Homecoming: Returning to Vancouver after my first semester away

This past winter break, I did a month-long trip back home to Vancouver. It was great being able to relax and spend time with my family and friends. Being new to living independently in Toronto, this winter break, I learned to cherish and remember the special moments spent with people I truly care about.

Having a friend to take photos with made the experience 10 times better. During my time in Vancouver, I took advantage of the generous amount of free time I had and went out often to take pictures. This picture is from a day when I went out shooting around downtown Vancouver with my friend Josh Kim, a first-year student at University of Toronto, where we stopped near English Bay to take this shot. In the background is the well-known Burrard Bridge that connects Vancouver to downtown.

With Toronto being substantially larger than Vancouver, one would expect a city like Vancouver to offer little to none as far as exploration goes. However, if you’ve been to Vancouver, or British Columbia in general, you would know how much this place has to offer; in fact, one could argue that Vancouver has more to explore from its unique blend of nature and urban cityscape. Located right along the ocean, Vancouver is surrounded by an abundant amount of forests and mountains. This shot was taken at Stanley Park, another well known place to visit, with the Lions Gate that connects Vancouver to North Vancouver.

lions gate-1

Nature is a prominent factor in B.C. and is one thing I missed the most about being home. Being surrounded by skyscrapers and millions of hustling people is definitely great and a challenge for me. However, the quiet side of life is something that I missed greatly. With mountains and trails around (Whistler, Cypress, Grouse, Blackcomb) I used to go snowboarding often down these mountains. This winter I didn’t have a chance to snowboard, but I did snowshoe for the first time which, was a cool experience.

Stanley Park is one of my favourite parks in Vancouver. With over 400 hectares of rainforest, lots of memories were made in this park. With winter not being too cold in Vancouver, I was able to bike along the famous, 8.8-kilometre seawall along Stanley Park. Stanley Park was named the best park in the world by TripAdvisor in 2014, and has so much to offer in terms of exploring.

Back in Toronto for second semester, I can say that this winter break was one of the best holidays I’ve spent yet. Even though I stayed in the same country, it was an eye-opening experience to realize how different these two cities are. Toronto was always the city I wanted to study in after high school, and to be here now and study a subject I’m passionate about is definitely a dream come true. I’ve met incredible people that I’ll value throughout my life. But in the end, home is home, and to me home is Vancouver.