Global Narratives: The Spicy Chilean Pepper Living in Vancity

Melissa Gibbons // Production Manager 

This March will mark my sixth anniversary of living in Vancouver. It might not sound like a long time, but as someone who has hopped all over the world, six years is a long time for me. In fact, I’ve lived the longest in Vancouver and I truly love it now, but truth be told I wasn’t Vancouver’s biggest fan from the get-go. 

I’m originally from Chile, but because my parents were diplomats I’ve travelled the world and lived in various countries since I was three years old. Russia, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Britain to name a few. So before I touched base with “Vancity” I was a “London Girl”. Living that fast-paced city life, my life revolved around being fashionable and going to countless art shows, galleries or museums. There was so much to do in London that I was always busy and always up to something. But life changes and my life changed once again. But luckily for me, my family wasn’t just destined for any city in Canada, we were destined for Vancouver. 

 We arrived in Vancouver in March 2013. At first, it was very hard. I used to compare everything to London – the downtown area, the museums, the restaurants, even the different rhythm of life. When we drove around fashionable Robson Street I wanted to cry. It was all such a shock. In the first month, I was terribly lonely. I didn’t really know anybody and I used to live in the British Properties, I know it sounds super fancy, but if you are in your early 20s and find yourself living there, it’s pretty isolating, that’s why I nicknamed it “Narnia”. But slowly Narnia showed me it’s beauty, the breathtaking views from my house, the little forest nearby, the incredible West Vancouver seawall where I’d go running, (I had never run before, but that changed when I discovered the seawall). I also discovered the walks along Ambleside beach, the salty breeze from the shore, and soon I started to fall in love with the city and appreciate something that I had never truly valued before – the beauty and peace of nature.  

Once I got used to Narnia and the surrounding West Vancouver area, I started to step out of my comfort zone and travel around the City of Vancouver. My first night out was my 21st birthday, and that was when I met my very first Canadian friend, Sam, and thanks to her, life in the city became more fun. I started to realize that Canadians are kind and good-hearted people, and way less cold than the people I was surrounded by in Britain. 

Then summer arrived shortly and I was submerged in the good vibrations of the season. There were so many beaches to see, national parks to explore and countless activities to do. I felt amazed and in tune with the town. Winter is engaging too, the mountains around Vancouver have so much to offer and luckily it’s the warmest city in Canada, so every time there is a snowfall I get pretty stoked. 

My first Canadian school was Capilano University, almost six years ago when I decided to put a pause on design for a bit and try my hand at one of my other passions – acting. It was challenging at times, I’ve never had to do drama in a foreign language, but it was worth it. I met some incredible people who are now my closest friends. And I even got my first job in Vancouver at a bar in Gastown with over 50 craft beers on tap. I didn’t drink beer, not even Corona. But I slowly got used to the unique flavour profiles of craft beer, and my passion for it grew, and I realized that I was in the land of microbreweries.                                                                                                                   

I do go back to Chile to see family and friends and taste the flavours of home, of course, that is surely one of the things that I miss most. But in retrospect, I actually feel more at home in Vancouver than any other place in the world and I’m truly grateful that I get to be a part of this gorgeous, eccentric and multicultural city. 

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