch

I’m not sure why, but I always imagined I would write a column to celebrate my first seven years of “marriage” with Vancouver. I would have called it “The Seven-Year Itch,” an homage to Billy Wilder’s movie in which Tom Ewell tries not to succumb to the temptations of Marilyn Monroe and cheat on his…

Beyond boundaries

Where are you from?” A familiar question. One I’ve heard ever since I moved to Canada at age 16. I remember how my classmate’s face wrinkled in confusion when he heard the answer. “But you’re not…” “There are all kinds of people in South Africa.” I hadn’t realized my skin colour would be a surprise.…

With an open mind

Originally from Le Havre, an industrial city in the west of France, I arrived in Vancouver in June. Since 2012, I have been fortunate to live and work in various countries, collecting lessons and teachings along the way: I’ve experienced hard work in Atlanta, discovered work-life balance in Ireland, learned about management at a Cameroonian…

Growing up in Vancouver’s multiculturalism

If you were to see me in school, I’d most likely be surrounded by Asian friends, but even though they all look more or less alike, their roots sprawl across the entire globe. One of them is an international student from Vietnam, and another grew up in rural Japan. I think that having friends of…

The first steps of a Frenchwoman in Vancouver

I’ve been roaming around the city and its surroundings for two months, slowly, at my own pace. As a former marketing person, before settling in the most populated city of British Columbia, I did my own research. I spent hours on the web “discovering” the city before even arriving. I found that I would read…

Diversity in the classroom

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to grow up where I did. During my childhood, no matter what school I went to, there was always a wide range of students with different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and different lifestyles, experiences and interests. Not only was everyone included, but everyone was also…

First impressions

Now that I have been in Vancouver a few months it’s time to jot down my first observations, experiences and reactions, to record how they differ from my usual surroundings. These are the signposts that guide my understanding of the place in which I find myself. I have been lucky since my arrival in this…

A nepalese point of view

Growing up in Beijing in a typical Nepali household was an experience of a lifetime that I cherish, and I will always be grateful for. However, one thing that I struggled with growing up was accepting myself for the way I am. The standards set by society for women are so specific and, to be…

Vancouver, a journey at the heart of diversity

French by birth and daughter of immigrants, I have known many different cultures and traveled to a great many countries during my lifetime – Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Malaysia. I have experienced a lot of different cultures and met a lot of fascinating people. Each country had its own identity, traditions and conventions. Being accustomed…

Ishmael and Ahab

This world will become one – I have found the way. Race. Tribal affiliations. National borders. Even my face will become irrelevant in the times to come. The world I envisioned will finally become a reality. It will make mankind whole again. That is an almost-verbatim of a narrative found in the MGS V: The…

A place where all is possible

I arrived in Vancouver in October 2018. Montréal had been the first city to welcome me on Canadian soil, and I stayed there almost three years during which time I felt as if I was in a small cocoon, in an easy routine surrounded by French speakers. In the meantime, I returned to France to…