Saturday, April 16, 2005

what I love about Vancouver

I grew up in a very, very white town. I've lived in England and Nigeria, but I don't remember much of it. Mostly I remember this place where everyone looked the same. I can remember people referring to "the black kid" in high school. There was only one, in a school of 1200. Scary. But it's not like that here.

I'm told that directory assistance in Vancouver is available in four languages -- English, French, Punjabi and Cantonese. One of my favourite games to play down by the beach is to count how many languages are being spoken. On a typical day you'll hear five or six. The record so far, is thirteen. I love that there are signs here in languages other than English. I love that my corner grocery store carries several vareties of gyoza.

For me the ulitmate Vancouver multiculural experience was last year's St. Patrick's Day parade. There was someone in one of the pipe and drum corps repleat in turban and tartan playing for St. Patrick's Day. There was a native amercian man on the Chinese dragon boat team. There were east indian women in Cuban carneval outfits, and highland dancers who's curly red wigs bobbed up and down on decidedly un-Irish looking faces. It was wonderful.

I come from an immigrant family. It's not something I think about a lot, but it is part of who I am. I'm not from here but it has become home. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about the rain that has been predicted for the Sun Run tomorrow. I heard myself say "but we're west coasters, if we can't handle a little rain, we shouldn't be here" and I chuckled, because I am a west coast transplant as well. The white, white town I remember is back east.

I'm not from here but you could say that I did my growing up here. Maybe that's true of of a lot us. What I love about Vancouver is that is for all of us, in our myriad colours and language, we're from here now.

2 comments:

Patricia said...

This is probably the thing I loved most about Vancouver! Even in the short time we were up there I absolutely LOVED seeing and experiences all the different cultures.

Anonymous said...

wait till they all start driving..