Take a walk on the west side

Oh, hey! It’s been a while. A quick rundown on what’s changed and what has remained the same:

                          Changes

Constants

  • Relocating to Vancouver
  • Moving in with my wonderfully charming boyfriend
  • Turning 25
  • Navigating the tech scene affectionately dubbed as “Silicon Valley North”

 

  • Racial politics
  • Real estate woes
  • Hairdresser issues
  • Grappling with what it means to be a socialist black, twentysomething in a largely white, socially-liberal-fiscally-conservative environment

 

It’s been said time and again, but perhaps it bears repeating: Vancouver is breathtakingly beautiful. The tranquil mountains, lush forests and serene beaches are hauntingly picturesque.

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Vancouver is comfortable. The queues are shorter, the trains and buses run without delay, the streets are quieter and for the most part things just work. I’ve discovered charming side street cafes and delectable eateries, but most astonishingly – a subtle, yet ever-present innate desire for physical activity.

You never really know where life will take you. I certainly never pictured myself living in Montreal, Manchester, London or Vancouver, but I’m starting to see that each new opportunity is a chance to add to your assortment of experiences. These experiences make up who we are and help us determine where we are going.

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African Girl in the Prairies

Hello friends! I trust you all had a pleasant and restful holiday. Mine? A riot in the best way possible. While I had been out to Calgary twice before, this year an adventure to Saskatchewan was in the cards. Allow me to chronicle the journey:

1. Meeting Bram in Montreal

Reunited and it feels so good

Reunited and it feels so good

It was great to hang out on the old stomping grounds for a few days before heading west. Bram worked everyday, so I had time to engage in meaningful, personal projects (Frozen, Grey’s Anatomy and House of Lies). I also paid a visit to McGill University, which had been my home for four years. Unsurprisingly, everything had changed and I set off an alarm trying to enter Redpath Library by what is now an emergency fire exit.

Cue: “She doesn’t even go here!

2. Flying to Regina

Landing in Regina, SK

Landing in Regina, SK

Bram and I flew to Regina to meet up with his dad. We all then drove one hour south to Weyburn to visit Bram’s grandma, Mabel. The first thing I was struck by in Regina was how small and quiet the airport was. I suppose being African has brainwashed me into thinking the capital of a territory, province or country always has a busy, nice airport. False.

Nevertheless, I went about trying to blend in, despite not seeing a single black person in the airport. We met up with Bram’s dad and went to pick up our bags. That’s when it happened. My seemingly flawless assimilation strategy blew up in my face when a broadcaster from a local radio station approached to ask me a few questions about “visiting Saskatchewan for Christmas.” It was pretty funny. I laughed a lot as I tried to explain what I was doing in the prairies. She seemed genuinely interested in what an East African girl was doing on her way to Weyburn, SK. It was an amusing experience for all.

3. Weyburn, SK

Mabel is 95 and pretty remarkable

Mabel is 95 and pretty remarkable

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Mabel. Not only is she surprisingly sharp for 95, but she is a pretty hilarious person. She is social media savvy, with Facebook being her platform of choice. I made sure to upload and tag this one of us.

I was also able to spend time with Bram’s aunts and uncles from Saskatchewan, who were all exceedingly warm and lovely. Special shoutouts to Brenda and Rena! I hope to visit and ride the combines in the warmer months.

On the second day, we visited the family farm in Oungre which is close to the North Dakota border. I was surprised by how little snow there was even though it was freezing. I was even more surprised by how flat and unpopulated most of the land is. I know a certain Tanzanian man (cough, my dad, cough) who would have had a lot to say about that.

I didn’t see any black people in Weyburn, but I did see a Filipino lady – score!

The first oil rig I've ever seen

My first oil rig!

Flat lands as far as the eye can see

Flat lands as far as the eye can see

4. Christmas in Calgary

Driving to Christmas Dinner

Driving to Christmas Dinner

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo Lights

I had a wonderful time in Calgary. The weather was not too unforgiving, the food was plentiful, and I got to see more of the city than I had before. It was great to spend time with Bram’s family. Given that most of the initial awkwardness from last year has worn off, I’d say we are making the appropriate strides. Special thanks to Curtis & Johanna for your phenomenal generosity. I get teary thinking about it. Also, thanks Patrick for the DavidsTea swag. Sippin’ on some prime vanilla chai as I type this. It was lovely to meet up with Calgary friends, old and new.

5. New Years in Toronto

NYE 2014

NYE 2014

We made it back to Toronto just in time for NYE. I’m not a new year’s fan, but I appreciated being able to spend it with my favourite person and some of our friends. I’ll be doing a post about my 2015 convictions (not resolutions) in the days to come.

Happy new year! Stay tuned 🙂