A small-town girl captivated by diversity

I grew up in a rural community in southern Ontario. I grew up knowing every person that lived on my long country road, and I had gone to school with the same group of kids from kindergarten to grade 12. Although small town life has its charms, it also lacks a sense of diversity that…

Emigration to Vancouver – A study in other cultures

To those who ask me to describe it, I like to compare Vancouver to the forests that surround it and through which I travel so often. Cedars, pines, cypresses – so many varieties make up this green ensemble. One who takes the time to look can distinguish all the nuances, where each variety has its…

From the unknown to the familiar

From the sweltering heat of Chennai, India to the rainy coldness of Vancouver, Canada, moving halfway around the world has provided me with an abundance of new experiences. India, known for its diversity in culture, is sometimes scrutinized by its own citizens for not being as accepting as countries like Canada. Hence for me, life…

I wanted another way of life

Leaving for Canada was a choice I had made a long time ago. Originally from the French countryside, from a family that takes little or no vacation and where we work hard, travelling is somewhat foreign to us. Despite that, leaving my comfort zone and leaving alone for far, far away from home tempted me.…

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…