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How to be a Vancouverite 101


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So this new arrival from the UK, land of dense fog and drear, and home of the chip, is having trouble fitting in. She decided to sort it out by putting in down on paper and in the process creating a guide for the similiarly disenfranchised.

Kale-munching, yoga pant-wearing, seawall-running, Canuck-worshipping: Vancouver, your West Coast ways are strange to me. I arrived here almost a year ago, head over heels in love with this city. But I'm trying hard to fit in and I think I've finally got a definitive top ten of How To Be A Vancouverite.

Start saying “awesome”

Fact: any conversation you have with a Vancouverite will include at least three “awesomes” and two “perfects.” If you want to really blend in, toss in the occasional “good times” and a “right on.” Alas, as a Mean Brit, I sound like I’m being sarcastic if I say any of these. Spoiler: I probably am. Good times.

Always be doing something healthy

Is the city motto: “Don’t walk if you can bike. Don’t bike if you can run. Don’t run if you can kayak”? I keep overhearing conversations like “So did you do that 150k bike ride? You did? Awesome!” So you’re all slender and gorgeous and healthy. You know that’s weird, right?

Wear Lululemon

I went to get kitted out at their Robson Street store. Never have I felt more like a Mean Brit. It was like a magnet for sunshine and happy people; basically, my nightmare. I got a cute top which turns into a minidress and some yoga pants. I challenged myself to walk through the West End wearing them — an act that would be greeted with suspicion and calls to the gendarmes in Paris where you don’t even put out your garbage without full makeup and a nifty suit. The last time I felt so exposed was walking to Brighton Pride dressed in a corset and frilly knickers. But I guess I looked the part as I got asked for directions.

Complain. A lot.

Whether you’re trash-talking the weather, moaning about Vancouver being an unfriendly city (while chatting warmly with me, a stranger!) or just grizzling about how no-fun the city is (always when you’re on your way to an exciting-sounding event) you lot love to whine. Is it because you live in paradise?

There’s life and there’s death and then there’s hockey

I’m told that to be a true Vancouverite is to be disappointed by the Canucks; I met the cute one at a bar opening and asked him for a photo for my friend’s kid. He said no. He was “busy” eating chips. Does that count? It was disappointing.

Embrace Yoga

Last week I went to my very first yoga class at Robson Street Yoga. I picked a class for “stiff people.” Turns out “stiff” in Vancouver means “not quite able to tuck your foot behind your ear.” In England it means “can barely touch toes.” I spent most of the class in red-mist rage at how un-stiff everyone was. Cheats! I liked the bit where you lie on the floor though. Is there a class for that?

Become kale-obsessed

Seriously, what is it with you lot and kale? OK, so it’s good for you. You can do a bunch of cool stuff with it from smoothies to sautéing it. It’s tasty and a pretty decent swap for chips and ... yeah, OK, I get it. Kale is er, awesome.

Stick to the rules

You love to hate your endless rules like no beer on the beach and the unfathomable madness of your liquor laws, but whenever I discuss this with Vancouverites they always end up in favour of the law. Know what? I think you kind of like being told what to do, you kinky lot.

Be a foodie

If it’s not seasonal, organic, free-range and local in this town it may as well be freaky lab-grown burger meat. Hanging out at Farmers’ Markets while planning to go to a Food Truck festival so you can discuss dinner plans is probably the No. 1

Vancouverite weekend occupation.

Go from Zen-like calm to fizzing, swivel-eyed rage in less than three seconds when asked about bike lanes

I never knew Vancouverites could lose their cool over anything other than hockey until I discovered your “unreasonable argument” trigger. Sure, you all love cycling, just not if you have to lose car lanes to do it. I like to toss this one into conversation when things are getting too “awesome.”

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Well, it's a better perception than people thinking we live in igloos and have pet polar bears. While it sounds like a much more specific subset of the Vancouver population she's describing, there's definitely some of those that hit the mark for a number of us.

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My English friend thinks I'm a foodie but I really think he's overstating it. We travel alot and often search the internet for restaurant recommendations. Usually it's a Brit or Aussie that comments on a place saying it's 'good' or whatever and it turns out to be shlte. Seems their idea of good is tasteless overcooked crap covered in HP sauce or some other condiment so everything tastes like friggin' HP sauce or Coleman's mustard. Their gravy must be Bisto and ketchup goes on most everything else. It all tastes the same and you can't even taste the food itself. I've learned to only listen to negative reviews now and just trust my instincts.

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