Where other people say sorry, too

I am fortunate enough to get to attend a conference in Vancouver, B.C. (see more @ #LPForum19). It is not a big conference and I don’t have a lot of time here, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to jot down some off-the-cuff observations after having arrived last night.

It is refreshing to be in a place where other people say “Sorry,” too. Yes, that famous Canadian self-deprecation is in evidence. I’m not Canadian and I sometimes get in trouble for saying “Sorry” too much. Here, I don’t feel so judged 😉

That large, black bird you see everywhere poking about and generally looking mysterious yet smart as heck is a raven, not a crow.

Just about every meeting begins with an acknowledgement that the land we are meeting on belongs/belonged to First Nations people.

On the way to my hotel from the airport, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing rhododendron trees in full bloom in many bright colors. Yes, I wrote trees, not shrubs, because they are that big. There are lots of flowers blooming everywhere, which is refreshing.

Just around the corner from my hotel, there is an open community garden filled with sweet-smelling herbs and striking flowers that encourages passersby to wander in off the street to take it all in.

Vancouver is an expensive place to live and there is obviously a lot of money here, evidenced by people driving flashy cars that I’ve only ever seen in magazines.

Most of downtown Vancouver seems to consist of high-rise apartment homes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many, even in Chicago. They are the main architectural feature of the city, for whatever that’s worth.

There’s a Malaysian restaurant a few blocks away, one that serves amazing dishes that are inexpensive (the exchange rate helps). I received my dish (Mee Goreng), I swear, less than five minutes after my order was taken. Then after I wolfed it down (I was hungry and tired and it was good), the waiter came over to chat about Malaysian food with me. Even though I was by myself, I was seated in the best spot, too.

At breakfast, an elderly couple were seated next to an available table that I decided to sit at. As I sat down, suddenly, the elderly lady said, somewhat sharply, “No one told you you could sit there!” Startled, I turned around and said — you guessed it — “Sorry!” She then laughed heartily and told me I looked like someone who could take a joke. I laughed in turn.

There is a lot of sensitivity to the environment here as well. One example: my hotel room comes with a composting bucket (!). There are recycling bins everywhere. Another example is that all taxis appear to be hybrids.

Vancouver is clearly multicultural, which I enjoy, and has an overall Asian flair.

If it wasn’t so expensive and far away from most family, I think I’d like to live here. The featured photo is of the view from the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre where the conference is being held.

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