Pandemonium and a rebirth

As we near the nine-month mark since COVID-19 took hold of what feels like every aspect of our daily activities, it’s beginning to feel like life as we once knew it is nothing more than a distant memory. For me, 2019 was one of the most turbulent years of my life. I had spent a…

Losing it: a privileged rant

When lockdown was first announced, I think I had the same thought as many in the world, “Great, more time to myself.” My mantra was: “I finally get time to do all the things I never had the time to do!” I took up baking banana bread every week. I saved my gym membership fees…

Motion sickness

The first time I felt Canadian was this past March. In 2015, I landed in Ontario when I was on the brink of turning 16, having left my mother tongue and favourite cities (in Egypt), along with my closest friends and most formative years (in the United Arab Emirates). I became Canadian when I was…

A little bit of positivity

I remember the joy I felt when my teachers first announced the extension of spring break due to COVID-19. As a high school junior, my days were filled almost entirely with school and extracurricular activities, and I was grateful that I would get this much-needed rest period. As it turned out, that spring break was…

The courage to leave and the courage to stay

I am from the South of France… where the sea reigns and the mountains dominate. I grew up in Nice with my gaze turned towards an always dazzling Mediterranean Sea. Nice… a city where people dream of going on vacation, but from which I dreamed of leaving to explore new horizons and meet other challenges.…

Confusion and anxiety: a high school coronavirus story

The pervasive theme of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be uncertainty. Uncertainty over when a vaccine will arrive, uncertainty over the economic and political turmoil that has accompanied the pandemic, uncertainty over what tomorrow holds. What will the world look like after the dust settles? Confusion, confusion everywhere. As the trickle of coronavirus reports turned…

Time for radical equality

Having just arrived from Brazil in December 2019, my experience has been mostly related to minimum wage jobs and customer service. Isolated from friends, my face-to-face interactions involve employers, managers, co-workers and fellow essential workers. If anything, a lesson has been learned after working for ten years at universities and art schools – something I…

Finding sweet light in a shadowed world

What can we do now that anyone around us might be the vector of a deadly disease? We have to continue to live our lives. I’m a college student at UBC and in the Before Time (that’s what I call the time before this pandemic) I had a wonderfully full student life. There were parties…

Two hemispheres of COVID-19: Vietnam and Canada

We are living in an unprecedented time when global public health is at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has made its way around the globe and impacted nearly all aspects of our lives. I’ve witnessed how my friends and family’s lives have been affected by the pandemic in so many ways. Since the outbreak can spread…

Eastward bound

We have all heard this phrase before: life doesn’t flow like a long, tranquil river. Life holds many surprises; some good, some bad. In my view, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic represents a bit of both. Arriving in Vancouver in October 2019, I planned to stay for the duration of my working holiday permit,…

Finding a multilingual Eden

I remember very well the penetrating feeling I had when disembarking at YVR airport, the impression of having won a destination lottery: a maple leaf freshly inked in my passport, and a Canadian work permit. After spending months hoping for a positive response from immigration officials, I found myself on the other side of the…

The permission to belong

The streets are silent, but a rare morning breeze is bringing the smells of spring right to my window. Vancouver is in lockdown, but its cherry trees are in bloom, and the soil of its many millions of gardens is awake and exhaling a nutrient rich fragrance. Twenty-two years may seem a long time, but…