Photos: Canada geese parading the promenade, low tide at East Beach, the blossoms on Columbia Ave., my favourite piece of graffiti, and Oxford Street hill: where as teenagers we used to dare each other to speed down in neutral as far as we could before hitting the brakes. If you were brave enough you could really catch some air on that last hump and your friends on the backseat would hit their heads on the car ceiling (I didn’t say it was smart).
Every time I walk the promenade along Marine Drive, stand in line at Safeway or order a latté at a café anywhere in White Rock (Vancouver too for that matter) – I’m reminded of just how special a place this is.
Perfect strangers say hello and good morning, almost everyone makes eye contact and smiles, and even though we stand the same distance apart from each other that we do anywhere else – somehow people just feel closer. If you talk to the person standing next to you in line, no one will think you crazy, drunk or American.* The grocery clerk means it when she smiles and the chit chat is as close to sincere as chit chat can get. The point is: people talk to each other here. Neighbours too (imagine!). I know I probably idealize things (as you do when you’re far away from home) but all else aside – it is such an easy place to be and an even easier place to come home to each year.
*As is often the case in Denmark (where you show your politeness instead by respecting another person’s right to be left alone – which has plus sides of its own sometimes).