Lima Al-Azzeh

I Cheated on Vancouver…

In Cultural Anomalies on August 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Photo by Bob

I cheated on you Vancouver, and for that I am truly, truly sorry. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, to sit with my guilt and this feeling of constant nausea before I was able to finally understand why it is that I cheated on you.

The truth is hard to admit, and it doesn’t sound pretty in the least, but the reason I cheated on you was because, simply, I was ignorant.

In December of 2006 I moved to Toronto in a mad dash. I graduated from university earlier than I had expected after discovering that I had incorrectly tallied my credits, and my first thought was “I want to get the hell out of here”. I was young at the time, you see, and didn’t fully appreciate all you had to offer. It’s the classic cause of adultery – that fatal cocktail of ignorance and lack of appreciation.

When I hit the cold, frosty ground  in Toronto I felt intoxicated with the smell of city, sweat, and good times. The youth were rampant and they were all high on ambition (the drug of choice in Toronto). Everywhere I looked there were young movers & shakers knocking people down on their way up the ladder of success. I didn’t mind being knocked around, it just fueled my intense desire to be one of those people who knocks them right back. It was far from any feeling I’d ever had in mellow, hippie dippie Vancouver. And I really didn’t mind the cold or the lack of trees all that much.

That’s not all though Vancouver, I also bad mouthed you to my Toronto friends, and believe me this act of defamation will haunt me forever. I told them that you were mellow and boring, a big city that felt more like a small town. I told them that unless you were a hippie, a hiker, a skier or a snowboarder then you didn’t really belong in Vancouver. I told them your music scene was lame and the club scene was made up solely of douchebags in Ed Hardy – or else you hit the dirty pubs where your shoes will likely stick to the floor at some point and someone, somewhere will throw up right on their table. And they won’t even have the decency to do it in a glass, they’ll just puke, all over the table.

I even bad mouthed you over international waters … as I met people in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia. I would repeat the same misconceptions I had of my own city – that you were beautiful, but boring, and not worth sticking around for. I said you were the epitome of a fair weather friend. In Melbourne, people would ask me “How does it feel to visit the second best city in the world after living in the first best” and I would almost always respond with a scoff and tell them exactly what I thought. I won’t belabour the point here, but you can imagine what I told them. You see, it’s just that I wanted to be anywhere, anywhere at all, but here.

I spent about a year and a half away from you, Vancouver, and I can honestly say that I didn’t realize then what I know now. I didn’t realize that there’s a legion of young people all over this city who are making it happen. People who don’t search through the want ads or the classifieds to find their dream jobs, but who take it upon themselves to somehow just turn their dreams into reality. People who follow through on ideas and inspire others to help them or do the same for themselves. Friends who can actually work together and build companies and restaurants and blogs and magazines that have a sense of wisdom, community, and social consciousness. These people, they don’t knock anyone over, it’s not their style, it’s not your style Vancouver, and maybe that’s why I never really noticed them but you know what? They’re oh so successful nonetheless.

So here I am, older, slightly wiser and definitely more informed and all I want to do is make amends with you Vancouver. I realize I have to work hard to gain back your love and your trust. I won’t just win you over with one simple, albeit pretty darn public, apology. I’ve been thinking about how to go about doing this, and I think I’ve found just the ticket. I’m going to give exposure to those people in our communities who are moving and shaking and realizing their dreams. I’ve already contacted a few worthy candidates, and even published a post about some of these movers & shakers recently. I intend to contact many more talented individuals and I will do my best to tell everyone to read about these people and connect with them and be inspired by them.

So that’s what I’m going to do for you Vancouver, and perhaps a little selfishly, for myself too. But I promise, I’ll never take you for granted again, and as ever, I am still really, really sorry.


  1. […] fashion and food bloggers to follow, partly for my own delight and partly because I needed to make amends with the city of Vancouver. Within seconds I received a bright hello from local food blogger Mijune […]

  2. Lima! Wow… what an article! You write so well and so many feelings I can relate to, yet not relate to at the same time. So this was your inspiration for ivoucouverite? Amazing. The fact that you’re dedicating your blog to showcase Vancouver’s talented individuals (including YOURSELF) is something so honourable. I can only commend you on what you have started and can’t wait to read more. Congratulations!

  3. […] and stop being that overbearing, incessant critic of a city that I do actually dearly love, I aimed to not badmouth or criticize Vancouver but to revel in the glories of its splendor and try to rekindle my romantic […]

  4. […] Vancouver? I told you I’d make up for cheating on you […]

  5. […] Everybody cheats somehow, including myself. It’s how you make amends that […]

  6. […] know I promised I wouldn’t gripe about Vancouver, and it seems somewhat unfair to when the weather has cooperated so nicely lately (is there […]

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