Vancouver is very beautiful. It’s a city where unexpected views of snow-capped mountains rising over the sparking ocean trigger photo ops, most people seem to walk or take public transportation on a regular basis and American-style fast food is not on every corner. Well, Starbucks, yes, but McDonalds, thankfully, no. I learned the other day that Vancouver is the largest city in North America without a major highway running through it. I saw dozens of Smart Cars and many of the taxis are hybrids. Every public garbage station has a slot for paper, a recycling spot, as well as a hole for other trash.
At the downtown conference center, cruise ships dock daily, there is a Chevron station in the middle of the bay (for boats!) and the weather is mild year-round. In summer, the sun rises very early, and sets completely around eleven. It’s clean and historic and has a huge Chinatown as well as a gorgeous, mostly wooded urban park. It is great.
The conference was wonderful. It was different than I expected. Who knew there are 11,000 immigration lawyers just in the American Immigration Lawyers Association? And thousands of them were at this conference. So, it was not at all likely that I would just run into someone from the forum’s attorney. I hung out with Laurel Scott, her assistant and my long-time forum buddy Lynette, Laurel’s new-ish associate Veronica Tunitsky as well as Southern California attorney Heather Poole and her assistants Carla and Mindy. This is a fabulous group of people and I feel so blessed to have met them all.
This was also the first time I have been surrounded by lawyers, or even in the presence of any lawyers. I don’t think I have ever been in a law office in my life (still). There are no lawyers in my mother’s, father’s or stepmother’s family. I don’t have any friends who went to law school. Now that I am in the law school mode, a few people in my real life have mentioned that such and such acquaintance from college or whatever is an attorney, but I’ve just never been around lawyers.
Most of the people I met at the conference seemed very nice. They are, after all, immigration lawyers, and while a fair share of them do business law or other things that are not directly related to families, these are people who commit their lives to helping foreigners come to the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. They seem overwhelmingly cultured and open-minded. There were some people I wasn’t too sure about, but overall they made a good impression on this outsider.