Today I had one of those experiences that to me epitomizes Vancouver, and makes me really appreciate the strange and special magic of living here.

I was waiting for a cab outside Stupid Store and started chatting to an older woman who was also waiting for a cab with her load of shopping (a skill I have inherited from my mother). We were commenting on how slow the cabs were, especially for a random Thursday afternoon and she told me she had been waiting for a while. The cabby arrived and had my name, and she still hadn’t got her cab, so I offered her mine because I hadn’t been waiting as long as her. The cabby asked us where we were going and it ended up that I was on the way to her place. So I agreed to share with her.

The cabby had to get petrol so we ended up chatting while waiting in the car for him to fill up. I asked her where she was from, because I couldn’t exactly place her accent and she told me she was originally from Somalia. I told her I was South African and she did something that touched me deeply. I was sitting in the front seat and she was sitting behind me, and she reached forward and touched my arm and said with such joy, “We’re both African!”. We got a chance to talk about home, about life in Vancouver, about the weather here, about the trouble that Africa is in. all the way home.

I never got to ask her name.