Different, just like everyone else

I left my native France at the age of 18. Italy, England and then Thailand became my new homes. Every step was a breath of fresh air, a culture to adopt, a language to learn and each time I had that feeling of freedom where I could be who I wanted because I was different,…

The impressions of a Tunisian in Vancouver

As soon as you arrive at Vancouver International Airport in Canada you are struck by the pleasant greeting of the customs and immigration officers. Be it timid and restrained or large and welcoming, the sincere smile of these officials brightens your day, even if it’s the first time you set foot on Canadian soil. This…

Please forget my accent

In Vancouver, everybody comes from somewhere else. I’ve always liked this aspect in a town, being multicultural. However, one of the things that confused me the most in Vancouver is the way people make you notice, on an awfully regular basis, your own accent. With 52% of the population speaking another mother tongue than English,…

Everyone should live in Vancouver at least once

I have been in Vancouver for a year and a half or so. I grew up in Shanghai, the biggest city and financial centre in China. After twenty-two years living there, I made the biggest decision of my life. With the support of my family, I came to Canada to study at UBC’s School of…

The prism effect

I still remember that one of my favourite childhood toys was a kaleidoscope. It is a tube that contains loose fragments of coloured glass that produce, through an interaction of light and mirrors, symmetrical and geometric patterns, which vary with each rotation. The whole image consists of segments reflected in mirrors. If we compare Vancouver’s…

Vancouver, the livable city

My first months as a newbie in Vancouver were spent trying to establish myself, find a job and a suitable longer-term home. And just like any excited tourist, I was imbibing all that the land had to offer. The backdrop of the North Shore Mountains beyond the Burrard Inlet is always panoramic. And if you…

What do I do with this?!

In the early 80s when I was five years old, my parents brought my younger sister and me to live in Vancouver. Our family stayed for four years while my parents started a business before moving back to Hong Kong. Back then, occupied with priorities such as my first trick-or-treat outing and building my first…

I am home

I am from Québec City and the decisive moment to throw it all out the window and start anew in the West came about rather suddenly. The original intention of moving to the West Coast went through a maturation process of about six months before a decision was made. The call of the peaks grew…

Normalizing the differences

To leave your native land, your hometown, is never an easy task. Plenty of questions, and sometimes a few doubts, will overwhelm you. So in my opinion it’s important to settle in a place that suits oneself best despite cultural or even geographical differences. Before flying off for Vancouver, many people were intrigued by my…

Acceptance is subjective

What living and growing up in Canada has taught me is that the notion of “acceptance of all” is not a concept that is introduced or implemented everywhere in the world. This was not something that I ever even considered during my time in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, I never thought about being…

A lesson in politeness ?

Canada taught me a lot… about France. Two western countries, two opposite perceptions of their inhabitants. On one hand, a long list of negative clichés, with people known to be rude, arrogant, grouchy, and unwelcoming. On the other hand, people who are praised for their politeness and kindness. I imagine you’ve already guessed which is…

A unique and ordinary life

I was four months old when I first came to Canada. As a baby I was curious and excited to be part of such a diverse community. By the time I was five years old, I experienced great difficulty with social interactions. My classmates did not understand my multiculturalism or the fact that I was…

A Latina in Canada

To go and live in Canada was a teenage dream. A quest for vast distant spaces. For a simple life by a lake at the edge of the forest. A natural environment where I could take root once again. To be far away from my native lands: Languedoc and Sonora. I am as much from…