Well hello there! Good morning!
I was reminded over the weekend that the 6th anniversary of becoming Canadian was this weekend. That flew by quickly. One minute, I’m working at a Trinidadian daily newspaper, eating doubles every Saturday morning and callaloo and macaroni pie every Sunday for lunch and next thing you know, I’m a Vancouverite through and through – complete with vegetarian diet, rain boots and recycling bins. It’s amazing how time marches on and how life changes.
I went back to find a picture from my citizenship ceremony and realized that I was married at the time, so pictures of Ex-Husband were all throughout the album. They always seem to surprise me – pictures of XH, but that’s not what this post is about. Although, of course, my being in Canada is inextricably linked to him, so it’s kind of avoidable. Meh.
I didn’t plan on being Canadian. When I met him and we fell in love, it never crossed my mind that I’d have to move. Oh, to be young and a little bit stupid! After a couple years, we did move. I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that it was far, but I didn’t expect Vancouver to be this beautiful. Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of trips and nowhere I’ve been is as good as here – not even Manhattan, which is saying a lot since I’m obsessed with that city. It’s not the most exciting place – I prefer the bustle of Vegas with the shopping and the noise and the crowds – but I accept Vancouver as my own.
I am Canadian!
[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not copy without permission.]
So today I want to make a list of things I appreciate about living in Vancouver.
1. Being born and raised in a place where there is homogeneity and sameness, I always marvel at how cosmopolitan we are. I remember when I moved here and met people from LITERALLY all around the world. I met a guy one night from Azerbaijan. Do you know how blessed you are when you can casually meet someone from a place you have to look up on a map? When I first moved here and met a friend’s babysitter, who was from Nepal, I wanted to have a map and put a pin of the countries from which I met people. I still might do that. It’s fascinating.
2. The mountains and the ocean. I like the option of going up to Cypress for a day of snowshoeing, which I did on my own because I wanted to try something new and exciting – only to find out it was just hiking on snow! Then a few months later, being able to spend the whole day on the beach, lying in the sun, being warm and happy. In Vancouver, it’s easy to be outdoors – camping, hiking, going to the beach, paddleboarding, skiing: the options are endless.
3. It’s SO clean here! I mean, seriously! It’s clean here all the time. I appreciate the hard work of all those who keep our city clean. If you see litter somewhere, it’s always a surprise. In Manhattan, the garbage is just piled up on the sidewalk and it’s jarring. Here, garbage is whisked away and taken care of ever so discreetly. I love it.
4. On the same vein, I appreciate that we are mindful of our environment here. We take care of our planet and recycling is a BIG part of our culture. I’m not going to lie, I’m a recycling buff. I try to recycle everything all the time. It makes sense and it’ll be a good thing in the long run. On one of my trips back to Trinidad, for the first time I realized how much styrofoam was used and that everything was just GARBAGE. I did my part one year and took all the disposable (and biodegradable) things for Kidlet’s birthday party down there. I couldn’t bear contributing to the massive piles on the Beetham.
5. I just like how everybody gets along here. I mean, with so many different groups of people, everyone is integrated and open to different cultures. You are exposed to different kinds of food, music, religions, dances. I told Kidlet once that we should learn how to count to 10 or say “Thank you” in 10 different languages for fun – that’s still on my bucket list. Since I’ve been here, I’ve fallen in love with Japanese sushi, Thai pad thai, and Angolan kizomba.
When I fell in love with a man all those years ago, how could I have known that this would be my life today? I’ve said this before: there are days when I feel like I want to go home and there are days when I feel like I’m already home.