An alphabetic Ode to Vancouver

Playing in Pacific Waters

Last week I read this great post about An Alphabet of Gratitude. At the time I was planning to write an alphabet of gratitude (or things we like) with my son, however, feeling a wee bit homesick during the last day or so, I came up with an A-Z of things I miss about Vancouver and the West Coast.

A – Aquarium: Vancouver has one of the most amazing Aquariums set right smack in the middle of Stanley Park. We visited many times. And one of my friends happens to work there.

B – Beaches: Not just Vancouver’s beaches, also all the way along the West Coast. They are long, rough with big waves, but some are very shallow when the tide is out with beautiful tidal pools. I am not sure how many pounds of shells from these beaches I airlifted over to Germany.

C – Canada Day: For a German to celebrate a National holiday the way Canadians celebrate their country, was something completely new. I found it inspiring. And I think when Germany hosted the World Soccer Championship they had this ‚Canada Day‘ feel too.

D – Downtown, i.e. view of downtown: Our old place had this amazing view of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and depending on the weather all the way to Vancouver Island.

E – Energy: The laid back vibe of Vancouver is definitely something you won’t find in a small town in Eastern Germany… I also miss the helpfulness and friendliness of Canadians in general. There is a level of politeness in daily life that I rarely experience here.

F – Friends: I miss everyone of you. A lot.

G – Grouse Mountain: Anyone who has ever been up this mountain and enjoyed the view, would want to come back. We also got married here. Then spend the afternoon on the beach in English Bay.

H – Home: Vancouver was my son’s home for more than 4 years, mine for over 12 and my husband’s for about 20.

I – Immigration: The multiculturalism is something that I really like about Vancouver. Everyone seemed to be from somewhere else. Most of our friends were immigrants and we had a strong sense of community in our group.

J – Jogging: This is the place where I started running. And to top it off completed the Vancouver Half Marathon. Plus my vote for best scenery while running.

K – Kayak: I like watching others paddling by. I always have the best intentions to go. But once I am on the water in one of those little boats, I am scarred stiff and can’t enjoy it at all. Until I am back on firm ground. Then you can count me in for the next trip.

L – Latte: Vancouver is infamous for his coffee culture. I don’t miss Starbucks, even though I have turned into a Starbucks tourist over here in Germany (whenever I see one, I need to go in). I miss the Artisan Lattes. And the Eggnog Lattes. Did I mention the banana bread and muffins?

M – More space: And the Canadians take full advantage of it. Everything is slightly bigger, cars, streets, houses, mountains, oceans, … in Vancouver the price tag is bigger too.

N – Natives: Germans have a very specific idea of what an ‚Indianer‘ looks like. Well, the West Coast First Nations don’t fit that description at all. It was very fascinating to learn more, see the Pow Wows, experience their culture and live next door.

O – Ocean: I already mentioned the beaches. But standing at the edge of Vancouver Island in Tofino with nothing but water in front of me is a sight that impressed me forever.

P – Playdates: This one is for my son’s friends. We miss our play dates with you.

Q – The Quay: Meaning Lonsdale Quay. This great little public market on the North Shore was our regular meeting spot. We all loved to hang out. Watch the seagulls steal the food of unsuspecting tourists. Have coffee. Grab some veggies. Have lunch. Visit the night market. Meander through the tiny Farmer’s market. Walk up and down the pier.

R – Rainforest: First I was going to put rain, but truth is, I don’t miss the rain. I am happy that we only get one day of rain here at a time, maybe two. But I miss the beautiful rainforest.

S – Sushi: Yum Yum.

T – Tong: This one is for my husband (Tong is his last name). When I told him about the gratitude alphabet, he said he is grateful for T, otherwise he would be called Ong… do I need to say more?

U – Upper Lonsdale: Is the place where my favorite Thai restaurant cooks up the best Pad Thai. In my humble opinion.

V – Veggie-friendly: Vancouver is very vegetarian-friendly. Germany is, well, not quite there yet.

W – Whales: We saw a few of them over the years. They are beautiful creatures.

X – Xmas Market: For a couple of years now, Vancouver has it’s own German Christmas Market. No, it is not even close to the real thing. However, it has made for a great meeting place over Glühwein.

Y – Yogapod: I really miss my yoga studio just down the road. The teachers are amazing, the space is welcoming and you need to check out the little Tao restaurant in the courtyard.

Z – Zero: Zero degrees is about as cold as it has been in Vancouver during the 12 years I lived there. Last time I was in Germany in the winter, we had about minus 20 or so. And yes, I need to explain this fact over here quite often.