Meeting People and Asking (or Giving) Directions

I’ve been get­ting out and meet­ing new friends. There are the Weblog­gers Meet-Ups, where I recent­ly met Jan Karls­b­jerg (who was kind enough to blog about me), Heather, and Will Pate, as well as Ian­iv Schwe­ber and his fiance, Ariean­na. I’ve also met sev­er­al peo­ple though the BC Game­lan, as well as the VanUE (Van­cou­ver User Expe­ri­ence group), who also hold month­ly meet­ings, begin­ning this month. Pam con­tin­ues to meet peo­ple through the STC (Soci­ety for Tech­ni­cal Communications).
My gen­er­al impres­sion is that there are lots of new­com­ers to Van­cou­ver — a good sign, I think. When peo­ple want to move to a place, for what­ev­er rea­son, it usu­al­ly means that it’s a good place to be. We always felt that way when we were in Ver­mont (I remem­ber our times in Wait­s­field, where we were sur­prised when we actu­al­ly did meet a native Ver­mon­ter). For Cana­da, it has such a high rate of immi­gra­tion that there’s actu­al­ly a mag­a­zine for new immi­grants to Cana­da (most­ly from Asia, as one would expect, but also from Africa, Europe and Australia).
When there are lots of peo­ple mov­ing to a place, peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions (and even pub­lic venues) tend to be a bit bet­ter about not assum­ing you know what to do or where to go. In Boston, sig­nage was seen as a sil­ly add-on, or maybe even an admis­sion of weak­ness. After all, why point out what every­body should already know, haven’t you been here long enough? Or as they say in the ver­nac­u­lar, ‘Whad­daya retAHd­ed?’ Here in Van­cou­ver, one not only has signs and maps, but also ori­en­ta­tion guides, brochures and tons of infor­ma­tion booths and peo­ple offer­ing help and direc­tions (the bus dri­vers are even polite about offer­ing advice about where to trans­fer to get to a cer­tain area!). Maybe it takes a crit­i­cal mass of new­bies to make soci­ety in gen­er­al aware that not every­one knows every­thing about where you live and how to get from point A to point B. I’ve tak­en some plea­sure in giv­ing out direc­tions to a few peo­ple. Must mean I don’t look like I’m a fish out of water here, if ever I did.