Ask Pawan: Moving back to a small town after living in Vancouver

“Dear Pawan,

Living in Vancouver and going to UBC has been really cool, I don’t think I can handle going back to my small town in Ontario. What do I do?”

One thing I love about UBC is that the students here are a mix of small town Canadians and international students who are amazed by every wonder the big city has to offer.

For those unaccustomed to city living, the glitz and glam of Vancouver is hard to walk away from, and it’s only made worse by those lucky few who get to stay in the city and post weekly Instagrams praising the unending sunny beaches with the mountains as a nice backdrop.

One tip I have for enjoying summer in a small town, however, is summed up nicely in one word: exaggerate. People in small towns seem to have an obsession with asking how life is in “VanCity” — maybe it’s because they’re interested in how you’re adjusting or maybe because they visited on vacation once and want to talk about Stanley Park and the rain.

I’ve found in my own experiences that, if you try to spice up your Vancouver livin’ stories a bit for your small town friends and family, it’s usually a win-win situation: you get to paint Vancouver with the brightest colours possible, and they get to learn new, exciting things about the hippest city west of the prairies!

However, to help emphasize your new life as a Vancouverite, there are a few touchstones you’ll want to hit: first, adopt a unique opinion on the housing situation in Vancouver, ensuring you throw in terms like “contractors” or “bike lanes” for pizzazz. After that, you’ll want to go to Google Maps and learn the names of at least three hiking trails that have “breathtaking vistas” and are “must-sees if you’re in the Lower Mainland” (note: if you can’t provide personal testimonials, online reviews are fine).

Finally, and this is what separates the wheat from the chaff in proving you’re one of the big city folk, you have to make sure you pronounce the “g” in “Vancouver” with enough pride and confidence that any impressionable child in the vicinity will spell it “Vang” for years to come.

Follow these steps carefully and you are guaranteed to convince even the most skeptical of hometown friends that you really are the Yaletown-traipsing, Skytrain-taking, Grouse Grind-ing cosmopolitan that you are meant to be.

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