I figured starting at the very beginning would be best…
I first visited Vancouver in September 2011. I was 20; wide-eyed, and eager to visit a new country, accompanied by my mum. My mum’s cousin – my godmother – was living in the city at the time with her husband, which is why we decided to go. After seeing so many pictures on Facebook we both wanted to see the place for ourselves, and they were gracious enough to let us stay with them.
We went for two weeks, and had glorious weather basically the whole time we were there. I think it rained maybe once? We were outside most days, walking around, exploring the city and the nature mixed within it, so the good weather made a huge difference to us. It also meant I could wear shorts for pretty much the whole two weeks we were there as well.
I fell in love with the city straight away. The culture, attitudes, appreciation of meeting for coffee, outdoor spaces, healthy lifestyles. My favourite place was the first place I was taken – Jericho Beach. It’s stunning itself – lovely sand, tree trunks laid about that people gather around to sit on, slowly lapping water coming from the ocean inlet. Best of all though – the view. From there you see the mountains across the water, but then turn your head to the right and you see Stanley Park – a forest which is on the edge of the main downtown area of the city. All visible from this one beach. Literally, beach, mountains, forest, metropolis. It’s so different to any other place I’ve been!
As well as the weather and the natural geography I loved the people I met. Staying with my godmother and her husband, they took us to church with them the first and last Sundays we stayed (the middle weekend we went to Whistler!), and I was totally blown away by what church was like, and the people I met there. There were four things that stood out as different to any other church I’d been to – there were lots of young people there; there were drums and guitars; the pastor talked about really relevant stuff; people were genuinely interested in who we were and remembered us when we came back. These were not things I had experienced before, and the revelation made me look for a church when I came back home.
I’ve now been a Christian for about 7 years and have always felt I’d love to go back to Vancouver, because that’s kind of where that journey began, as well as all the other great things about the city.
So there we go, the reasons I was interested in going to Canada.
In my next blog I’ll explain how we went from “nice idea” to actually doing it!