*All photos by Francis Ymbang
Growing up as a visible minority and a first-generation immigrant hasn’t always been easy, at least for me.
On one hand, you’re a foreigner in the country you currently reside in. On the other, you’re too “Americanized” for the country you were born in. You’re stuck in this “third space”, never quite sure where you fit in. You’ve probably moved around so much, you have a home away from home away from home. You’re in a constant state of transit, leaving not only landmasses behind, but groups of people who continue to live their lives without you. You belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time. In other words, you’re a third culture kid.
Luckily, I live in Canada, where multiculturalism is celebrated. We don’t describe our nation as a “melting pot”, but rather as a “mosaic”, since we not only tolerate other cultures, but embrace them, too.
And if I’m being completely honest, identifying as a Canadian makes traveling infinitely easier in foreign countries. Despite the misconceptions about living in igloos and saying “a-boot” (where did that even come from?), at the end of the day, all kinds of people are more receptive towards you when they find out you’re a Canadian. I guess our government’s foreign relations team is doing something right.
I’ll admit, I’ve been on the receiving end of micro-aggressions and straight-up racist comments as a woman of colour, but for the most part, the ability to speak another language or show your peers a cultural food item is considered cool. Here, it’s okay to be a little bit different (or even a lot different!).
Being different means you belong.
Thanks for reading my thoughts! Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!
Johnston Canyon and Johnson Lake are included in my favourite places in Banff, Alberta. Click here to see what else is on my list!
P.S. – If you liked these photos, make sure to follow Francis on Instagram!