Hello November, that went fast! I didn’t expect you until in a bit, but, swooosh, you’re already here and remind me that my time in Canada is fairly limited, quite unfortunately. Isn’t strange to undergo a complete change of mind from a rather reluctant and struggling stance in the first couple weeks to a very relaxed and confident attitude? Maybe it’s the fate of the traveler to face struggles and to find ways to get more comfortable with oneself. I certainly did because at one point I deliberately decided to enjoy myself and the time I have the chance to be in Vancouver to the fullest — in my and not someone else’s way. But it’s not that, I also met wonderful people, made great friends and hopefully strengthened existing ones. Eventually it all boils down to the people which surround and care about you. Appealing to Adam Smith and to his “Theory of Moral Sentiments”, he didn’t come up with the following insight into human nature out of nowhere:
Humanity does not desire to be great, but to be beloved.
The “Theory of Moral Sentiments” is one of Smith’s great works, which I really enjoyed reading. We were covering it in my “History of Philosophy and Economics” class, next up is the “Wealth of Nations”, his magnum opus.
Since I’m on a tight schedule to pick up my girlfriend from the airport in just a bit, let me throw in and summarise some tidbits of my experiences and on-going observations with some bullet points (not necessary the tool a good writer, but whatever):
- School (or rather university) is fun and most of all interesting, but I feel the on-going workload is indeed higher. In general it occurs to me that quantity is more valued but the expectations in terms of quality for each assignment are less. But I might as well be biased or too less informed. In any way, I’m glad that I’m not taking a full workload because that’s really keeping you busy to an extent which is just not something I’d like be when I’m on exchange. There’s always than school to explore and to learn.
- This is a random change of topic, but: hell, you smell a lot of weed when walking through Vancouver. The authorities are quite lenient in terms of Marijuana, so it’s not too rare to see people on the street with joints. Probably more likely than with cigarettes which almost seem to be banned from the public altogether.
- I might have emphasised it already but let me do it again: it rains a lot in Vancouver. This is due to Vancouver’s unique setting, also being in a former rainforest region. Strangely the rain here bugs me less than in Germany and doesn’t make me feel being locked in at home or anything. Maybe there’s indeed no bad weather, instead there’s just inappropriate gear. A waterproof raincoat and possibly a rain cover for your backpack is considered a must-have in Vancouver.
- One aspect I really like about this city is how commercial and residential areas are so intertwined and not so much separated. Obviously, I’m not necessarily taking about the very heart of commercial downtown, but there are quite a few areas with great, often independent stores where you just have turn on a corner and you’re immediately in a fine residential area. I don’t feel able to judge if that’s a particular quality of Vancouver, but I find it very comforting, just because it emphasises how businesses are embedded in communities and are essentially driven by normal people. Maybe it gives hindsight to a stronger entrepreneurship spirit too, but that’s just a guess.
- I recently had to pick up a friend from Vancouver’s Airport YVR and I once again realised it’s probably the greatest airport in the world. Due to the mostly carpeted floor the overall noise is just way lower than you’d expect it from an airport. It’s also full of First Nations art objects which gives it a nice, welcoming touch. Obviously, YVR couldn’t handle the masses of people like Frankfurt’s airport does, it’s eventually a small one. It recently got voted for being one of the world’s best airports to sleep in! Certainly something Frankfurt can’t compete with.
I’ll try to continue this list at another point. Until then, enjoy the latest additions to my Instagram profile, I just came home from trip to Whistler and took some really nice photos. Take care!