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…

Everyone can leave their mark

Growing up in Vancouver I heard the term “multiculturalism” a lot. I was taught that Canada, as a whole, is a multicultural country, a “mosaic” of peoples from many different places. As a kid, that seemed pretty obvious. People are all different – some were born here, some were born across the country and some…

Trials and tribulations in the city

The journey preceding my arrival in Vancouver almost five months ago was nothing out of the ordinary. Nonetheless, I think it is central to understanding how I have been feeling since arriving in the distant patch of land that is Vancouver. I come from Catalonia, a small European nation in search of independence. I have…

The identity complex

In the heart of Chittagong we walked into a market packed with hawkers selling miscellaneous merchandise. The awnings were sprinkled with dirt and grime, and the air smelled of dead fish. My family and I walked towards the end of the market where coats and jackets were piled up high in a large wooden box.…

An invitation to share

What will you do in Vancouver? That’s the question I had to answer in the months preceding my departure from France. I initially chose to settle in Vancouver for the following reasons: the language spoken and the fact the city is a compact urban centre surrounded by nature and with solid environmental credentials. Vancouver has…

Forging identities outside cultural norms

Recently, I was asked by a stranger where I was from. After stating what I thought was an obvious answer of “born here, in Vancouver,” I was met with a response I didn’t expect. “Really? Your accent, no, your style seems different! Like you’re from the south, or maybe European…were your parents from here?” Now,…

On how Vancouver, city of flavours, managed to win my heart

I arrived here dragging my feet, despite having had this expatriation project in mind for many long months before my arrival in Vancouver. I’m attached to my hometown, my culture and my gastronomic delights. On the eve of my departure, I indulged myself in a feast of cheeses and foie gras with fine wines to…

The freedom to be oneself

You always hear about how diverse and multicultural Vancouver is and that Canadians are polite and friendly. All of this is true, but even more so, I have always perceived people in Vancouver, whatever their roots are to be welcoming, accepting and unprejudiced. Once you have lived in Vancouver for a while you don’t notice…

Vancouver the blissful

As we know, xenophobia starts with first impressions: a simple glance allows you to see the Other’s difference. If we all come from similar racial backgrounds this difference doesn’t immediately show through our physical aspect, but it clearly shows up the very moment the foreigner begins to speak, revealing his accent. Surely we should marvel…