Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Memories of My First Visit to a Foreign Country

My first trip to a foreign country was when I went to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada when I was a young teenager. My parents took my brother and me to the World’s Fair (Expo ’86). We drove the whole way up in a truck with a camper, and stayed in a cute, but strange rental house.

I remember going to what seemed like hundreds of exhibits, although the thing I remembered most was the floating McDonald’s. I don’t even like McDonald’s, but I loved that one. It was two stories high, with floor to ceiling windows, so you could look out on the water. From the inside, it was beautiful. From the outside, it looked like a giant inflatable bounce house.

On our last day at the fair, I had another memorable moment when I met a new friend. She only spoke French, and I only spoke English. Somehow, we understood each other, just using gestures. It must have looked really funny to the people standing next to us, because we were speaking at the same time, in our own languages, using wild gestures. The only thing I wish I had known before the trip, was that many Canadian citizens speak French, and you may have the opportunity to meet more people if you learn it. There was no way to talk to my new friend on the phone, so that day at the fair was the only time we got to hang out together.

During our stay, we took some time to check out Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. We went to a small restaurant for Dim Sum. It was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in my life, with some unusual dishes I had never tried before. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Another fun memory from the trip was when we took the first and only ferry ride I’ve ever taken, where we got to bring our rental car with us. We took the ferry over to Butchart Gardens for an amazing tour. The place was massive, with the most beautifully designed, colorful gardens I have ever seen. They also had unusual glass balls scattered throughout the gardens, that reflected all the color in different ways. These “Gazing Balls” have since become much more popular in the United States.

I visited Canada again in my late 20s. The next time, I decided to visit the opposite end of the country, Toronto, Ontario. This time, I went with just my mother, and hung out with some friends I had met online. Toronto has almost nothing in common with Vancouver, and is actually a bit more like some of the big cities in the United States. The Toronto trip gave me the courage, however, to take my first trip overseas, to London, a few years later.

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