I like doing these little AMAs, with myself. They help me get to know myself better, and force me to ask questions that I need to answer but don’t always know how until I have the opportunity to write about them. So here we go.

What is the world missing?

The world is missing its heart. The heart of this planet has been stolen and everyone on this planet is suffering from the consequences. Like the tale of Moana, someone has stolen the heart and without the heart, everyone and everything is corrupted by darkness.

We’re so filled with guilt and shame for not being the people that we want to be or the people that we should be, that we’ve forgotten how to be our true selves. We’ve lost the parts of ourselves that know who we are and where we’re supposed to be going because the world has no heart.

Immigration is a double-edged sword

I am the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, so without it, I wouldn’t be here, but there are a lot of issues with the process, mostly I say I lean towards protecting immigrants, but I also recognize that the community at large is now filled with a ton of new strangers, and that can be scary.

We don’t know these people, only where they come from, and often what we’ve heard about where they come from isn’t great. Libraries are really great places to read stories about people from other lands, but they aren’t really the place to go and meet new people from other lands. That’s why I love how our hometown has put such a huge effort into hosting festivals with food from around the world.

These festivals are really great ways to go out and meet your neighbors, introduce yourself, find new friends, and learn about people and other lands from actual human beings, instead of from CNN or the local newspaper.

We need more of these events that encourage neighbors to get out and meet each other because that’s the only way we’ll get rid of the stigma that brings fear, that keeps us separated.

What is your favorite part about Vancouver?

I love the murals. There are all kinds of murals across Vancouver, BC, and a lot of them detail some of the issues that the houseless folks who live in the Downtown Eastside face, and I love these the best.

First, off they’re beautiful but more than that, and more importantly than that, they educate tourists who wander through the DTES looking for cannabis shops or art galleries. I wish Surrey BC had more of these, but Surrey is a lot more conservative than Vancouver is. Vancouver is definitely the art district on the lower mainland.

The other thing I love is how many street artists there are out in the DTES. They seemingly used to be everywhere, but during the pandemic, a lot of those folks were forced to move their encampments to other locations, or in some small cases, found housing, thankfully. Either way, sitting and talking with street artists about their work is some of how my favorite time is spent.

Another cool part is that there is no one whose actually from Vancouver, in Vancouver. Go into any shop and they’ll all tell you they’ve been transplanted. I ask for directions a lot (snicker) and almost no one I ask is from BC, let alone Canada. So that’s kind of cool.

Favorite Coffee Shop

Trees Coffee in Gastown is my absolute favorite place in Vancouver to go. I usually stop there before I head out for the day, even though it’s in the middle of all the places I wonder, it’s still a cool spot to go to and sit and people-watch. It’s across the street from my favorite building, which also houses the remnants of the very first tattoo shop I went to get my first tattoo in.

Even though the owner was a dick, and the shop is now closed, it’s still mostly a good memory for me because of Annie the artist who made me feel safe. Even though she fucked up my tattoo, I still love it so much. So yeah Trees is pretty important, it’s surrounded by a lot of “Devon grew up here,” vibes. It’s also about 3 blocks from the first bar my mom and I went drinking in together. She had milk. No joke.

Favorite Place to Catch a Flick

I like going to the New West theater because it gives me the chance to get out of Surrey for a little bit and I don’t do that often enough. Surrey is a beautiful place, but it can feel a little confining too sometimes.

What Is Your Ideal Music Playlist?

When I’m in Vancouver it’s always something like this:

Vancouver has all these cool little pockets that I have yet to explore, and I am really excited to, but there are also all those hidden bars and underground pathways that I have yet to find. I know they’re there, but these songs always make me feel like I’m in a superhero flick when I hear them.

The worst thing about Surrey BC

Lack of affordable housing. This issue could be solved so easily if developers were expected to produce the 30%-40% affordable housing we were promised ten years ago but that never happened, and now it’s almost 2k a month for a single-bedroom apartment. This is so disgusting. So many people who are coming to Surrey to raise their families can’t afford to live, and single folks are houseless because they are SOL and no they can’t just move because it’s like this across the lower mainland.

Surrey has a high death count. There are very few corners in Downtown Surrey that I can point to, that doesn’t have a memory of someone I loved, who passed away. Usually due to drugs or gangs. So being here makes me really sad.

I’ve lost a lot of really and truly phenomenal people due to gang life, and most actually due to poverty. So it’s hard to say that Surrey is a good place to live when everywhere I look reminds me of a place where someone died, or hung out before they died.

The best thing about Surrey

No matter where you are in Surrey you can see the Mountains. The mountains of British Columbia are the things that fairy tales are made of. Somewhere up there there are giants, faeries, witches, demons, and angels, fighting wars, falling in love, and making babies.

We also have some of the best gardens and parks in the world. There’s always a place to sit by the water here, always a place you can go that no one knows about. Like under the bridge at Bear Creek Park, if you ever get to pop in and see the work of some of our local artists you absolutely should.

Hope this helps you get to know me and my town a little bit better.

If you have thoughts you’d like to add about this post, please leave a message, and let’s talk about them,

Sending All My Love,

Devon J Hall and Krisya Ohana




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